Rio de Janeiro is widely known as very accepting, and embraces its gay-friendly culture and visitors very warmly. There are LGBT visitors from all over the world, who come to Rio, to enjoy the beach and sun, the nightlife, clubs, and international DJs, and to just soak up the Brazilian culture.
This year the legendary Gay Pride Rio de Janeiro will take place on November 16, 2014.
The annual pride parade held along the beach front in Copacabana is a massive tradition which seems to grow in popularity year after year. The parade route runs the length of the beach, and is filled with floats from many of the Rio dance clubs, as well as music vans which just carry the party with them, like the pied piper and its band of happy followers. The floats and music vans are always the focal point of the celebrations, with drag queens and go-go boys dancing on or alongside the float, making the party even more colourful.
The parade is so popular, even for those not within the LGBT community, that it’s estimated that almost 20% of all Cariocas attend the event! Cariocas love a great party, whatever the occasion or reason, so you add to that the visitors from elsewhere in Brazil, and abroad, and you have one of Rio’s greatest annual parties. The street is filled with all ages and types of people – from high society, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgendered, drag queens, families, kids, friends and anyone else who gravitates to the vibrant parade and sand-shaking beats.
Farme de Amoedo Street
Rua Farme de Amoedo, running perpendicular into the beach, in the middle of Ipanema, is as close to a gay street as you’ll find in Rio. It’s quite a charming street – which begins in the interior of Ipanema as a residential road, with traditional Brazilian apartment buildings and homes, and then as it reaches closer to the famous Ipanema Beach, it begins to become populated with many juice bars, lanchonettes, bars, upscale restaurants, and shops. The street ends when it hits the beach between Postos 8 and 9 (which is the gay beach area of Ipanema, as you’ll see below), which makes this road and all the shops, bars and restaurants, a great place to meet up with new friends, before heading out to the beach, or after you’ve enjoyed an afternoon in the sun.
The beaches in Rio, notably in Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon, are the lifeblood of Rio, and integral to the lifestyle of any Carioca. It’s where friends meet, new friends are introduced, where you go for people watching, and to plan your next night out. During the daytime, you’ll see many of the Rio nightclubs handing out pamphlets and flyers, to tell you where the best parties will be that night. Many people come to the beach to not only catch some sun, but people watch as well, as Cariocas are very proud to show off their tanned and toned Brazilian bodies, as are the foreigners who come to the beach as well. No need to be humble here – speedos and string-bikinis are the fashion de jour, because if you’re a Carioca – or just visiting Rio – you need to have a sexy tan line!
The most popular and famous gay beach area in Rio is on Ipanema Beach, just a bit east of Rua Farme de Amoedo, between Postos 8 and 9. You won’t miss it – the kiosks which sell food and drinks, and rent out beach chairs and umbrellas proudly adorn their tents with bright rainbow flags, as an acknowledgement of their loyal clientele. Another very popular gay beach area, is called “Coqueirão”. Coqueirão refers to the tallest coconut tree beside Posto 9. Right beside this tree is a very gay-friendly area of the beach as well, though it’s much more mixed than the beach near Farme. Since Farme is so famous in Rio as being the main gay beach area, some people prefer to try the mixed culture and relaxed atmosphere of Coqueirão. Both of these beaches are in Ipanema, and the “postos” refers to the lifeguard stations that you’ll see along the beach – each one with large numbers running from 1 to 12.
If you want to try the larger Copacabana Beach, there’s also an area there called “Bolsa”, which is quite popular with gay men and the transgendered community as well. This part of Copacabana Beach is close to where Rua Rodolfo Dantas meets the ocean at Avenida Atlantica, right across the street from the famous Mediterranean inspired, Copacabana Palace.
Nightclubs & Circuit Parties
Rio may be known traditionally for its samba and bossa nova, but unsurprisingly, there is a great scene of resident and international DJs spinning at some of the country’s biggest nightclubs. Contact your concierge at Rio Exclusive, if you want to know what’s happening while you’re in the city, if you’d like to be added to guest lists, or if you’d like to do Rio in VIP style, with bottle service at one of the city’s top clubs.
If you’re sticking to the beachfront zone, then a couple of the more well-known gay clubs are La Cueva, on Rua Miguel Lemos in Copacabana, as well as Le Boy, also in Copacabana as you’re nearing Arpoador. La Cueva goes back decades, and is still considered one of the city’s top gay clubs, and Le Boy – which is a large club housed in a former movie theater – is an iconic Rio nightclub.
Circuit parties in Rio are quite popular as well, with Pool Party and R.Evolution being two of the more celebrated ones. The Week is another popular spot which has many events as well – in short, you are not lacking for gay clubs, bars and parties when you visit Rio.