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A Gay Guide to Argentina

Explore gay Argentina – the most progressive LGBT country in Latin America.  From its wild nightlife to stunning natural beauty, Argentina is the perfect destination for LGBT travellers looking to eschew Europe and explore further afield.

Gay Rights in Argentina

Argentina is one of the most progressive countries in the world when it comes to LGBT rights. They were not only the first in Latin America to legalize gay marriage back in 2010 but they have also lifted the archaic ban on gay men donating blood – a problem still blighting many other developed nations across the world.

The comprehensive transgender rights are also some of the world’s most progressive, permitting individuals to change their gender without going through hormone therapy or medical treatments.

Despite the fact that gay sex has been legal in Argentina for over a hundred years, that doesn’t mean that liberal attitudes have always prevailed. Carlos Jáuregui was the countries most prominent LGBT campaigner and lead the first Gay Pride parade in 1992. He is well known for his manipulation of the media to raise the profile of the gay struggle and is considered an icon among gay Argentinians. He died of AIDS in 1996 aged just 38. The state recently renamed a metro station after the prominent LGBT activist and campaigner Carlos Jáuregui.

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aries is a huge, cosmopolitan city compromising stunning 19th-century buildings, world-class museums and plenty of gay bars to keep you busy in the evenings. The city has rich cultural heritage too. Highlights of the arts scene including the modern art museum known as MALBA and, of course, Casa Rosada, also known as the Pink House, famed for the balcony where Evita addressed the people of Argentina.

Once you’ve spent the morning sightseeing at the fantastic art galleries you can spend the afternoon indulging in some Dulce de leche. Dulce de leche is the taste of Argentina, this deliciously sweet caramel can be found in everything from coffee to cake and is the perfect afternoon snack to refuel.

If you’re travelling with your partner or happened to meet one along the way, then why not visit one of the love hotels? The notion might seem a little seedy to those unfamiliar with the concept but they’re pretty normal here. Waterbeds, mirrored ceilings and themed rooms are available for those who want to get frisky for an hour in a unique environment!

Gay Bars in Buenos Aries

Stiges Gay Bar is one of the more popular hangouts in the city. Things get going late here, normally well after midnight, and continue into the early morning. If you’re looking for somewhere a little more rough around the edges than Contromano Bear Club attracts a more mature crowd. For a daytime tipple then head to Pride Cafe, it’s open until 8 pm and also serves excellent coffee and snacks. Finally, Bar Sur is a cosy and authentic venue where you can release your inner dancer and get familiar with the tango.

Exploring Argentina

Argentina is a huge country and encompasses wildly varied terrains from mountains which surround the capital to the imposing glaciers in the south. The Perito Moreno Glacier located in the Los Glaciers National Park is the most notable, impressive and well-frequented.

The Iguazu Falls are another must-see. Straddling the border with Brazil, they are the largest waterfall system in the word and a wonder to behold. San Carlos de Bariloche is situated at the foot of the Andes and provides ample opportunities for skiing and trekking. The views are breathtaking and well worth the long climbs through the Argentinian countryside.

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Why Out Of Office Reigns King in the World of LGBT Travel

When I set up OutOfOffice.com, it was clear there wasn’t a suitable tailor-made, luxury travel company that tailored to the LGBT travel market. Our aim is to ensure that all our customers receive the best possible service and advice – no matter where they wish to travel in the world and no matter who they love.

With the LGBT travel industry estimated to worth a staggering six billion in the UK alone, it’s no surprise that Out Of Office, a travel agency focusing on the gay market, has been such a resounding success.

It would be churlish to ignore the fantastic progression on LGBT rights and acceptance over recent years, perhaps explaining why the agency came along when it did. While you might have expected such a company to already be taking advantage of such a lucrative market, founder Darren Burn certainly saw an opportunity. ‘When I set up OutOfOffice.com, it was clear there wasn’t a suitable tailor-made, luxury travel company that tailored to the LGBT travel market. Our aim is to ensure that all our customers receive the best possible service and advice – no matter where they wish to travel in the world and no matter who they love.’

While the products themselves are varied and of an unquestionably high quality, the superlative USP of Out Of Office is their focus on the customer experience. They religiously research and vet all their suppliers and properties to ensure their customers will be welcomed wherever they go. Training is also given to owners and employees, making sure that they are fully compliant in understanding and respecting their LGBT visitors.

