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Gay Lima: guide to the best gay bars, clubs, hotels & map

Stefan Arestis
Gay Lima: guide to the best gay bars, clubs, hotels & map

Everyhting you need to know about gay Lima: – tips on the gay scene, the best bars and clubs, things to do, gay hotels, where to eat and more.

Lima – famous for its ceviche, Paddington Bear and the birth city of a very handsome chef (have you seen THAT video of Franco Noriega cooking in his boxers?!)

The “City of Kings” is the transport hub and capital city of Peru – also rated by many as THE foodie capital of South America. And we can't agree more! Lima is a melting pot of culinary creativity with a handful of world-famous top 50 restaurants including Central, Maido, and Astrid y Gastón. Even venturing into a local market is a top foodie highlight in Lima such as the Festival Gastronomia every Sunday in the Plaza Municipal in Barranco.

Lima is also a pretty sweet base for gay travelers. 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. The gay scene of Lima is certainly exciting. On weekends, the gay bars and clubs are buzzing with local Peruvian gays (and their fans!) getting their groove on to the latest Latino beats.

We've been several times to Lima as part of our big trip around Latin America and loved it. It's an inexpensive city to base yourself and also an important transport hub in South America. Most gay travellers to Peru will enter the country from Lima and spend a few days here.

We've put together this detailed gay guide to Lima from our firsthand experience with practical safety tips for LGBTQ travellers, the best gay hotels to stay, top gay bars, club, events, and more.

Join a gay trek of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with Out Adventures

Hike the Inca Trail on a gay tour

Lace-up those hiking boots and prepare for your own Andean expedition, because you're invited to join our friends at Out Adventures on their annual all-gay Inca Trail hike. By joining their sweaty scamper you'll be automatically guaranteed an Inca Trail pass, a local LGBTQ-welcoming host and a veto-ed team of guides and porters. The tour also includes time in Lima, Cusco and the Sacred Valley.

Find out more

Is Lima safe for gay travelers?

As a gay couple, we found Lima to be quite safe, especially in the main touristic areas of Miraflores and Barranco, which is also where the bulk of the gay scene is. However, we were cautious to avoid any public displays of affection except when we were in a gay friendly place. The reason, Peru is still a very religious and conservative country with quite a hostile attitude towards homosexuality (ahem: Catholic Church!)


How to Stay Safe Whilst Traveling?

As gay travelers, safety is our #1 priority! This is why we've put together our Ultimate Travel Safety Checklist for LGBTQ travelers.

Change is slowly happening in Peru. For example, each year, more cities host Pride events, attracting not only large numbers of people but also prominent politicians. In addition, more progressive LGBTQ laws are being debated and passed each year including a range of anti-discrimination laws in 2017 and hopefully very soon, laws to recognise gay couples.

Despite this, we think you should stay cautious and limit all PDAs to areas you know are gay friendly. Put it this way, even in Barranco or Miraflores we rarely saw any public displays of affection by local gay couples. Read more about what gay life is like in Peru in our interview with our gay friend Aaron from Lima.

Nomadic Boys in Peru reading The lonely planet to find out if it is safe
“These are all the ceviche places we're going to try out my Seby!”

Lima gay area

Lima does not have a specific gay area or “gay neighborhood”. The gay-friendly bars and clubs are spread out all around the city but mainly in the Miraflores, Barranco, and the Centro Historico (Downtown Lima) districts.

The best bars and restaurants of Lima can be found in the affluent beachside districts of Miraflores and Barranco, which is also where most tourists base themselves. Miraflores is the most touristic area of the city where gay hangouts like Lolita, La Lupe and Legendaris can be found. Barranco lies just south of Miraflores and has a more Bohemian vibe. It is where many artists, musicians, designers and photographers live. Although Barranco doesn't have any official gay bars or clubs, we liked it the most because we found it to be the most liberal and tolerant place in Lima with lots of mixed gay friendly hangouts like Picas Bar.

The other area to note is the downtown district, which is confusingly called “Lima” or “Centro Historico” or “Downtown Lima”. This is where you'll find gay hangouts like La Jarrita, ValeTodo and Sagitario. The majority of the city's best museums can also be found here, including our favourite, The Pisco Museum. However, whilst Centro is pretty to explore during the day, at night it's quite dodgy, so we recommend taking a reliable taxi to/from places.

Landing in Lima soon?

