Estimates of the percentage of women who have had Pap smears in Peru vary between 7% and 43%. This study explores what women know about cervical cancer and Pap smears, as well as their barriers to obtaining Pap smears. Focus group discussions (FGD) were conducted with a total of 177 women in four Peruvian cities. Discussions reveal that most women did not know what causes cervical cancer. Most women did not know the purpose of Pap smears, although knowledge about Pap smears was higher than knowledge about cervical cancer. Fear, embarrassment, and lack of knowledge were the main barriers identified for not getting Pap smears. Programs and policies aiming to increase Pap smear coverage must start by educating women on cervical cancer and its prevention in order to improve women's perceptions about the screening test and increase Pap smear seeking behaviors in the long term.