The company also stresses that it is not exclusively for the LGBT community and offers a range of holiday and trips for heterosexual travellers and families. It’s an interesting quirk for a gay travel agency but one which really highlights how greatly they are striving to differentiate themselves and offer something quite unique.

Customers seem to be thrilled with the product, receiving a 5-star excellent rating on Trust Pilot. A cursory glance through the reviews and you’ll quickly see they receive lots of feedback on their superior customer service – an aspect of their business model which they clearly work hard on.

While the trips aren’t necessarily cheap, that isn’t the market they are trying to attract. This isn’t a trope exclusive to Out Of Office either, with nearly all budget travel now booked independently. But for those looking for superior customer service and the assurance of an LGBT-friendly trip, Out Of Office reigns king in the world of gay travel.

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Best Travel Apps

While it’s important that travel is a time to disconnect from technology and reconnect with the world – gay travel apps can be a fantastic way to help organise and assist you on your next adventure.

Skyscanner

Skyscanner is the premier app for finding cheap flights. It has excellent functionalities like a multi-city search and a destination ‘anywhere’ feature – perfect for the true intrepid explorer seeking a less conventional trip and those who are keen to find the cheapest flights.

Google Maps

While Google Maps isn’t necessarily the most user-friendly, it does have the most extensive list of bars attractions and points of interest – exceptionally useful if you don’t know the exact address of where you are heading.

Grindr

While ostensibly used for sex, Grindr can be an excellent way of meeting a local for a drink if you’re travelling on your own. You can also use it to meet other gay travellers and perhaps grab a beer together on your gay globe adventure?

Live Trekker

This experimental app has been described as a digital journal. It tracks where you have been so you can review it on an interactive map later. You can add pictures and video to make it a whole multimedia experience.

Vespa

Covering over 300 destinations, Vespa is the most comprehensive app documenting gay bars, clubs and points of interest. This well-curated app also lets you leave feedback about your experience. It’s regularly updated with parties and events and even informs you of the local happy hours. What more could you want?

WIMBIFY

Its aim was to change the landscape of LGBT travel and while it doesn’t quite do that it’s certainly a strong addition to the travel app portfolio. It has a multi functional purpose and aims to connect people on their trip for a few hours, days or weeks. It also serves as a couch-surfing service for those who need a place to crash.

Kayak

Kayak is a solid alternative choice to Skyscanner. The explore function is great for some inspiration showing you on a map where you can fly within your budget and within your predetermined time frame.

Mister B&B

This popular accommodation app has taken the gay travel world by storm and is highly recommended. Not only can you save money on a place to stay but you can meet a local who will inform you about all the best places to visit. And you might make a friend for life!

Duo Lingo

Learning a little of the lingo before you visit somewhere makes your experience more authentic and enjoyable. The Duo Lingo app makes picking up the basics incredibly simple with its game-style functionality.

XE Currency

The world’s most reliable current converter is bound to come in useful when you’re travelling in far-flung destinations. It also works offline, so unless something catastrophic has happened since the last time you were online you can still access a recent conversion.

Tripit

This handy app correlates all the information from your diary and email and produces a digital itinerary. It takes everything from your pre-booked taxi to your flight details and presents it to you in a neat and coordinated fashion. We love it!

Google Translate

It’s always handy to have a translation app handy when you’re travelling. It doesn’t have to be Google – take your pick from the many choices available.

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Best gay bars in Sydney

Sydney is the largest and most cosmopolitan city in Australia – famed for its livability, culture, nature and cuisine. Gay bars in Sydney are centered around Oxford Street, situated in the City East district. King Street in Newtown has a more queer vibe and is also popular with the lesbian crowd. Here are a few of the best gay bars to check out when you visit Sydney.

The Imperial Hotel

This Sydney gay bar stalwart is affectionately known as Impy by the locals and is a significant icon of the gay community. It’s one of the few gay bars located outside the city centres and is famous for being a filming location for Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Its three bars, dance floors, magnetic crowd and historical sentiment make this venue a winner every time.

Sly Fox

Billed as Sydney’s premier Lesbian venue, clientele of both sexes flock here for the regular gigs, drag bingo and daily drinks deals. It also has a 6am license at the weekend – something of a rarity in Australia’s de facto, if unofficial, capital.

