The Diving Friar

The Diving Friar of Lima

El Salto del Fraile – The Diving Friar

Legend has it that in Peru, around the 1860’s a noble Marquis was left to take care of his young daughter Clara, after his wife passed away. The Marquis hired a nanny to take care of his daughter and she brought with her, her son Francis, who was three years older than 12 year’s old Clara.

Over time Francis and Clara fell in love, and she became pregnant, which caused a real upheaval in the society of Lima at that time. The Marquis, obfuscated and offended by such an outrage, ordered that Francis be locked in a convent and become a friar. As for Clara, he decided to bring her back to Spain.

The day of the departure, Clara was filled with sadness because of the separation from Francis. When the ship was in front of the cliffs, Clara took a telescope with the intention of finding her beloved, since his mother had told her he would be there that afternoon to wish her farewell.

Suddenly, she was able to see him, standing on top of the highest rock, waving the cape he had removed from his head. A minute later he dived from the highest point of the cliff to the ferocious ocean below and attempted to swim to his love. Alas, the sea overwhelmed him and he drowned. Upon witnessing this, Clara threw herself into the ocean to join her sweetheart.

This tragic story has become a well known known legend in Lima and in memory of this misunderstood love, a restaurant called “El Salto del Fraile”, specialising in Peruvian cuisine was built near that infamous cliff.

Now each day, if enough people are there to pay, a man dressed in Franciscan robes, stages the friar’s dive into the sea from a high rock in front of the restaurant.

Sunset in Lima