The last thing you want when you land in a new country after a long-haul flight is having to queue for a taxi and then negotiate a price in a foreign language. It's not helped by the fact that Lima taxi drivers are notorious scammers! So, in order to get your holiday off to a flying start and minimise any stress, we highly recommend booking your own private transfer before arriving. That way you'll have a reliable English speaking driver waiting to pick you up as soon as you get out at the Arrivals hall!

Gay hotels in Lima

Tourists usually base themselves in busy Miraflores and bohemian Barranco. Most hotels in these districts are international and therefore more than accustomed to LGBTQ tourists. These are the gay friendly hotels in Lima that we tried, loved and can confidently attest to being welcoming to LGBTQ travellers:

Heading to Cusco soon? This is where most travellers head to see the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu. Check our our gay guide to Cusco for advice on the best gay friendly places to stay, where to go out, eat and top things to do.

A culinary tour of Lima is a great way to discover this gay friendly city

Discover the cuisine and history of Lima

Lima is a foodie haven – the place to really let loose with all your gourmet fantasies! We found the best way to do this is on a full-day culinary tour with a local. This tour involves a guided visit around a local market, exploring the main sights of Downtown Lima and Barranco, then concluding in a local restaurant to go headfirst into some of the most traditional Peruvian food.

Find out more


JW Marriott


Jw Marriott, gay friendly hotel in Lima room with seaview

Why we love it

  • 5-star luxury hotel
  • Close to the gay bars and ValeTodo gay club
  • Rooms with sea view available
  • Just gorgeous!

The JW Marriott is one of our favourite luxury gay friendly hotels in Lima. This 5-start beauty is located right in the heart of Miraflores, close to ValeTodo, La Lupe and Lolita. t's also located a few blocks from the beach front, so you can wake up to some pretty sweet sea views if you choose the right room.

The staff go all out to make guests feel welcome, especially gay couples. No frowns or awkward silences here when we asked for a double bed!

The rooms are super elegant and spacious, with plush beds and crisp linens. The suites are the ones you want to book for ocean views. Upgraded suites even have their own private whirlpool tub!

When you first pull up to the JW Marriott, you instantly notice it. It has a large glass frontage that makes it stand out from all the other neighbouring hotels on the street. Once inside, you instantly feel like a Bond girl. The communal areas are grand, elegant, yet minimal. Windows are a big thing we noticed: instead of walls with lots of artwork, they instead have lots of windows so that guests are never too far from a sea view!

Gym bunnies will be in heaven here as the fitness centre is huge with lots of different modern equipment. We also loved the pool. We didn't make enough time to enjoy it, just a quick dip after one of our gym sessions. In terms of culinary offerings, the breakfast buffet is bountiful and lavish. The JW Marriott also two highly rated on-site restaurants worth trying out – one for Asian food, the other for Peruvian. In any case, you're right in the heart of Miraflores where you're surrounded by some of the best restaurants in the city, including the world-famous Maido. The JW Marriott also has a spa with a range of men's services on offer.


Misterb&b is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBTQ community. Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, voiding any nasty surprises when you check in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. Click below to get 10 € (or $10) off our first booking.


BTH Boutique hotel

San Borja neighbourhood

BTH is a concept boutique hotel welcoming to gay travellers in Lima

Why we love it

  • Modern, trendy and super hip boutique hotel
  • Close to La Cueva gay club
  • Excellent medium-budget gay friendly hotel
  • Dress to impress!

Trendy, chic and hip!

BTH is a super cool, hip gay friendly boutique hotel in the San Borja neighbourhood, close to Miraflores. We particularly love perving on the topless guy in their slick BTH Lovers video

Everything from the decoration here to the staff makes you want to dress in your finest clothes and spend hours flooding your Instagram with background pics from BTH. 

It's so hip, it even has its own in house barber shop!

BTH is our favourite medium-budget option for Lima. It's very affordable given the fact that it's quite a posh hotel, the downside is that it's located a 15-minute taxi ride from Miraflores over in the San Borja neighbourhood. Whilst this isn't a bad thing at all, it simply means you're reliant on a taxi ride each time you want to venture out to Miraflores or Barranco. The other positive about the location is that San Borja is a safe neighbourhood and you're walking distance to the La Cueva gay club.

