Lima’s charming Barranco district has to be among the most eclectic, colorful, and vibrant locations in all of South America. Replete with shops, galleries, cafés, and parks, and bordering a section of the Circuito de Playas (Costa Verde) or “Beach Circuit,” Barranco is a great place to check out and spend a few days on your Peru trip. It’s also a great district to get around in on foot or bicycle, especially in the summer months when the streets are filled with families on outings, beachcombers, ice cream vendors, food booths, flower sellers, street musicians, etc.; all combining to create a festive and upbeat atmosphere. The area around the Plaza de Armas, the walkway to the Bridge of Sighs with its murals and wall art, and the Malecón, an area bordering the ocean with strollers, cyclists, picnic spots, beaches, and seating areas, all contribute to an enchanting, bohemian atmosphere enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
In this blog, we’ll point out some great places to visit while in Barranco, including the museums, galleries restaurants, hotels, and nightspots we recommend you check out during your Peru holiday.
Take a leisurely walk down the Bajada de Los Baños, a descending pathway whose walls are alive with colorful, hand-painted murals that brings you to the Puente de Los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs), a wooden bridge dating from the late 1800s. When you cross the bridge, you will find yourself nearing Barranco’s easily accessible beaches, part of the Costa Verde, at the foot of Lima’s oceanside cliffs. The popular Los Yuyos Beach is a nice place for a picnic: it is best to go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Pedro de Osma – An impeccably restored 19th-century manor, this museum displays artwork from as early as the fifth century. Pedro de Osma Gildemeister, a collector of Peruvian Viceroyal art, first opened the museuthe m’s doors to the public in 1996. On display are gold and silver icons, colonial-era furniture, sculptures, paintings, and a recently added wing dedicated to the art of pre-Inca Tiahuanacu and Inca cultures. Influences of these cultures can still be observed in Peru today.
MATE Mario Testino Museum – Located next door to the Pedro de Osma Museum, the MATE Museum was founded by Peru’s famous photographer, Mario Testino, who is famous for having photographed Princess Diana and other members of the royal family. In addition to his photo displays, the museum houses vibrant exhibits by contemporary Peruvians. It aims to garner worldwide attention for Peruvian artists.
Casa Taller Victor Delfín– Victor Delfín is Peru’s most famous artist, known for his metal sculptures of horses, birds, and other animals, as well as his vibrant paintings. His most well-known sculpture, El Beso (The Kiss) sits in Lima’s Parque de Amor. At 90+ years old, Sr. Delfín continues to produce art and shares his artistic knowledge and insights with visitors to his lively, art-filled home/workshop. Available by appointment only.
Museo de la Electricidad - A small museum devoted to the development and history of electricity in Peru. It houses exhibits about electrical tools, equipment, and power generation, along with archives about Lima’s historical electric companies. There’s also a display about the once-thriving electrical train system in Lima. Lima’s last functional electrical train sits in front of the museum.
Central- Renowned Chef Virgilio Martinez’s Central Restaurant has been voted Best Restaurant in Latin America for several years running. Chef Virgilio offers a tasting menu featuring innovative dishes created from fresh and exotic ingredients that are representative of Peru’s main geographical areas: Jungle, Coast, and Mountain. Reservations are a must at this upscale, esteemed Barranco restaurant, known for its amazing flavors and textures, impeccable service, and flawless attention to detail. Reservations strongly recommended.
Siete – This laid-back restaurant is known for its contemporary Peruvian and international offerings, great pasta dishes, and sumptuous cheesecake. They also serve a hot version of ceviche, and various imaginative and colorful dishes using fresh ingredients, all beautifully presented. Reservations recommended.
El Muelle – This lively, casual eatery, located very close to the Malecón, (Boardwalk area) serves up some of the best ceviche in Lima and Peruvian seafood and traditional fare. Great seating on the patio, where you can engage in the sport of people-watching as you enjoy huge portions of food accompanied by an ice-cold beer and lively conversation.
Isolina Taberna Peruana– Located in a converted casona, a two-story colonial-style home, Isolina serves up large portions of Peruvian comfort food, such as the traditional lomo saltado (stir-fried beef with tomatoes and peppers), seco de carne, (beef stew in a cilantro-based sauce), and other flavorful Creole-style dishes, most emphasizing beef or pork. Some unusual-sounding starters include a beef-brain omelet and pickled pig’s feet. Dishes come in huge platters and are meant to be shared around the table.
Canta Rana- This casual restaurant serves up generous portions of ceviche, arroz con mariscos, (rice with tender morsels of seafood), chicharron de pescado, (fried fish nuggets), and other largely seafood-based dishes, accompanied by a selection of ice-cold beers. Canta Rana (meaning “Frog Song”) is a local favorite.
Ayahuasca Restobar – This is one of the most happening nightspots in Barranco, set in an old-style mansion. There are a variety of seating areas, some with cozy salon-style furniture, others with a more modern flavor. Known for their creative pisco sours, prepared with exotic ingredients like aguaymanto (Peruvian golden berries) and coca leaves, they offer a variety of piqueos, or snacks, including fried yucca, tequeños (a crunchy taquito-like snack filled with ham and cheese), and meat skewers.
Barranco Beer Company – offering a variety of Peruvian artisan beers brewed on location using the highest quality ingredients, this craft beer spot has been around for seven years. Sample the different brews in this large bar while snacking on a variety of menu items, mostly traditional pub fare. Recommended for craft beer aficionados.
Bodega Piselli – For those that prefer a quieter atmosphere, this bar is the place to enjoy a pisco sour and quiet conversation. A favorite spot for locals, Piselli is located on Av 28 de Julio in Barranco and has been open for over a century. Known for great drinks at good prices and tasty sandwiches, it also features live music on certain nights.
Where to Stay:
Hotel B – This gorgeous mansion has been converted into a boutique hotel with 17 beautifully appointed rooms, many with private terraces, each filled with original works of Peruvian artists. Boasting a combination of modern and period décor, Hotel B boasts an onsite gourmet restaurant that serves Peruvian dishes with a modern flair and a full cocktail bar.
Casa República- Casa Republica Barranco opened just a couple of years ago after an extensive renovation of a mansion built in the 1920s. This colonial style mansion is an elegant boutique hotel in Lima’s bohemian and increasingly upscale Barranco neighborhood. The Casa Republica has a restaurant, where breakfast buffet is offered every morning, an al fresco bar and a garden. The location is wonderful if you want to be close to hip bars, restaurants such as the famous Central and museums like Mario Testino’s MATE. Take advantage of the hotel bicycles to explore everything Barranco has to offer.
Barranco is known to be quite safe in most places, however, there are a few places to be wary of or avoid altogether. Locals advise that the streets near the train tracks, especially at night, and the sections around the Avenida República de Panamá between Barranco and the district of Surco are areas avoided during the wee hours or if you are traveling alone. The area around the Bajada de Los Baños should be avoided late at night unless you are well accompanied.
Barranco is an easy taxi ride from the Lima airport, for a fare of around 50 soles (less than 20 USD).
Lively Barranco is well worth a visit on your Lima trip. We will be delighted to help with all of the arrangements you may require.