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Salon Owner Josselyn Solano's Guide to Black-Owned Lima

Black business owner Josselyn Solano’s guide to the best of Black-owned Lima.

Hairstylist Josselyn Solano's Guide to Black-Owned Lima
Hi, I'm Lauren!

Lauren is a Mexico City–based writer, editor, and translator from Yorkshire with bylines at CNN, BBC Travel, and Al Jazeera. She’s currently working on her first full-length literary translation in between harassing her cat, drinking smuggled Yorkshire Tea, and blogging about Latin American literature at leyendolatam.com.

Josselyn Solano is the founder and owner of Lima’s Prieta Perú salon, a space designed for Afro hair of all textures and lengths.

After having her hair chemically straightened for more than 15 years, she started her own process of natural hair acceptance. “Prieta is a project that grew out of my own need to learn how to care for my Afro hair after lots of chemical treatments. This space has been designed to teach you to appreciate textured hair.”

Now, Prieta Perú in Lima’s Jesús María neighborhood is a popular salon stocked with Peruvian products from brands such as Natura Perú and Orgullo Curly. Here, Josselyn shares her tips for making the most of Lima’s Black-owned businesses and beyond.

Josselyn Solano, a Black woman with afro hair smiles as the camera wearing a leopard print shirt and jeans.
Josselyn Solano owns the Prieta Peru salon in Jesús María.Foto: Josselyn Solano

Where to stay in Lima

Vast Lima can be overwhelming for the first-time visitor, which is why Josselyn recommends staying in one of two central districts—Miraflores or Barranco. “In Lima, [these are] two of the most central, safe, and interesting neighborhoods. Both have a great view over the Lima coastline, as well as several bars and restaurants where you can sample the best of our gastronomy.”

However, she also recommends staying in the center of Lima for more on-hand cultural highlights, especially related to Black Peruvian culture and history. As well as museums and churches, “in the center of Lima, you can also find the National Afro-Peruvian Museum (Museo Nacional Afroperuano) and the house of San Martín de Porres, our Afro-Peruvian saint.”

Miraflores facade in Lima, Peru
A beautiful house in Miraflores, Lima, one of the city's top neighborhoods.Foto: Sergio TB / Shutterstock

Where to eat and drink in Lima

Food for all tastes and budgets abounds in Lima, but one place Josselyn especially recommends is El Rincón Que No Conoces, founded by locally famed Afro-Peruvian chef Teresa Izquierdo, where you can eat typical Afro-Peruvian food. This Peruvian Criollo restaurant in the Lince district—which has been in business since 1978—is now helmed by Izquierdo's daughter, Elena S. Izquierdo. Pro tip: Visit on Wednesdays for a fixed-price buffet.

“You can also visit the Chabuca Granda bridge, where you’ll be able to enjoy a range of desserts, such as mazamorra (a spiced purple corn pudding), picarones (fried dough rings), and arroz con leche (rice pudding), all culinary contributions from Afro cultures.”

And for drinks? “Barranco is the bohemian part of the city, where you’ll find different laidback bars with chill music.”

What to see and do in Lima

“Visit the Miraflores boardwalk, from where you can admire the Lima coastline—it’s really relaxed and beautiful. The Bridge of Sighs (Puente de los Suspiros) in Barranco has a pretty and old layout, combined with graffiti which gives the area a modern feel.”

The Bridge of Sighs in Lima's Barranco neighborhood.
The colorful Bridge of Sighs in Lima, Peru.Foto: Christian Vinces / Shutterstock

Other must-visit Black-owned businesses in Lima

Buy: If you’re looking for clothing, Miss Lady is another Josselyn recommendation, while With Love Papelería offers eco-friendly stationery and paper products.

Learn: To find out about Black culture and the realities of the Black experience in present-day Peru, you can also check out Barrer Project, a space by and for Afro-Peruvian women; and Una Chica Afroperuana, an anti-racist audiovisual project run by Natalia Barrera Francis.

Black history in Lima

Despite there being some three million Afro-Peruvians, Peruvian law fails to recognize them as a distinct cultural group; the option to self-identify as Afro-Peruvian was only added to Peru’s census in 2017.

According to Josselyn: “In Lima, Afro culture has been appreciated for its contribution to gastronomy and music. We can see much of our community’s contributions within the city; however, the Afro population has been invisibilized and discriminated against systematically. There are vast gaps in terms of rights, especially for Afro women.”

Lima, Peru from above.
Lima’s craggy coastline, as seen from the Miraflores neighborhood.Foto: Christian Vinces / Shutterstock

All quotes from Josselyn Solano have been translated from Spanish to English by Lauren Cocking.

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