Going Gay In Colombia
Colombia, undeservedly, has a reputation as one of the most dangerous countries in the world, thanks to the stigma that has stayed with it from its drug wars and gang violence in the latter half of the previous century. However, Colombia has taken great strides forward and those in the know have come to find that the country has a whole lot to offer, from pristine beaches, mountain ranges, rain forest, and buzzing metropolises like Bogota and Medellin. But, what’s travelling in the country like for gay men? It turns out it’s pretty good, and I’m not just talking about the ridiculously good-looking locals. Here’s what goes down in the three most popular cities for gay visitors.
The be-all and end-all of gay life in Bogota is Theatron, a colossal club spread over multiple floors that houses over ten thousand revellers at the weekend. Plus, it’s all-you-can-drink, and there are around seven different rooms blaring out music from pop to salsa and reggaeton to house. Locals in Bogota tend to be more open to gay folk, and recently voted in support of gay marriage in the country. While public displays of affection between men aren’t really seen, you’re unlikely to encounter much hostility if you’re open about your sexuality in conversation. So when you find yourself in the Colombian capital, put on your party shoes, hit the floor and dance the night away in this mega club or, if you’re feeling frisky, head to Babylon sauna, which is full of beautiful bodies and friendly attitudes.
The second-largest city in Colombia, Medellin is known for its youthful population and is home to many university students, artists, and musicians. Unsurprisingly then, the atmosphere is fairly liberal, and nobody really cares about your sexuality, at least not amount the young folk of the city. Down some shots of aguardiente, laugh all night, but be careful that the cute guy you’ve been eyeing up all night isn’t expecting payment if you take him home. The gay bars are mostly concentrated near the Prado metro station.
Le Petit is where it’s at in Cartagena, and you’ll find a salsa remix to everything in this bar, including the Pink Panther theme tune. Hips gyrate and booties pop on the dance floor in all directions and barmen weave between people, delivering drinks and collecting glasses. That said, the Caribbean coast is notorious among Colombians for being rather homophobic, and Cartagena is nowhere near Bogota or Medellin in terms of acceptance of the gay community. Ask around about club nights when you’re in Le Petit as gay parties do happen, and they tend to be characterised by house music and strobe lights, just as so many gay nights are. Head to the city beaches however, and you’re likely to see a fair few hunky men of the homosexual persuasion, although be prepared to get hassled by the touts that pace up and down the sand.