BTH Hotel has a really good restaurant called Quimera. We tried out the taster menu here one evening which left us very happy. Each dish was basically a piece of Gastronomic Art! Next to Quimera is the inhouse MadBar lounge. Cocktails here are well made; bar staff making said cocktails are particularly well-made…let's just say BTH sure know how to recruit their staff! Other perks of BTH include a decent gym, fitness studio and an impressive art gallery.


Pool paradise


Pool paradaise is a great hostel for gay travellers on a budget

Why we love it

  • Our favourite gay friendly budget hotel in Lima
  • Walking distance to the gay bars and ValeTodo gay club
  • Very sociable hotel, ideal for solo LGBTQ travellers
  • Sun terrace with large outdoor pool and BBQ area

The reason we love it? Clue's in the name! In fact, Pool Paradise boasts of the fact that it is the only hostel in Miraflores with an outdoor pool.

We also love Pool Paradise because it is geared towards young travellers in their 20s and 30s, looking to connect with others.

For example they have lots of different social events like salsa classes, karaoke nights, BBQ parties and quiz evenings.

In terms of rooms, they have a range to suit all budgets including deluxe, en suites. They also have dorms or more luxurious “pod dorms”. Space is quite tight, but whichever you choose, one thing's guaranteed – it's super clean…which is a big deal for us!

Location wise, Pool Paradise is in the heart of Miraflores in a quiet and safe residential area within a few minutes walking distance to nearby parks like Parque Kennedy. It is also walking distance to some of the best gay bars and clubs, in particular La Lupe bar, Lolita and the ValeTodo gay club. In terms of food options, we recommend JJ Sandwich across the road. It's affordable and the coffee is delicious.

The overall vibe at Pool Paradise is chilled. Everyone we met here was into travelling and had lots of stories and tips to share, whether they had just returned from their Inca Trail adventure or about to embark on one. We actually made a new friend here who joined our own Inca Trail adventure group the following week. The staff at Pool Paradise are young, sweet, super welcoming and had no qualms about welcoming LGBTQ travellers – we even spotted a few of the guys on Grindr!

Gay bars in Lima

There's a blur between what constitutes a bar and a club in Lima because most bars become discotecas after midnight. What we've focused on in this section are the places where we were more likely to come for a drink in the evening and felt comfortable with PDAs:

Picas Bar in Barranco (temporarily closed – updated September 2021)

Some websites show Picas Bar as closed, however, this appears to be temporary due to Covid.

pisco sours in gay bars lima

Picas is a gay friendly mixed bar in Barranco located right under the romantic wooden Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs). It’s owned by Congressman Carlos Bruce who came out in May 2014, famously becoming the first openly gay member of Congress in Peru. The crowd is mainly hip and trendy 20/30-somethings, mainly straight, but attracts quite a large queer crowd, especially on weekends. Themed nights include Reggaeton, Salsa and Bachata on Saturdays. Also, look out for their “Tinder” parties for singles!

Picas is open daily (except Mondays) from 7pm until 3am. It is located at 340 Bajada de Baños street just under the Puente de los Suspiros in Barranco.

Andel Karaoke bar in Lince

Andel karaoke bar is a cool bar for LGBTQ travellers who like to sing

Andel is a cheap and cheerful gay bar in the Lince neighbourhood (north from Miraflores). Karaoke is the highlight here, which goes on all night. You've got some pretty impressive wannabe-divas here belting out some pretty impressive power ballads. It felt very much like being at your friendly neighbourhood dive bar here with a largely local crowd. Wednesday and Thursday are their most popular nights as they have their 3 for 2 Happy Hour promotions! On weekends they have some pretty fierce local drag queens joining in on the karaoke fun, which is a fun way to practise/learn your Spanish gay slang!

Andel is open daily from 7pm until around 2am (4am on weekends). It is located at 270 Jirón Belisario Flores.


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La Lupe in Miraflores

La lupe is a great gay fiendly cocktail bar welcoming everyone in Lima

La Lupe is a cosy cocktail-lounge kinda place in Miraflores. We love it because we got lots of Britney and Maluma pop hits to sing along to with our Margaritas. During the weekdays it attracts more of a young professional after-work mixed crowd. On weekends we noticed more gay guys hanging out here who were later heading over to ValeTodo, which is only a few blocks away. If you're heading to Lima in late June / early July for Pride, be sure to check out La Lupe. It is famous for the parties it hosts during the Pride week.

La Lupe is open daily from 6pm until around 3am. It is located at Manuel Bonilla 117 in Miraflores.

