Every city has its secrets, and Lima is no different. We’ve put together some "inside information" and travel tips for Barranco, our favorite corner of the city. Barranco is one of Lima's 43 districts, but in our opinion, it has the most color, flavor, culture, art, and tradition - all mixed into one fantastic space in the city. Although it's the smallest district in Lima, it has it all. This blog will explore what to do, where to eat, and what to visit to make the most of your time in Barranco, Lima.
Peru has been voted the world's leading culinary destination for seven years consecutively so yes, you would be remiss if you didn't spend a little time looking into the foodie scene. Keeping in line with the long tradition of respecting one's environment, most top restaurants in Lima are committed to seasonal menus as well as using local ingredients with sophisticated techniques to preserve the ancestral lineage and importance given to the entire cycle of food production with a heavy focus on sustainability.
A couple of players that go above and beyond in this area are chef Virgilio Martinez of Central and MIL Centro, Pía León of Kjolle, Pedro Miguel Schiaffino of Malabar, Ricardo Martins of Siete and Arlette Eulert of Matria. If you want even more out of the experience, try one of our Lima food tours.
2. Suma Umaña: Know How to Drink
It is to let it enter your heart, take of the heart and emerge from the heart to run and flow like the river.
You may have heard of the Pisco Sour by now, Peru's flagship cocktail and with good reason - it's a drink that can certainly have you leading from the heart with just a few sips. The spirit itself, pisco, has only been in production since the arrival of the Spanish to the continent in the 16th century when grapes were introduced to the region, same goes for wine. We are beginning to see a focus however on natural wines that truly tap into the local soil, climate and nutrients in a way that highlights their unique profiles. A must-try leader of the trend are wines and piscos from the boutique producer Bodega Murga. For the beer lovers you can find some extremely creative craft brews made with quinoa, Peruvian cocoa, local chile peppers like the rocoto and a number of other flavorful alternatives. Check out the beer from Magdalena, Barbarian or Sierra Andina.
3. Suma Thokoña: Know How to Dance
To connect to the cosmos, all activities should be carried out with a spiritual dimension.
| || |
There are some amazing local dances that if you get the chance, don't pass up the opportunity to see them. On the coast, the marinera is the most representative dance, although the Andean communities take it to the next level with la diablada and the mind-blowing scisssor dance. The scissor-whaaaat? The scissor dance, or el baile de las tijeras, where men face-off battling with dance moves that push human dexterity to new limits all while maintaing the rhythm of the music with a pair of scissors in their hands.
4. Suma Ikiña: Know How to Sleep
Going to bed before midnight, the nighttime energy plus the energy from the next morning, is energy from two days.
Early to bed, early to rise. Doesn't need much more explanation than that.
5. Suma Irnakaña: Know How to Work
From the original indigenous perspective, work is not suffering; it is happiness. It should be carried out with passion, intensely.
I mean we're all here and we all have to find some way to provide for ourselves, so no matter what you do, throw yourself into it. What have you go to lose? If you give it your best, no one can take that away from you whether you succeed or not, the worst you will have gained is experience. Go for it.
6. Suma Lupiña: Know How to Meditate
Silence balances and harmonizes, therefore balance is reestablished through one’s silence (Amiki).
If you're looking for a retreat, a little peace and quiet to clear your mind, Peru is a dream destination. What's more magical than the fresh air of the Andes where you're so high up you're almost among stars. You don't necessarily have to book a yoga retreat either (although there are many fantastic options if that's what floats your boat), as many of the Andean lodges are built in such a way that the ambience encourages you to carve out a little time during your trip just to be, to take it all in, to breathe in as deeply as possible and center yourself before continuing the journey.
7. Suma Amuyaña: Know How to Think
It is reflection, not only from a rational viewpoint, but from one’s feelings. Without losing our mind, let’s walk the path of our heart.
What most people find when they travel to Peru is the tremendous humanity that is bestowed upon guests visiting from abroad, all across the board, but particularly in the hospitality sector. It is not a disingenuous welcome one might expect in countries that are home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but a connection full of feeling and warmth at being able to share such a rich culture and ancient customs.
