Named after the ravine that slices through the district and opens onto its sandy shores, Barranco is the bohemian heart of Lima where many of the country's foremost artists, musicians, photographers and designers live and work. Its charming colonial and Republican mansions, flowery parks and languid aura give it a distinctly romantic feel and its Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs) is a tryst for lovers all across the city. Legend has it that the daughter of a wealthy man living in one of the mansions by this bridge fell in love with a poor street sweeper and since her father forbade their marriage she lived out the rest of her life as a spinster. She would wait by her window to catch sight of her beloved, and her wistful sighs reached the ears of those walking over the bridge. Beneath the bridge there is a lovely walkway through the ravine leading to the beach.
In the 1800s Barranco was a favorite beach resort of the aristocracy of Lima and today it is a popular destination for surfers all around the world. Some of Lima's prominent museums are located here, including the museum of contemporary art and the Pedro de Osma Museum with its exceptional collection of colonial art. At night, the area around Barranco's beautiful municipal plaza is inundated with young people drawn to its numerous nightclubs, discos, bars, peñas and restaurants.