La Jarrita in Downtown Lima (temporarily closed – updated September 2021)

Some websites show La Jarrita as closed, however, this appears to be temporary due to Covid.

La jarrita is a gay bar and club in Lima with drag queen shows

La Jarrita is a local gay bar located in Lima's Downtown neighborhood. It's one of the best gay bars in Lima in our humble opinion, though some of our local friends have a less enthusiastic reaction to it, opting for the more trendy hangouts in Barranco and Miraflores. One thing we all agreed on is that Sunday evening is the best time to come to La Jarrita because that's when the gay cachaquitos (military Peruvian lads) come here!

La Jarrita is only open from Thursday to Sunday evenings from 5pm until around 4am. It is a bar until midnight when the tables/chairs are cleared away and it becomes a dancing venue. La Jarrita is located at 949 Jirón Camana in Downtown Lima.

Lolita in Miraflores (temporarily closed – updated September 2021)

Some websites show Lolita as closed, however, this appears to be temporary due to Covid.

Lola's gay bar in Lima Miraflores

Lolita is one of our favourite gay bars in Lima. It's a cool cocktail lounge bar to start the night which later transforms into one of the city's top lesbian hangouts – the clue's in the name!

To be honest, we only came for the drinks and didn't stay for the #girlpower which kicked off after midnight (opting to head over to ValeTodo instead). But as a queer-friendly bar in Miraflores to have a drink with your partner, we definitely recommend checking it out.

Note that it used to be called Lola until they had a massive refurb in 2018. Since then, Lolita does not appear in Google Maps but the location is “Bolivar 197, 15074 Miraflores”. Lolita is only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 10pm until around 4am.

Gay clubs in Lima

We found that the gay nightlife of Lima comes alive mostly at weekends. A typical night out will start with drinks at Lolita then over to ValeTodo to party from around midnight. From around 3am we'd head over to Legendaris. There are, of course, many other gay clubs to check out in Lima (all scattered randomly around the city). We've included some of the best ones below:

ValeTodo in Downtown Lima

Valetodo gay club in Lima Miraflores

ValeTodo is our favourite gay club in Lima. It is also the most famous. We love it because it's huge, with two dancing areas, which are always packed with both locals foreigners. Throughout the night they have lots of drag shows and exotic dancers performing. The two dancing areas are split by music: one for Latino pop (we stayed mainly here!), the other for techno house. Don't forget to look out for the iconic giant ValeTodo angel wings mural by the main bar. It makes for a pretty cool photo opp!

ValeTodo is open only on Friday and Saturday evenings until around 3am. It is located at 172 Pasaje Los Pinos street in Miraflores.

La Cueva in San Borja

Weekends at La Cueva are infamous! They have some of the hottest exotic dancers in town as well as the city's most famous drag queens. If ever there was a Latino Peruvian Ru Paul's Drag Race, it would take place right here! We recommend coming here to see the famous Ms Naamin Timoyco. She's like the Ru Paul of Peru – the country's biggest drag queen who frequently performs here on the Viva Latina nights.

La Cueva is only open on weekends from 10pm until around 4am. Entry is free before midnight. After midnight it's 20 soles ($6/£5), which includes a free drink. We recommend signing up to the guest list on their website before going to get quicker entry and a free drink.

It is located at Av. Aviación 2514 in the San Borja neighbourhood, which is around 15 minutes taxi from Miraflores or Lima Downtown.


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Legendaris in Miraflores (temporarily closed – updated September 2021)

Some websites show Legendaris as closed, however, this appears to be temporary due to Covid.

Legendaris is LEGENDARY! ‘Cause this is where all the late-night party local boys go after 3am. What happens in Legendaris stays in Legendaris ok? And the later you come, the fewer clothing items you'll see… Put it this way, themed evenings at this a subterranean gay club include ꜱtriþper Night and Leather Night… Bear in mind that Legendaris does also get busy early on in the evening, especially at around 1am when the drag shows start. We saw a few and whilst we only understood about 10% of it (Peruvian Spanish gay slang is a whole different language!), it cracked us up! The drag queens later mingle and dance with the crowds after their show is done.

Legendaris is only open Thursday to Sunday evenings until 7am. It is located at 363 Calle Berlin in Miraflores.

Sagitario Discoteca in Downtown Lima (temporarily closed – updated September 2021)

Some websites show Sagitario as closed, however, this appears to be temporary due to Covid.

