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Callao, a beautiful tourist destination very close to Lima

Home / Travel Blog / Callao, a beautiful tourist destination very close to Lima
Callao, a beautiful tourist destination very close to Lima

Located half an hour from the center of Lima, the First Port of Peru brings together magic, gastronomy, history, beaches and tradition that are enjoyed all year round. If you are in the Peruvian capital and you are looking for a place to escape from the city and surround yourself with a climate of peace, Callao is the best option.


The Chalaca province is the gateway to a world of experiences of all kinds; Learn more about the republican history of the city through its museums and fortresses, enjoy a quiet walk and rest on the shores of its beaches, or spend a cultural afternoon visiting its galleries and exhibitions in the Callao Monumental neighborhood. As you can see, fun and pleasure are lived there.


Within this city you can enjoy a delicious warm and humid climate due to its proximity to the beaches. In addition, this place has an incredible colonial architecture, museums, beaches and a delicious and varied cuisine that you cannot miss.


History of Callao

This area was first inhabited by fishermen, called "Pitipiti" and they lived in huts, back then it was called "the tip of the mainland" what is now the famous Cantolao beach. Almost a hundred years later they indicate on the map what would later be La Punta as “Punta del Callao” Already in 1774 it appears delimited on the map as “El Puerto del Callao” but without any denomination. In 1886 La Punta and Bella Vista were integrated as part of the province of Callao. In 1857 Callao was declared a Constitutional Province, a title that it maintains.


What to visit in Callao?

The Chálala province is the gateway to a world of different experiences; learn about the city's republican history through museums and fortresses, take a leisurely stroll and rest on the shore, or spend a cultural afternoon browsing the galleries and exhibitions of the Monumental district of Callao. We leave you the five places that you have to know yes or yes on your visit to the port:


Royal Philip Fortress

The Spanish ordered its construction in 1747, but the construction was completed 29 years later. Its purpose was to protect the city of Lima from pirate attacks and especially its most famous port. From there a large number of ships and galleons departed for Spain. Years later, in the battle of May 2, he will be part of the Peruvian defense against the Spanish.


It is currently the headquarters of the Peruvian Military Museum. During a visit, you'll see ancient tanks and cannons, a gallery with three display rooms, and the Governor's House. You can also walk through its labyrinths and traps to the viewpoint, where you will have an impressive view of the entire port. The fortress is located in Plaza Independencia and can be visited every day.



This is another historical site; The town of Piti Piti was built here, inhabited since ancient times by the Colla. Years later it became a city of Italian and Spanish immigrants. Today it is a picturesque Genoese seaside resort, with brightly colored wooden houses and large windows.


This is the bridge between Callao and La Punta, where on Sundays you can admire beautiful views of the sea and gastronomic fairs. It has a beautiful square ideal for photography with sculptures of various characters, such as Miguel Grau, comfortably lying on a bench. In front of the square there is a museum where you can explore the history of Callao through old photographs.


"La Punta" Beach

It is one of the most attractive and fascinating spas in the city of Lima, very visited by national and foreign tourists in summer. Here you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the calm waters.


You can also take a stroll along the long boardwalk lined with old republican residences, facing the ocean lined with yachts and boats, then have lunch at one of the many marine life here.


  1. The islands of Callao

Off the coast of Callao there is a fascinating set of desert islands: Palomino, Cavinzas, San Lorenzo and El Frontón. There are travel agencies that organize tours from the docks of Callao or La Punta. It is an exciting trip that lasts approximately four hours, full of wildlife and history.


  • San Lorenzo Island is the largest island in the Peruvian Sea. Archaeological remains have been found there that suggest it was once used as a religious center. Also, in ancient times it was occupied by pirates, which has given rise to many interesting stories and nicknamed 'the mysterious island'. Remains of Chilean soldiers who fought in the War of the Pacific have also been found.
  • The Palomino Islands consist of two small islands. The first is inhabited by a large number of sea lions. In the surroundings you can enjoy the spectacle offered by these curious animals while you swim near the rocks. The second island is nicknamed with the name of 'Hospital'.
  • The Cavinza Islands are home to a variety of bird droppings, such as pelicans and guanayas. One of its attractions are the natural caves.
  • The island of El Frontón is known for having served in colonial times and until the 20th century as a political prison for figures such as Viceroy Blasco Núñez de Vela, among others. It is currently uninhabited.

Monumental Callao

Last but not least we have Monumental Callao. It is one of the main neighborhoods of Callao and is now one of the current artistic and cultural centers of the port. Art galleries and exhibitions, independent artist shops, open-air concerts and music festivals are just a few of the many cultural events on display in this district. The offer of restaurants and cafes also adds value to the location.


Callao Monumental is positioned today as a small environment that concentrates, through its color, culture and activities, the history of Callao; a charming and picturesque place where you live freely and without limits, and where you only breathe respect and tolerance between neighbors and visitors.


What to do in Callao?

El Callao is a coastal city that is located near Lima, which is also known as the Port of Lima, since the entire port system of the capital works in this place.


We invite you to get the most out of this city by doing the activities that we suggest below.


