The former historic capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco is the most popular destination in Peru today. Besides being the capital archaeological capital of the Americas, Cusco is also the gateway to the legendary city that is Machu Picchu. As it’s also known, Cuzco boasts the richest heritage amongst any of the South American cities and is thus very popular with gay travelers. In fact, LGBTQ travelers come here for the sweeping landscapes and rich cultural heritage more than anything else. So, you’ll find gay hotels in Cusco overflowing with travelers coming for the rich Incan heritage, with a friendly staff warmly welcoming them. What’s more, they range from luxurious hotels to boutique heritage ones, which is what makes the city so special. The gay scene here is not as thriving as the gay scene in capital Lima, but there is a small gay scene here.
Of course, the biggest and best thing to see in Cusco is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu. Cusco is also the perfect base to visit the Sacred Valley filled with Incan ruins and one of Peru’s Most Beautiful Places. The city also celebrated Inti Raymi, the festival of the sun, and one of the Annual World Festivals Worth The Trip. So, gay Cusco is worth making the trip for more than just exploring the gay scene. To that end, here are the top 11 gay friendly hotels in Cusco.
Table of contents
- Palacio Del Inka
- Belmond Hotel Monasterio
- Sol y Luna – Relais & Chateaux
- Inkaterra La Casona
- El Retablo
- Union Hotel Cusco
- Hotel Costa del Sol Ramada Cusco
- Casa Andina Private Cusco
- Tambo del Inka
- JW Marriott El Convento Cusco
- Belmond Palacio Nazarenas
- Best Gay Neighborhoods in Cusco
- Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Cusco
- Best Gay Saunas in Cusco
- Best Gay Events/Shows/Tours in Cusco
Palacio Del Inka
The ornate and intricately styled Palacio Del Inka is one of Peru’s heavyweight five-star hotels and one of the best gay hotels in Cusco. Tucked in the city’s historic center, it’s only a short walk from its gay bars as well. In fact, you can enjoy stunning views of the old city from the upper floors. Rooms and suites are calming to boot with hardwood furnishings and comfy beds. Classic touches such as hand-painted floral motifs and a golden headboard around the bed set them apart. You’ll particularly love the eye-catching brass lamps on either side of the bed, while tech-savvy travelers will like the high-quality iPod dock alarm clocks. The marble bathrooms are swanky with fresh floral arrangements, huge mirrors, and deep-soaking bathtubs in the higher rooms.
Considering that the city is short on space, this hotel overflows with amenities like a state-of-the-art hydrotherapy pool, steam and sauna, and massage therapy rooms. There’s even a rare hotel gym! Breakfast is a decadent affair in the courtyard (when the weather’s nice). Think made-to-order eggs, fresh pastries, cheeses, cooked meats, porridge, and dried fruits. The restaurant serves delicious meals, too, with a resident sommelier to help you pair wines with dishes.
Belmond Hotel Monasterio
Romance is in the air at Belmond Hotel Monasterio, one of the most beautiful gay friendly hotels in Cusco. Set in the cobbled Plazoleta Nazarenas, the 1995-opened place is Cusco’s first deluxe hotel – and is still breathtakingly beautiful. All 122 rooms and suites boast interesting architectural details, exquisite artwork, and handsome wood furnishings. Cloud-like beds aside, even LCD TVs and marble bathrooms are standard. Since Cusco lies at such a height, rooms can even be enriched with oxygen on request. Furthermore, most bedrooms overlook the lush courtyard, although some of the more deluxe ones look out to the old city’s skyline.
Since this is a listed building, there’s no fitness center or pool. However, the hotel does offer in-room Thai massages and aromatherapy treatments. What’s more, there are ‘bath butlers’ for drawing baths too! A Baroque-style chapel is very popular for weddings, while the two restaurants serve Peruvian and Mediterranean haute-cuisine. Even breakfasts are lavish spreads, while the lobby bar is great for a pre- or post-dinner cocktail. Do you want to indulge in a romantic dinner? Sit at the candlelit tables on the courtyard, complete with opera singing on some nights.