Sagitario is another legendary gay club in Lima to check out after ValeTodo or a few drinks at La Jarrita (which is just around the corner). Just like Legendaris, it attracts a very local crowd. It has drag shows and some very handsome dancers who go all-out – on Saturday evenings they even perform a “Live show” show!

Note: don't confuse it with the Sagitario VIP Discoteca Swingҽɾʂ club in the Independencia district! The Sagitario Discoteca is located in Downtown Lima on Avenida Wilson. It does NOT appear in Google Maps, so bear that in mind so you don't end up going to the wrong place!

Sagitario Discoteca is daily from around 11pm until 7am. The exact location you need to give your taxi driver is: Avenida Wilson 869-869 in the Centro Historico just by the Hotel Paris Lima.

Gay Pride and other events in Lima

June is when the bulk of the main gay events in Lima take place. Starting with the Out Fest Peru week-long gay film festival and then the Pride week, which usually spills into early July. We suggest checking out the gay bars and clubs during Pride week as they usually host large parties and events at this time.

Out Fest Peru: gay film festival in June

Out Fest Peru gay film festival

Out Fest Peru takes place just before the Pride week kicks off. It is Peru's only queer film festival, going strong since it began back in 2004. The event is a week-long festival featuring the best LGBTQ-themed movies of the year. Most film screenings will also include a Q&A session with the actors/directors. The festival concludes with an Oscar award-type ceremony awarded by the team of selected judges. Find out more on the Out Fest Peru website and their Instagram.

Lima Pride: Marcha del Orgullo in June/July

Cute boy taking a selfie with a Peruvian drag during gay pride in Lima

The Lima Pride week takes place in late June and early July. The week includes a variety of events, parties and performances. It concludes with a large Pride Parade (the Marcha del Orgullo) on the Saturday, which is attended by thousands, including prominent politicians.

The very colourful Parade usually starts in the Campo de Marte park in the Jesus Maria neighbourhood and heads north all the way to Plaza San Martin in the Downtown Lima district.

Gay saunas in Lima

There are a handful of gay saunas in Lima that frequently close down, rebrand and reopen in another location. With the help of our local friends, we strive to keep this updated as much as we can:

Assia Sauna and Spa in Surquillo

Assia is a gay spa in Lima, offering massages and spa packages

Assia is the hottest new spa in Lima, opened in 2019 by an American and Peruvian gay couple. It's large, clean and gets a mix of tourists and locals due to its location near Miraflores – just down the road from La Lupe Bar. Assia is open daily from 3-11pm and is located at Gonzales Prada 433 in the Surquillo neighbourhood on the right of Miraflores.

240Club in Downtown Lima

Relaxing room in the gay Sauna 240 of Lima

The 240Club is a gay sauna in the downtown Lima district that's been on the Lima gay scene since the 1990s. It has a sauna, TV room, “relaxation area(!)”, gym, bar and massage services. The crowd is mainly locals guys. The 240Club Sauna open daily from 3-11pm and on Saturdays until 8am the next morning. It is located at 240 Jirón Tarma in Lima Downtown, a few blocks south from La Jarrita. Find out more on the 240Club website.


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Oupen Sauna in Miraflores

The Oupen Sauna is the most popular sauna in Miraflores, with a new deal every day, particularly for under 25s. Oupen tends to attract more younger guys in their 20s and 30s compared to the other gay saunas in Lima. The Oupen Sauna is open daily from 3-10:30pm. It is located at 171 Avenida 28 de Julio in Miraflores, close to ValeTodo. Find out more on the Oupen Sauna website.

Sauna 69Classico and Sauna69VIP in Jesus Maria

Sauna69 is a chain in Lima nicknamed, The Sauna for Knights! The “Classico” sauna is more for bears and the VIP targeting a younger crowd. Both saunas are open every day from 3-11pm. Sauna 69Classico is not on Google Maps but the location is “Jirón Emilio Fernández: 782 Santa Beatriz”. The Sauna 69VIP is located a few blocks away at Avenida Arenales 1423B, close to the Andel gay bar.

