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…and he said ‘YES!’

…and he said ‘YES!’

This is the story of how I planned The Perfect Proposal and asked Seby to marry me in Cartagena during our big trip to Colombia.

Seby always boasted to our friends that he would be the one to propose.

Yet, with every year that passed us by…nothing!

Each time he took me to a romantic restaurant for a special occasion – our anniversary, my birthday, Valentine’s Day – I wondered deep down, “Could this be THE moment?”

But each time, my hopes were dashed, and nothing happened!

Gay couple travel book Nomadic Boys Out in the World

So, after 8 wonderful years together I decided to take matters into my own hands. Our journey led us to Cartagena in May 2017, the beginning of our Colombia trip, coinciding with Seby’s birthday on Sunday, the 21st of May.

It made sense. This would be it. This would be when I would pop the question to my beloved.

Heads up: We just wanted to let you know that this post contains affiliate links. That means if you book something through one of those links, we'll get a small commission, at no extra cost to you. It helps us keep our blog going – so thank you in advance for your support! ♥

Gay couple embracing at sunset in a wheat field.
It was time to take matters into my own hands and plan The Perfect Proposal!

Planning The Perfect Day

I meticulously planned everything to make this the perfect birthday celebration for Seby.

To start with, I made sure we stayed somewhere special. The boutique adults-only Hotel Quadrifolio fit the bill nicely: housed in a historic Spanish colonial residence in the old town. We felt correct here!

The plan for the special day was a boat trip exploring the tropical Rosario Islands followed by a romantic evening meal where I would ask Seby to marry me.

After a lazy breakfast at the hotel, we took a taxi to the port to board our boat.

We stopped at various small islands for some snorkeling. Seby loves being in the water, so I knew this would go down well. Baru Island was where we stopped next to chill by the beach. I got us a few Coco Locos – a unique Colombian cocktail where the rum is poured inside the actual coconut to mix with the milk inside…yum!

For lunch, we headed over to “Agua Azul Beach Resort”. It had excellent reviews for its food, particularly the lobster. It was good!

So far so good: the birthday boy was having a fantastic time, and everything was falling into place seamlessly.

Leaving behind the Rosario Islands, we returned to our hotel to rest, shower, and prepare for Seby's birthday dinner.

Gay couple embracing with coconuts in hand in the Rosario islands in Cartagena.
Going loco for rum cocos on Agua Azul beach!

Planning The Perfect Dinner

I chose Carmen restaurant because it was renowned for its 7-course Taster Menu. Its location was also perfect, set in an elegant colonial house with an intimate outdoor terrace.

The food was really good, but if I’m being honest, I couldn’t tell you why nor can I recall what we ate because I was so nervous!

Even though I had rehearsed a thousand times what I wanted to say to Seby, I was worried.

Would this upset him? Would this annoy him?

After all, he always said that he wanted to be the one who would propose. I knew in my heart that I was doing the right thing. But I couldn’t help feeling anxious throughout the meal.

Gay couple at the Carmen gay friendly restaurant in Cartagena with a birthday cake and balloon.
A cake and a balloon for the birthday boy!

Planning The Perfect Proposal

I planned to propose using two St Christopher lockets I bought before our trip in place of rings. Neither of us likes wearing rings so I opted for something unique and meaningful to symbolize this special moment. As St Christopher is the Catholic patron Saint of travelers, I thought this would be perfect. Although neither of us is remotely religious, I loved what St Christopher represents – the ideal symbol for the Nomadic Boys!

I was so nervous that I kept putting my hand in my pocket to feel the two St Christopher lockets to make sure they were still there. My hands were sweating so much from the nerves that I was worried I would ruin them if I touched them too much!

In my mind, I was going over the words I prepared to say to Seby while at the same time trying to pay attention to him talking. He was excitedly reminiscing the day’s events. I was struggling to focus on what he was saying as I was eagerly waiting for the ideal moment to propose!

By the end of the meal, most of the other patrons had left and the staff brought Seby a cute “Happy Birthday!” cake for dessert.

He blew out his candles.

Here was my chance…

“Seby, you know we’ve been dating now for a long time. And we’ve been through so much together?”

“Yes, my love,” he said with a slightly startled look.

“…and there is so much more I want to do together…”

He broke me off and exclaimed, “Stefan are you proposing to me?”

“Yes! Yes, I am…Seby I want us to get married. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. What do you say?”

Gay couple smiling wearing rainbow bow ties.
A moment of raw euphoric joy!

…and he said ‘YES!'

Seby’s face broke out with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen, his eyes glistened with tears as he looked at me with overwhelming joy.

“Oh my god, YES, Stefan, of course I will marry you! I want to spend the rest of my life with you!”

I gave Seby the St Christopher lockets – one for him, one for me and explained their meaning. He loved it (I knew he would!).

He placed his locket in his wallet for safekeeping carrying it with him wherever he goes, a constant reminder of the love and commitment we share.

Romantic gay couple kiss in hotel room mirror.
…and he said ‘YES!'

Read more travel stories like this in our book!

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We've got more stories and practical tips like this in our gay travel book, Out in the World, available to order now.

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Gay couple travel book Nomadic Boys Out in the World

What's it like traveling as a gay couple in Colombia?

For obvious reasons, Colombia will forever hold a special place in our hearts. We've been several times, traveling all around the country and never once experienced any issues.

Whilst Colombia was marred by the awful cocaine industry that gripped the country with an ugly civil war that lasted for decades, thankfully those dark times are ancient history. What was once considered a no-go area has transformed into one of the world’s most gay friendly countries. In 2016, Colombia became the fourth country in Latin America to legalize gay marriage and it has been embracing LGBTQ tourism ever since.

