Gays and lesbians visiting Chile will most likely not encounter any prejudice or outward intolerance. However, public displays of affection between same sexes are rare, even in metropolitan cities such as Santiago. In general, attitudes, especially those of Chilean men, toward gays and lesbians are not very liberal, owing in part to the Catholic, conservative nature of their society. Homosexual relationships have only recently been declared officially legal, and many gays and lesbians are not actively open about their orientation outside their own circles. In Santiago, the two most gay-friendly neighborhoods are Bellavista and Parque Forestal (also known as Bellas Artes).
The best source for information is the website www.santiagogay.com, a resource directory that covers gay issues and provides information about travel, gay-oriented businesses and bars, employment, and more. Gay Adventure Tours, Inc. (tel. 888/206-6523; www.gayadventuretours.com) occasionally offers trips to Chile. The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA; tel. 800/448-8550 or 954/776-2626; www.iglta.com) is the trade association for the gay and lesbian travel industry, and offers an online directory of gay- and lesbian-friendly travel businesses; go to the website and click on "Members."
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.