Everything you need to know about gay Lima including tips on the gay scene, the best bars, 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 in, and also an important transport hub in South America. Most gay travelers 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 travelers, the best gay hotels to stay, top gay bars, clubs, events, and more.
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! ♥
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 includes time in Lima, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley.
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!)
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 recognize 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.
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 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 tourist area of the city where the bulk of gay friendly venues 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.
In terms of a gay area in Lima, sadly it was reduced to ashes when Covid hit. All LGBTQ venues were forced to close and most have not recovered. Open Deck now appears to be the only gay bar in Lima, with the owner planning to gradually expand, so watch this space! In terms of gay clubs, ValeTodo in downtown is still going strong and the new kid on the block to watch out for is Out & Pride in San Isidro.
Landing in Lima soon?
The last thing you want when you land in a new country after a long-haul flight is 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 minimize 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 travelers:
Heading to Cusco soon? This is where most travelers head to see the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu. Check out 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.
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.
Why we love it
- 5-star luxury hotel
- Close to the gay friendly hangouts of Miraflores
- Rooms with sea view available
- Just gorgeous!
The JW Marriott is one of our favorite luxury gay friendly hotels in Lima. This 5-start beauty is located right in the heart of trendy Miraflores. It's also located a few blocks from the beachfront, so you can wake up to some pretty sweet sea views if you choose the right room.
The staff goes 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 neighboring hotels on the street. Once inside, you instantly feel like a Bond girl. The communal areas are grand, and 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 center 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 has 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 offers a spa with a range of men's services.
STAY WITH A GAY LOCAL
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 neighborhood
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 neighborhood, 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 barbershop!
BTH is our favorite 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 neighborhood. 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 neighborhood and you're within 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 knows how to recruit their staff! Other perks of BTH include a decent gym, fitness studio, and an impressive art gallery.
Pretty House Hotel
Why we love it
- Our favorite gay friendly budget hotel in Lima
- Private rooms and bathrooms
- Complimentary breakfast
- Lovely rooftop sun terrace
Pretty House Hotel is ideal if you are looking to save money while visiting Lima, but still want somewhere clean and cosy to rest your head at night!
The staff are very friendly here, in fact, you’ll probably feel like you’re staying with a lovely family who just happen to have lots of rooms to share, and they really welcome you into their family as well.
In terms of rooms, you can choose from one, two or three bed rooms with private bathrooms – there are no hostel dorms here but also no shared bathrooms which is nice. Free toiletries are also included. Space is quite tight, but whichever you choose, one thing's guaranteed – it's super clean…which is a big deal for us! The rooms are cleaned every day plus towels and bed linen are provided.
The shared kitchen area is ideal if you want to save more money by cooking for yourself but the real highlight is the rooftop sun terrace, where we spent hours just relaxing and working on our tans! And if you do want to go out, there are lots of great places nearby to eat or shop. Breakfast is basic but good, and we’re definitely not ones to turn our noses up at free food!
Basically, Pretty House Hotel feels like you’re staying in a nice hotel with all the services that usually includes but for hostel prices.
Gay bars in Lima
The main gay bars of Lima all shut down during Covid and most have sadly not recovered. In the post-pandemic era, Open Deck sprang up with plans to expand. Watch this space – we strive to keep this information as up-to-date as possible. Things are changing rapidly at the moment in the gay scene of Lima. Sadly, Lolita, Lupe, and Picas bars did not survive the Covid-19 Pandemic and have closed their doors.
Open Deck Cruise Cafe in Miraflores
Open Deck is the latest bar on the Lima gay scene. It opened in the middle of the global pandemic in December 2020 and has been thriving ever since. Once you step inside the bar you feel like you've just connected with your Peruvian LGBTQ family – it's super friendly and the staff is just lovely! Great for cocktails here which makes it a huge bonus in our books. Check out their Instagram for the most up-to-date info on their next events. They also serve up a few swanky dishes and cakes that are divine!
Open Deck is open daily until around midnight and is located at Avenida la Paz 580, Miraflores 15074.
La Jarrita in Downtown Lima
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 5 pm until around 4 am. 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.
