Barranco in Lima
Barranco is recognized as the bohemian district of Lima. Also like the artists’ district. It is that in its historic streets you can breathe an air of freedom and culture. There are not a few visitors who take a walk through its piers, squares and alleys. Its tourist attractions include its hermitage built in the 18th century, its boardwalk overlooking the sea, its bars, restaurants, fashion stores, the Bridge of Sighs and much more.
All about Barranco
The first inhabitants of Barranco were the fishermen. Legend has it that in the 19th century, a group of fishermen were left adrift on their boats due to the dense fog. However, they managed to get on their way thanks to an illuminated cross over an area of ravines. They finally reached the shore but the cross had already disappeared. In that place they built a hermitage. There the Lima district of Barranco would be founded.
Barranco, the bohemian district of Lima
Barranco is one of the most touristic districts of Lima. In the past it was a fishermen’s place. Later it became the favorite spa of the Lima upper class. Today it is a welcoming place that breathes culture, tradition and a lot of history.
The district is inhabited mainly by families of middle and upper socioeconomic class who have managed to beautify its streets with parks, boardwalks, murals and fashion stores.
It is recognized as the bohemian district of Lima for its bars, nightclubs and also for the artists who reside there. Some examples are the photographer Mario Testino, the writer Mario Vargas Llosa, the writer Abraham Valdelomar, etc.
The streets of Barranco display beautiful murals. In addition to the ‘street art’, its art galleries and the cultural atmosphere that is breathed everywhere stand out. Barranco has one of the best municipal libraries in Lima.
Barranco borders the touristy and modern district of Miraflores so there are not a few tourists who take a walk there. It is a safe place with commercial stores with a ‘cool’ touch. There is also a good offer of tourist accommodation and good quality restaurants.
Its main tourist attractions are: the Barranco hermitage, the Bridge of Sighs, the descent of the baths, the municipal library, the Church of the Holy Cross, the Pedro de Osma museum, the house of the writer Abraham Valdelomar, the Mario Testino museum and its peaceful boardwalks overlooking the sea.
Barranco is located on the central coast of Lima. It is bordered to the north by the famous Miraflores district, to the east by the Santiago de Surco district, to the south by the Chorrillos district and to the west by the sea.
How to get there from the center of Lima?
The Barranco district is located about 12 kilometers by road from the Center of Lima. To get there you must take a taxi service (cost approximately 20 Peruvian soles).
Another option is to take a public transport service, the so-called ‘Metropolitano buses’ which have a cost of 2 soles and 50 cents per passenger. The whereabouts of these buses are just a few steps from the main square of Barranco.
History of Barranco
In pre-Hispanic times, the current territory of Barranco was part of the manors of Carabayllo, Marango and Sulco. This last place, the lordship of Sulco with its capital Armatampu, covered part of the current territories of Surco, Chorrillos and Barranco.
During the colonial period, the place became an encomienda in charge of Antonio Del Solar, Francisco Pizarro’s companion. In those years the site was characterized by its fields of fruit and farms with beautiful views facing the sea.
After the independence of Peru in 1821 it began to be the preferred resort of the Lima upper class. At that time the first French-style mansions were built. In 1858, President Ramón Castilla ordered the construction of the railway that connects Lima with Chorrillos and crosses through Barranco. Finally, on October 26, 1874, it became a district.
Perhaps the darkest chapter of Barranco happened during the War with Chile. In 1881, after the battle of San Juan, the Chilean army arrived in the district destroying and setting fire to its main monuments such as the hermitage and the Bridge of Sighs.
After a progressive reconstruction, at the beginning of the 20th century the Barranco district was consolidated as the place of residence of the main families of the city. Despite subsequent earthquakes that damaged the district, the beautification of Barranco was progressive until it became the historical and cultural district that it is today.
