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Outside of the big cities such as São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador, openly gay men or women will certainly draw attention and perhaps be subjected to comments or jokes. Brazil is still a macho culture and any open sign of affection between people of the same sex will meet with disapproval.

Gay and lesbian travelers will find small but vibrant gay communities in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and some of the other big cities, more often geared toward men than women. There are now gay pride parades in many of Brazil's big cities -- Rio, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, even Manaus in the Amazon. There are gay beach areas in Rio, and gay bars and clubs in most larger Brazilian cities. However, public displays of affection are not common among gays and lesbians even in the cities, and in small towns and communities the level of acceptance is significantly lower -- rude remarks and jokes are almost guaranteed, though physical violence is thankfully rare.

One Brazilian travel agency in Rio that specializes in tours for gay and lesbian travelers is Rio G Travel, Rua Teixeira de Melo 16, Ipanema (tel. 021/3813-0003; www.riog.com.br).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.