For thousands of years, Peru's extraordinary beauty has been both the backdrop of incredible cultural and spiritual expression and a pallet for architectural artists. Today, it has become one of the world’s most welcoming and enticing destinations for gay travelers.
In fact, one can find more rainbow flags in Peru than perhaps anywhere on Earth. This same symbol of gay pride today has been a major symbol of the Inca people for centuries. Rainbow flags adorn governmental buildings, hotels, and of course flag poles throughout the country. While it is not intended as an official welcome to gay travelers, one can always pretend.
A typical journey will take you through the cultural heart of Lima, charming Cusco, and the Valley of the Incas (all UNESCO World Heritage sights). But perhaps what will impress and inspire you most is a visit to one of the world's most important archeological sights: the ancient mystical city of Machu Picchu.
Many visitors to Machu Picchu report a strange energy they felt, walking among the ruins. Perhaps it's simply the beauty of the Inca's mass stone structures set atop high mountains over the winding Urubamba River below. Or, perhaps it is the leftover blessings of an ancient Inca Priest. Whatever it may be, nothing can truly prepare oneself for the "magic" of Machu Picchu.
On your way to Machu Picchu, you will encounter the enchanting city of Cusco, which is as rich in Incan ruins and Spanish colonial buildings as it is in fine restaurants and wonderful Accommodations. Most notable is the Orient-Express Hotel Monasterio, a gay-friendly, luxurious, lovingly restored monastery-turned-hotel, whose staff will cater to your every need. They will even pump oxygen into your room to compensate for the high elevation. Of course, chewing the native coca leaf or drinking coca tea will also assuage the travel weary.
Whether you choose to hike the Inca trail, or take the lavish Orient-Express Hiram Bingham train from Cusco to Machu Picchu, it will be an experience you will never forget. Round out your stay with a journey to the scenic Sacred Valley of the Incas, and a visit to Peru’s vibrant gay-friendly capital, Lima.
Lima’s cosmopolitan atmosphere affects all aspects of the city, from art, to culture, to cuisine, making it a tourist’s delight. Spanish, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and native influences are apparent everywhere, inspiring unique architecture as well as a fusion cuisine unlike anywhere else in the world.
Only in Lima can you have an authentic lunch in South America’s oldest inhabited mansion, just a few miles away from where you will enjoy a gourmet dinner in one of the world’s best restaurants, nestled against a 2000 year old ruin.
While many of the world’s larger cities may have a more vibrant gay scene than Lima, Peru’s largest city shines with stylish gay-friendly and gay-owned restaurants, and bars that are more balanced and mixed than one might find anywhere.
Lima enjoys unusual, yet wonderful weather conditions—it rains literally only a few days a year. However, its proximity on the coast, amidst gentle waters flowing to the ocean, makes it surprisingly lush and green.