More than thinking about all of the experiences you have to explore in Peru, the best way to get the most out of your trip is to dive in head over heels and feel it at a deeper level because that will be the greatest gift you can give yourself once you return home.
8. Suma Munaña, Munayasiña: Know How to Love and Be Loved
Respect for everything that exists creates harmonious relationships.
So this definitely pre-dates Aretha however we see this recurring theme in just about all aspects of our lives from time to time: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. If your relationships are based on respect to the fullest degree, then finding the flow and reciprocity leads to harmony. The golden rule, anybody?
9. Suma Ist’ aña | Know How to Listen
Listening is not only accomplished with the ears; it is perceived, felt, listening is with our whole body. If all things are living, all things also speak.
The Andean cosmovision once again tells us to reside a little less in our minds and tap into our other senses to listen and gain information. We all know that sometimes our gut tells us more than what our head can suss out of a situation and by quieting the mind we can sharpen the other communication tools we have at our disposal.
10. Suma Aruskipaña: Know How to Speak
Before speaking, one must feel and think well. To speak well means speaking to build, support and add something.
Can I get an "Amen?!" If everytime someone opened their mouth to speak it had to be with the intention to build, support and add something can you even allow yourself to imagine what the world would look like? We're constantly surrounded and bombarded with opinions, judgments, fluff, criticisms (not the constructive kind) and quiet frankly, a lot of hot air. Mindfulness in speech could take us a long way. One of the best ways of experiencing a culture is also through the language. You would do yourself a big favor if you picked up a little Spanish before the trip, or even better for the Andes, Quechua. A language is a living, evolving organism that allows one access to a different mindset and even different ways of understanding the same concept. It's never too late to break out the Rosetta Stone and start building your base or even sign up for a language exchange.
11. Suma Samkasiña: Know How to Dream
Through dreaming we perceive life. To dream is to project life.
Peru is a place that has something for every kind of dreamer. If you like adventure there are waterfalls, mountain hikes, white-water rafting, swimming excursions with sealions, paragliding from the coastal cliffs of Lima or riding in dune-buggies at sunset around a desert oasis. For the lovers of luxury, you can find remote jungle paradises tucked away in the Amazon where pink dolphins and the forest canopy await, Andean sanctuaries surrounded by hotsprings, fields of lavender spread across the Sacred Valley and wine tasting at the oldest vineyard in South America. For the artists, museums and small art galleries are peppered throughout Lima, street murals add vibrant colors and other-worldly imagery to colonial streets and the architecture spanning from pre-Hispanic times to the modern era will provide enough visual stimulation to inspire your next project.
12. Suma Sarnaqaña: Know How to Walk
Weariness does not exist for one who knows how to walk. We must be conscious that one never walks alone.
Itineraries for Peru, especially on a first trip, would not be complete without at least some time spent walking along the steep inclines and the majestic slopes of the Andes. There are a number of treks you can combine with a Machu Picchu visit or Rainbow Mountain, but if you're looking for something off the beaten path Huayna Picchu, Gocta and Kuelap are excellent options. There is still so much of the country to be explored and as mass tourism has not yet arrived, now is the perfect time to wander.
13. Suma Churaña, Suma Katukaña: Know How to Give and Receive
Everything flows in life: we give and receive. The two forces interacting creates life.
That sums it up. Give and receive. It doesn't get much simpler than that.
A little food for thought. If we all make some small changes and tweaks to find that balance, we just might wake up to a whole new world.
The best restaurants in Lima all bring exceptional value to the table, whether that be found in the quality of the ingredients, the creativity of the chef and culinary team, the inspiring ambience or the entire story narrated from the beginning until the end of the experience. In counted, unique cases there are opportunities for some of the best dining in Lima when all of these factors unite for one incredible meal. To take matters a step further, there are great rewards for those who decide to leverage Lima’s year-round mild climate and offer guests a respite from the hustle and bustle by providing chic and cozy outdoor seating and rooftop patios. You don’t have to venture very far off the beaten path to become completely enamored by these top restaurants in Lima that serve their delicious bites with a side of fresh air.