The hermitage of Barranco
The Barranco hermitage is the most historic and symbolic building in the district. It was built in the middle of the 18th century as a religious sanctuary. It is located on the street of the same name, a few blocks from the ‘Bridge of Sighs’. Throughout its history it suffered several renovations as a result of the War with Chile (1882) and various earthquakes. It is currently closed for damage to its structures.
The bridge of sighs
This wooden bridge is the most famous tourist attraction in Barranco. It was inaugurated on February 14, 1876, however, it was destroyed shortly after during the Chilean invasion. The bridge is 44 meters long (and 3 meters wide). It stands 8.5 meters above the street ‘Bajada de Banos’ (which leads to the beach). It is the preferred place for young lovers. It is believed that crossing it with bated breath can fulfill a wish. The composer Chabuca Granda composed a waltz for him entitled ‘The Bridge of Sighs’.
Its streets and murals
The streets of Barranco are serene and safe. In them it is not difficult to come across murals created by Peruvian artists. Some of the streets adorned with unique murals are: the Oroya passage, the Bajada de Banos street, the Sánchez Carrión passage and more. In the district there are also art galleries where you can see works by local and foreign artists. One of the most famous is ‘The House of Design’, ‘Daedalus’ and more.
Barranco, along with Miraflores, have the most beautiful boardwalks in the city. To get there, you must go down Bajada de Banos Street, which was used by local fishermen at the beginning of the 19th century. The ‘Catalina Recavarren’ viewpoint stands out with beautiful views of the sea. The most famous Barranco beaches are ‘Las piedritas’, ‘Los pavos’, ‘Barranquito’, ‘Las cascadas’, ‘Los yuyos’ and ‘Las umbrellas’. It is even possible to surf on some of these beaches.
Restaurants and cafes
Barranco offers some of the best restaurants and cafes in the city, many of which have a modern and artistic vibe. It is worth mentioning the cafe restaurant ‘Isolina’, a fine place where the specialty is Creole recipes such as anticuchos, picarones and other Lima desserts. Another of the most famous is the restaurant ‘El tío Mario’ located next to the Bridge of Sighs. It offers Creole dishes such as lomo saltado, anticuchos and desserts. Barranco also has small street stalls where the city’s most famous dishes and desserts are sold.
Barranco is one of the best parties in the city. In the vicinity of the main square, on the so-called boulevard, you will find streets full of discos and bars for all tastes. Some of the most recommended establishments are: El Dragón, Sargento Pimienta Rock Bar, La Noche de Barranco, D’Rumba bar & disco, dejavu, Wahio’s bar and El mal de amores.
Barranco has an important offer of tourist accommodation, from 4-star services to economic options for ‘backpackers’ visitors. The following stand out: Casa República Barranco Boutique Hotel (4 stars), Hotel B (4 stars), Villa Barranco by Ananay Hotels (4 stars), Casa Falleri Boutique Hotel (4 stars), Hotel Park Suites (4 stars), Hotel Bohemia (3 stars), The Point (shared rooms), Kaminu hostel (shared rooms), Barranco’s Backpackers Inn (shared rooms) and more.
Photos of Barranco
The square Chabuca Granda is another of the most historic and famous spots in the district. It has a monument in homage to the Lima singer-songwriter María Isabel Granda y Larco. At its side there is a sculpture of the chalán José Antonio Lavalle y García for whom ‘Chabuca’ composed the popular waltz ‘José Antonio’.
Due to the deterioration of the Barranco hermitage, the authorities ordered the construction of a main temple, which is called Iglesia Santísima Cruz de Barranco and is located in the main square. The work was inaugurated on June 1, 1963. It stands out for its neo-baroque façade.
Barranco is one of the safest districts in Lima. Anyway, take your precautions and avoid carrying valuable objects such as fine watches or chains of valuable materials.
The climate in Barranco is humid and varies according to the time of year. In winter (from June 22 to September 22) the temperature reaches a minimum of 14ºC. and a maximum of 20ºC. In summer (from December 22 to March 21) the temperature reaches a minimum of 19ºC. and a maximum of 29ºC.