Brazil. The frontrunner in our latest poll is made of music. Even the international airport in Rio is named for a musician as opposed to a president or mayor. Few places on earth could ever be more soulful, and none is more achingly beautiful. Aside from the gorgeous sights and sounds is the seemingly irrelevance to race. People and individuals of every conceivable intermediate hue all mix together. In fact, most Cariocas seem to think that race is no big deal.
Brazil has begun to address its long unacknowledged racial problems with affirmative action programs and consciousness-raising campaigns. The ease with which Cariocas of all colors deal with one another on the interpersonal level is no illusion. Just go to the beach.
The famed beaches are at the heart of the city of Rio, not just physically but socially, culturally, psychologically and even politically. Don't wear jewelry to the beach or take any more money than you need for the afternoon. Do wear the smallest bathing suit you can find and an air of total confidence. Every body on the beach isn't lithe and perfect, but people leave their self-consciousness at home. Copacabana is the most democratic of beaches where you find any and every thing. Ipanema, the next beach down, is a bit more upscale.
The Botanical Gardens, Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum, statue of Christ and the cable-car ride to the top of Sugarloaf are great daytime activities. Tucked beneath Sugarloaf is a perfect little village called Urca, isolated from the hustle and bustle with heartbreaking views of Botafogo Bay.
And music. The concert halls and clubs of Rio offer unforgettable experiences. As does the young boy or man on the beach strumming his battered guitar on a warm evening.
Of course Rio Carnival is one party not to be missed. And with hundreds of gay parties on at the same time, it's a party paradise! Also consider New Years eve, which has begun to rival the atmosphere of carnival.
Rio gay Guide and Rio gay Life has everything you need to know for enjoying your trip to gay Rio- clubs, beaches, landmarks, bathhouses, accomodations. Also check Brazil gay Scene or Top Gay Hotels. The best time to go may be May through September for less crowds, lower rates and pleasant weather. Money conversion rates can be found HERE. You'll need a passport AND visa so visit the embassy website for info about requirements.