LGBTQ: Buenos Aires
Photo: The Buenos Aires LGBT Pride Parade © BUENOS AIRES TOURISM
ONE OF SOUTH AMERICA’S top vacation and business destinations also happens to be, according to some surveys, one of the most popular LGBTQ destinations in the Western Hemisphere. And it makes sense — after all, Buenos Aires is the capital of the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage on a national level. But the allure, of course, goes beyond that.
“There are many reasons why Buenos Aires continues to be one of the destinations for the LGBT community,” said Bryan Herb, co-owner, Zoom Vacations, which sells LGBTQ vacation packages. “Argentina offers impeccable cuisine, designer fashion, gorgeous locals, stunning architecture, rich culture and sensational hotels. With traits like these, how could the LGBT community not become enamored?”
Numerous hotels offer luxurious accommodations coupled with gay-friendliness. At the Alvear Palace Hotel, for example, the concierge staff shares LGBTQ travel tips, while Madonna’s stay at the Four Seasons (when she was filming Evita) certainly helped to place that hotel on the gay travel map. For a casual vibe, male travelers might consider El Lugar Gay, a gay-owned, men-only hotel that offers weekly gay tango lessons on its rooftop patio.
Speaking of tango, experiencing this traditional Argentine form of dance and music is the draw at dance halls called milongas. Two such venues — La Marshall and Tango Queer — offer lessons for beginners, with same-sex dance instruction.
Buenos Aires is also legendary for its LGBTQ nightlife. One of the longest-running LGBTQ discos, Amerika, packs in revelers with excellent DJs, while Contramano attracts a more mature clientele, and Bach Bar is popular with women.
In terms of LGBTQ happenings, November is decidedly the gayest month in Buenos Aires. That’s when three special events take place: The LGBTIQ Pride Parade, an international film festival called Asterisco and a week-long dance and music celebration called the Tango Queer Festival. Also noteworthy is BA Diversa, an LGBTQ festival organized by the city government that takes place Aug. 14–19 this year. The multiday gathering coincides with Gnetwork360, an annual international LGBTQ tourism conference.
Frequent visitors can easily tick off a list of their favorite things in this legendary destination. “Buenos Aires is a beautiful, lively, 24-hour city with European architecture, fantastic nightlife, travel bargains and — my favorite — incredibly handsome, welcoming men,” said Michael Luongo, a freelance journalist and author of Frommer’s Buenos Aires.