On our way back to the US from Peru, we had a day to spend in Lima and chose to spend it in the Barranco district. Barranco is Lima’s bohemian, funky neighborhood. It is artsy, creative, laid back, trendy, and mostly non-touristy, which made me love it even though we spent less than 24 hours here.
We stayed in this Airbnb , which turned out to be a great decision. The home was owned by a Peruvian-Italian couple and fitted the neighborhood perfectly with its eclectic décor, a Peruvian hairless dog, and laid back vibe. I’ve always had good experiences at Airbnb rentals and this was no different.
We also saw a number of boutique looking, artsy hotels in the area, so there are plenty of hotel options if that’s what you prefer.
Barranco is the smallest district in Lima and is easily walkable. We loved walking around looking at the colorful houses built in the colonial style (“casonas”), many of which date back to the 1800’s.
If you are feeling particularly romantic (or not), head to the Puente de los Suspiros, the Bridge of Sighs, which is a popular spot for lovers’ trysts. There is a lovely park that overlooks the bridge, which is a good to spot to spend some time and relax.
Although we didn’t get to it, the historical museum, Pedro de Osma that houses a colonial art collection came highly recommended. There are also plenty of art galleries, cute boutiques, and trendy coffee shops to spend your time at.
Walk the Bajada de los Baños, the walkway to the Pacific Ocean and catch the sunset from there. Fun fact: Did you know Lima is the only capital city in the world that lies on the Pacific Coast?
By night, the main square is a fun stop – fountains, statues, colorful flowers, the main cathedral, and lively with people and street performers. Ignore the Starbucks and head to one of the killer bars around instead!
La Canta Rana is absolutely fantastic for ceviche and seafood. It is part restaurant, part sports bar, but fully outstanding, as the lines of locals will indicate. The menu is daunting, but ask for suggestions and you will be helped. We enjoyed big plates of ceviche, tiradito, shrimp al ajillo, and seafood fried rice. Of course, washed down with beer. We didn’t want to leave.
Sandwiches Monstruos Lima is obsessed with sandwiches. After our epic afternoon meal at La Canta Rana, we were too full for dinner, but needed some food later at night to soak up all the drinking in between. Sanwiches Monstuous was perfect. It’s a hole in the wall – you stand in line on the street, get your monster sandwich, and eat it standing on the street. Totally inexpensive and hits the spot. Would be a perfect start to the night out as well.
La Lucha We really loved the sandwiches from the previous night and had to get another one before we left Lima. Sangucheria La Lucha is a popular spot with a few different locations in Lima. Technically, there isn’t one in Barranco but it’s a quick cab ride away, or a few minutes’ walk. We stopped by on our way to the airport (yes, we really wanted the sandwich) and were really glad we did so. The “pavo a la lena” and the burger equivalent were both fantastic! If you like sandwiches, you will love La Lucha and you absolutely must go here if you are in Lima. They also have a number of fruit juices and smoothies – and you know the Peruvian fruits are divine!
Ayahuasca This is probably only of the coolest bars I have been to anywhere. Set in a huge colonial mansion, each room has a different theme and décor to go with the bohemian vibes. There’s always something new to see in each room, and the cocktails are equally interesting. Sipping PIsco sours and wandering around the house was a fun way to spend our last night in Peru. The party starts only after midnight in Lima, and there was a long line of people waiting to get in when we left (already too late for us!) just past midnight.
La Noche This is another bar set in an old mansion on a street that is lined with bars. La Noche is popular locally for its live performances – ranging from jazz, rock, and trova. Lots of big Peruvian musicians play here and there is a gig almost every night. There is also a main bar where no live music is played but you can still enjoy drinks and Peruvian food. This seemed to be a favorite watering hole for the locals, and it is definitely worth a visit.
Barranco Beer Company For a change from the piscos, head to this craft beer pub for good beer at good prices. They have a large selection of microbrews produced on site and you have several options for serving size.
All in, 24 hours in Lima was not enough to enjoy this city enough, but I’m glad we spent it in Barranco!