A Guide to Barranco: Lima’s Bohemian District

A Guide to Barranco: Lima’s Bohemian District

Bohemian, artsy, hip – Barranco is the place to be if you’re looking to immerse yourself into Peru’s creative scene.

With colorful street art, trendy bars and coffee shops, vibrant old mansions, and beautiful museums, there’s no shortage of culture and art in Barranco – one of Lima’s most popular districts.

Here are our best tips on what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in Barranco.

Table of contents:

A brief history of Barranco

The neighborhood’s history is part of its proud reputation. Founded as a village beach resort in 1874, Barranco quickly became a popular hotspot for Lima’s elite. The Limeños started building colonial-style summer residences where they could spend their weekends and holidays.

pink library in barranco

In spite of the invasion and destruction by the Chilean forces in the late 19th century, Barranco managed to preserve its spirit throughout the years and establish a tranquil setting, praised by artists and writers alike. Today, Barranco is a peaceful, inspiring retreat from the frenetic atmosphere of downtown Lima.


Why is Barranco considered Lima’s bohemian district?

Many of the brightly colored former mansions and summer residences in Barranco have been transformed into lively eateries and cafes, many of them overlooking the ocean. The streets are brimming with vibrant art, galleries, street artists, and romantic footbridges.

stairs and street art

Together with its stunning location on the cliffs and jaw-dropping panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, it’s easy to see why Barranco is Lima’s bohemian – and most aesthetically pleasing – neighborhood.


How to get to Barranco?

Barranco is located in the south of Lima and the high-end Miraflores district. Whether you’re coming from downtown Lima or from the city’s international airport, you can access the neighborhood by hopping on a taxi or by making use of public transport.

Taking a taxi is the most convenient option, as every driver will know where Barranco is. When taking a taxi, make sure you can easily see the driver’s identification card/number.

red building and wooden bridge

Another way to reach Barranco is via Lima’s rapid bus system (El Metropolitano). You’ll want to get off at “Bulevar”, which will take you directly to the neighborhood’s main plaza. If it’s your first time visiting, navigating Lima’s bus system can be confusing. Your best bet is to tell the bus driver that you need to go to Barranco, as well as download a transport navigation app like Moovit.


Things to do in Barranco

Barranco is an extremely walkable district and much of its highlights can be navigated on foot.

Here’s a quick overview of the neighborhood’s top sights, restaurants, and accommodations.

What to see in Barranco?

A fantastic start to your Barranco district adventure is walking across the Bridge of Sighs (Puente de Los Suspiros). Once the meeting point of local poets and philosophers, this wooden bridge is one of the most famous and romantic landmarks in the neighborhood.

Heading down from the bridge, you’ll find Bajada de Los Baños – an old walkway that was used by fishermen to access the sea. Today, it’s one of Barranco’s highlights and a great place to explore its hip bars and restaurants.

museum with garden and peru flag

Barranco also hosts some of Lima’s top museums and art galleries, including the Museum of Contemporary Art and the MATE museum.

Founded by world renowned fashion photographer – and Lima-native – Mario Testino, the MATE is a must-visit for any art lover. Housed in a restored 19th-century mansion, the museum has an impressive collection of some of the best Peruvian and international contemporary art and photography pieces.

As you’re walking around the neighborhood, don’t forget to keep an eye out for its unique street art and take a moment to enjoy its stunning colonial-style architecture.


Where to eat in Barranco?

Lima is famed for its world-class culinary scene, and Barranco is arguably one of the best parts of the city for a gourmet experience.

Ceviche – a traditional seafood dish made from fresh fish – is a must-try when visiting Peru. You can sample ceviche, along with other local favorites, at one of the cevicherias around. One of the best restaurants in Barranco specializing in the dish is Canta Rana.

Another place that offers great food and a tavern-like experience is Isolina. The restaurant focuses on Peruvian dishes and is one of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants. Be sure to come early, though, as the line outside forms quickly.

fine fish food

Grabbing a cup of fresh Peruvian coffee at one of Barranco’s many coffee shops should definitely be on your to-do list, as well. You can try the family-owned Bissetti and, if you’re up for gelato made with local ingredients, head out to BLU.

For cocktails, be sure to check out one of Barranco’s boutique bars hosted in former mansions, such as Ayahuasca.

If you’re looking for great cafes and eateries outside of Barranco, check out the best restaurants in Lima guide.


Where to stay in Barranco?

Barranco is a wonderful place to stay in Lima and it boasts a good selection of accommodations for a range of budgets. That said, be sure to book your accommodation well ahead of time as many travelers want to stay here and hotels can book up quickly.

For a boutique experience check out Hotel B – a beautiful property featuring rooms filled with art, as well as many exclusive opportunities for private art gallery viewings. Nearby, Casa Falleri Boutique Hotel is another good choice.

For more budget-friendly accommodations, take a look at the Airbnb rentals in Barranco and explore the numerous studio and apartment listings. Many of them offer good-sized bedrooms and are a stone’s throw away from the district’s main attractions.

peru flag with yellow church in the back

Ready to visit Barranco?

Visiting this Bohemian barrio is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

With one of our customized Peru tours you will have the chance to discover Barranco and all the other must-visit spots of Peru. Feel free to send us an email to info@exploor.pe if you have any questions.

  • 16 May, 2024 at 2:45 pm

    Thanks for the useful info, I absolutely love Barranco. Been here since 3 days and can’t get enough of it, I absolutelty love the vibe!!

    • 16 May, 2024 at 3:02 pm

      Thank you for your kind words, Christian! Barranco is truly a magical place with its vibrant atmosphere and rich culture. We’re thrilled to hear you’re enjoying your time there. If you have any questions or need recommendations, feel free to ask!

Leave a comment

Let’s plan your
dream trip to Peru

Let’s plan your
dream trip to Peru

All of our tour itineraries are 100% customizable. Just let us know your preferences below and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.

  • Hotels
    (Optional, multiple choices possible)
    Best Value
  • Trip Length
    Not sure yet