So So Gay Travel: Argentina and Uruguay
Argentina and Buenos Aires with its equal gay marriage has helped make it a destination for relaxed tourists. It became the first country in South America to allow same-sex marriage in July 2010, including full adoption rights, making it the first country in Latin American to do so.
Together with its mix of climates from the glacial south, to the expansive natural rainforest, lively Latin culture and superb food Argentina has a lot to offer.
The huge country doesn’t lend herself to a two-week holiday; but select a region or two and you can delve into the arts, culture, nightlife, and nature. Explore the North-East starting in Buenos Aires, then North for a warm Christmas in Iguazu Falls followed by a straight ride to Cordoba.
Buenos Aires is a city growing by the day. A new port with high-rise city blocks demonstrates the new success of Argentina. Buenos Aires is a noisy city surrounded by roads with six lanes; lined by unkempt sidewalks, colourful walls and colonial buildings.
Walk around Palermo the social side of town, slightly upmarket with coffee shops, boutique stores and family-owned restaurants. It is also home to the Evita Museum.
Gay Buenos Aires
There are a few bars in Buenos Aires, many with entrance fees that will cover all drinks for a set time. The most popular club is Human Club, a three-roomed warehouse with a large outdoor terrace.
North to the border you can enjoy the awe-grabbing landscapes at the edge of the Amazon Rainforest. Puerto Iguacu, a short flight from Buenos Aires, is a small town where the main streets are ill formed and the side streets are just simple dirt tracks. Accommodation is plentiful here; Sweet Hostel is highly rated with a reasonably clean bathing pool and social area, great for the budget traveller – AR$120 per night for a double room.
Puerto de IguaÃ§u has a quiet yet festival atmosphere. You can enjoy excellent Argentinean food; listen to live music and drink cheap with Caipirinhas. The key attraction here is Iguacu falls, one of the widest waterfalls in the world caught between three nations. Take to the Brazilian side and you’ll have panoramic views of the gushing water and experience the power of Devil’s Throat.
On the Argentina side you can take a Grand Adventure Tour; a jeep ride across the rapids and under the falls, then explore the national park by foot. IguaÃ§u Falls park is built for tourists – viewing bridges take you to the centre of the river delivering a 360 water experience, especially if you experience a tropical rain shower!
Travelling – Bus
The bus system in Argentina is sophisticated. The most convenient mode of transport, bus companies run services day and night. The best and value option is the semi-cases with bed-like seats giving you a chance to sleep on one of the 10 – 12 hour journeys.
Cordoba, A bustling second city
Cordoba is the second largest city, a university town set amongst semi-rise new builds and spontaneous coffee bars alongside grandiose buildings marking Argentinean heritage. A mix of historic cultures well built around the main square – Plaza San Martin. Visit the Jesuit Crypt discovered by a telecom company in 1989 that has been restored and giving a glimpse of the country’s heritage.
For nightlife, Beep! offers a vibrant atmosphere. Welcoming locals play host and drag shows, who struggled to keep their modesty, entertained the crowds with Latin pop. Good drink specials including a lethal wine and energy drink combination makes Beep! the best queer bar in Argentina, open to 4am.
There are some excellent art and craft stores for both real leather, wool artefacts as well as wood and metal designs. Oveja Negra, a local boutique sells goods across the world from this modest HQ, exporting local black sheep’s wool products.
Our final night back in Buenos Aires we stayed in the four-star Axel hotel - heterofriendly. Complete with see-through shower, queen-sized bed, mini-bar, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and a pool with a transparent bottom to the foyer!
There is already much more to offer in Argentina for gay travellers and with the growing LGBT Travel industry; you can explore the country in luxury or take the beaten track.
Other trips of interest for visiting Argentina is the wine country of Mendoza or the glacial south – Patagonia; two polar opposite climates.
Boat to Uruguay: AR$300 return
Axel Hotel: AR$454
Taxi to Airport: AR$150
Bus to Puerto Igauzu: AR$20
Sweet Hostel: AR$120 per night
Grand Adventure Tour: AR$220
Bus to Cordoba: AR$285
Entrance to Evita: AR$15
Featured image credit: Matt Hintsa, Flickr