You won’t find it on any top-10 lists of the World’s Most Colorful Neighborhoods and you definitely won’t see it as a stop on the luxury cruise carousels like other vibrantly painted cities. But that’s fine, and probably just the way the unassuming people of Barranco prefer it.
Barranco is a small neighborhood in Lima, Peru, sandwiched between the upscale business and tourist district of Miraflores to the north and Chorrillos to the south. You’ll know when you’ve arrived because its differences from the rest of Lima are not subtle. It’s almost as if Lima city planners got together to conjure up an antidote to Lima’s perpetual malaise of grayness and they came up with Barranco.
Dubbed the bohemian district of Lima, the tiny neighborhood boasts the most concentrated collection of street art and murals in the entire city. The 1.29 sq. mile neighborhood has more artwork on display in its streets than the rest of Lima’s 1,031 sq miles. You wont go more than a block before coming across some sort of street art worth stopping for.
Whether it was always an artist and intellectual hub or it became one over time because of its beauty is unclear, but walking through its streets today, you can certainly understand why you’d want to make this neighborhood your home.
I’m not sure how someone can quantify how colorful a city is, but it only takes a walk around Barranco to assure any visitor if its vibrancy. It’s the way the buildings compliment the Plaza and the neighborhood’s natural surroundings that make it spectacular. An obsessively maintained and manicured garden in a Plaza or large drooping trees housing vultures are beautiful in their own right, but against a backdrop of urban street art and colorful buildings the combination becomes something else entirely: it becomes Barranco.
It might be because of the gray skies or the endless amount of concrete in Lima, but Barranco certainly feels like the most colorful city in the world while you’re in it.