Its appeal lies in its diverse offerings: stunning beaches, rich culture, vibrant gay scenes, exciting festivals, breathtaking landscapes, and, some of the hottest people to walk our planet!

As a gay couple, we never encountered any problems anywhere we went in Colombia. Getting a double bed was never an issue in any of the hotels we stayed in. It was clear they had welcomed LGBTQ travelers many times. In one hotel we stayed at in Medellin, we noticed a prominent warning sign displaying hefty fines for hate speech against the LGBTQ community, reinforcing the country's commitment to inclusivity and acceptance.

For a more local perspective of what it's like growing up gay in Colombia, read our interview with local Colombian gay boy Jesus from Barranquilla.

Gay couple embracing at the Playa Blanca beach in Cartagena
Playa Blanca: one of the many pretty beaches to check out in Cartagena

Top experiences in Colombia for gay travelers

Now of course you'll no doubt start by hitting up our awesome detailed gay travel guide to Colombia 🙂 But to give you a flavor of what to expect from this stunning country, here's a quick summary of some of our top highlights:

Party in Theatron in Bogota

It’s massive! Every Saturday night up to 5,000 gays head to this mega club. It has 13 different club rooms spread over 5 floors, each one catering to a different type of music.

Most importantly, there is zero attitude at Theatron, which is what we love most about it. Largest gay club in South America?

Well, we would go further and label it the best gay club in South America! Read all about our experience partying at Theatron in Bogota.

Theatron in Bogota is the biggest gay club in the whole world and incredible to experience!
A sea of hot topless men… Theatron I'm ready to dive inside you!

Barranquilla Carnival in February/March

Arguably the gayest event in the country.

Whilst not an official gay event they dedicate an entire day to the LGBTQ community with a colorful Gay Parade. Every gay Colombian guy we met told us this was their favorite queer event to head to.

The Barranquilla Carnival takes place every February/March (ie four days before Ash Wednesday) and every gay in the country heads to it…at least that's what it felt like when we were there!

Side note: Barranquilla is also where Shakira is from. Look out for iconic Shakira impersonators…

Getsemani is a vibrant, hip and happening neighbourhood in Cartagena with a growing gay scene.
Meeting the iconic Shakiro!

Explore the pretty pueblos of the coffee region

The pueblos (small towns) like Salento and Guatape in the central coffee region are a joy to explore.

Not only is the coffee delicious, but each town is full of character, exuding beauty, charm, and a welcoming ambiance. Other pretty pueblos in the region to explore include Jardín, Filandia, Pijao, Manizales, and Santa Rosa de Cabal.

Colombia is the third largest producer of coffee in the world, and their beans are also some of the best
Nothing beats a coffee tour in one of the pretty pueblos of the coffee region

El Peñol

Close to the cutesy town of Guatape is ‘El Peñol'. It is a large natural rock standing 650 feet (200m) high.

There are exactly 649 steps to climb to reach the top. But it's well worth the effort. Once we conquered all 649 steps we were rewarded with a spectacular view across the entire coffee region:

The view across Guatape from the top of Piedra del Penol.
The stunning view over the coffee region from the top of Piedra del Penol

Cocora Valley

Located close to Salento, the Cocora Valley is famous for its distinctive wax palms that grow up to 200m (656ft) high making them the tallest palm trees in the world.

Salento town was our favorite “pueblo” (small town) in the Coffee Region. Not only is the coffee delicious, but each street is full of charm and character.

The coffee region of Colombia is located near Medellin, Salento and is beautiful
The Cocora Valley offers the perfect backdrop don't you think?

Cartagena’s old town

It’s hard not to fall for the cutesy UNESCO-listed old town of Cartagena.

Every day we went Insta-crazy here exploring the sprawling maze of cobblestone alleys lined with colonial-style mansions, their walls and wooden balconies painted pastel shades of yellow, blue, and green.

Not to mention the eclectic street art. We've published a gay guide to Cartagena which contains more info about it all.

Cartagena is one of the highlights of Colombia for gay travellers
Cartagena's old town is super pretty!

Medellin Flower Festival in August

Every year, thousands from all around Colombia descend on Medellin for the 10-day ‘Feria de las Flores'.

It includes public concerts, pageants, orchid competitions, parades, and tons of parties. It’s also very popular with local gay venues like Viva Auditorium, Zero, and Industry, which will host various gay flower-themed events during the festival.

We recommend hitting up our Medellin gay guide for more info about the local gay scene and also reading about our experience at the Medellin Flower Festival.

Medellin flower festival silletera farm
Stefan joining in the Flower Festival at the Silletera Flower Farm in Medellin

Trekking in Tayrona National Park

Tayrona is an ecotourism park located near Santa Marta city up by the Caribbean coast. The park has pristine sandy beaches like Cabo San Juan, which involves a 2-hour hike through the tropical rainforest.

We loved spotting all the different wildlife on our hike including hummingbirds, toucans, monkeys, and even a snake or two if you get really lucky! On one visit we went with my nephews and sister so we rented horses to ride through the thick lush green vegetation. It's a great way to see the park if you prefer not to hike through it.

Tayrona National Park horse riding
Stefan horse riding in the Tayrona National Park

For more inspiration:

Stefan Arestis

Hey everyone, I'm Stefan, the curly-haired Greek flavor behind the gay travel blog Nomadic Boys. Together with my other half, I have explored more than 90 countries across 5 continents. What I love most about traveling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends, learning new cultures. I've written about LGBTQ travel in numerous online publications such as Gaycation Magazine, Gaycities, Gay Times and Pink News as well as for other non-gay-specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. Check my full bio here.