Miraflores Vs. Barranco: The Best Neighborhood in Lima?
Miraflores was once known as THE gringo hangout in Lima, Peru. Backpackers, long-term travelers, and Machu Picchu visitors spent nearly all their time in Lima in the swanky neighborhood.
After all, Miraflores is one of the safest neighborhoods in all of Latin America, and certainly one of the nicest in all of Peru. Why would a traveler stay anywhere else?
Then Barranco burst on the scene, and the Miraflores vs. Barranco debate began among the ragtag group of gringos that venture to Lima, Peru.
At first, I was baffled. My first trip to Peru I never even considered Barranco. It was viewed as a grungy backpacker hangout for budget travelers wouldn't couldn't afford Miraflores.
But, when I began researching Airbnb apartments, I started to see some of the benefits Barranco provided the average traveler.
So, what's the best neighborhood in Lima? Miraflores vs. Barranco? Well…
Miraflores Vs. Barranco: The Best Neighborhood in Lima?
Enough of the hearsay. Let's dig in and find out. Here's my take on the Miraflores vs. Barranco debate:
Cost of Living
One of the biggest differences between Miraflores and Barranco is the cost of living. Make no mistake about it – Miraflores is more expensive than Barranco.
Miraflores is an upscale neighborhood, it's safe, and has every modern amenity a traveler could ever ask for. Even the medical services are pretty good in Miraflores.
Barranco has a lot to offer, but don't make the mistake of thinking Barranco is on the level as Miraflores when it comes to amenities. There's a reason it costs more to live in Miraflores.
Generally, you'll pay 15-20% in Miraflores – for everything! For example:
- Hostels: The Point Hostel in Barranco costs around $10-12 USD a night for a dorm bed. Loki Hostel in Miraflores costs $13-14 USD.
- Airbnb Apartments: Monthly Airbnb apartment rentals tend to start at $750 a month in Miraflores. That's for a full studio or one-bedroom with a kitchen, WiFi, and hot water. A similar spot can be found in Barranco for $550-600 USD per month – depending on how you negotiate.
- Food: To eat at a good “menu” in Miraflores, you're looking at 12-15 Soles per set lunch meal. In Barranco, the best menu restaurant I've found was 10 Soles. Upscale meals at Peruvian restaurants in Larcomar usually start around $12-15 USD. At Javier's in Barranco, you can get an amazing meal with a view for $9-12 USD. Learn more about Peruvian food here.
Vibes & Views
Barranco is known as a bohemian neighborhood filled with travelers, artists, and locals alike. You'll find unique architecture, laid back vibes, and more.
Miraflores is a residential and commercial district. Wealthy Peruvians live here, while everyone else comes to the neighborhood to work and play.
Miraflores offers high-rise views, whereas Barranco offers boutique hotels and shopping.
While many a backpacker call Miraflores home while in Lima, there's no doubt the culture of Barranco is more conducive to budget travelers looking to relax and unwind.
You'll have to decide for yourself what you prefer – laid back vibes in Barranco or the hustle and bustle of Miraflores.
Luckily, both neighborhoods offer stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. While Barranco offers easy access to the beaches below, it's damn near impossible to compete with the amazing Malecon in Miraflores.
I've yet to find such a tranquil spot in a big city. Here you'll watch waves crash below as the sun rolls in. People come to the Malecon to work out, do yoga, and walk the dog. I loved the place!
For vibes, Barranco may be better. For views, Miraflores is tough to beat.
I'd venture to say both Barranco and Miraflores are safe neighborhoods. In fact, you can feel pretty damn comfortable stumbling home drunk at 4 a.m. after a night out in either district.
Peru just isn't that dangerous. We're not talking about Colombia here. Murder rates throughout the country are low, and you just don't have much to worry about in either of these upper-class neighborhoods.
That being said – nothing in Latin America is as safe as Miraflores. It's probably the safest neighborhood in South America. For real!
You can fly your drone, snap selfies with your iPhone X, and generally move around without a care in the world in Miraflores.
Sure, Barranco is safe enough, but it's not Miraflores safe. If safety is your main concern, stick to Miraflores while in Lima.
Dios miooo! Nightlife in Lima, Peru pops off. It's pretty damn good. You'll enjoy yourself heading out on a weekend in either of these neighborhoods in Lima.
But, which is better? Miraflores vs. Barranco?
Maybe you don't want to enjoy yourself. Maybe you're trying to really rumba. You're looking for algo duro.
Well, there's no right or wrong answer. I'd break it down by budget. The best backpacker bars are in Miraflores at some of the hostels. You can have fun on a cheap night out in Loki or Pariwana.
For big spenders, Miraflores wins, again. Starting the night off at Open Tapas Bar until midnight before rolling to Lima Bar is a combination that's simply impossible to beat. My best night in Lima I followed this plan and enjoyed some solid high-end nightlife.
However, Barranco wins in the midrange. If you're looking to hit some fun clubs and party a little without breaking the bank, then Barranco has a lot to offer.
Clubs like Dali, Noise, and Help are all great spots to party in Barranco. Plus, Ayahuasca Bar is probably the coolest place to pre-game in all of Lima. The place just has a vibe to it.
So, no real winner here. Partiers can have a great time in either neighborhood.
Miraflores offers a fairly central meeting point in Lima. The district isn't smack dab in the middle of the giant city, but it's pretty close.
Nearly every single Peruvian living in Lima knows how to get to Parque Kennedy pretty easily. It's one of the most visited areas in the city.
Barranco isn't hard to get to, per se. However, the neighborhood in Lima is a little further south.
If you want easy access to everything Lima has to offer, Miraflores may be a better choice. However, Barranco borders Miraflores, so it's not like the two areas are that far from each other.
As I alluded to previously, You'll find more modern amenities in Miraflores. There's better medical facilities, more yoga studios, coworking spaces, and better gyms in Miraflores.
If you want to live in Latin America while feeling like you're in a first-world city, Miraflores is where you want to be.
You'll find gyms, bars, cafes, and so much more in Barranco. They just won't be as nice as those in Miraflores. The amenities and standard of living just aren't the same.
Miraflores Vs. Barranco: A Gringo's Go-To Guide
So, where should you stay in Lima? To me, it all comes down to the vibe you prefer and your budget.
If you're traveling on a low budget, Barranco is tough to top. If you've got a solid budget, stick to Miraflores.
Enjoy bohemian vibes and consider yourself artistic? then Barranco may be one of your favorite neighborhoods in all of Latin America.
If you like the hustle and bustle of a big city and enjoy first-world amenities, then Miraflores will be more your speed.
Overall, you really can't go wrong with either neighborhood in Lima, Peru. I, personally, choose to live in Miraflores – as there's just a little bit more to do in Miraflores than Barranco.