Sol y Luna – Relais & Chateaux
Travelers who want to stay in the Sacred Valley will love Sol y Luna – Relais & Chateaux, one of the overall best gay hotels in Cusco. Set amidst lush gardens, the gorgeous Relais & Chateaux resort sits in the heart of Peru’s Sacred Valley, around an hour north of Cusco. With just 43 casitas, staying here is as intimate as it feels exclusive, especially since beautiful valley views surround you. Spread across three main categories, the best ones are the premium casitas. They feature a reception, living quarters, huge bathrooms with bathtubs, walk-in showers, and open fires. So, if you’re looking for a romantic sojourn in Cusco, then this hotel is your best bet. What’s more, the premium casitas even have a garden with an outdoor whirlpool and a private terrace. Even the superior casitas, which are slightly smaller, cozy, and lovely.
The staff are warm and friendly and dole out travel tips and advice for visiting the attractions and sights around. Begin your day with a hearty breakfast of fresh pastries, cereal, fruit, and great coffee at Wayra restaurant. The other one serves Peruvian dining, along with excellent cocktails. When you’re done exploring, head to the large spa for a massage or a body treatment. The hotel even has its stables and has an excellent posse of guides for riding, cycling, and hiking excursions to the nearby ruins. The small but divine outdoor pool is the cherry on top.
Inkaterra La Casona
Yet another Relais & Chateaux property makes it to the list of best gay friendly hotels in Cusco; this time, it’s Inkaterra La Casona. Set in a grand colonial mansion in the Incas’ imperial city, the structure was one of 16th-century Peru’s most exclusive addresses. It lies in a serene plaza within walking distance of Plaza de Armas, the city’s gay scene, as well as the Top Things To Do In Cusco. There are just 11 rooms – two plaza suites, four patio ones, and five balcony suites. Nevertheless, they all boast grand Spanish colonial-style plush beds and beautiful antiques and art. They’re perfect for romancing your partner, what with marble bathrooms with freestanding bathtubs for two, open fires, and even a private dining space for two on the balconies.
Service is discreet, with a knowledgeable staff who can book trips and excursions around the area. There’s a library, a lounge, and a small but lovely spa-cum-massage room. Enjoy sundowners and nightcaps in the zaguán (the grand anteroom) or the lush courtyard. Moreover, the hotel even serves complimentary tea in the evenings. Dig into à la carte Peruvian fusion cuisine either in the courtyard or in the comfort of your rooms. Finally, breakfast is a grand buffet affair with fresh coffee or coca tea, fresh fruit, cheeses, cured meats, and buttery pastries.
El Retablo might just be one of the prettiest gay hotels in Cusco. The cozy and vibrant property lies in a converted historic building filled with traditional Peruvian art and design. It lies three blocks up from Plaza De Armas and is a wonderful retreat in the town. The 17 rooms are gorgeous spaces filled with color, of which the Superior Deluxe rooms come with stunning views. The clean white walls are the perfect canvas for wall designs, hand-woven Peruvian fabrics, and beautiful folk art. Comfy beds, small dressing room areas, and skylights only add to the bright feel, while the bathrooms are like modern dens of luxury with walk-in glass showers.
The knowledgeable and helpful staff dole out advice and tips for how to spend time in the city and what sights to see. They even help out with extra oxygen when altitude sickness affects some visitors, even offering them coca tea that’s said to help with acclimatization. The courtyard garden is a huge draw, whether to drink coffee or soak up Cusco’s sun. Travelers love breakfast here, with cured meats, made-to-order eggs, cereals, bread, fresh fruit, and exceptional coffee. The highlight is the live music every evening accompanied by a bonfire and happy hour.
Union Hotel Cusco
Union Hotel (formerly Esplendor) is a relaxing refuge with a stunning courtyard with ceramics, fountains, and tiny lawns. One of the most charming gay friendly hotels in Cusco, it lies just minutes from Plaza de Armas and its posse of gay bars. With just 24 rooms, this property is very gay-popular and gets booked out fast. Moreover, rooms are all spacious with grand beds and large granite bathrooms with step-in shower bathtubs for some romantic moments. The hot tub might be the only ‘amenity’ here, but it’s an absolute bonus after a long day of walking and hiking. The views of the surrounding mountains and valley only make it all the better.
The hotel boasts a trendy vibe with white photos of Peruvian scenes, dark wood floors, and terracotta walls. The delightful courtyard is definitely the epicenter of the hotel, perfect for enjoying sun-kissed mornings with a cup of coffee. Breakfast has everything from juices and cereals to scrambled eggs and fruit. Lunches and dinners are grander, and the hotel even has a complimentary tea and coffee station.