Andel Karaoke bar in Lince
Andel is a cheap and cheerful gay bar in the Lince neighborhood (north of 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 neighborhood 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 practice/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.
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 one of the bars then over to ValeTodo to party from around midnight. 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. Note that the iconic Legendaris gay club in Miraflores did not survive the Pandemic and has since closed its doors for good.
ValeTodo in Downtown Lima
ValeTodo is our favorite 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 and 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.
Out & Pride in San Isidro
In a city where the gay scene took quite a beating during Covid and the subsequent cost of living crisis, it's refreshing to see new queer venues rising from the ashes. Out & Pride is one of them. Located in the San Isidro district, this is the place to come to party after midnight. The crowd is mixed with everyone from our LGBTQ+ family. Themed “Drolls Drag”, “Fiesta Axe”, and “Regue Town”.
Out & Pride is located at Jirón Tomás Guido, 250, Lince 15046 in the San Isidro neighborhood. It is only open Saturday evenings until around 6 am on Sunday morning.
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 10 pm until around 4 am. Entry is free before midnight. After midnight it is 20 soles ($6/£5), which includes a free drink.
It is located at Av. Aviación 2514 in the San Borja neighborhood, which is around 15 minutes taxi from Miraflores or Lima Downtown.
Sagitario Discoteca in Downtown Lima
Sagitario is another legendary gay club in Lima. 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 takes place just before 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
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 other locations. With the help of our local friends, we strive to keep this updated as much as we can:
Assia Spa for Men in Surquillo
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. Assia is open daily from 3-11 pm and is located at Gonzales Prada 433 in the Surquillo neighborhood on the right of Miraflores.
240Club in Downtown 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 local guys. The 240Club Sauna is open daily from 3-11 pm and on Saturdays until 8 am the next morning. It is located at 240 Jirón Tarma in Lima Downtown, a few blocks south of La Jarrita.
Sauna 69Classico in Jesus Maria
Sauna69 is a chain in Lima nicknamed, The Sauna for Knights! The “Classico” sauna is more for bears and the VIP targets a younger crowd. Both saunas are open every day from 3-11 pm. 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 favorite restaurants in Lima we recommend trying out:
Huaca Pucllana in Miraflores
Huaca Pucllana is the famous pre-Inca pyramid that 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 favorite dishes were the ceviche and the creole beef anticucho, which we recommend you try!
Mercado de Surquillo for the best ceviche
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
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!
Alma Bar Restaurante in Miraflores
Alma Bar Restaurante is an excellent spot in Lima to taste traditional Peruvian or worldwide cuisine made from fresh and local ingredients. This restaurant is located within the Casa Andina Premium Hotel in Miraflores, but you don't need to be a guest of the hotel to dine on their delicious food! Both the service and food is excellent here, we had a divine Osso Buco sitting atop a creamy corn based sauce but there are also some excellent vegetarian options for those who prefer.
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 justify staying several days at least! We've put some of our favorite activities and sights to see in Lima based on our first-hand experience, which we hope will inspire you:
Get a taste of Lima
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 taught us to make a jungle-inspired ceviche. 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
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 a 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 was one of the best things we did in Lima. Sea lions are the puppies of the sea. 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!
Cooking with a local
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 learned 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.
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 Heymondo for years and cannot recommend them highly enough. Their coverage is comprehensive and making a claim if needed is super easy.
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.
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 Booking.com 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 favorite things to do in Lima above, but we recommend checking out GetYourGuide.com 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 the 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!
For more inspiration:
- Check out our other gay city guide to Cusco
- And our gay guide to Arequipa
- Read our interview with Aaron from Lima about what gay life in Peru is like
- Our experience as a gay couple trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
- Learn more about Peru with our 10 interesting facts about Peru you didn't know
- Discover delicious Peruvian food
- Then try our recipes for Peruvian ceviche and Pisco Sour
- Use our Peru gay friendly travel itinerary to plan your trip
- And check out these 5 unique gay friendly hotels in Peru
- We give you the lowdown about whether Lake Titicaca is worth visiting