So you’ve chosen to base yourself in Barranco on your next trip to Lima? Excellent decision, because the art-deco architecture, bright cherry blossoms, and bohemian vibe of this artsy suburb make it among the most endearing in South America. Here’s what you should see and do once you’re there.
It’s official, Barranco is where the cool kids stay in Lima. Backpackers will enjoy the leafy gardens and social vibe of The Point Hostel, while travelers with a bit of cash to splash might prefer a chic boutique such as the stunning Hotel B.
There’s no doubt Barranco is the most vibrant and youthful part of the city, chock full of 20-something alternative types who love nothing more than to share their passion for art in the streets. Most of the action takes place in the Plaza de Armas, a melting pot of impromptu theatre, artisanal markets, busking musicians, and more.
Known as La Puente de Los Suspiros to the locals, this picturesque puente was a former meeting point of the city’s most renowned philosophers and poets. Sometime later, couples began courting in the romantic locale and their amorous sighing eventually led to the bridge’s name.
Heading down from the bridge is the Bajada de los Baños, an old walkway that once gave local fishermen access to the beach. These days, it’s a picturesque place for an afternoon stroll with plenty of hip bars and restaurants along the way.
Colorful murals abound in Barranco, many of which have been sponsored by the council to give the neighborhood a little bit of flair.
Lima’s top-end restaurants are located in Miraflores, so if you want to drop a hundred bucks on a world-class dining experience then that’s where you need to be. On the other hand, Barranco boasts a multitude of casual yet delicious gastronomic experiences, all of which come at a fraction of the cost.
Famous for its inclusive vibe, the nightlife in Barranco is both friendly and fever pitch. Everything from cozy beer cafes to pumping cocktail bars cause this buzzing barrio to come alive after dark.
Once the playground of Lima’s bourgeoisie, Barranco saw a plethora of 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 coolest restaurants, boutique stores, and cafes in the city.
Give the glitzy designer malls of Miraflores a miss and peruse the artsy boutiques of Barranco instead. You won’t find any Chanel here, but rather an eclectic selection of independent labels selling Lima’s most cutting-edge bohemian designs.
Likewise, 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.