Monthly Archives: September 2015

City Spotlight: Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, known as the “Venice of America” for its expansive and intricate canal system, is one of the principal and biggest cities in Florida and one of the United States’ most popular holiday destinations, with around 11 million visitors each year – including more than a million LGBT travellers. Every year it usually features on lists of top or best gay travel destinations in the US or around the world for its ideal location in the southeast coast of the States, for its gay-friendly attitude and a big LGBT community and area with more than 150 gay-owned or gay-focused businesses. It also has a Convention and Visitors Bureau, which spends considerable amounts of money collating resources and marketing specifically to the gay community.

Situated along the southeast coast – meaning it is very warm or hot all year round, Fort Lauderdale is of course, well-known for its host of beaches (7 miles worth of them) – many which are frequented predominantly by gay and bisexual men, though the girls love them too. The most popular is Sebastian Street Beach and there is also the infamous nude Haulover Beach. Around 10 minutes away is Fort Lauderdale’s neighbouring city, the smaller Wilton Manors while Miami is just half an hour away, where there are more beaches and a just as thriving LGBT community and gay nightlife. If you’re up for a longer journey then Tampa and Orlando are about 3 and a half hours away to the north, as of course Lake Buena Vista – better known as Walt Disney World Resort – is. Further down south is the little island of Key West, a further 3 hours or so away.

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Fort Lauderdale’s Gay Pride (also known as Pride or PrideFest South Florida) event is one of the oldest in the world and is currently in its 37th year and in 2014 it will take place on the first weekend of March (1st-2nd). Miami Gay Beach Pride will be on 11th-13th April. Both Fort Lauderdale and Miami have Gay and Lesbian Film Festivals – Fort Lauderdale’s 6th annual festival will be hosted from 9th-12th October and Miami’s (in its 16th year) will be from 25th April to 4th May 2014. Other LGBT events in these areas include White Party Week, Winter Party and Sizzle in Miami. For full listings of Fort Lauderdale and Miami’s gay areas, check out GayCities for more information. Unfortunately though, despite Florida being seen as one of America’s most gay-friendly states, it has to legalise gay marriage but we hope in the future it will follow suit.

If you’re going to Fort Lauderdale or around this area and are looking for a place to stay, then why not check out our LGBT-owned and LGBT-friendly accommodations? We currently have 15 properties available in Fort Lauderdale, 3 in neighbouring Wilton Manors and 13 in nearby Miami. Or if you’re someone who has a spare room in your property or a whole place you want to rent out to travellers, then you can sign up as a host here and add your accommodation, start making money and meeting new people.

City Spotlight: Rio de Janeiro

Brazil is known as one of South America’s most gay-friendly countries with advanced legal rights for LGBT people including equal age of consent, health benefits, immigration equality, the right to change legal gender, anti-homophobia laws, and most recently in May 2013, same-sex marriages were made legal nationwide. Brazil is a very diverse country and a popular holiday hotspot for many people, including LGBT travellers, particularly because of its large cities’ LGBT festivals and parades, which are some of the world’s largest – São Paulo takes pole position with well over 2 million visitors every year, while the ones in the capital Brasilia and Salvador attract nearly 1 million. Rio de Janeiro’s – arguably the country’s most popular destination, and the soon-to-host of the 2016 Summer Olympics – is the second largest (1.5-2 million).

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Rio was recently voted as the world’s best gay destination and it was estimatedthat 1 in every 4 visitors to the city is LGBT and with not only a huge Pride event, but a bustling LGBT community, an open attitude towards sex and sexuality and of course and great attractions for every holidaymaker, it’s easy to see why that is the case. The Ipanema district in Rio is where LGBT life in the city is predominantly located where there are plenty of gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses such as bars, clubs, restaurants and shops. The neighbouring Leblon district is also popular with the gay community and has art galleries, museums, theatres and boutique shops that serve as interesting local attractions.

The Copacabana beach is one of Rio’s many beaches, and probably its most famous, located next to the Ipanema and Farme Gay beaches, where if you want to eye up some of the hot local Latin guys and girls or other tourists making the most of the sun and heat, that’s the place to be. The beaches host a lot of parties too, especially during Pride and Carnival and will go on late into the night. Gay nightlife in the city also goes on late into the night and even into the early hours of the morning and usually starts pretty late as well, with most people preferring to eat late dinner and drink in restaurants and smaller pubs and bars before moving on to the major clubs. For a full listing of places, click here.

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As previously mentioned, the two main yearly events that take place in Rio are Carnival and gay Pride. The former usually happens at the end of February through to the beginning of March and is always big, extravagant, vibrant and colourful, with pretty much everyone getting involved as the huge collective party atmosphere and attitude takes over everyone and the whole city. Pride on the other hand has varied dates each year – in 2012 it was November, but this year it is slated to commence on 13th October and expected to once again to be a massive success and continue to be on the world’s biggest and best Prides. New Year’s Eve is also a very popular event which sees over 2.5 million come together to ring in the new year on Copacabana Beach, usually all dressed in white. Another gay festival, the Rio Festival Gay de Cinema – the city’s international LGBT film festival – usually takes place in July.

Rio offers a lot of other attractions, things to do and see and places to go, and being a predominantly Roman Catholic area, is of course home to many religious building and structures – the most famous being the must-see statue of Jesus Christ on Corcovado mountain (the fourth tallest in the world). Other places include nearby islands, rainforests and mountains, if you wish to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and explore Brazil’s wild nature.

One’s safety must always be kept in mind when travelling to Brazil and staying in Rio. Even though the gay areas are known to be the wealthiest part of the city, beggars and criminals still try their luck at pickpocketing or taking advantage of people, especially foreigners, so it is not advised that you be left or travel alone or walk around by yourself at night. Please take a look at our top tips for gay travellers for more information.

We currently have half a dozen accommodations available in Rio or alternatively, we also have accommodations in Belo Horizonte, Marceló, Natal, Salvador and São Paulo, but if you have a spare room or property that you want to rent out on a short-term basis to guests in Rio or any other Brazilian city, you can it here.