View our LGBTQ+ Travel Guide to Peru.
How has LGBTQ+ tourism changed in the past 10 to 20 years?
Peru is a Catholic and conservative country so LGBTQ+ travel was always kept behind the scenes. The first gay group trip started in 1972 with Hanns Ebensten. In the last 10 years society has become far more accepting and tolerant to welcome LGBTQ+ guests from around the world. Tourist services, hotels, restaurants, venues and archaeological sites together with lodges and river cruises have developed world-class products to welcome the most sophisticated traveler.
What inspired you to work in travel, particularly serving the LGBTQ+ community?
When I started promoting Peru for a private company around 20 years ago, I realized that the company I was working for had already made a connection with IGLTA, so immediately I followed up with the association and hosted the first LGBTQ+ IGLTA symposium in Peru. The event was hosted as a private company with no government support. I was openly gay at the time and getting full support from the company I was working for was key to the success of the last 20 years.
What advice do you have for LGBTQ+ travelers who are visiting Peru?
Peru is a welcoming country. Travelers do not come to Peru for its nightlife but for some of the most amazing archaeological sites in America, great hotels, superb service, regional culinary experiences, handcrafts and most of all, our people.
How can tourism businesses better serve travelers who want to visit Peru?
Efforts to educate the local travel trade have been done by local, private companies. Now it is time for the government to get involved and start promoting Peru as a LGBTQ+ friendly destination at a larger scale, highlighting its cultural, historic and natural resources.
What is your favorite destination or trip in Peru?
Always Cusco and Machu Picchu, but there is so much more to explore. Read, learn and identify which Peru is right for you. After all, Peru is one of the richest countries in the world. Amazon jungle? Soft adventure activities? Wine and dine? Llamas? Condors? Inca trail? There is a Peru for everyone.
Where’s one place in Peru you’d love to go that you haven’t yet visited? Why?
I am very much looking forward exploring Choquequirao, an archaeological site that could be compared to Machu Picchu, but I have not had the chance to explore it yet. It is a rough hike to reach the site and I hope to get ready to visit it in the next few months.
How do you think IGLTA can best assist LGBTQ+ owned tourism businesses who want to promote travel to Peru?
Through promotion, networking and education. There is no better way to discover LGBTQ+ friendly Peru than visiting the country and seeing it yourself. In order to do so, we must make sure we deliver the right message to the right traveler.
Anything else you’d like to add?
The people of Peru are friendly, welcoming and warm; hotels and restaurants are excellent and recognized worldwide...come to Peru and explore what is perhaps the richest country on earth!
Ylan Chrem works for COLTUR Peru, a travel company established in 1957 that has been family-owned and managed for three generations.