Barranco: The Hippest Part of Lima

BarrancoThanks to the awesome power of Couchsurfing, on our first day in Lima we met a friend, Jorge.  He helped us a lot with some venue-searching we were doing for a youth orchestra from Zach’s hometown, which is coming to Peru this summer.  Jorge lived in Barranco, and just from our first meeting in a coffee shop there, we could tell it was an awesome area.  We were able to find a free B&B in the neighborhood and moved in for our last few days in Lima.

Barranco is historically the poorer, bohemian neighborhood of Lima, although just like it’s NYC counterpart (Greenwich Village) it seems to me like it’s becoming more expensive and upscale then it probably used to be.  Still, it definitely has a multicultural vibe and relaxed, “enjoy life” atmosphere.  There’s an abundance of classic old cars parked on the streets, and the buildings are all colorfully painted or covered in cool graffiti-style murals.

The main plaza of Barranco is also just a few blocks away from Lima’s best surfing beaches.  Being the Bohemian barrio, Barranco also has the best nightlife in Lima, all week long.  We went to a salsa club with a live band on a Tuesday night, and the place was crowded with awesome dancers.  Our salsa is terrible but it was super fun just to watch the band and the dancers who make it look so easy.

After several days in Barranco, neither of us was ready to leave.  We decided to add it to the list of places we could potentially live someday.  But we have to see the rest of the world before we decide!

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Random Cats

We randomly encountered this tiny park full of cats while strolling through Miraflores.  There were literally cats EVERYWHERE!

Cats on the ground.
Cats on the steps.
Cats under the bench.

And then we saw the sign…

"Prohibited to abandon cats in a public place"

So was this a former dumping ground for unwanted pets and the sign was just recently posted?  Or is everyone just blatantly ignoring it?  What is UP with this place?  Quite random and funny.

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Miraflores – The Fancy Lima Barrio

This post is about the Lima barrio of Miraflores, which literally means “Look!  Flowers” in Spanish.  Miraflores does have many parks full of beautiful blooms, and is the most upscale, cosmopolitan neighborhood in Lima.  It’s where all the classiest hotels and restaurants are located.  Wandering through Miraflores almost gave us reverse culture shock because of how similar to the U.S.A. it seemed.  While not cheap, it is a beautiful area with great shopping and great food.  It’s definitely one of the places that people who stereotype Peru as entirely rural, old-fashioned, and impoverished need to see.

Miraflores - The Fancy Lima Barrio

Miraflores - The Fancy Lima Barrio

Miraflores - The Fancy Lima Barrio

Enjoy this post about Miraflores – Lima – Peru?  Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

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Café Cultural Restaurant Expreso Virgen de Guadalupe in Barranco, Lima, Perú

We very happily stumbled upon this excellent vegetarian buffet inside an old train car while wandering Barranco looking for a lunch spot.  For only 16 Soles, it is a steal!  The selection is also excellent, the food delicious, and the location could not be more unique!

The train car is from 1909, and the furniture and decor is all from that time period and beautifully maintained.  The buffet includes chicha to drink, a myriad of fresh veggies and salads, a soup, several delicious entrees and sides, and a couple desserts to choose from.

As salads and food this healthy is hard to come by in Perú (on our budget), we absolutely LOVED indulging in plate after plate of vitamin-rich veggie goodness!

This place was so good that we had to go back for a second lunch two days later.  Who knows, it’s quite likely we’ll end up back again for our third time today!

Location: Av. Prolongación San Martín 15, Barranco, Lima.  (Just off the main plaza.)

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Centro Lima: A Lot More Fun Than Expected

Plaza de Armas

Coming into Lima we were not sure what to expect.  There have been a few big cities in South America that we have really liked, but a lot of the time they are just BIG CITIES and full of trash and smog and grumpy people.  I tried to come into Lima with an open mind but deep down I expected the city of 7.5 million to drive me nuts.  However, after our bus dropped us off and we took a friendly taxi to our hostel and we sat trying to grasp the history, culture, architecture….  I soon realized that my idea of what we would find in Lima was very, very wrong.


The downtown was clean, with tons of shops, restaurants, bars, and people everywhere.  All of the buildings were colorful and old but not built crazy tall like in New York City.  And best of all, the people were friendly and helpful and seemed generally happy.

Lima is full of color

We spent three days in central Lima wandering, watching, learning.  It was nice to be in such a walkable city, with something new and entertaining on every corner.  We made friends, enjoyed the fast internet, ate good food and lots of cheap soft serve ice cream.  Life was good.

Plaza San Martín
The Spanish conquistadors hired a local artist and asked for a "llama" crown to be placed on the woman's head. They meant a crown of flames but didn't think about the Spanish word's double meaning. Hence, the llama crown.

Every Sunday there are big shows with traditional music and dancing.  It was nice to be entertained without Soles falling out of our pockets.  These guys wore very colorful clothes and danced a fast and chaotic jig.

Traditional dancer

After three nights in central Lima, we found a barrio near the beach where the more bohemian folks hang out.  However, we did have enough time for one last ice cream cone.

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Fayslin Chifa in Barranco, Lima, Perú

Soup for starters.

Right across the street from our bed and breakfast in Barranco we found this amazing chifa/traditional Peruvian place.  They serve good soup and daily lunch set-lunch specials for a good price.

Ají de gallina

We tried a few of their main courses and all were tasty and filling.  Carrie especially like the “aji de gallina”, sliced potatoes, shredded chicken, and onions in the deliciously-cheesy “huacaina” sauce (I found a recipe here and will definitely be trying to replicate it back the US).  They have an enormous menu, offering both typical Peruvian almuerzo combinations and a huge selection of Chinese options, all of which come with wonton soup.

Macarrones=basically pasta bolognese

Here’s their menu!

A classic Peruvian chifa.

Location:  Corner of Grau and Pierola, Barranco, Lima, Peru

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Restaurant El Cubanito in Miraflores, Lima, Perú

Restaurant El Cubanito is one of many similar traditional-Peruvian “set lunch” restaurants in central Miraflores.  What sets this place apart from the rest is its good value, friendly waiters, large selection, and a juice refill  (“UNLIMITED JUICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  If you get that reference, we love you).

Although “almuerzos” (set lunches) including “entradas” and “segundos” (appetizers and entrees) are common in Lima as well as in most of Perú, most do not include beverages and dessert like El Cubanito.  I started with the ceviche, which was fresh and just a touch spicy, a very classic costal Peruvian dish.  Carrie’s appetizer, the tequeños, were a little skimpy in the cheese filling but were redeemed by the delicious huacaína dipping sauce (which we MUST learn to make when we get home!).


We both had the pollo a la plancha con pure (grilled chicken with mashed potatoes) as our main.  Way to branch out, I know.  The chicken in the main course was well seasoned and as usual the perfect Peruvian mashed potatoes took the show.  The dish was also served with white rice.

Pollo a la plancha con pure

The accompanying fresh-squeezed pear juice and fruit salad dessert rounded out the meal sweetly.  We left full but feeling like we had actually had a very well-rounded, not unhealthy, meal.  We would definitely visit El Cubanito again to try more almuerzo combinations!

Location:  San Martín 443, Miraflores, Lima

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