Hotel Costa del Sol Ramada Cusco
Set in a former monastery, Hotel Costa del Sol Ramada is one of the grandest gay hotels in Cusco. Decorated with both Colonial and Incan art, this property is a delight for LGBTQ travelers who love history and architecture. Its location close to Plaza De Armas only makes it all the better, especially since it’s set in serene surroundings. Incan ceramics and Spanish colonial portraits greet you at every turn. But it’s the two-story Shakespearean courtyard that’s the calling card. Even standard rooms feature iPod Dock alarm clocks, whitewashed walls, and Classic Andean trims of dark stained wood. If you want the best views, then go for the fourth-floor rooms that boast views of Cusco’s skyline. Sandy marble bathrooms complete the place.
Despite no pool or fitness center, the hotel does well on amenities. For instance, there are lots of reading nooks and books to borrow. What’s more, there are even board games and lovely chess set for spending your time. There’s only one restaurant, but it serves delicious Peruvian food for lunch and dinner. Breakfast is an extensive buffet, and the adjacent bar serves a mean pisco sour.
Casa Andina Private Cusco
Casa Andina Private is not just one of the best gay friendly hotels in Cusco, but it’s also one of the overall Best Hotels in Cusco, Peru. Set in a striking 16th-century mansion, this hotel exudes genuine Cusco calm while sitting within walking distance of Plaza de Armas. With original 16th-century masonry and six decorative courtyards, this is one place to be admired. Original Spanish colonial portraits and authentic Inca Stone carvings only add to the charm. Choose from 93 standard rooms and suites with interesting light yellow walls with royal green or black trim. The first-floor rooms, which overlook one of the six courtyards, are especially spacious thanks to the high ceilings. Nevertheless, bathrooms everywhere are ample with step-in bathtub showers that couples will love.
There might not be a pool or fitness center, but the hotel does have an internet center, an alpaca clothing store, and a massage room. Begin your day with an inclusive buffet breakfast of juices, cured meats, cheese, fruit, eggs, and bread. What’s more, breakfast begins at 5 am, which allows you to eat before a morning trekking expedition to Machu Pichu. Lunches and dinners consist mostly of Andean-inspired dishes, while the adjacent bar serves delicious Peruvian pisco cocktails and imported spirits and wines.
Tambo del Inka
Tambo del Inka is one of the most lavish gay hotels in Cusco’s Sacred Valley. Nestled at the foothills of a mountain right beside the gushing Urubamba River, it lies about an hour north of Cusco. In fact, the ancient salt ponds of Maras and the ruins at Moray and Ollantaytambo are less than 15 mi away. All 128 rooms and suites are decked out in warm hues and have balconies with mountain or garden views. You’ll also find minibars, Wi-Fi, TVs, and marble bathrooms in all, complete with bathtubs, Gilchrist & Soames toiletries, and plush robes. There’s even a stylish spa that offers quinoa, mud, and cocoa facials.
However, the swimming pool with indoor and outdoor areas is the standout, especially since very few Cusco hotels have pools. During sun-kissed afternoons, enjoy playing games in the games room, which also has a pool table. Moreover, the hotel can even arrange day trips and music-themed tours to Sacred Valley towns. Dig into refined Andean cuisine at the contemporary restaurant, which also serves a buffet breakfast with natural yogurt, croissants, smoothies, and gluten-free jams.
JW Marriott El Convento Cusco
Without a doubt, JW Marriott El Convento Cusco is one of the most luxurious gay friendly hotels in Cusco. Set in a former 16th-century convent, the place is chock-full of colonial, Incan, and pre-Inca artifacts. Hence, it feels more like a trendy museum than a modern hotel. What’s more, it boasts what is one of Cusco’s only hotel pools, especially since it sits right next to Plaza De Armas. Rooms are all stylish and sleek with bespoke furnishings, dark hardwood flooring, and swanky mod-cons. The most coveted of them are the six double rooms, with small balconies and terrace views. Do you love history? Suite 82 has an original Inca Wall! Bathrooms everywhere feature sandy travertine marble and feature deep-soaking bathtubs for romantic soaks with your partner.