The Oxford Hotel

Arguably the most famous gay bar in Sydney, The Oxford Hotel is actually several venues in one. From the basement cabaret bar to the mid-level terrace and upstairs lounge, there’s a little something for everyone at the city’s most reasonably priced gay venue.

Tokyo Sing Song

Sydney’s edgiest gay venue is located away from Oxford Street in the queer district of Newtown. They host alternative drag shows that challenge the gender norms and are known for being the favourite of many internationally acclaimed queer DJs.

The Stonewall Hotel

The walls of this bar are aptly adorned with the slogan ‘The history is remembered, the future is here.’ The three bars in the heritage listed building plays host to karaoke, drag and male dancers. Wednesdays is the famous pick-up night when visitors wear a number whereby you can leave them a cheeky message. Also heavily involved in fundraising, The Stonewall Hotel is a must on a visit to Sydney.

Beresford Hotel

Especially popular among the local crowd – this place is a Sunday favourite when guys of all types pack out the beer garden while listening to the range of eclectic music.

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Cuba’s LGBT History

Cuba was once considered one of the most regressive and closed off countries in the world, shaded from modernity by abundant plumes of cigar smoke. Today Cuba has bridged its fractious relationship with the United States and is rapidly hurtling, for better or for worse, into the twenty-first century.

Many have romanticised Cuba, envisaging a land away from the corrosive effects of capitalism where access to healthcare and education is equal across all social echelons. However, it is easy to forget the suffering that has taken place across the decades in this Caribbean paradise. Not least for members of the LGBT community.

Cuba is famed for it torrid history on gay rights which peaked during Castro’s reign after the on-off revolution of the 1950s. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, swathes of homosexual were sent to camps in order to be reeducated and cleansed of their gayness – reminiscent of contentious correction camps which still operate today. The state also forced people suffering from HIV/AIDS into quarantine until 1993. That is, despite homosexuality being partially decriminalised at the end of the 70s.

Mariela Castro, daughter of Raul Castro, rose to prominence in the 1990s as a campaigner for gay rights. This was a critical turning point in LGBT rights. Today Mariela is the head of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education and still campaigns on a broad range of civil rights issues. Thanks to Castro’s (Mariela that is) work, gender reassignment surgery is available through the state funded healthcare system and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is outlawed.

Back in 2010, six years before the revolutionary leader passed away, Fidel Castro apologised for the state’s treatment of LGBT people in an interview with a Mexican newspaper.

Some have criticised Cuba, claiming that progression has only occurred under a framework of wider repression where citizens don’t have the right to vote and are routinely denied basic freedoms. While this is true, it’s entirely separate from the gay struggle and the two have to be viewed as independent movements to be properly understood.

Since restrictions were lifted, a gay village is forming in the larger cities like Havana. It’s also been suggested that the repression of religion in Cuba has eased the anxieties surrounding homosexuality that exists in many ‘progressive’ countries – including the United States.

LGBT Cuba For Visitors

Cuba is widely considered a safe country for LGBT travellers to visit today, with many gay travel companies offering specially curated adventured for gay people visiting the country. It has been lauded as the gay capital of the Caribbean but given the pitiful circumstances in neighbouring countries, this is hardly a noteworthy claim of a liberal utopia.

Gay visitors are incredibly unlikely to have any problems, even if travelling as a couple and sharing a room. The upcoming Key West to Cuba festival is celebrating LGBT culture in the two localities is an excellent example of how far this stunningly beautiful country has come in recognising gay rights.

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Toronto’s top gay bars

Canada’s most populous city Toronto is home to 2.6 million people and the largest gay community in the country. Most of the gay bars and clubs in Toronto are located down by the waterside in what is known as ‘Old Toronto’ where you’ll find everything from craft beer bars to popular fetish nights.

Woody’s

Often called the Cheers of Toronto, Woody’s never charges an entry fee and they have several bars where you can chill with a beer with friends of catch one of the popular drag shows. Everyone who visits Toronto should spend at least one evening in this Church Street staple.

Black Eagle

This bar used to be the exclusive domain of those into fetish play. It’s recently been taken under new ownership and is now frequented by the great and good of the gay community in Toronto. They host regular theme nights and there’s still plenty of opportunity for those who want to get a little kinky in the sex room upstairs.

Buddies in Bad Times

This professional theatre which was formed in 1978 hosts weekly parties every Saturday. The bartender Patrica is legendary, as are the drag shows, dances, and international DJs.