This spacious rooftop patio nearly takes you to the clouds as the highest rooftop terrace in Lima located on the 22nd floor. With several different dining areas, guests can choose the spot that best fits the mood for the moment whether that be the polished and sophisticated bar, the formal dining room with views of the kitchen, or our favorite, the outdoor terrace. On many weeknights, Azotea Doce also organizes live music, which provides the perfect recipe for a great time. The dishes are delicately crafted and artfully presented and although on the light side, the flavor alone more than satiates the palate.
Type of cuisine
Contemporary Creative | $$$
Address & Telephone
Flora Tristan 310 Magdalena del Mar
T: + 51 (1) 510 2222
Tue-Wed 12 PM - 1 AM
Thurs-Sat 12 PM - 3 AM
Sunday (Brunch also!!) 10:30 AM- 5 PM
Among the best restaurants in Barranco, you’ll find a stunning spot that invites you to relax and lean into the district’s bohemian vibe. Located in a gorgeous renovated mansion along San Martin Avenue, you’ll pass through the gates and into an open space that extends all the way to the landscaped garden at the back of the property. The outdoor bar and wood-burning oven are the highlights at Dada but you’ll find a colorful and theatrical escape within each room of the house’s interior. It’s the perfect plan for a few drinks and tapas after discovering all of the vibrant things to do in Barranco.
Type of cuisine
Peruvian Tapas | $$
Address & Email
Av San Martin 154, Barranco
Mon 7 PM - 1 AM
Tues 7 PM - 3 AM
Wed-Sat 6 PM - 3 AM
Tucked into a quaint, green corner in the heart of Miraflores, La Plazita is always a winning option. Just blocks from the iconic Larco Avenue, you’ll find a relaxing patio that has something for everyone. The restaurant’s casual, elegant style puts the menu front and center with fresh Peruvian fusions that allow the country’s rich biodiversity to be the protagonist. La Plazita, without a doubt, is one of the best restaurants in Miraflores with outdoor seating.
Type of cuisine
Contemporary Peruvian | $$
Address & Telephone
San Fernando 380, Miraflores
T: +51 994 972 336
Mon-Sat 12:30 PM - 11:30 PM
Sun 12:30 - 5:00 PM
No visit to Lima would be complete without the Nikkei experience. The Peruvian-Japanese fusion has brought us innumerable culinary gifts thanks to both cultures’ millenary appreciation for the sea. If you can’t get a table at Latin America’s top restaurant, Maido, don’t fret as Lima has some amazing options for you to get a taste of Nikkei cuisine and one of those happens to have a killer terrace. Osaka sits right on the edge of the San Isidro district and from the sensory-packed descent into the depths of this underground lair, you can tell it will be an experience. The food, the drinks and obviously the terrace make this a great spot to spend an evening in Lima.
Type of cuisine
Japanese - Peruvian | $$$
Address & Telephone
Felipe Pardo y Aliaga 660, San Isidro
T: +51 (1) 222 0405
Mon-Sat 1 PM - 4 PM | 7 PM - 12 AM
If you have a special appreciation for extreme attention to detail and you’re craving an alternative to the widely-recommended cebichería La Mar, then Barra Lima is your place. Don’t let the unassuming trappings fool you, the dishes are nothing short of exquisite. It’s apparent that the execution of each dish was planned down to the exact position of every element on the plate and the flavors follow suit making it a well-rounded experience. Barra Lima shows us native Peruvian ingredients reimagined and recomposed. The bonus is the al fresco patio which allows you to do some light people watching as you’ll be curbside one of Lima’s prime boutique shopping avenues, Conquistadores.