Where to eat in Lima

Lima is well known for being the foodie capital of South America. And for good reason: the fusion of Japanese, African and Chinese with traditional Peruvian cuisine makes dining out here a real treat. These are some of our favourite restaurants in Lima we recommend trying out:

Huaca Pucllana in Miraflores

Huaca Pucclana is a beautiful restaurant set in an Inca archeological site in Lima

Huaca Pucllana is the famous pre-Inca pyramid remains in Miraflores. Just by it is an upscale traditional Peruvian restaurant where you can dine with an impressive view of the renowned UNESCO listed archaeological site. We came here for dinner and loved it. It's super romantic and one of the most unique ways to appreciate these 1500-year old ancient ruins. Our favourite dishes were the ceviche and the creole beef anticucho, which we recommend you try!

amaZ Restaurante in Miraflores (temporarily closed – updated September 2021)

Delicious starter in Amaz, a fusion Peruvian Amazon restaurant in Lima

An amaZing amaZonian-inspired gem! The amaZ (yes they spell it that way!) restaurant is famous for its Amazon Peruvian fusion food. It's an inventive twist on traditional Peruvian classics with Amazon ingredients such as ceviche made with an Amazonian river fish (called paiche) and coconut milk. Other tasty highlights here we recommend include the duck entree, shrimp cooked in bamboo cylinders and the chocolate mousse. Also enjoyed lots of tasty Pisco Sours here which we recommend.

Mercado de Surquillo for the best ceviche

Traditional Ceviche dish at the Mercado de Surquillo in Lima, very fresh and tasty!

The Surquillo market is one of many local markets in the city where you'll find no foreigners and the best ceviche in town! It's the sort of place locals come to get a quick lunch fix or to buy their groceries. We put it here because this was where we had the tastiest ceviche in all of Peru. Completely authentic, inexpensive and a must! We also tried lots of other culinary gems here like Chaifa fried rice – another popular local lunch fix.

Nanka in San Isidro and La Molina

Photo of Nanka restaurant from the outside, beautifully lit up at night

Nanka is one of Lima's most highly rated restaurants for dinner and lunch. It's a chain with a restaurant in both the San Isidro and La Molina districts. Food is a Peruvian/European mix with tasty ceviche and gnocchi dishes. They also cater to vegans and vegetarians, clearly highlighting each V dish in the menu. We loved the attention to detail – each dish was pretty enough to justify its own Instagram post!

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 that easily justifies staying several days at least! We've put some of our favourite activities and sights to see in Lima based on our first-hand experience, which we hope will inspire you:


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Get a taste of Lima

A gourmet food tour of Lima is the best way to get an introduction to Peruvian food

We keep going on about how Lima is all about the food throughout this article right? So the first thing you need to do here is a gourmet food tour of Lima. Our tour was led by the very handsome Carlos who is also a local chef. We started our tour with a Pisco Sour tasting session at a trendy beachfront lounge and then had learnt to make a jungle ceviche at amaZ restaurant. Our tour also included a romantic dinner overlooking the impressive ruins at Huaca Pucllana (see above). After dinner, we had a stroll through the Bohemian Barranco by night finishing up at one of the famous Gelato shops for ice cream dessert.

Magic water show

Blue fountain jets during the magic water fountain show in lima

Over in Downtown Lima is the Parque de la Reserva, which is recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest fountain complex in a public park. Every evening the 130-yard-long fountain bursts into life with a choreographed show of water, lasers and music. The show happens three times every evening at 7:15pm, 8:15pm and 9:30pm. You can visit alone or incorporate this as part of a guided tour in Lima, which as well as queue jump to the water show also includes visits to the San Francisco Convent (famous for its catacombs) and panoramic views of Huaca Pucllana.

Swim with Sea Lions

swimming with sea lions puerto madryn gay travel guide

Swimming with sea lions was one of the best things we did in Lima. Sea lions are like the puppies of the seawater. They are playful, curious and will melt your heart! For this, we took a tour to Palomino Island where a large sea lion colony lives. Palomino is a group of islands located around 2 hours boat ride from downtown Lima. We recommend doing it as a tour because it will include hotel pick up, boat trip and all equipment (including wet suits) for swimming in the cold waters of the Pacific! The guides also showed us the best way to safely interact with the sea lions in the water: lie back and float on the water, letting them come sniff your feet! An unforgettable experience!

MATE Museum

Mate Museum has a collection dedicated to Diana, her dresses and some beautiful photos

Mario Testino is one of Peru's most well known and loved gay celebrities. He's a fashion photographer who made his name after doing the Vanity Fair portraits of Princess Diana back in 1997. They were her last official portraits before she passed away. The MATE museum in Barranco is dedicated to Testino's work and of course, has an exhibit entirely dedicated to the Princess Diana photoshoot. If you're out exploring Barranco we think it's worth investing the time to pop in to check out the MATE. Get more inspiration and see what other exhibitions are on at the MATE in their Instagram gallery.

