Gay guide to Santiago, Chile

Chile is one of the more conservative countries in Latin America, despite being so economically advanced. Whilst its neighbours Argentina and Uruguay are world leaders on the LGBT scene with really progressive laws on gay marriage and adoption, Chile lags behind, still sitting on the fence on the gay marriage debate. The LGBT community suffered quite a bit during the oppressive Pinochet years of the 1980s, but since then, the LGBT community has slowly been making important inroads, becoming more and more visible in the media and in politics. You can read more about what it’s like growing up gay in Chile with our interview with Ivan from Santiago. The capital city, Santiago is home to the country’s largest gay scene with a handful of bars and many gay clubs, with parties happening almost every night of the week. The gay scene of Santiago is centred around the Bellavista neighbourhood particularly on Bombero Nuñez street. Here’s a few of our favourite gay hangouts from our recent visit to the city, including gay friendly hotels.   GAY-FRIENDLY HOTELS Although the country is very conservative, the capital city is cosmopolitan. Most Santiago hotels will be accustomed to dealing with gay travellers. We never had a problem asking for a double bed with any of the places we contacted in Santiago. The Aubrey Boutique Hotel This is one of the sexiest hotels we’ve ever stayed in. It’s gay owned and you can tell it’s been decorated by a gay man. We loved it here, from the outside it’s like a fairytale castle and inside it’s so stylish. It’s located minutes walking distance to the gay bars and clubs of Bellavista and next door to Pablo Neruda’s La Chascona house. Luciano K Hotel Luciano is another boutique gay friendly hotel in Santiago, located in the bohemian neighbourhood of Lastarria, which is more residential than Bellavista, but still 10-15 minutes walking distance to the gay bars. Luciano is an old building refurbished with modern touches. We loved the rooftop bar which also has an outdoor pool, making it the perfect place to have a few pisco sours in the summer months (December-February) before heading out. Live with a local: Misterbnb One of the things we love when travelling is connecting with local gays and learning about the gay scene from their perspective. On Misterbnb you can find many local gay guys renting out a spare room or even their entire home. You can claim a £20/$25 credit voucher from your booking by using our link: Open Suites If you’re on a budget or can’t find anything appropriate on Misterbnb, we recommend using a local LGBT company to find an apartment to rent. Open Suites is owned by a gay local who rents properties near the gay scene and also in the commercial district of Providencia. GAY BARS AND RESTAURANTS On Mondays, most places are shut. This would be the day to factor in a hangover! Farinelli The drag shows here are absolutely hilarious. Chilean Spanish is a whole different language in itself. Even if you don’t understand, you’ll love the shows here. Bar 105 Small but super friendly gay bar who do delicious Pisco Sour cocktails. Definitely worth checking out. Burdel We loved the daily 2 for 1 drinks promotions here and as a result it gets popular. They have a drag show on most nights. Sarita Colonia Gay owned restaurant with a wtf “Peruvian Transvestite” theme(!) It’s actually a really cool place and rated as one of the best restaurants in Santiago. Station Bar Large restobar, which gets busy after 6pm. It’s got a large outside seating area and really cute waiters. GAY CLUBS Like in most cities in Latin America, there isn’t much of a gay bar culture, but when it comes to partying, the Chileans love to be merry and go out – late! Most places don’t get busy until after midnight and busiest nights are usually on weekends. Toby at Femme Toby party is like Barcelona, similar 20/30s crowd, playing Latino pop classics, but not as large or busy. Club Soda Awesome club with live DJ blasting out reggaeton and Latino pop classics, perfect if you’re a Shakira fan. Fausto The oldest gay club in Santiago going strong since 1979, where all the famous Chilean drag queens began their career. Barcelona at Bunker One of the most famous gay parties which happen every Saturday at Bunker club. This became a staple for us when going out in Santiago. Limon If you love twinks, this is where you’ll find them! Monday nights is particularly popular as that’s the night when all the hairdressers hang out! Blondie This reminded us of a few clubs in Berlin, with a relaxed vibe, open minded, attracting a whole mix of the LGBTQ crowd. Music style is more alternative, gothic-like. Il Divino One of the largest clubs in Latin America, with a capacity of 3,000. Unlike all the other gay bars and clubs, it’s located a 20-30 minutes taxi ride away from Bellavista, in the Pudahuel area. For more information, including street address, prices and opening times, check out our full gay guide to Santiago. Stefan and Sebastien are a gay couple who left their lives in London in 2014 and have been travelling the world together since. They are currently on a big adventure around Latin America and you can follow them on their gay travel blog Nomadic Boys, and on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube. More stories: Heroes producer reveals actor threatened to quit show over gay storyline Simon Dunn: It’s ‘selfish’ of the LGBT community to expect closeted athletes to come out