Type of cuisine
Contemporary Peruvian | $$
Address & Telephone
Av. Los Conquistadores 904, San Isidro
T: +51 993 296 845
Tues 12 PM - 6 PM | 7 PM - 10:30 PM
W-F 12 PM - 4 PM | 7 PM - 10:30 PM
Sat 12 PM - 5 PM | 7 PM - 10:30 PM
Sun 12 PM - 5 PM
For some, sitting down to a meal is about so much more than the flavors and aromas because the preparation for the dishes began much before, when the seeds were planted, even far before harvest. Conscious dining is a trend becoming ever-more present as guests want to know more about the origins of their meals and the micro-economy affected by their conscious decisions regarding consumption. Lucky for Lima, there is a centrally-located Miraflores rooftop paradise that cooks up just the kind of dishes that care for the environment and are sourced locally. Cous Cous is a lovely option with well-being at the heart of the matter. If you are looking for vegetarian options, check out our list of the best vegetarian restaurants in Lima.
Type of cuisine
Mediterranean-Peruvian | $$
Address & Telephone
Calle Bolívar 164, Miraflores
T: +51 969 371 093
Tues -Sun 12 PM - 2 AM
If cocktails are your focus, then this rooftop bar is the perfect place to start the evening, or even end it for that matter. The upbeat music and understated décor give a feel of sophistication and a jolt of energy that make this the perfect space if you’re feeling more social. You’ll find locals and visitors alike as Celeste’s cool vibe has wide-reaching appeal.
Type of cuisine
Cocktails + Snacks | $$$
Address & Telephone
Av Jorge Basadre 367, San Isidro
T: +51 (1) 611 1246
Mon-Sat 5 PM - 1 AM
Last but certainly not least is easily one of the most incredible outdoor patios of them all – the Huaca Pucllana. Nestled within an archeological complex dating back 1,500 years, you’ll dine at one of the best restaurants in Lima while overlooking pre-Incan ruins. With the intricate, gourmet twist given to some of Peru’s most traditional dishes, it’s hard to say which stands out more, the food or the views. While this fine dining establishment is the perfect option for treating yourself to an incredible experience for lunch or dinner, in the evenings they also have an outdoor bar where you can grab a drink just to see the site illuminated at night or join us on a Lima food tour for a visit.
Type of cuisine
Gourmet Peruvian | $$$
Address & Telephone
Calle General Borgoño, Miraflores
T: +51 (1) 445 4042
Mon-Sun 12 PM - 4 PM | 7 PM - 12 AM
Where do you even begin to plan for your trip to Lima, let alone Peru? Nowdays there is a wealth of information available like never before and even the most savvy of travelers can get bogged down by the plurality of voices sharing their experiences. The ideal scenario would be to have a local friend to call on for insider insights, someone whose taste and characterization of a place you could blindly trust. What is perhaps the next best thing? The perspective of an expat who understands the culture, history and nuances of a place, while also bridging the divide through their own native cultural lens. In that sense you would get the best of both worlds, essentially a shortcut to the “meat and potatoes” of a destination through a curated itinerary that would allow you to get the most out of your trip. Today is your lucky day, because that is just what I’m offering you – a way to hack your travel planning to Lima. I’m a Kansas City native who has spent the last 15 years as an expat, the last eight of which have been spent in Peru alongside my Lima-born husband, Lucas, helping visitors discover the best of what the country has to offer. So, here are my two cents on how to hack Lima and have an unforgettable stay in the City of Kings.
where to stay in lima
While Lima has 43 districts, or neighborhoods, you can safely narrow your visit down to three or four where you’ll be wandering: Miraflores, Barranco, San Isidro and Lima’s historic center. There are a few outliers you may hit along the way but for the most part you’ll be in and out just to see a main attraction or two. The best areas to book your hotel would be, hands-down, Miraflores or Barranco.
