AS ONE OF THE MOST SOCIALLY liberal nations in the Western Hemisphere, Uruguay is a natural choice for LGBTQ globetrotters looking for a welcoming experience. The government decriminalized homosexuality way back in 1934 and made even more progress in the 21st century, with laws prohibiting discrimination in effect since 2003 and allowing same-sex marriage since 2013.
“Uruguay is historically a vanguard nation in terms of legislation and social rights,” said Adrián Russo, president, the Cámara de Comercio y Negocios LGBT Uruguay (Uruguay LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Business). In terms of visiting, “The peak season is summer, thanks to the sun and sand, water sports and other entertainment that’s available,” Russo said. “But Uruguay has something to offer for every season. Wine tourism, design, shopping, adventure, wellness and culture are some of the reasons why LGBTQ travelers visit our country.”
The point of entry for most visitors is the capital city, Montevideo. There, Russo recommends the culinary offerings in gaypopular restaurants like Francis, La Cocina de Pedro and 1700. Top sightseeing attractions include the historic Solis Theater and National Auditorium, as well as La Rambla, a verdant avenue that runs between the city and the sea.
For after-dark fun, top choices include Cain Club, a disco that stages a different show every night; Il Tempo, a dance club that attracts a variety of LGBTQ and straight night owls; and Chains, which targets an over-30 gay male clientele.
Gay-friendly accommodations in Montevideo include Casa Roberto and Casa Sarandi, both bed-and-breakfasts set in historic homes. Among the top internationally branded hotels in Montevideo are the Sheraton Montevideo, Sofitel Montevideo Casino Carrasco and Spa and Hyatt Centric Montevideo.
Another must-see destination — especially in the warmer months — is Punta del Este, an international hot spot for sun worshipers. Playa Chihuahua, a nudist beach, is among the popular gathering places for LGBTQ travelers. Find gay-specific accommodations at Undarius, a men-only hotel, while mainstream luxury hotels include the chic Hotel Fasano Punta del Este and spacious Conrad Punta del Este Resort & Casino.
Copa Airlines is celebrating its 75th anniversary by showcasing a Boeing 737-800 NG in an aircraft livery that harkened back to the airline’s look in the 1990s. During that time, Copa Airlines launched an expansion of their network to become the Hub of the Americas®, changing the way to travel to and connect in our Continent.
Without visiting, it’d be easy to throw Chicago into any number of categories. Everyone thinks they know Chicago; after all, it’s the third-largest city in America, the most prestigious foodie city in the country, the city of jazz, a comedian’s playground, an architect’s dream, a writer’s paradise. The list goes on. Only when walking the streets themselves do you realize there’s nothing categorical about the Windy City, especially as it continues to evolve.
PHOTO: © ADRIAN OLSTAD
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The Lanesborough, one of London’s most luxurious properties and part of Oetker Collection, offers a romantic afternoon tea experience alongside a hotel stay just in time for Valentine’s Day. Available Feb. 11, 12 and 14, Valentine’s Afternoon Tea features Rosé Champagne and a rose cake to share with that special someone.
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