The Steady

This Bloor Street hangout is a civilized cafe serving coffee and pastry by day and a pumping disco with excellent cocktails by night. It’s as fantastic for brunch as it is for its regular one-off parties and is a welcomed, contemporary addition to the Toronto gay scene.

Boutique Bar

This high-end cocktail bar nestled amidst the more high-octane gay bars in the area is the perfect spot to grab a drink and catch up with friends or meet a new gentlemen friend who can show you around this fantastic city.

Fly Nightclub 2.0

This huge club is the place to be if you like your music loud and your disco lights bright. As well as the regular Friday and Saturday night parties they also host one-off specials with international DJs.

Statler’s

This gay-village staple is famed for its piano where budding musicians take to the keys to entertain both the patrons and the passing public. Its live entertainment and fantastic terrace are the perfect for those wanting something a little more sedate away from the crowds and parties.

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Best gay bars in Brighton

Canada’s most populous city Toronto is home to 2.6 million people and the largest gay community in the country. Most of the gay bars and clubs in Toronto are located down by the waterside in what is known as ‘Old Toronto’ where you’ll find everything from craft beer bars to popular fetish nights.

Woody’s

Often called the Cheers of Toronto, Woody’s never charges an entry fee and they have several bars where you can chill with a beer with friends of catch one of the popular drag shows. Everyone who visits Toronto should spend at least one evening in this Church Street staple.

Black Eagle

This bar used to be the exclusive domain of those into fetish play. It’s recently been taken under new ownership and is now frequented by the great and good of the gay community in Toronto. They host regular theme nights and there’s still plenty of opportunity for those who want to get a little kinky in the sex room upstairs.

Buddies in Bad Times

This professional theatre which was formed in 1978 hosts weekly parties every Saturday. The bartender Patrica is legendary, as are the drag shows, dances, and international DJs.

The Steady

This Bloor Street hangout is a civilized cafe serving coffee and pastry by day and a pumping disco with excellent cocktails by night. It’s as fantastic for brunch as it is for its regular one-off parties and is a welcomed, contemporary addition to the Toronto gay scene.

Boutique Bar

This high-end cocktail bar nestled amidst the more high-octane gay bars in the area is the perfect spot to grab a drink and catch up with friends or meet a new gentlemen friend who can show you around this fantastic city.

Fly Nightclub 2.0

This huge club is the place to be if you like your music loud and your disco lights bright. As well as the regular Friday and Saturday night parties they also host one-off specials with international DJs.

Statler’s

This gay-village staple is famed for its piano where budding musicians take to the keys to entertain both the patrons and the passing public. Its live entertainment and fantastic terrace are the perfect for those wanting something a little more sedate away from the crowds and parties.

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Best Gay Bars in Berlin

Berlin is the urban epicentre of Germany and one of the coolest capital cities in Europe. From queer and kitsch to the fun and the fetish – Berlin has it all.
From the days of the Weimar Republic to the many clubs which populate the city today – this is a destination which has always been a little different, a little edgy but perennially hip. While Schöneberg might be the traditional gay district, there are many other great bars to check out all across the city.

Gay bars in Berlin are not in short supply. No matter what type of evening you’re after, you’ll find it in this uber cool destination that caters for everyone. No persuasion, taste or fantasy is left uncatered for. If you’re looking for something a little more mainstream the central district of Mitte is an excellent place to start. Betty F*** and Bar Saint John are two great bars which turn into venues with a great club vibe as the evening progresses.

In you’re in Kreuzberg, and you really should be, then Roses it the place to be. This pink, fur-lined bar in the heart of the city’s coolest district is always open and up for a good time. Just up the road from Roses is the hidden gem that is Ficken 3000. This den of hedonism, which has a bar upstairs and a dark room downstairs, is not to be missed. You’re guaranteed a great night if you head over after midnight on a Tuesday when they have all night two for one drinks. Barbie Deinhoff is a cosy, queer bar next to Golitzer Park that also has excellent drinks deals on a Tuesday.

If you’re across the bridge in Friedrichshain and want to stay local your options are a little more limited but there are places none the less. Grosse Freiheit is a small sailor-themed bar which generally attracts the older crowd but is a fun place to grab a relaxed beer. Himmelreich is a small cafe and pub close to the main square, Boxhegener Platz, and is a cute drinking establishment if you’re looking for somewhere chilled to relax with a beer.

