Gay and Lesbian Travelers
Peru is far from progressive for gay and lesbian travelers, and Lima’s gay scene is considerably smaller than that in other major South American capitals. There are a variety of well-hidden and exclusively gay bars, restaurants, and clubs in cities like Lima, and a growing number in Iquitos and Cusco—though none cater exclusively to lesbians. Most gay men in Peru’s machista society are still in the closet and maintain heterosexual relationships as well as homosexual ones.
The only way to find about gay and lesbian establishments is online. The concept of gay rights is still relatively new in Peru, so gay and lesbian travelers are advised to be discreet and exercise caution. The best resource is the bilingual website Gay Lima (http://lima.queercity.info), written by a U.S. citizen living in Lima. It gives a good overview of gay and lesbian life in Peru and is updated constantly with the latest bars, nightclubs, and hotels, and also includes chat rooms and links. Another good online resource is Gay Peru (www.gayperu.com), a great site on gay travel, including gay-oriented package tours, although it is in Spanish only.
For those interested in learning about gay rights in Peru, check the website in Spanish of the Movimiento Homosexual de Lima (www.mhol.org.pe), one of the oldest gay movements in Peru.
The San Francisco–based Now Voyager (www.nowvoyager.com) is a worldwide gay-owned, gay-operated full-service travel agency, as is Purple Roofs (www.purpleroofs.com). The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (www.iglta.org) has an extensive directory of travel agents, tour operators, and accommodations that are gay and lesbian friendly. Above Beyond Tours (www.abovebeyondtours.com) is a California-based gay travel specialist offering independent and group travel packages.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition