Barranco, one of forty-two districts in the sprawling city of Lima, is a great neighborhood replete with cafes, shops, galleries, and a diversity of local colors. Something akin to a Latin version of New York’s Greenwich Village, Barranco’s relaxed vibe merits at least an afternoon’s stroll during your private Peru holiday.
Barranco’s colorful Plaza de Armas is a popular hangout spot for local families with children during the day and partygoers in the evening. Street entertainers and wandering vendors make it a lively place to chill for a bit and do some people watching. It’s surrounded by various restaurants and cantinas, including what locals have named the “best ice cream spot in Lima,” Crem dela Crem. This place serves a multitude of ordinary and exotic flavors of gelato and sorbet, excellent coffee drinks, and a variety of house-made sweet and savory pies and pastries.
A stroll down the Bajada de los Baños, a descending pathway lined with hand painted murals and street art, populated by colorful characters, brings you to Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs), a wooden bridge that dates from the late nineteenth century. Crossing this bridge takes you to Barranco’s accessible beaches at the foot of Lima’s shoreline cliffs. Los Yuyos Beach is a popular sand beach that borders a stretch of calm Pacific Ocean where you can go for a swim in the summer months (December to March). It’s also a nice beach for a family picnic, and there are various wandering vendors to supply ice cream and snacks. Your best bet is to get there in the early morning before the crowds have arrived. This calm beach with its gentle waters is a great place for beginners to learn basic surfing techniques.
You’ll find artisanal cafés on your trip to Barranco that rival any in the US. Try La Panetteria, located on Avenida Miguel Grau, for organic coffees and homemade desserts. Soak up la buena onda (the good vibes) while sipping on your specialty coffee and striking up a conversation with your soon-to-be-friend at the next table.
Barranco has a couple of museums worth a visit during your Peru holiday. The MATE Mario Testino Museum, located at Av. Pedro de Osma 409, contains vibrant exhibits of contemporary Peruvian art and photography. Founded by famed Peruvian photographer Mario Testino, one of its exhibits consists of a collection of photographs of the late Princess Diana.
Located right next door, the Pedro de Osma Museum houses an eclectic collection of colonial paintings, sculptures, and furnishings, some dating from the seventeenth century.
Barranco is also at the top of its game for eateries of all kinds. A leisurely walk down Avenida Miguel Grau will present several choices for menus (meal of the day) that have been prepared with the needs of both meat-eaters and vegetarians/ vegans in mind. There are also many organic and artisanal groceries in this neighborhood, and a Bioferia (farmer’s market) on Sundays. Here, you can get a taste of the artisanal food products of Lima, and meet interesting entrepreneurs and purveyors of handmade and homegrown products.
Later in the day, you can sample some brews of artisan beers on tap at Barranco Beer Company, located on Avenida Grau. They offer seasonal drafts, appetizers, and a variety of burgers to accompany your beer or ale. Another eatery worth mentioning is Opíparo, offering casual dining options including shawarma and gluten-free pizza. For upscale dining, make a reservation for your group at renowned Chef Virgilio Martinez’s Central, voted the best restaurant in Latin America for several years in a row. His exclusive tasting menus feature fresh and exotic ingredients carefully selected to represent Peru’s main geographical regions: mountain, jungle, and coast.
Be sure to check out the intriguing Barranco district of Lima during your Peru holiday!