Thursday, May 23, 2024
PeoplePortugalVacationer of the Week

Vacationers of the Week: André Nogueira and João Santos

We love Portugal and wanted to connect with traveling gay couple André Nogueira and João Santos, both born, raised, and currently living in Leiria, Portugal located between Porto and Lisbon. So, in addition to dishing out details about their bucket list destinations, they also provide LGBTQ+ travelers with their top 3 things to do when visiting Portugal, including a clothing-optional beach.

In April, the two got engaged in Nara, Japan, with a wedding date planned for sometime in May 2024. Nogueira and Santos’ connection started in school when they were 10 years old, but they lost contact with one another when Santos changed schools. At 22, they reconnected and fell in love and have been together ever since. 

Even though they are not full-time content creators and travel writers, these millennials always manage to find time to travel the world together. In addition to their travel recommendations for Portugal, Nogueira and Santos give us the scoop on an unexpected travel destination that they felt comfortable visiting as a gay couple, and these foodies reveal the one thing they never forget to pack on every trip.  

Nara, Japan (Photo Credit: @twobytheworld)
Nara, Japan (Photo Credit: @twobytheworld)

Vacationer Magazine: At what age did you receive your first passport? What was your first trip?

André Nogueiera: We don’t need a passport to travel around Europe. My first trip was probably to Spain when I was a child with my family. The first time I needed a passport to travel was to visit Brazil when I was 15.

João Santos: In Portugal, it is very common to visit Spain, so probably it was my first trip. The first time I received a passport was to visit Brazil with my family. The first independent trip was an Interrail trip with my brother when I turned 18.

What trip or travel experience sparked your passion for travel?

At the start of our relationship, we did four Interrails (or train trips) together around Europe and that really started the spark of our desire to travel and the desire to experience more. In 2015, we traveled to Japan and that voyage turned the spark into fire! We couldn’t stop after that. The world has so much to offer and so much diversity, and to experience it, only makes us richer and better. In 2019, we started a six-month round-the-world trip and it was everything and more than we ever hoped for.

What inspires you to travel?

Traveling together as a couple for the past 16 years has been our ultimate passion, igniting our souls and creating unforgettable memories. Exploring new cultures, uncovering hidden gems, and indulging in diverse cuisines fulfill us in ways words can’t capture.

A kiss shared during Pride (Photo Credit: @twobytheworld)
A kiss shared during Pride (Photo Credit: @twobytheworld)

Please tell us how you identify yourself on the LGBTQIA spectrum. Tell us if how you identify influences the way your travel. If so, how?

As a gay couple, we primarily identify ourselves as two individuals deeply in love and committed to each other. While our sexual orientation is an important aspect of our identity, we see ourselves first and foremost as a couple sharing a remarkable journey together.

Influenced by our LGBTQIA identity, we approach travel with a sense of awareness and caution, particularly in countries where LGBTQIA rights may not be fully recognized or accepted. We prioritize our safety and well-being, understanding the importance of respecting local customs and laws. We make conscious decisions to avoid countries that still criminalize being LGBTQIA, as we believe in supporting destinations that align with our values of inclusivity, acceptance, and equality.

Our travels serve as a means to connect with diverse cultures, foster understanding, and promote LGBTQIA inclusivity. By sharing our experiences openly and authentically, we hope to inspire others within the LGBTQIA community to embrace their wanderlust and explore the world while prioritizing their safety and well-being.

Ultimately, we believe that love knows no boundaries, and we strive to create a positive impact by promoting acceptance, respect, and equality through our travel experiences as a gay couple.

Is there a travel destination that most queer travelers would think isn’t safe to visit, but you’ve visited and enjoyed it? If so, where? 

Oh, we love this question! While we can’t speak for all queer travelers, we had an unexpected surprise in Istanbul – Turkey. Contrary to some perceptions, we found ourselves warmly welcomed as a gay couple. One particular experience that stands out is when we stayed at a straight-friendly hotel (called the Inqlusif Hotel which may be closed now). The host and the entire crew went above and beyond to ensure we had an amazing time. Their genuine hospitality and acceptance made our stay truly memorable. It just goes to show that sometimes, the most surprising destinations can offer the warmest embrace for LGBTQ+ travelers.

How long have you been traveling together? What was your first trip together? Would you recommend the destination to other LGBTQ+ travelers?

Our first trip together was to Girona and Barcelona, Spain, two months after we started dating each other. We’ve been traveling together for as long as we’ve been together… 16 years. We always love to travel around Spain and we always have a great time (and amazing food) so we would recommend it to anyone.

What’s the one travel tip or advice that you wish someone had told you before you embarked on your journey to travel around the world?

If we could turn back time and share one travel tip that we wish someone had told us before embarking on our worldwide adventure, it would be this: Embrace the magic of traveling light, but remember, even light can become lighter! Stay agile and flexible as you explore the globe, because trust us, you can find everything you need in every nook and cranny of this incredible world.