Miraflores offers a modern view of the city with lots of shops, most of the upscale restaurants and you’ll even find many international chains (sometimes a comfort, but I know you did not come all the way to Peru just to hit up Starbucks). Miraflores is a safe neighborhood where you can walk around and get a feel for how the city has developed over the last 40 years; there are beautifully landscaped parks, the coastal promenade, or malecón in local lingo, bike lanes, paragliding and more. While you can find internationally recognized hotel chains like the Marriott and Hilton, I’m a believer in getting carried away by the charm of a boutique hotel. A couple of lovely options that are well-located and are a big hit are: Hotel de Autor and La Quinta Miraflores Boutique
Barranco is the bohemian, romantic and even slightly hipster side of the city. Here you’ll find gorgeous traditional mansions that have been restored and invite you travel back in time. The colors of the neighborhood pop as you walk through the narrow, tree-lined streets and appreciate the eclectic architecture, eye-catching street art and boutique art galleries that are peppered throughout the area. The laid-back vibe and mix of traditional styles infused with a modern twist make this district truly unique and unforgettable. Looks like people have begun to take notice as some amazing boutique hotels have opened recently allowing guests to be fully immersed in Barranco’s hallmark style. Try Casa Republica or Villa Barranco for an extra special stay in Lima.
what to eat in lima
If you haven’t tried Peruvian cuisine before now, then there is no better place than Lima. And even if you have, be prepared to be blown away by the freshness of the ingredients, variety of flavors and seemingly boundless fusions. This is undoubtedly the longest section of tips; after all, we do run Lima food tours so we believe this is one of the best ways to get to know Peru. With limited time in the city, you’ll still be able to understand why Lima has been declared the Leading Culinary Destination in the World for the last six years by the World Travel Awards. By now, most people have heard of cebiche and the pisco sour, Peru’s flagship dish and drink, even if you haven’t tried it, however the country’s rich foodie history has so much more to offer. Let’s take a look:
top restaurants in lima
Every year The World’s 50 Best Restaurants publishes a ranking of … well, the world’s 50 best restaurants. Lima is home to three of those highly-acclaimed eateries, a feat only Mexico City, London and New York can also claim. When you stack the contenders against each other, Lima’s restaurants are actually ranked highest, one justifying factor in deeming Lima a culinary mecca. So what are they? Central, Maido and Astrid y Gastón. As you can imagine, these hot spots fill up months in advance so make sure you plan ahead if you want a seat at the table (pun totally intended). If you’ve left your planning to the last minute, no worries, there are options. Just like any restaurant, the top three also get cancellations so depending on how badly you want to get in, it’s always worth a try to head directly to the restaurant to see if you can nab a table as a walk-in if they’ve any received cancellations or no-shows. We’ve found that in many cases, lady luck is on your side and guests end up getting in without prior reservations, just depends.
other fine dining alternatives in lima
If you didn’t get the reservation at one of the coveted top three, never fear, Lima has other amazing options that are just as good. For molecular gastronomy that turns the dining experience into a full-blown exhibit on artistic expression, IK is the place to be. Guests also tend to book in advance, so if you’re set on IK, try not to procrastinate when making your reservation.
For a fresh-faced but upscale farm-to-table option, Malabar is an incredible alternative. Peruvian celebrity chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino focuses on the value of local products and experiments with ways to give these ingredients new form and function for the palate. Out of the world’s 113 microclimates, Peru is fortunate enough to enjoy 84 of them and Pedro Miguel’s culinary dexterity is put on spectacular display as he artfully extracts the best qualities from Peru’s abundance.
Just in case you need one more option to get you through the trip, Rafael is an exceptional choice. Maintaining a fairly low profile on the international scene, this corner has been a chic but classic favorite among locals for years. While the bar is a phenomenal spot to people watch, the restaurant itself provides a cozy atmosphere with refined dishes that pull on inspiration from the world while using primarily Peruvian ingredients to marry local flavors with sophisticated cooking techniques.
what's all the fuss about peruvian fusions
Like many countries worldwide, over the past few hundred years Peru has welcomed waves of migrants from all over. Along with the new residents obviously came their cultures, traditions, styles and of course, cuisine. In many countries these influences were welcomed but remained ever separate from the local trends or had only a light influence over all. Peruvians, however, embraced cooking techniques, recipes and ingredients from abroad, “digested” their essence and then over the years have fused these foreign imports with traditional dishes to create completely new and unique delicacies. The principle fusions today are Japanese-Peruvian: Nikkei, Chinese-Peruvian: Chifa, African-Peruvian: Creole, and of course the European influence from mainly Spain, Italy and France.
