Gay Nicaragua? Like most countries we have visited in Central America, we knew very little about what it would be like travelling in Nicaragua as a gay couple.
During our time in Central America, we spent an extended period of time in Nicaragua including in Leon, Granada and Ometepe many other beautiful places including Laguna Beach Club which sat by the side of a volcanic crater lake.
For the most part during our travels, we did not come across any gay scene or presence in Nicaragua. As such we were very intrigued when we saw the Pride Flag below….
Outside of the Laguna Beach Club we noticed the rainbow flag! We had to investigate further and managed to track down the owner to learn about gay Nicaragua.
The owner is called Stefan, he runs an LGBTQ+ friendly hostel near a beautiful crystal clear freshwater lake in Nicaragua, his home country.
Based on our conversation with Stefan, we have put together the below mini gay travel guide to Nicaragua.
Is Nicaragua gay friendly?
Is Nicaragua gay friendly? It is mixed, as it is normally misunderstood. As a tourist you should be fine!
Attitudes from locals come from a place of misunderstanding. Our community is full of stereotypes: the feminine guy with high-pitched voice and the butchy woman who plays sports and doesn’t wear makeup, those are the basic images that most people have of homosexuals.
For them, a masculine gay man is unacceptable, the same goes for a feminine woman. You can pass as straight easily if you don’t fall into those categories as people expected to be homosexuals.
People still see the whole idea of homosexuality as immoral since our society is predominantly religious. Public displays of affection between homosexuals are still not seen well by most people, so it is highly avoided.
Is it legal to be gay in Nicaragua?
It used to be a law that condemned homosexuality (as “sodomy”) but it was suppresed from the Penal Code ten years ago.
Nowadays, society is more open to the idea of homosexuality, especially straight women. Men are still ruled by the “macho” mentality and would do anything to avoid being labelled as gay (even if they are homosexuals, which means that a high percentage of gay men are still in the closet or married, even with children).
Overall, we have had a a lot of positive improvement in past years about how people perceive homosexuality, a lot of people have the position of “I accept it but don’t make me part of it”, and many others just don’t care. You can see homosexual people having normal jobs in almost any field as long as they are not very open about it (some are exceptions, specially in jobs culturally referred as gay, like hairdressers).
Gay Bars in Nicaragua
There are 3 or 4 openly gay bars in Nciaragua. These gay bars can be found in Managua (some are located in the same area so it is labelled as the gay area of Managua).
What are the Gay Areas of Nicaragua?
Like most countries, as mentioned above, the main city is where you will find the gay bars and the gay area.
Granada is a also a very gay friendly city in Nicaragua and you can see openly gay guys in the streets specially La Calzada.
The same goes for Masaya where gay guys will be left alone and not bothered. There is a folkloric festival in Masaya called “Baile de Negras”. This is where groups of couples composed of 2 men will go around dancing in the houses. One of them dressed as a woman which is a huge example of how people in this city accept the idea of a man that can be feminised or impersonate a woman. Most of the best dancers in town are very respected.
Advice for LGBTQIA travellers in Nicaragua?
The same advice as for straight travellers, avoid places that are not very touristic because of other problems like petty theft or pickpocket.
As I said before, locals will not be very positive about public displays of affection or very flamboyant behaviour, like holding hands in the street and even if they don’t say anything, they will give you a mean eye. Other than that, you can go around as you normally do.
Thank you so much to Stefan for taking the time to speak with us. This was an interesting conversation and we are starting to see similarities between countries, particularly around the ‘macho’ culture.
Check out our other local interviews on Guatemala, Belize and El Salvador.
Lastly, we stayed in a Gay Friendly hotel in Granada, Nicaragua. It was beautiful and well worth a visit, take a look here!
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