Arequipa is notable as one of the few Peruvian cities outside of Lima to have a few gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses. The city’s large population does guarantee the existence of a sizable gay community. The exceptional level of culture, such as theater groups and art associations, signifies at least a minimal level of tolerance.
The plaza is the center of action. A meeting place, a place to chill and a place where students debate politics, it is the prime locale to people watch and to feel the pulse of the city.
Surprisingly there’s a few options in this picturesque southern town if you want to feel a different sort of pulse. A men’s only sauna, a bit away from the city center, provides some hands on fun during the evening hours and there are a couple of gay bars and clubs to choose from on weekend nights.
“Freetown Open Mind” is a small discoteca open on the weekends located just on the edge of the city center. The main and only gay club in Arequipa. It has 3 different names, (Imperio, Freetown or Open Mind) but most refer to it as just Imperio. It’s the place to come on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening after 11pm with drag shows and themed nights like Sailor Night. It goes on till late, closing at 6am. Imperio is located at Calle Jerusalén 201i, just a few blocks from Plaza de Armas.
And as it name states, clearly it has an open mind…which is code for gay guys galore. With shot boys, cheap drinks, and lots of dancing, Freetown offers a great place to find a hot southern Peruvian boy to grind with and then spend the night with.
On the Saturday night this gay gringo attended there were plenty of guys of various ages, all really cute and super friendly. It was easy to find people to chat with and to dance with. At various points throughout the night the shot boys, these sexy shirtless wonders, would walk around with bottles and literally come up to you and tell you to open your mouth wide and they’d just start pouring vodka down your gullet. Shots seems to be the way these guys fuel their partying so be prepared. Surprisingly the guys were not shy and so expect some heavy petting and making out on the dance floor.
Watch your drinks however…some guys spot a gringo and will slip something in your drink and then steal everything you have. Unlike in Argentina or even Colombia a gringo really sticks out in Peru so you can be a target. Now that is not to say that any of these places are ‘dangerous’, though you should of course exercise caution and keep your wits about you by not getting too wasted. Tag along with some trusted friends and you’ll be fine.