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Best gay bars in Wellington

New Zealand is home to stunning scenery and wonderful outdoor pursuits. It might not be the most vibrant gay destination in the world but there endless reasons to visit this incredible country. Here are some of the best Wellington gay bars to check out while you’re in town.

Ivy Bar

This stalwart of the Wellington gay scene is always busy on the weekends. In the early evenings, it has more of a lounge feel but once the music starts everything changes and the club vibe kicks in. They have regular cabaret shows and different theme nights which keep things interesting. They are well-known for their fabulous cocktails and serve pretty good tapas too. They’ve also started hosting comedy nights with some of New Zealand’s best comedians featuring on the bill.

S&M’s Cocktail Bar & Lounge

S&M’s is your standard gay cocktail bar but what they do, they do really well. It’s popular with the post-work crowd and also with tourists visiting the city. Don’t expect anything too crazy but it’s a great venue to relax with friends or have a couple of drinks before you head somewhere else.

Rush Bar

This is a superb bar with a great vibe. It’s got a local feel, despite the fact that it’s situated right in the middle of the city. The bar staff are super friendly and there’s always someone to chat to here, even if you frequent the place on your own.

Motel Bar

While not strictly a gay venue, this place does attract a gay crowd. It’s been voted one of the best bars in the world and it’s easy to see why. It boasts excellent drinks and a great atmosphere from early evening to the wee small hours of the morning.

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Gay guide to Iceland

Located halfway between the UK and Canada, nestled in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, is the once forgotten island of Iceland. Explore the wild outdoors before heading back to explore Reykjavik’s fantastic restaurants and range of cosy bars.

This sparsely populated nation isn’t a gay travel hotspot in the typical sense, don’t expect to be spoiled for choices when it comes to gay bars, but liberal attitudes prevail here and the kitsch and queer crowds adorn the cosy bars regularly looking for a good time. Since the financial crash of 2008, Iceland has refocused its economy on tourism. Today the country is on course to 2.5 million visitors. Given Iceland’s population stands at 350,000, makes that figure all the more impressive. While the economy seems to be booming once again, concerns over development and how they want to negotiate such an influx of foreign visitors is a hot topic for locals – something they’re happy to discuss in their overly competent English.

Gay Iceland Bars

There are only two gay bars in Iceland both situated just off the main street on Laugavegur. Kiki Queer Bar is the livelier of the two places and has more of a club vibe than its neighbour, Bravo Bar. Both have daily happy hours with substantial savings on drinks available until around 11 PM.

What to See and Do in Reykjavik

The free walking tour, which departs 364 days a year (the day of the annual Gay Pride celebration is the only exception) gives an excellent introduction to the city. As well as providing a broad overview of Iceland’s history, the tour also gives visitor’s plenty of tips for making the most of the rest of their stay. Beyond what you see on the walking tour, the Hallgrímskirkja Church and the Old Harbor waterfront are a couple of places worth visiting autonomously.

Exploring Beyond the City

So, is the Blue Lagoon worth the hype and the expense? In a word, yes. Despite being almost an hour from the capital and packed with tourists, the large lagoon never feels overcrowded and is simply a must. The lack of public transport in Iceland means an over-reliance on bus tours to see the rest of the island. A Golden Circle tour is the best way to see the highlights if you’re on a quick visit. However, if you have time, head further into the wilderness and visit one of the numerous glaciers, such as Vatnajökull National Park, go whale watching off the western coast or visit the other earthly landscapes of Landmannalaugar.

Northern Lights

Seeing the northern lights is one of the biggest draws for tourists to Iceland. Booking on a tour gives you the greatest opportunity of spotting this natural phenomenon. However, these can be pricey and you’re not guaranteed to see anything on your 5-hour jaunt from the capital. It’s possible to see them in the city especially if you head out to the lighthouse in the far west of the city. It takes about an hour to walk or you can take the number 14 bus.

Hints and Tips

Appy Hour – Download this handy app which locates your nearest happy hour drinks deal.

Euro Shopper – Head to the cheap supermarket and pick up some snacks to save some cash in this pricey country.

Tap Water – Don’t bother with bottled water. All bars and restaurants automatically serve some of the world’s best tap water.

Liquor Store – If you want to have a few drinks at your accommodation before heading out to explore gay Iceland should note that the only shop that sells alcohol is the state-run shop near the parliament building.