Foodies love Lima and we sure love her back.
Just as Penang is the foodie capital of Asia, Peru's capital city is famous throughout Latin America as the melting point of many different cuisines.
Lima is also a pretty sweet base for gay travellers. There are around 9 million people living here. That's statistically almost 1 million gay boys waiting to have a few Pisco sours with you.
GAY MAP OF LIMA
Miraflores and Barranco are the main touristy areas of Lima, where the best restaurants and the majority of the best gay bars of Lima can be found.
The other two areas you will want to take note of are San Isidro (the business district), conveniently located close to the airport and the Centro Historico (or Downtown Lima), where you find the majority of the museums and sightseeing attractions.
GAY HOTELS IN LIMA
Tourists usually base themselves in busy Miraflores and bohemian Barranco to be near the nightlife, the sightseeing and the best restaurants. Most hotels in Lima are used to gay tourists and will have dealt with the whole “double bed are you sure sir?” scenario many times. These are the gay friendly hotels in Lima we tried and loved:
The Marriott is our favourite luxury hotel in Lima. Located in the heart of Miraflores, it's walking distance to the gay bars of Lima as well as the trendy Bohemian Barranco district. It's also right by the beach front, so you wake up to some pretty sweet sea views.
Rooms here start from $310/£250 / night.
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This is a very cool and trendy boutique hotel in the San Borja neighbourhood, close to Miraflores. We particularly love
perving on the topless guy in their slick promo video. Everything from the decoration to the staff makes you want to dress in your best clothes and spend hours flooding your Instagram gallery. It even has its own in house barber shop!
BTH Hotel has a highly rated restaurant worth try called Quimera, as well as a very trendy bar called MadBar.
Rooms here start from $137/£110 / night.
GAY BARS IN LIMA
There's a blur between what constitutes a bar/club in Peru especially as most bars become discotecas after 11pm. To differentiate between the two, we have assumed a gay bar is a place where you can come for drinks before 10pm, and it's not empty!
- La Jarrita: gay bar in Downtown Lima, popular with the gay military Peruvian lads. It opens from 5pm on Thursday to Sunday and becomes a dancing venue from midnight till 4am. La Jarrita is located at 949 Jirón Camana.
- Barranco Beer Company: trendy gay friendly mixed bar in Barranco which we loved for its craft beer. It's open everyday from 11am till late and located at 308 Avenue Almirante Miguel Grau.
- Picas Bar: gay friendly mixed bar in Barranco located under the romantic wooden Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs). It’s owned by Congressman Carlos Bruce who came out in May 2014 and was the first openly gay member of Congress in Peru. Picas is open from Monday to Saturday from 8pm till 3am and located at 340 Bajada de Baños street.
GAY CLUBS IN LIMA
The bulk of the gay scene of Lima is based around 3 gay clubs in Miraflores, with a few others scattered around. The Lima gay nightlife comes alive at weekends when a typical night out will start at Lola Bar at around 11pm, before moving on to Vale Todos at 1am and then to Legendaris from 3am.
- Lola Bar: Lola is a fun place to start the night with a few Pisco Sours. It's especially popular with lesbians and after midnight becomes a dancing venue. It's open from Thursday to Sunday, from 11pm to 3am and located at 197 Bolivar street in Miraflores. Lola's also has a cool coca cola display:
- ValeTodo DownTown: the most popular gay club in Lima with fun drag shows and two dancing areas, one with Latino pop, the other one with techno house. It is open only on Friday and Saturday evenings till 3am and is located at 172 Pasaje Los Pinos street in Miraflores. Look out for the giant angel wings for another cool photo opportunity (see Stefan's below). ValeTodo was our favourite gay club in Lima with lots of pretty boys.
- Legendaris: this is where the late night boys go after 3am. They have different themed evenings like Stripper Night or Leather Night with obligatory drag shows. Legendaris is open Thursday to Sunday until 7am and is located at 363 Calle Berlin in Miraflores.
- Discoteca Sagitario: is a less popular gay club in Lima in Downtown Lima with drag shows and pretty boys. It is open Wednesday to Saturday until 7am and located at 749 Avenida Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Lima 15001.
GAY SAUNAS IN LIMA
There are a handful of gay saunas in Lima, but many close down soon after opening. These are the main ones which have lasted over the years and are going strong in the gay scene of Lima:
- Sauna 240Club: open daily until 11pm, and to 8am on Saturday evenings/Sunday mornings. It is located at 240 Jirón Tarma street, between the Centro Historico and Jesus Maria districts of Lima.
- Oupen Sauna: open daily until 10:30pm and located at 171 Avenue 28 de Julio in Miraflores.
- Sauna 69: nicknamed The Sauna for Knights, Sauna 69 is open daily until 10pm and located at 782 Emilio Fernández street in the Jesus Maria district of Lima.
THINGS TO DO IN LIMA
Most will use Lima as a transport hub in/out of Peru, but there are plenty of things to do here to justify staying several days.
- Restaurants: Lima is well known for being the foodie capital of South America. And for good reason: the fusion of cuisines from Japan, Africa and China with traditional Peruvian cuisine makes dining out here a real treat. According to The World's 50 Best Restaurants for 2016, three are based in Lima, including Central in 4th place, Maido in 13th place and Astrid y Gastón in 30th.
- Gourmet foodie tour: the best way to get a taster of Lima's exciting food scene is on a foodie tour. We recommend the Lima Gourmet Company who we found on Tripadvisor. Our guide was a local chef who is passionate about Peruvian food and extremely knowledgeable about the city. We visited award winning restaurants such as Amaz for its scrumptious Amazon inspired fusion food and the highly rated Huaca Pucllana set in amongst stunning pre-Inca ruins. The gourmet tour also included Pisco Sour tasting, a ceviche cooking lesson as well as a tour through the very cool Barranco neighbourhood.
- Swimming with sea lions: a definite highlight in Peru! Palomino Island is a few hours away from Lima, where a large sea lion colony is waiting for you to swim and play with them. We spent the day with Mar Adentro Excursiones who picked us up from our hotel and took us on their boat to Palomino island. The guides show you the best way to safely interact with the sea lions in the water: just lying back in the water and letting them come sniff your feet! An unforgettable experience.
- MATE Museum: Mario Testino is one of Peru's most well known and loved gay celebrities. He's a a famous fashion photographer who did the Vanity Fair portraits of Princess Diana in 1997, which were her last official portraits before her death. The MATE museum in Barranco is devoted to his work and definitely worth a visit.
- Cooking class: we recommend the extremely adorable Aaron of TourGuidePeru who offers cooking classes at his mother's home. We learnt how to prepare a ceviche and papa a la huancaínai, washed down with delicious Pisco Sours. Aaron also offers tailor made tours in Peru and is definitely worth checking out to help plan your trip beyond Lima.
Happy travels are safe travels
We recommend you always take out travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft or a cancellation? With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind and not worry. We love World Nomads travel insurance and have been using it for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user friendly.
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For more inspiration:
- check out our other gay travel city guides to to Cusco and Arequipa
- read our interview with Aaron from Lima about what gay life in Peru is like
- get inspired with our Inca Trail to Machu Picchu review with Journeyou
- learn more about Peru with our 10 interesting facts about Peru you didn't know
- discover delicious Peruvian food and try our recipes for Peruvian ceviche and Pisco Sour
- use our Peru gay friendly travel itinerary and our 5 unique gay friendly hotels in Peru
- we give you the lowdown about whether Lake Titicaca is worth visiting