LxFactory in Lisbon, Portugal (Photo Credit: @twobytheworld)
LxFactory in Lisbon, Portugal (Photo Credit: @twobytheworld)

What are three things LGBTQ+ travelers should do when visiting Portugal or the city where you both currently live?

When it comes to LGBTQ+ travelers visiting Portugal, we’ve got three must-do suggestions that will make your experience unforgettable!

Firstly, dive headfirst into the mesmerizing charm of Lisbon. This eclectic, inclusive, and effortlessly cool city has it all. Get lost in the winding streets of the historic neighborhoods, immerse yourself in the local art and music scene, and savor the mouthwatering cuisine that will leave your taste buds begging for more.

Next, escape to Praia do Barril, a beach paradise nestled in the Algarve region that we love. Not only does it boast stunning coastal beauty, but it also offers something extra special for LGBTQ+ travelers—a nude beach!

Lastly, venture into the enchanting countryside of Alentejo, a region known for its scenic landscapes, world-class wines, and gastronomic delights. Explore charming vineyards, indulge in farm-to-table dining experiences, and sip on exquisite wines that will transport your taste buds to a state of pure bliss.

In Portugal, diversity is celebrated, and we’re confident that these three experiences will capture your heart and make your LGBTQ+ journey an unforgettable one.

Kyoto, Japan (Photo Credit: @twobytheworld)
Kyoto, Japan (Photo Credit: @twobytheworld)

What are your top three favorite places to visit? Why?

We’re the type of people who are constantly struck by the travel bug and eager to explore new destinations. However, if we must narrow it down, here are our top three:

1. London
This city has become like a second home to us. We’ve lost count of how many times we’ve visited, and yet, it never fails to captivate us with its vibrant energy, iconic landmarks, and rich history. It’s a place where we always discover something new, even in the familiar streets, we’ve walked a hundred times.

2. Argentina
Talk about a delightful surprise! This country stole our hearts with its vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and the warmth of its people. From the bustling streets of Buenos Aires to the breathtaking beauty of Patagonia, Argentina has left an indelible mark on us, and we can’t wait to return for more exhilarating adventures.

3. Australia
Ah, the land Down Under! It’s the epitome of perfection in our travel book. Australia’s diverse landscapes, from the jaw-dropping Great Barrier Reef to the vast Outback, provide endless opportunities for exploration and awe-inspiring moments. The friendly locals, vibrant cities, and unique wildlife make Australia an absolute dream destination.

But truth be told, our ultimate favorites are the ones we have yet to visit. We crave the thrill of discovering new places, immersing ourselves in different cultures, and collecting memories that will fuel our wanderlust even further. So, watch out world, because we’re always ready to chase the next adventure!

Masada Park, Israel (Photo Credit: @twobytheworld)
Masada Park, Israel (Photo Credit: @twobytheworld)

What three places are still on your bucket list to visit? Why?

Oh, this question is like trying to choose our favorite dessert from a mouthwatering buffet! With so many amazing destinations left to explore, we’ve managed to narrow down our top three bucket list places. First up is Peru, where we’re eager to immerse ourselves in the fascinating ancient Inca culture. The rich history and majestic ruins have us counting down the days to wander through Machu Picchu.

Next, we’re drawn to the enchanting landscapes of Iceland. Picture this: soaking in natural hot springs, chasing the dancing Northern Lights, and hiking through breathtaking glaciers. Iceland seems like a fairytale waiting to be lived, and we can’t wait to experience its otherworldly beauty firsthand.

Last but definitely not least, India beckons us with its vibrant colors, tantalizing aromas, and diverse cuisine. From savory street food to intricate regional dishes, our taste buds are already dancing with anticipation. We’re ready to dive into the vibrant chaos and embrace the incredible flavors that India has to offer.

So there you have it, Peru for ancient wonders, Iceland for stunning landscapes, and India for a culinary extravaganza. These three destinations have secured their spots at the top of our ever-growing travel bucket list, and we can’t wait to make these dreams a reality!

Tokyo, Japan (Photo Credit: @twobytheworld)
Tokyo, Japan (Photo Credit: @twobytheworld)

What’s one thing you never forget to pack in your suitcase?

Ah, the indispensable item that always finds its way into our suitcase is our taste buds’ best friend: a trusty foodie guide! We never leave home without our secret stash of insider tips on the absolute must-visit places to eat in each destination.

You’re going on a road trip. What singer or band is always on your playlist?

When it comes to road trips, our playlist is like a wild rollercoaster ride through different genres and vibes. We’re all about eclectic taste, so you’ll definitely find a mix of Placebo’s moody melodies and Pabllo Vittar’s infectious beats. Our playlist keeps the journey groovy and unpredictable from introspective moments to dance-worthy jams.

Check out where Andrés Nogueira and João Santos are traveling next and follow them on their blogInstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

Vacationer Staff

Vacationer Magazine's writing staff works hard to bring you all the latest LGBTQ travel articles to help inspire and inform.

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