Cooking with a local

gay guide Lima cooking class with Aaron's mum
Learning to cook with Aaron's awesome mother

To take your culinary adventures to a whole new level, we recommend doing a cooking course with the very cute and adorable Aaron of TourGuidePeru. He is also gay who is as passionate about the gay scene as he is about his country's delicious food! Aaron offers private cooking classes at his mother's home. We learnt how to prepare a ceviche and papa a la huancaínai, washed down with his own brand of Pisco Sours. Aaron also offers tailor-made tours in Peru and is definitely worth checking out to help plan your trip beyond Lima. Let us know if you want us to introduce you to him!

Plan your trip

We've put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to Lima. Read on to find out everything the gay traveller should know before they go.

How to get there: Most will enter Peru by flying to Lima. The main airport is called “Jorge Chavez International” and is around 18km (11 miles) north from Miraflores, roughly 35 taxi ride. We recommend booking your private transfer with an English speaking driver to avoid queues at the airport and start your trip worry-free.

Visa requirements: Travellers from most EU countries, USA, Canada and Australia don't need a visa to stay in Peru for up to 90 days as a tourist. You will, however, need to show that you have a return/onward travel ticket if you arrive by plane and a passport with at least 6 months validity from the day you arrive. Go here for more information about visa requirements for travel to Peru.

Getting around: The public transport system of Lima is quite limited and slow. We recommend getting around by taxi and Uber. It's easy and the most inexpensive, efficient and safest way to get around within the city.

Travel insurance: This is a must! We always strongly recommend booking travel insurance for any trip so that you're covered in the event of cancelled flights, theft, injury and other factors beyond your control. We've been using World Nomads for years and cannot recommend them highly enough. Their coverage is comprehensive and making a claim if needed is super easy.

Vaccinations: All travellers to Lima should make sure they're up to date with routine vaccinations like measles, mumps and chickenpox. Most travellers should also be vaccinated for hepatitis A and typhoid. Some travellers may also need vaccinations for hepatitis B, yellow fever, malaria and rabies, depending on what and where you'll be doing. Check the CDC website for the most up to date info for Peru and also speak to your local doctor or travel nurse.

Currency: the currency used in Peru is the Sol. $1 is around 3.4 Sols, €1 is around 3.66 Sols and £1 is around 4.19 Sol.

Tipping culture: In general tipping is not expected in Peru, although in places like hotels you may receive slightly better service if you leave a few pesos out for the staff. In restaurants, around 10% is the norm for good service and will most likely be automatically added as service charge to your bill. In a local restaurant, the custom is to tip around 1 or 2 Sols if service has not been included in the bill.

Accommodation: There are many excellent hotels in Lima. We love using because they have an extensive selection and the best prices. They also provide excellent 24/7 customer support if needed and free cancellation for most listings.

Sightseeing and adventure: We've put just a handful of our favourite things to do in Lima above, but we recommend checking out for a detailed list of tours available. The booking process is very user friendly and their 24-hour customer support is excellent!

When to visit: The best time to visit Lima is during the summer months, December to April (remember this is southern hemisphere so seasons are inverted). Winter is from May to November. However, the temperature usually stays moderate throughout the year with little rainfall and high humidity: remember, this is a city built on a desert!

Gay map of Lima

Here's our gay map of Lima to show you all the gay bars, clubs, hotels and sightseeing highlights we've mentioned in this post. Use it to plan your own amazing gay trip to Lima!

Our gay map of Lima with all the gay bars, clubs, hotels and sightseeing highlights we've mentioned in this guide

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Stefan Arestis

Stefan is the co-founder, editor, and author of the gay travel blog As a travel nerd, he has explored more than 80 countries across 5 continents. What he loves the most about traveling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends, and learning new cultures. His advice about LGBTQ travel has been featured in Gaycation Magazine, Gaycities, Gay Times, Pink News, and Attitude Magazine. He has also written about gay travel for other non-gay-specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. Stefan is also a qualified lawyer, having practiced as a commercial property litigator in London for over 10 years. He left his lawyer days behind to work full time on Nomadic Boys with his husband Sebastien. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

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