Is Santiago the next big gay hotspot?

I landed in Santiago, Chile, with no expectations except to possibly fall in love with a Chilean man.

Then, on my first day, a random Tuesday, I took on a walking tour of downtown Santiago by the Plaza de Armas (where the President of Chile has an office) with six drag queens. This, I realized, was going to be fun.

We got a ton of stares but they were all positive. Parents and children rushed the drag queens to get their photos taken with them. I was blown away by the inclusivity of the people and the place.

The street art is a reason to travel to Santiago, let alone the incredible day trips to wineries and Valparaiso. And how does one not feel on top of the world while surrounded by the Andes?!

Below are 13 tips if traveling to one of the most electrifying countries in the world.

13. Stay at Hotel Bidasoa

Hotel Bidasoa is the greenest and eco-friendly hotel in South America. It also boasts a restaurant with amazing vegetarian burgers and a gorgeous pool.

12. Get your WINE on at Vina Haras de Pirque

This gorgeous winery is built in the form of a horseshoe and all of the product made here is 100% organic making it one of the greenest wineries in South America. Chilean wine is now considered some of the best in the world.

11. Eat Crossdressed Peruvian Food

Sarita Colonia has a super queer ambiance, unusual Peruvian food, and eye candy servers.

10. Visit the Human Rights Museum

Learn about the victims of human rights violations during the civic-military regime led by Augusto Pinochet between 1973 and 1990 and feel the uplift at how far Chile has come in accepting difference over the years.

9. Relax at El Santorni, clothing-optional spa

This spa has a gorgeous pool, two hot tubs, rooms to relax, a sauna, incredible massages, and it is clothing optional. It is a fabulous spot to get tan in your birthday suit.

8. Eat GAY PIZZA

Pizza Bella is the ONLY restaurant in Santiago that has a pride flag on it–and the pizza will melt in your mouth!

7. Learn about queer history

Visit San Borja Park where Daniel Zamudio was murdered in 2012 for being gay. After his death President Sebastián Piñera urged parliament to speed up the law on hate crimes which passed just 4 months later banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, appearance, and gender.

6. See Santiago by bike

Santiago is a super bikeable city and I highly recommend going on a biking tour with the club Labicicleta Verde.

5. Tear up the queer nightlife

Bars and clubs do not get going in Santiago until around midnight. See a drag show and then dance the night away at Club Fausto, the oldest nightclub in the city.

4. Visit the magical city of Valparaiso

An incredible day trip is to go to the magical city of Valparaiso. It is legit a color scheme DREAM, super affordable, lots of hills, incredible food, eclectic street, and the MOST amount of ways to entertain yourself.

3. Hike the ANDES

You must leave Santiago and hike the most breathtaking mountains.

2. See Santiago by going on a Drag Queen Walking Tour

Pride Tours Chile organizes walking tours around Santiago with Drag Queens. We walked around all the historic sites and learned about the history of queer Chile.

1. No matter where you go, the views are epic

Watch Ravi’s video of Gay Travel: Chile