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Population: 9,009, Altitude: 5 meters / 16 feet, Phone Code: 01

Callao is the maritime port of Lima, as well as home to the capital’s airport. Callao, along with its residential area, La Punta, makes a good day trip from the chaotic metropolis. It is easily accessible by city bus from Lima (40 minutes, $0.60).

In Callao, you’ll find the Museo Naval, where you can explore the inside of a submarine and learn all about Peruvian naval history (Tuesday-Sunday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Avenida Jorge Chávez 123, near Plaza Grau. Tel: 613-6868, anexo 6794, E-mail:, URL: Entry: Adults $1.25, children and students $0.80). On Sundays, the museum offers boat tours of the bay (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Entry: $2). Other days of the week, other operators offer 30-minute excursions to see the bay’s wildlife and birds, departing from the Muelle Dársena.

The Fortaleza del Real Felipe del Callao, built in the mid-18th century, is now home to the Museo del Ejército Peruano. Guides take you through the museum’s art and armaments collections and to climb the ramparts (Tuesday-Sunday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Av. Sáenz Peña, Plaza Independencia. Tel: 465-8394 / 429-0532. Entry: adults $2.25, children $1.25)

La Punta is a narrow peninsula which separates the bays of Miraflores and Callao. It was once joined to the islands San Lorenzo and El Frontón, which you can see close by, until a tidal wave drowned half of the town many years ago. The Naval Officers’ School is based here, as well as the Peruvian Yacht Club. It is an older area with a markedly Italian flavor due to the immigrants who arrived after the last war. Many of the houses have now been cataloged as National Historical Treasures by the government, which means that they cannot be altered in any way or sold. You can walk all around the peninsula following the promenades on both sides. Many migratory birds can be found on the south side, in the Humedal Costero Poza de la Arenilla. At the tip of the peninsula there are a few economical restaurants.

Off shore are the islands San Lorenzo, El Frontón and Palomino. Isla Palomino, 12 kilometers (7 miles) from Callao port, is a popular destination for daytrippers. This small island is perfect for birdwatching and checking out sea lions. Agencies such as Eco Cruceros (Av. Arequipa 4960, Miraflores. Tel: 226-8530 / Cel: 999-108-396, E-mail:, URL: offer all-inclusive excursions. A cheaper alternative is to contact local fishermen in Callao port.

Other neighborhoods in Lima: Chorrillos, Central Lima, Miraflores, Pueblo Libre, San Isidro, San Borja, Barranco and Lima Airport.

07 Feb 2012

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