Visit the Royal Philip Fortress

The Spanish ordered its construction in 1747, but the work was completed 29 years later. Its purpose was to protect the city of Lima from possible pirate attacks and especially its most famous port. From there, a large number of ships and galleons left for Spain. Years later, during the Battle of May 2, it would be part of the Peruvian defense against the Spanish.


Currently, it is the headquarters of the Museum of the Army of Peru. During the tour, you will see old tanks and cannons, a gallery with three exhibition rooms and the Governor's House. You can also go through its labyrinths and traps until you reach the viewpoint, where you will have an impressive view of the entire port. The fortress is located in Plaza Independencia, and can be visited every day.


Swim with the sea lions on Palomino Island

Near Callao there is a group of beautiful islands that have a great variety of marine species typical of the Peruvian coasts. Within this set, Palomino stands out, an island that draws attention for its stories and for being the home of sea lions. For their part, these beautiful animals are characterized by their greatness and for having their reddish-colored fur, since males can measure up to 3.50 meters and females up to 2.50 meters.


Among the adventurous plans you can do on Palomino Island is to swim with these wolves. Some people who have had the chance to do this activity say that the experience of having direct contact with these animals is really wonderful.


In addition to this, you will have the opportunity to observe other animals that inhabit the area, such as boobies, penguins and seagulls, in their natural state.


Visit Monumental Callao

The blessed neighborhood or the monumental callao is one of the perfect places for sightseeing in Callao. This attraction of the city stands out for its creative graffiti murals, art galleries, fashion stores, and for its varied cultural programming.


Within this cultural neighborhood you can take entertaining tours in which you can contemplate the different artistic pieces. This route begins in the Plaza Matriz, where you will find mosaics, graffiti and murals. Also, you will see how the color and the designs are mixed with the architecture and the music of the artists who come to show their talent.


On the other hand, Monumental Callao offers its visitors a series of cultural events such as the Lima Film Festival (PUCP). This event that takes place in the month of August, has a varied sample of Latin American films, which you cannot miss.


Discover marine museums

Being a coastal city, Callao has a number of museums dedicated to Peru's marine history. Among them are the Abtao Submarine Naval Site Museum and the Julio Elías Murguía Naval Museum. Inside these places you can learn about the maritime history of the country. Also, you will see the collection of jewelry, photographs and tools that were used for navigation and wars.


Get to know the historic center of Callao

One of the places that you cannot miss is the Historic Center of Callao. It has a variety of styles that reflect the colonial and republican eras. Here you can take a walk through the narrow and cobbled streets of the city, while observing its picturesque buildings. Also, within this route you will be able to know its squares, the Lighthouse, the Ronald Passage and the Dársena pier.


In addition, you can visit the Iglesia Matriz del Callao, one of the oldest temples in the city.


Enjoy the benefits of La Punta

This spa in the form of a "tip" is one of the smallest of the six districts that make up Callao. In its facilities, currently, there are important social clubs. Within this place you can visit the stone beaches of La Punta to get some fresh air.


From this point you can enjoy an incredible view of the port, the marine fauna and the boats. Also, in La Punta you will find its wonderful square, a boulevard and a series of beaches and restaurants where you can taste the best seafood, as well as Italian food.


Watch a beautiful sunset

Finally, another of the unmissable plans is to see the beautiful sunrises and sunsets of Callao. One of the places to witness this natural spectacle is the Malecón Pardo. From its viewpoint, you will have the privilege of contemplating the beautiful sunset. This panorama is complemented by an incredible landscape where you can see the Fronton and San Lorenzo Island.


Similarly, at Playa La Arenilla there is another viewpoint where you can witness this natural phenomenon and, at the same time, observe seabirds. This plan is perfect to rest and enjoy nature.



  • Approximately 500 sea lions live on Palomino Island.
  • The Army Museum was declared in 1952 as a National Historical Monument.
  • The Real Felipe Fortress is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 4pm.
  • El Callao is also characterized by its gastronomic offer. Here you can enjoy the best typical dishes of Peru. Among them are the ceviche, the choros a la chalaca and the seafood chaufa.

Peruvian gastronomy from Callao

Peruvian food is enjoyed throughout the country, in this case from Callao you can enjoy restaurants where you can taste part of the delicacies of Peru, among the most famous dishes are ceviche, choros a la chalaca and chaufa de seafood.


The best restaurants in Callao are along the boardwalk of the La Punta district, among them we recommend:

  • The looker
  • Cabos Port Restaurant.

Among the dishes stand out:

  • The ceviche: It is a cut fish, cooked with ají limo and lemon, generally accompanied with onion, corn and sweet potato.
  • Parihuela: Fish and shellfish soup.
  • Leche de tigre: Concentrated lemon juice, fish and chili pepper.
  • Choritos a la chalaca: Mussels or mussels accompanied by lemon, cilantro, tomato, onion and corn, all served in the same shell.
  • Chimbombo bread: Fish sandwich, usually Pejerrey.

How to get to Callao from Lima?

The most recommended way to get to this destination is by taking a guided tour, since it does not have easy access by public transport and you will spend more money by taxi, because you will have to move from Lima to Callao, and then internally in it. And a guide will be helpful to visit the most touristic sites safely.


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