Buenos Aires, Argentina - A vacation to Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, is highly recommended for a quick relief to ease away the stress. Especially with the recent announcement that foreign visitors will now be refunded the VAT (value added tax) paid on hotel services using foreign debit or credit cards throughout Argentina.
It should be no surprise that Buenos Aires, the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage, is one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the world. Strung along the Rio de la Plata, this city brimming with Latin sensuality and European sophistication has much to offer the LGBT traveler, from luxurious, welcoming hotels and restaurants where beef reigns supreme, to exciting nightlife where visitors can dance to techno or learn the sultry tango.
Almost every hotel in Buenos Aires is gay-friendly, including the city’s most luxurious in the Recoleta neighborhood, from the gilded marble Alvear Palace, where concierges know everything gay in the city, to the Four Seasons, where Madonna stayed during the filming of Evita, using the hotel mansion’s balcony to practice her Don’t Cry for Me routine.
Trendy Palermo has small boutique hotels like the Fierro, known for its gourmand-friendly atmosphere, and Home, with its cozy spa, grassy backyard pool, and DJ’d lobby bar.
El Lugar Gay, Spanish for ‘the gay place’ is the gay-owned, men-only hotel just off Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo, with a rooftop patio offering weekly gay tango lessons.
Beef rules in Argentina. Get a juicy slab of it at La Cabrera in Palermo, an Argentine parrilla or steakhouse. Visitors who want to splurge on a formal experience head to Cabaña Las Lilas overlooking the Puerto Madero waterfront. Argentine beef is on the plate and all around in gay bar and restaurant Pepo Pepona in Palermo, with male dancers and hunky waiters with pepper grinders, spicing up the service.
Especially busy during the Sunday Feria de San Telmo Street Fair, PrideCafe is a great place for a snack and to chat with locals.
This South American City That Never Sleeps has one of the world’s best nightlifes, including an unparalleled nocturnal LGBT scene. Gays and music-loving straights mingle at Amerika, one of the city’s largest clubs. Contramano, popular with Bears and a mature crowd, was established soon after Argentina’s military dictatorship ended, heralding the country’s emerging freedom.
Living up to its name, Glam in Barrio Norte offers an elegant scene with beautiful men throughout its several spaces. Sitges offers a humorous drag show along with dancing.
Lesbians flock to Bach Bar, and Casa Brandon in the Villa Crespo neighborhood, a unique gay cultural space offering art, talks and other cerebral events.
Nothing says Buenos Aires like tango, and two LGBT choices of milongas, or tango halls, are La Marshall and Tango Queer, both offering lessons for beginners.
There’s something year-round for the LGBT community in this vibrant city. During the southern hemisphere’s summer season, November is the gayest month, honoring 1967’s pre-Stonewall founding of Argentina’s LGBT rights group Nuestro Mundo. Manuel Puig, author of Kiss of the Spiderwoman, was an early member.
Argentina’s national LGBT rights march, known as Orgullo - Spanish for Pride - takes place in Buenos Aires the first or second Saturday of November. That same month, dance the gay Argentine way during the Tango Queer Festival, or watch gay films during Asterisco, Argentina’s International LGBT Film Festival.
The city government of Buenos Aires throws its own gay festival, BA Diversa, full of events, talks, sports, art exhibits and more each August, timed with the G-Networks gay travel and business conference. l