Many people base themselves in Barranco on arrival to Lima. This can be an excellent decision, as long as you spend at least a few days there, to experience this vibrant Lima neighborhood to the full. Escape the hustle and bustle of Lima and marvel at the art-deco architecture, bright cherry blossoms, and bohemian vibe of this artsy suburb making it one of the most cultural in South America. Here’s what you should do while you are in Barranco.
It’s official, Barranco is where the cool kids stay in Lima. While the more conservative traveler may stay in neighboring Miraflores, visitors to Barranco can enjoy its leafy gardens, and the artistic and social vibe of the “barrio”, with funky and chic hotels for all budgets. There are some exquisite and original hotel options in Barranco on your arrival in Peru.
There is no doubt that Barranco is the most vibrant and bohemian part of the city, jam-packed with alternative types who love nothing more than to share their passion for art in the streets of Lima. Most of the action takes place in the Plaza de Armas, a meeting point for impromptu theatre, artisan markets, busking musicians, painters, and more.
Known as La Puente de Los Suspiros to the locals, this picturesque bridge was a former meeting point of the city’s most renowned philosophers, intellectuals, and poets. Sometime later, couples began the courtship process in this romantic part of town and their amorous sighing eventually led to the bridge’s name. Tradition says that if you make a wish and cross the 30-meter-long bridge without breathing, it will come true.
Heading down from the bridge is the Bajada de Los Baños, and in ancient times, this singular path was used by the fishermen who went down to the Barranco beach to begin their workday. The Bajada de Baños (Descent from Baths) is a pathway that connects Barranco with the Pacific Ocean. The path just passes under the famous Bridge of Sighs and today, you’ll find many restaurants, bars, small theaters, and even street art on both walls that line the path. These days, it’s a picturesque place for an afternoon stroll with plenty of trendy bars and restaurants along the way.
The Cathedral in Barranco https://www.valenciatravelcusco.com/colours-of-peruis also known by another name, the Santisima Cruz church (Holy Cross) due to a legend that occurred in another church, the Hermite of Barranco (It was the first cathedral of the town). This beautiful church maintains a baroque style and, in its interior, you can appreciate the sacred image of the Barranco Lord of Miracles that goes out in procession in November. The Barranco Cathedral is an obligatory point to visit in your list of the best things to do in Barranco.
One of the most visible attractions within the Barranco suburbs is its numerous, large murals of realistic, surreal, and graffiti-style displays of artwork. With its beautiful murals and its different art galleries, the neighborhood is an art-lovers paradise. Many of these brightly colored murals have been sponsored by the council to give the neighborhood a little more flair and originality.
Another notable thing about this neighborhood is that it has a very active nightlife, as it does in most of Lima. You will find numerous places from beer cafés, cocktail bars, discos or dance clubs, and much more that will make your night unforgettable. The Barranco neighborhood during the day has a relaxed and picturesque vibe, but at night it becomes a vibrant and lively area to go out on the town. After dusk, immerse yourself in one of the many establishments, famous for their inclusive vibe, from cozy cafes to pumping cocktail bars and everything in between!
While Lima’s top-end restaurants are located in Miraflores, Barranco offers another eclectic dining experience. Around the neighborhood, you will find endless restaurants that are worth trying. Places like the Tio Mario restaurant, El Escondite, and Restaurante Arlotia will give your palate something different to explore, for example, the Isolina restaurant. Isolina Taberna has tried to recover those homemade tastes of traditional Peruvian food. Nowadays, reservations in the restaurant are sold out 2 months in advance and you can see a long line of diners on the street waiting to enter the restaurant. Barranco boasts a multitude of casual yet delicious gastronomic experiences, all of which come at a fraction of the cost of Miraflores, so enjoy!
Once the playground of Lima’s bourgeoisie, Barranco saw many stately mansions constructed along the shoreline to overlook the sea. As the city expanded, the financially elite moved their holiday homes further down the coast, allowing their 1920’s art-deco mansions to slowly decay. Nowadays, these magnificent buildings have been restored and house the funkiest restaurants, boutique stores, and cafes in the city.
You won’t find any stuffy old religious art museums in Barranco. Instead, expect to come across more creative cultural institutions such as an electricity museum, a chocolate museum, and the personal collection of Mario Testino, South America’s most accomplished fashion photographer and personal photographer of the royal family as well as famous international popstars. The Pedro de Osma Museum is another great museum that conserves pictorial art belonging to the colonial and early stages of republican Peru. Paintings belong to the “Cusco School” style of art, and work from recognized authors like Bernardo Bitti or Luis Riano is also displayed.
Escape the glitzy designer malls of Miraflores and peruse the artsy boutiques of Barranco instead. La Feria (the fair) and it is the best example of the tranquillity in the area. It is located one block up from Barranco main street. There, you’ll find stalls of homemade products, clothes, and food such as (Sushi, gourmet coffees, ice creams, cocktails, pizzas, and more. You won’t find any Chanel here, but rather an eclectic selection of independent labels selling Lima’s most cutting-edge bohemian designs.