In an otherwise rather gloomy city, Barranco stands out. Its walls are filled with street art, and the buildings are bright and colorful, offering a bit of a respite from Lima‘s grey skies. Barranco has been home to some of Peru’s and Latin America’s finest artists, offering them beauty and inspiration. Take two helpings of Barranco, it’s the perfect antidote to the drabness of Lima and a must-visit while in the City of Kings.
What to see and do
Barranco has earned a reputation as the bohemian district of Lima because of its bright buildings, beautiful street art, and charming streets. It’s also home to Lima’s best bars and some of its best restaurants – and definitely some of the best coffee shops.
Puente de Los Suspiros
A short walk from Barranco’s main plaza, you come to La Puente de Los Suspiros (the Bridge of Sighs), which at night looks like something straight out of Disneyland. There’s a reason that artists from all over Peru flock to Barranco and find inspiration in the bridge: it is probably the most romantic place in Lima. Take a walk to the beach during the day, and at night be taken in by its charm and quaint beauty.
Savoring Peruvian Coffee
Drinking some delicious and fresh Peruvian coffee at one of Barranco’s many coffee shops is a must. Check out Biscetti, which is family-owned and has the best Americano in town, or La Bodega Verde, which has the best atmosphere of any coffee shop in the area.
Drinking in Colonial Mansions
Barranco is filled with colonial mansions that have been turned into boutique bars. One of the best is Ayahuasca, which boasts an impressive, almost overwhelming cocktail list, and has hidden rooms with vibrant lights and décor that set just the right mood for their house drink, the Ayahuasca Sour.
Museums and galleries
Barranco is home to several of Lima’s best museums, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) and MATE, a museum dedicated to Peru’s most famous photographer, Mario Testino. There are also art galleries springing up all over Barranco every day, so take a walk and perhaps you’ll come across some contemporary Peruvian art.
MAC, Av.Miguel Grau 1511, Barranco, Lima, Peru, +51 1 5146800
MATE, Av. Pedro de Osma 409, Barranco, Lima, Peru, +51 1 2005400
Where to dine
Located in Barranco, El Muelle offers ceviche with a laid-back vibe. With outdoor seating and decent prices, it’s a great spot for lunch if you find yourself in the area. A short walk from El Muelle is La Canta Rana, where you’ll usually find groups of people drinking beer outside the restaurant waiting to be seated. Join the queue – you’ll wait for about 20-30 minutes, but it’s worth it. Though the restaurant has an Argentine-themed interior, with flags and soccer jerseys everywhere, don’t let that trick you, as it is most definitely a Peruvian cevicheria. Barranco’s most acclaimed restaurant is Isolina, which serves up family-style, criollo dishes and was recently welcomed onto the list of the top 50 restaurants in South America.
El Muelle, Jr. Alfonso Ugarte 206, Lima, Peru +51 1 2528643
La Canta Rana, Genova 101, Lima, Peru +51 1 2477274
Isolina, Peru, Av San Martin 101, Lima, Peru +51 01 2475075
Where to stay
Stay in a colonial mansion near Puente de los Suspiros. Point Hostel Lima has a bar that’s open until 1am every night, and Barranco’s nightlife is only a short walk away. The hostel is located in a beautiful, quiet part of Barranco, and the beach is right down the street. Another great hostel to stay at is Backpacker’s Hostel, located in a popular area and also only a short walk from the ocean. If you want a more expensive option, you can stay at the boutique hotel Hotel B. The hotel offers beautiful rooms with art everywhere and exclusive opportunities to have private art gallery viewings.
Backpacker Inn, Malecón Castilla 260, Barranco, Lima, Peru, +51 1 2471326
Hotel B, Saenz Peña 204, Barranco 15063, Lima, Peru, +51 1 2060800
Where it is located
Barranco is situated along the Pacific Coast in Lima, sandwiched between Lima’s upscale Miraflores district to the north and Chorrillos to the south. The little neighborhood is so small that you might just miss it, but don’t let that be the case. With beach access, a beautiful bridge and plaza, there’s no other place you’ll want to be in Lima.
How to get there
From Lima’s rapid bus system (El Metropolitano) get off at Bulevar, which will take you directly to Barranco’s main plaza in the heart of the neighborhood. The bus system can be very confusing, even chaotic, in Lima. Buses will pass by shouting strange sounding destinations and, before you know it, the bus is already out of sight down the street without giving you a second to think. If you do travel by bus, the best way to make sense of the madness is to download the app “Moovit.” They have somehow managed to make sense out of every bus route in the city. If you go by taxi, every driver will know where Barranco is.