If you wish to inspire yourself in a day or potentially stay in the most creative and colorful area of the Peruvian capital, then you should definitely visit the Barranco district. The so-called Bohemian Neighborhood of Lima is one of the most visually striking urban centers on the Limeñan coastal side.
This authentic district is famous for its artistic and cultural expression, where outstanding murals, live music, craft markets, restaurants and bars give life to its streets. Barranco is one of the oldest suburbs in Lima known for its impressive scenery with colonial and modern touches.
Before the massive expansion of the city, this neighborhood used to be the perfect getaway destination for the Lima elite. For that reason, the flourishing barrio holds a distinctive art-deco architectural style across its streets.
Likewise, it has become very popular among tourists, whether it is for its boutique hotels, nightlife, or the overall experience of just being surrounded by a magical and certainly artistic scenery along the pacific ocean.
Barranco might be a small ‘barrio’ but it surely offers a bit of everything! It is also home to many galleries and renowned museums of contemporary and colonial art. This famous bohemian district will leave you spellbound to its uniqueness, which is why you can’t leave it behind during your visit to Lima.
1. Make your wish come true at the Bridge of Sighs (Puente de los Suspiros)
This traditional wooden bridge is recognized for having the most visually striking urban scenery since it’s located in the heart of the bohemian district, where the artistic expression overflows down its structure.
The Bridge of Sighs was built in 1876, though it has suffered several remodelations since its construction. For many years, it has been one of the most romantic -and dramatic- spots in Lima due to an untraced superstition that claims that whoever crosses the bridge holding their breath will be granted the wish they ask for.
2. Experience Barranco’s most picturesque walkway: Bajada de Baños
A long time ago, before barranco became the cultural and artistic hub it is today, Bajada de Baños was a street used by fishermans to get to the sea, and eventually became the official access to get to the beach.
Therefore, when it started to be a touristic place for the Limeñan aristocracy, many people established their beach houses in this location. Nowadays, these colonial-style and popsicle-colored mansions house the most exquisite restaurants in the area.
Walking through Bajada de Baños is a total immersion in the authentic street art of the city, where almost every wall is decorated with colorful murals. Likewise, you’ll also find artisan stands where they sell jewelry, paintings and much more!
3. Sample the Peruvian gastronomy uniqueness
Barranco is full of restaurants, restobars, and food trucks that offer anything you could imagine, from street popcorn to passion fruit cheesecakes and delicious ‘anticuchos,’ you’ll certainly love all the options available.
However, if you want a more refined gastronomic experience, you’ll also find renowned restaurants in the area, some of them with outstanding views of the pacific ocean to complement the evening.
4. Find a unique souvenir or a fantastic art piece in Barranco
For those looking for the best souvenir to take home, you must visit Dedalo handicraft shop. It was the first contemporary artisan store founded in 1992. Here, you’ll find a variety of pieces made by local artists with materials such as wood, metal and even glass.
Likewise, if you’re looking for a modern-ish styled Peruvian poncho, this is the way to go. The shop also holds a collection of Andean souvenirs and art pieces that you’ll surely fall in love with. And, as if it wasn’t enough, there’s a nice coffee shop located in the courtyard of the remodeled colonial house where the shop is located.
5. Visit the Mario Testino Museum
This famous museum has a permanent exhibition of the Peruvian artist Mario Testino lifework and offers an exposition of contemporary international art, as well as the artwork of many local peruvian artists.
The MATE museum looks to promote the cultural and artistic expression in Peru. This non-profit organization looks to finance different educational and cultural programs across the country. For those who didn’t know, Mario Testino is a renowned photographer, who happened to work with hollywood stars and supermodels like Kate Moss.
The Mario Testino Museum is located in a remodeled colonial mansion, adapted to showcase the inequivalent artistic expression of the artists and their local and international colleagues.
6. Travel back in time with the Pedro de Osma Museum
Located right next door to the MATE Gallery, the Pedro de Osma Museum headquarters are situated in a beautiful mansion surrounded by well-cared gardens.
The museum offers an exhibition of the private collection of Pedro de Osma, who was a collector of art pieces from the Viceregal era, traced back between the 15th and 18th centuries. Here, you’ll find paintings of renowned artists, such as Bernardo Bitti and Luis de Riano, as well as many other anonymous painters from the 18th century Cusqueñan School. Other pieces include altar decorations, furniture, sculptures and silverwork.
7. Get to know La Ermita Chapel
La Ermita Chapel is located above the pedestrian walkway ‘Bajada de Baños,’ a few meters away from the Bridge of Sighs. The famous church was built in 1750 in a sacred place to the cristianity community of Lima since it was here where an illuminated cross supposedly appeared during bad weather guiding local fishermen back to shore.
However, the chapel was burned down and looted by the Chilean troops during the war in 1992. Therefore, it is only possible to visit it from the outside since it remains closed to the public. However, the Ermita Chapel also offers a great viewpoint with views of the coastline.
8. Experience Barranco’s nightlife
As we have mentioned before, Barranco houses some of the trendiest bars and resto bars in Lima, where you can easily sample international drinks or even the Peruvian flag drink Pisco Sour.
There are many places that offer different nightlife experiences according to your interests. From gin bars to beer companies, you’ll be grateful you visited the bohemian district
9. Enjoy street art
One of the most visible attractions within the Barranco suburbs is its numerous and large murals. Among all the things to do in Barranco, taking a walk through its streets and enjoying the notorious art is completely free.
Within the surroundings of Lima, the Barranco suburb is the most focused on street art, even numerous murals have been sponsored by the municipality to give the neighborhood a personal touch. Among all the Lima sightseeing tours, you will find the best touring the Barranco neighborhood with its beautiful murals and its different art galleries.
10. Contemplate the sunset from Barranco’s coastline
Head down through the old but colorful Bajada de Baños and find the path towards the beach, buy a few drinks from the nearby shop, and just sit and relax around the ocean shore.
Barranco couldn’t be more magical during the golden hour, and trust us, you’d wish you do this before you leave. Take a time from all the walking and just unwind to the sound of the waves, while the sun fills you up with energy for the rest of the evening.
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