lunes, 6 de noviembre de 2017

Callao: Tradition, Salsa & Contrast

If someone searches in Google "Callao Peru" you will see that the first entries that appear in the search engine warn about the danger and crime that exists in this city that is located 15 km from the Historic Center of Lima.

However, the Constitutional Province of Callao, by its official name, is much more than an area besieged by the underworld; its streets have the charm of the Lima Virreinal, the fishing tradition, and the sympathy of its neighbors, known for their warmth and for being guarantors of the most powerful salsa movement in Peru.

Before going on to narrate some of its main attractions, such as the Fortress Real Felipe or the exclusive resort of La Punta, we will cite an attraction that -although it belongs to the district of San Miguel- is still on the way if we go to Callao from the center from Lima:

El Parque de las leyendas (Park of Legends)

Founded in 1964 by Felipe Benavides, el Parque de las Leyendas has a zoo - divided into mountain, coastal, jungle and international zones -, a botanical garden, and some 53 archaeological monuments, among which the Huacas de Tres Palos stand out, La Cruz, San Miguel, and La Palma, which range from the Lima Culture (0-600 AD) to the Curacazgo de Maranga (1100-1532 AD).

All the archaeological finds of the Park of the Legends can be visited in the Museum of the Site "Ernest W. Middendorf". SCHEDULE: Mon-Sun 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. General admission S / 14, children from 3 to 12 years S / 8, children under 3 years and over 65 free admission. Telephone: (+51) 1 719 2870.

Callao, Constitutional Province of Callao, Callao Salsa

Fortaleza Real Felipe

The history of this enclosure dates back to 1746, when a strong earthquake and its subsequent tsunami destroyed the old fortress of cane and mud that served as a prison. According to chronicles of the time, only 200 people of 7,000 who lived in Callao, survived this natural catastrophe.

It is then when the viceroy José Antonio Manso de Velasco, to prevent the looting of the port of Callao by pirates and assassins, ordered a year later the construction of this great fortress with the help of the architects Luis Godin, Joseph Amich and Juan Francisco Rossa .

The Real Felipe Fortress has an area of ​​70,000 m2 with a perimeter of 1586 meters. Pentagonal shaped abaluartada, was built with stones brought from the nearby island of San Lorenzo and calicanto (mixture of lime, sand and egg white guano birds).

Today the Real Felipe Fortress works as a museum and shows pieces related to the Peruvian Navy. The inhabitants of the zone and the military have always affirmed that between their walls paranormal events have taken place. To learn more about this paranormal theme, night tours are held on Fridays and Saturdays (prior coordination) between 7.30 pm and 10.30 pm.

SCHEDULE: Mon-Sun 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. General admission S / 10, children from 3 to 12 years S / 9, children under 3 years and over 65 free admission. Telephone: (+51) 1 429 0532.

Callao, Constitutional Province of Callao, Callao Salsa

La Punta

La Punta is the smallest district of the Constitutional Province of Callao and also one of the most exclusive in Peru, something that is surprising considering that a few kilometers away are districts as criminal as La Perla, where recently they have been produced cases of revenge for hired killers. The Punta was enabled in the 30s by Italian immigrants and little by little it was populating with beautiful colorful houses for the upper class of the Lima population.

Its best known beach is Cantolao, and its excellent location makes it one of the favorite places to spend the summer and practice sports such as sailing, rowing, scuba diving, among others. Poza de La Arenilla wetland is also located in La Punta, where a great variety of birds take refuge.

Callao, Constitutional Province of Callao, Callao Salsa

Islands of Callao

If we have some time, an experience that may be pleasant to the family is to swim with the sea lions on island of Palomino, and learn about fishermen's stories on the Island of San Lorenzo. In addition to seeing fishing boats, you can also enjoy bird watching of guano birds and Humblodt penguins.

Another of the islands that are on this route is El Frontón, which has a black history after the riot that occurred in his prison in 1986, and which ended the lives of inmates accused of terrorism. There are several tours to make these excursions and can be booked from the internet or in the same place. If we talk about groups of tourists, these tours should not exceed S / 140.

Callao, Constitutional Province of Callao, Callao Salsa


Colorful fishermen's quarter with wooden houses. After the attempts of the Municipality to rehabilitate and re-energize tourism in the area, these colored buildings were painted, recalling the neighborhood of Caminito in Buenos Aires.

This neighborhood is attached to La Punta, and was populated mainly by Italians who were engaged in fishing. Nowadays, it is a beautiful spa with Genovese style in which the visitor can take a bath in its cold waters and eat a good ceviche in one of its restaurants.

Callao, Constitutional Province of Callao, Callao Salsa

Callao & Salsa

As we announced in the title of the post, Callao is tradition but also salsa. From its streets have emerged some of the best composers in Peru and annually is the birthplace of the popular Chim Pum Callao Salsa Festival, which is now in its 21st edition and which last year featured artists such as Alberto Barros, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Víctor Manuelle and Maluma.

FUGAZ: Art of live together

Among some of the projects that are being carried out to revalue and re-give Callao cultural life is FUGAZ, a dream of several artists, chefs and photographers to "make a neighborhood" with the inhabitants of the city.

A space is opened with a branch of the school Corriente Alterna, Entes y Pésimo, Amazónica -by Christian Bendayán- and Revolver . Casacor will also return (a program that rehabilitates abandoned houses) and will have the support of Mayor Juan Sotomayor, and Juan Augusto Fernández, director of the Desconcertada de Cultura del Callao. Likewise, the Ministry of Culture offers its support with Isabel Miró Quesada or Giancarlo Scaglia.

Finally, "Monumental" will be launched, the first urban art festival in Peru, with 18 artists painting murals accompanied by the children of Callao.

Callao, Constitutional Province of Callao, Callao Salsa

Now that we have visited the most important districts of Lima we can take advantage of the fact that it is still hot and go to cool down to the southern beaches. These have been revalued over the past decade and today the departments facing the sea can reach European prices. We are going to discover in the next post some of the options offered by summers in Lima.

Esteban García, Peru Travels Blog
November 2017

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