Exploring Barranco in Lima: A Bohemian Enclave

March 4, 2013
Exploring Barranco in Lima, Peru

Puente de Los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs)

I’m alive!  Yes I’m alive!

Excuse me for the extended radio silence on my blog, but on a brighter note: I’m back in Lima again for another week of volunteering on a medical mission with Heart Care International.  As you all know by now, anything that involves me getting dropped off at the airport, checking in and boarding a plane en route to halfway around the world reawakens my soul like no other.

After getting picked up from the Lima airport on our way to the hotel in the district of San Isidro, I couldn’t help but feel this comforting feeling, this feeling of familiarity.  This is my fourth time in Peru’s capital within a span of 18 months and it really is starting to feel like home.

Exploring Barranco in Lima, Peru

From the gritty streets of Callao to the almost unbearable traffic and diesel fumes, nothing seems to phase us anymore.   We do, however, always look forward to enjoying our favorite Peruvian foods, maracuya Pisco Sours, the camaraderie amongst other volunteers, and meeting the children undergoing open heart surgeries.

Exploring Barranco in Lima, Peru

To start off my week here in Lima, I wanted to do a quick photo essay on Barranco.

Barranco is a tiny, bohemian seaside district in Lima to the south of the famous Miraflores.  Back in the days, this part of town used to be a famous beach resort for the wealthy citizens of Lima.  Nowadays this district is the artists’ enclave, including creative designers, photographers, entrepreneurs, and expats.

It’s “bohemian“, it’s “artsy”, it’s “trendy“.  The food and drinks are “cheaper“.  “A must visit!

I’ve read and heard about this place many times over from other volunteers and taxi drivers but never found the time to visit and explore it on foot.

Exploring Barranco in Lima, Peru

FInally one early evening last October, a couple of us nurses took a cab out to Barranco and had some drinks and tapas at an impressive place called Ayahuasca – an old colonial house turned into a beautiful lounge.   This place came highly recommended and we understood why when we got there.  From the drinks to the tapas and the music, everything was amazeballs!  

We never got to explore the neighborhood that same night because we were too worried about Hurricane Sandy.  We wanted to be back in the hotel, our eyes and ears glued to CNN, and make sure New York was still all in one piece.

Exploring Barranco in Lima, Peru

A yellow Starbucks colonial building

On my last day in Lima that time around, I finally found some time to escape the hospital-San Isidro-Miraflores bubble that we often get stuck on.  I was longing for a change of scenery and Barranco proved to be the change I was looking for.

Exploring Barranco in Lima, Peru

Exploring Barranco in Lima, Peru - overlooking the Pacific Ocean

The colonial buildings and houses were very well-preserved and brightly colored.  The neighborhood seemed very calm, very peaceful except for a few touts at some of the nearby restaurants.  The heat was bearable thanks to the comfortable Pacific Ocean breeze.

Exploring Barranco in Lima, Peru

Exploring Barranco in Lima, Peru at Kaminu Backpackers HostelAfter an hour or so of walking around the neighborhood, heading out to the beach and back, I couldn’t help but feel a tiny hint of boredom.

Is there some secret spot I didn’t know about?  Did I miss the memo?  Is there only a certain time of the day or night wherein Barranco comes to life?  Should I just find my way back to Ayahuasca?

There is so much hype about this neighborhood from the other volunteers to guidebooks and TripAdvisor that I started to wonder if I was even in the right place.  Sure enough, after talking to the owner of the restaurant I ate lunch in he filled me in on the deets.

Barranco, indeed, comes alive at night and over the weekends.  Clearly I should have known that one!

Regardless I took as many shots to my heart’s desire.  I’m a big fan of Lima’s colorful surroundings and anything that’s bright & bold captures the eye.

Exploring Barranco in Lima, Peru


Exploring Barranco in Lima, Peru

Of course, wherever a lot of artists hang out and mingle together, I know I’m always bound to stumble upon my favorite obsession – street art!

Stumbling upon street art in Barranco, Lima Peru


Stumbling upon colorful street art in Barranco, Lima Peru


Stumbling upon street art in Barranco, Lima Peru


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  • Reply Jess @UsedYorkCity March 4, 2013 at 17:36

    I loved reading this piece, truly felt like I went on a mini-vacation away from the cold NYC winter! The colorful buildings are so invigorating (even the Starbucks, love that!), and it seems like you are really discovering the local way of living! Looking forward to reading more posts!:-)
    Jess @UsedYorkCity recently posted…The Most “Fantastick” Show In The Big AppleMy Profile

    • Reply loveantoinette March 5, 2013 at 08:35

      Jess, Lima is definitely a welcome change to the frigid weather we’ve been having in New York. I don’t mind the winter and the snow as long as I’m on the slopes snowboarding, but having to walk from the subway to my house with the stinging wind – a bit torturous at times!

  • Reply memographer March 5, 2013 at 12:53

    Thanks for the introduction to Barranco district. Love the colonial houses and street art… So it’s been added to my To-Do-Go list for Lima. Looking forward to read more about Lima.
    memographer recently posted…The Streets of BerlinMy Profile

    • Reply loveantoinette March 5, 2013 at 14:13

      You will definitely enjoy colorful Lima! Now is a good time to visit since their summer season just ended but the sky is still mostly clear and the sun is still shining bright. Make sure to explore Barranco both during the day and night time!

  • Reply Andrea March 6, 2013 at 03:31

    Oh wow – this place is beautiful! Sorry we missed this in Lima…

    • Reply loveantoinette March 7, 2013 at 11:26

      Oh indeed it’s a beautiful little piece of Lima! There’s always a “next time” Andrea 🙂

  • Reply tita buds March 7, 2013 at 05:04

    When you wrote color, you meant COLOR! 🙂 Beautiful images, Antoinette. I especially like that yellow bridge which, for all I know, may be garish up close and under the noontime sun, haha, but looks so pretty and cheery from afar.
    The street art in the first picture is really good. Somewhere in that town, a great undiscovered illustrator lives. 🙂
    tita buds recently posted…Hot AirMy Profile

    • Reply loveantoinette March 7, 2013 at 11:24

      Tita Buds, when it comes to Lima I now always expect the bright & bold pops of colors everywhere. It’s truly a delight to walk around this city because of its colorful colonial houses and buildings.

  • Reply Suzy March 18, 2013 at 00:17

    I love all of the colors you found in these pockets of Lima. It certainly appears like a bright and artistic city.
    Suzy recently posted…Woodstock in Ireland: A Walk Through the WeirdMy Profile

    • Reply loveantoinette March 18, 2013 at 09:03

      Thanks Suzy! It def is the more artistic area of Lima which a lot of people love flocking to, especially at night.

  • Reply Johanna Bradley April 2, 2013 at 17:19

    That’s it! I’m getting the paintbrush out and going down our street with it. We need an injection of this colour. (don’t tell the neighbours it was me)

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