From bars to nightclubs, saunas to beaches—Rio is LGBTQ+ friendly if you know where to go.
The city of Rio de Janeiro is frequently considered to be one of the best gay destinations in the world. Known as the Marvelous City, it offers numerous options for the LGBTQ+ community, including bars, nightclubs, saunas, and beaches. A visitor will need time to visit all the diverse day and night attractions and will be fascinated by the joy of the Carioca people (as those born in Rio are called). Here is a selection of the main places you can’t miss.
La Cueva is the oldest nightclub in Latin America, founded in 1964. The environment is cave-like, and it’s found in a basement in Copacabana. The club, which has a varied schedule, attracts a mature public. It is a traditional location in the city where older gay men often feel more at ease drinking and dancing.
Galeria Café is located in Ipanema and has a diverse entertainment schedule of music, parties, contests, exhibitions, and other attractions. This spot attracts many foreign tourists who usually go to the Galeria to taste the numerous drinks available, such as the famous caipirinha.
INSIDER TIPDo not accept drinks from strangers. In Rio, a scam known as “Good Night Cinderella” is quite common, where the tourist is doped and robbed.
Point 202 is the best-known sauna in Rio de Janeiro, besides being the only one in Copacabana. The three-floor space features a variety of environments, such as drag queen performances, stripper shows (gogo boys), and themed parties. Clients can go just to drink and watch the presentations that happen daily. It was the first sauna in Rio to have shows by drag queens.
The only naturist beach in Rio de Janeiro is Abricó Beach, and although the crowd is diverse, the LGBTQ+ community often frequents the beach, especially on weekends. On Saturdays and Sundays, the naturist association is on hand to ensure that the code of ethics is respected. Located in Grumari, about 25 miles from Copacabana, in the city’s western zone, access is by car only, and there is no public transportation.
INSIDER TIPDuring the week, nudity is not mandatory.
Related: The Best Nude Beaches in Brazil
Boleia Bar is primarily a bar for women who love women, but all LGBTQ+ people are welcome too. Located in Botafogo, a neighborhood next to Copacabana, Boleai Bar features a gorgeous corridor illuminated with the colors of the rainbow that’s an ideal place to take pictures. The staff is made up of women, and besides drinks, there are also snacks.
INSIDER TIPInstead of taking a taxi, choose the subway or a transportation app.
Located downtown, Spa Naturista is a spa for men that offers massages and also aesthetic services such as skin cleansing, body scrubs, and intimate waxing. The owner is a naturist and performs all services in the nude. Although most of the clients are gay, everyone is welcome. It is necessary to schedule in advance.
Pink Flamingo is currently considered the coolest and most popular nightclub in Rio. Located in Copacabana, the club is full of warm colors and follows an American pub style, making it ideal for drinking before 10 p.m.–and even better for dancing late into the night. In addition, there are drag queen shows. Pink Flamingo attracts many young people of all styles, as well as tourists, due to its excellent location.
Some of the best nightlife in Rio isn’t fixed in a single place. Instead, these touring parties are hosted in different places around the city, from warehouses to museums, marinas, and sometimes even cruise ships. These parties also take place in other cities throughout Brazil.
One extremely popular touring part is Revolution, a nightly electronic music party. Another is The Original Brazilian Pool Party, which involves a lot of day drinking. Both parties attract thousands of people, including foreign tourists.
Ipanema Beach, famous for the song The Girl from Ipanema, has a piece dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community. The stretch of sand marked with the rainbow flag is the most colorful and fun part of the beach, where everyone feels very comfortable expressing their affections. It is very popular with foreign tourists and is between Teixeira de Melo and Farme de Amoedo Streets, a well-known gay spot (see number 13 on this list).
INSIDER TIPIpanema Beach was selected as the second-best beach in the world for the LGBTQ+ audience, according to the website GayCities in 2021. The Brazilian beach lost only to Playa Los Muertos, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Located on Copacabana Beach, in front of the traditional Copacabana Palace hotel, the Rainbow Kiosk was very popular in the past. Still, it is an interesting place to drink coconut water or caipirinha while admiring the people walking along the shore of the famous beach. The place attracts many foreign tourists.
INSIDER TIPAlways ask the price before you order a drink; ask to see the menu to be aware of the prices charged.
Those who want to know a little about the history of the gay community in Rio de Janeiro can visit Turma Ok. It is a gay social club that opened in 1961 (at the apex of the military dictatorship) and is considered the oldest active operation in the country. Located in the central region of Rio, in a Bohemian area, the club promotes meetings among members, events, parties, bingo, and performances by go-go boys and drag queens.
Solar do Redentor
The gay guesthouse Solar do Redentor is located near the popular tourist destination, Corcovado. This spacious spot has a garden, a steam room, a swimming pool, and a barbecue area. It is one of the few exclusively gay accommodations in Rio. It is important to note that most of the hotels along the waterfront are gay-friendly.
INSIDER TIPThe best area to stay is in the south zone, which has the most tourist attractions and is more LGBTQ+-friendly.
Farme de Amoedo Street
Besides the stretch of beach, Farme de Amoedo Street is known for being an LGBTQ+ point with its hip bars and restaurants. Many tourists prefer to stay near the street because of its gay effervescence. During Carnival, there are street blocks for all genders.