Like we said earlier, this gay-friendly Cusco hotel has a pool, sauna, and steam room exclusively for hotel guests. The poolside shower is particularly impressive with music options, flashing lights, and nine jets of water. The basement level even has an Incan archeological site with a free guided tour every evening. After exploring the city after a long day, head to the therapy rooms for reflexology and hot stone treatments, wraps, and massages. The on-site fine dining restaurant serves Andean specialties and a breakfast buffet that’s one of Peru’s best! A bar and a cocktail menu wrap up the offerings here.
Belmond Palacio Nazarenas
Sitting atop the list of gay hotels in Cusco is Belmond Palacio Nazarenas. Set in a restored 17th-century convent and palace, this elegant hotel has colonial and original Incan features and is even home to the excellent Museum of Pre-Colombian Art. The tranquil hotel lies a stone’s throw from Plaza De Armas and the gay bars of Cusco. The rooms and suites are set around seven cloistered courtyards and tastefully blend original features like colonial frescoes and Inca walls with elegant and stylish fittings. Moreover, they’re all enriched with oxygen, allowing guests to be comfortable. You’ll also find pisco sour-making stations, tea and coffee making facilities, and large bathrooms with freestanding bathtubs. The best bit? All rooms have 24-hour butler service!
Water channels meander through a series of patios and terraces full of kitchen herbs and indigenous flowers. What’s more, this is Cusco’s only hotel with an outdoor heated swimming pool, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim after a long day. The library is perfect for bibliophiles, while the lounge with a huge flatscreen TV and snooker table is a great place to relax. The star is the world’s only fully oxygenated spa, Hypnôze Spa, with a hot tub. The poolside restaurant in the lush courtyard serves Peruvian fare with a twist, including breakfast, snacks, and drinks.
Best Gay Neighborhoods in Cusco
As a city, Cusco is very safe for LGBTQ travelers, mostly because it sees hoards of international tourists visiting from all over. Since tourism drives the economy, everyone is welcome here, gay or otherwise. On a local level, however, Cusco is still a conservative city in an equally conservative country. Since the Catholic Church drives religion, there’s a mixed, if sometimes negative, attitude towards the LGBTQ community. However, the scene is changing, with Pride events increasing every year and anti-discrimination laws taking effect for protecting the LGBTQ community. Nevertheless, public displays of affection need to be avoided in this small city unless you’re in a gay-friendly space such as the bars mentioned below.
You might see rainbow flags flying everywhere in Cusco, but don’t get too excited. It has an additional blue line and is the flag of the Incan empire. That said, Cusco does not have a gay neighborhood, per se. However, most of the gay bars lie around Plaza De Armas, the old historical center of the city. It’s where you’ll find most of the city’s architectural sights, including the Incan Museum and the ornate Church of the Company of Jesus with gilded interiors.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Cusco
Fallen Angel was perhaps the most popular and oldest gay bar in Peru, but it shut in early 2020. Nevertheless, the below-mentioned establishments have continued to uphold the gay friendliness of the city.
- Mama Africa: For a big night out with music, dancing, and drinks, Mama Africa is your best bet for a big night out. The club belts out the latest Latin pop hits as a gorgeous mixed crowd shakes and shimmies to their heart’s content. It’s so popular that it’s open everyday until six in the morning!
- Paradise Queen: Have an intensely authentic and fun gay night out at Paradise Queen, a gay-friendly disco in Cusco. The club is famous for its Ibiza nights, which see drag shows, live DJs, and lots of hot topless local guys. They even have special themed parties during important holidays such as Christmas and Valentines’ Day, including a “Stripper Show” during Pride.
Best Gay Saunas in Cusco
Unfortunately, there is no out-and-about gay sauna in Cusco, and if there are any, then they’re on the down-low. However, we’re hoping to see that change in this gay-friendly city!
Best Gay Events/Shows/Tours in Cusco
- Marcha del Orgullo Cusco: This is Cusco’s gay Pride event that takes place during the end of June and beginning of July every year. Having begun only in 2015, it’s only gone from strength to strength each year. It might not be as huge as Pride celebrations in Sao Paolo or even the capital Lima, but it’s a celebration nonetheless.
- Cuzco Underground Cinema Festival: This is another highlight for Peruvian gays, the queer-friendly CUCIF. This independent film festival takes place every October and features a jury awarding prizes for different categories. Two of them are “Best Shot LGBTQ” and “Best Feature LGBTQ.” s