Here are some of our favorite spots to try these famous fusions. Nikkei: Osaka, Hanzo, Dondoh or Ache are fantastic options. Chifa: Wa-Lok, Kuo-Wha or Chifa Titi will leave you wanting more. Creole: Isolina, la Huaca Pucllana or José Antonio all do the genre justice.
We’re just getting started on the food, but we’ll leave the rest for another post. In the meantime you can check out our some more of our favorite restaurants in Lima or a reduced selection of restaurants in Lima and what to order.
things to do in lima - get you cultural fix
One of the best ways to get a grasp on Peru’s incredible rich and ancient culture is through a visit to the Larco Museum. It’s one of the top museums in the country, in our opinion THE top, and houses over 40,000 artefacts that give you a glimpse into traditions, history, economy and more over approximately 4,000 years. The museum is beautifully designed and a major plus (besides the enlightening erotic huaco exhibit) is the stunning outdoor café which serves an excellent variety of Peruvian dishes that are expertly executed.
The historic center of Lima is also a spot you’ll want to check out if you’re looking to get a feel for what life was like while Peru was under the Spanish empire. The urban planning of this area was designed by conquistador Francisco Pizarro and the buildings reflect a variety of architectural styles that will keep your eyes toward the sky. In the center you’ll find no shortage of places to visit, just to name a few: Lima’s Cathedral, San Francisco Monastery, Santo Domingo Monastery, the Inquisition Museum, Plaza de Armas, Plaza San Martín, the Gastronomy Museum and the birthplace of the pisco sour, Hotel Maury.
If you want to do it all in one day so that you get to see a bit of everything at a leisurely pace, a city tour is a great way to cover the highlights. We’ve done the research for you (as well as tested the service), you can check out the itinerary here: Lima City Tour.
shopping in lima
When you’re out shopping on vacation, especially in a foreign country, it’s understandable that you would want to hone in on the products that are crafted with care, that are unique to the destination and that are going to bring back amazing memories when you get home. If it’s not for you, but a gift you’re planning to bring back, then it’s even more imperative that it be something more than a token keepsake and a present that is representative of where you’ve just been. There are all kinds of options when in Peru, so we’ll try to point you in the right direction depending on what you’re out to get. The best of the best for souvenirs from Peru are: baby alpaca, silver, organic Peruvian coffee, chocolate, pisco and unique chili pepper mixes. For a curated offer of high-end products by highly lauded Peruvian craftsmen and women Dédalo is an excellent option. If you want to peruse among endless options and perhaps try out your negotiation skills, the Inca Market is where you’ll want to be. If you are specifically looking for baby alpaca, Kuna and Sol Alpaca would work, for silver try Ilaria and for all food goods you can explore a local super market like Tottus or Vivanda.
want to do it all, but where to begin?
We’ve thought of that, too! For the last seven years we’ve been positioned as the number one tour in Lima because our routes explore different neighborhoods of Lima, the cultural, historic and socio-economic context of the country you’re visiting and of course – delicious, carefully selected tasting menus so you can have your cake and eat it, too. Check out our city and food tours of Lima for the perfect intro to Peru.
Lima Travel Tips
Your Lima Travel Guides
Things to do in Lima that make people fall in love with the city - that's precisely what we're after. We're Lucas and Sam, a Peruvian-American couple who have run the top tour in Lima for the past 10 years. It’s no coincidence that the best activities in Lima have to do with Peru’s amazing cuisine. This Kansas City girl and Lima native have lived all over the world in their corporate past lives but they traded in the daily grind for sharing their love of good food, showing off the city’s secrets and meeting awesome people along the way.
The ultimate Lima tours: no planning needed because we've already done the work for you. Prepare to experience the best of Lima.