Chile

Chile is one of the most stable and developed countries in Latina America, as well as a great destination for LGBTQ+ travelers.  While still a somewhat undiscovered gem that is still improving on its LGBTQ+ rights, civil union for same sex couples was instituted in 2003 and taken as a major step towards openly recognizing same sex couples, while also protecting their assets. Chile is also considered one of the safest destinations for the community. 

The gay seen is concentrated mostly in Santiago, being the largest city in the country with approximately 30% of its national population.  Nonetheless, there are other cities where you’ll find gay bars, restaurants, along with gay friendly hot spots.  The southern city of Pucón, an incredible destination in the Lake Region, has Chile’s first gay hotel which is a must-stay when visiting.

WHY VISIT AND WHEN TO COME?

Chile is known as the long skinny country and is considered the longest in the world from north to south.  It offers a unique variety of landscapes that range from the driest deserts located in Atacama, to the Chilean Patagonia and Antarctic, where visitors experience some of the most extreme weather known to man.  During the winter Chile offers world-class skiing located in different points of the Andes Mountains, with first rate ski resorts.  And let’s not forget the majestic Andes Mountains that can be appreciated from most points of the country.  

Wine lovers know that Chile produces some of the finest wines worldwide.  One of the more famous places to visit for tantalizing wines experiences is The Colchagua Wine Valley, which has some of the best red selections in the country.

HOTTEST DESTINATIONS IN CHILE FOR LGBT+ TRAVELERS

Santiago

Santiago has a vibrant LGBTQ+ scene for visitors to experience, especially the Bohemian Bellavista, Bellas Artes and Lastarria neighborhoods.  There, people will be able to wet their whistles with delicious local drinks, world-class Chilean wines, and immerse their palates with tantalizing cuisine.  For those looking to live it up at night, Bellavista offers a great variety of bars, discos and unforgettable drag shows. Wine lovers can experience some of the best wines by visiting beautiful vineyards in the Maipo and Casablanca Wine Valleys.   Just on the other side of this valley is Cajón del Maipo, a valley that takes you deep into the Andes where people can be mesmerized by the flora and fauna.  Along the way you might even see some glaciers on the mountain tops. 

Valparaiso

Valparaiso, World Heritage Site, is a quaint port city surrounded by hills landscaped with colorful architecture, unique street art and a lively vibe.  The best way to get to know this city is by putting on some comfortable shoes and strolling around the hills and by taking 100+ year old hillside elevators.  While there, people can take advantage of enjoying fresh and tasty Chilean fish and seafood, be it in nearby restaurants or some of the local fish markets. 

San Pedro de Atacama

San Pedro de Atacama is a small town located high on the plateau of the Andes Mountains and home to the driest desert in the world.  It is surrounded by truly magnificent landscapes that include salt flats, moon valley, rainbow valley and geysers.  The Atacama Desert is also known for some of the best star gazing in the world and visitors have different ways to experience it, be it by looking up at the night skies or by visiting some of the observatories located in high remote places. 

Puerto Natales / Patagonia

The Chilean Patagonia is known worldwide for its natural beauty and unique geography, that makes it an ideal place to connect with nature, escape the hustle and bustle of the city, while enjoying the tranquility of its pampas and mountains. The Torres del Paine National Park is perfect for those with an adventurous spirit.  If you prefer to navigate over waters, you can sail through the Ultima Esperanza Sound. Along the way visitors will enjoy the beautiful landscapes, and eventually reach The Serrano and Balmaceda Glaciers.

Easter Island

To spend a few days in Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, located in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, is a dream for many. In this paradisaical place visitors will be able to enjoy incredible beaches, discover marvelous landscapes, and get to know the local culture. Along with traditional artistry and cuisine, people will be able to see the exotic and mysterious Moais.  These amazing volcanic rock statues were created by the ancient Rapa Nui people, between the 13th and 15th centuries. 

LOCAL CUISINE

For those that enjoy surf and not turf, Chilean fish and seafood is second to none with a variety of delicacies that only come from Chilean waters.  You most definitely need to try the local ceviche on hand and a tasty pisco sour on the other.  Chilean cuisine also has a tasty variety of dishes based on corn, legumes and let’s not forget the beef. 

FINAL WORDS FOR THE LGBT+ COMMUNITY

Even though Chilean society is mostly Catholic, Chile is considered an LGBTQ+ friendly destination, especially with the government’s open recognition of LGBTQ+ rights.  With same sex civil union and Senate legislation currently voting open same sex marriage, Chile continues to take strides that allows the LGBTQ+ community to move forward, more openly.  Most hotels are also LGBTQ+ friendly, especially the more-known international chains.  As in many countries, there is a certain level of homophobia in Chile, more so in traditional regions.  For this reason, it is recommended that travelers be aware of this and remain cautious, with acts such as public affection.