23-24 October 2017:
Callao, Peru:
The Port of Lima

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Here’s the answer to a question for team trivia: residents of the major Peruvian port of Callao are known as chalacos.

The city was founded by the Spanish in 1537, just two years after Lima. It soon became the main port for Spanish commerce in the Pacific.

At the height of the Viceroyalty, virtually all goods produced or plundered in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina were carried over the Andes by mule to Callao.

From there the cargo was shipped to Panama. It was nearly four centuries too early for a passage through the canal, so a land route was used instead.

Cargo was carried overland across the isthmus, and then loaded onto galleons to be transported to Spain. The Spanish maintained strongholds in Cuba and in Cartagena in what is now Colombia.

Lima, Peru
Lima, Peru

A COLONIAL TOUR

Today I went with a group of guests on a tour concentrating on the Spanish  Colonial history of Lima.

Our first stop was at the amazing Casa Aliaga, a home which has been in the hands of the Aliaga family for more than 17 generations from 1535 through today. It is furnished with items including some dating back to the times of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

Here’s a bit of what we saw:

CASA ALIAGA

Photos by Corey Sandler

SAN PEDRO CHURCH

Nearby was Presidential Palace of Peru, guarded by a squad of ramrod straight soldiers:

CASA SAN MARCO

And then we visited a small portion of the sprawling San Marco University, the oldest university in the Americas, dating from 1551. We were greeted by several actors in period dress, including a young woman who showed the connection between Peru and Colonial Spain and the Moorish influence in Andalusia.

And she did so in a very coy way.

THE KON TIKI CONNECTION

Norwegian explorer and author Thor Heyerdahl believed that people from South American could have settled Polynesia in pre-Columbian times.

Norwegian explorer and author Thor Heyerdahl believed that people from South American could have settled Polynesia in pre-Columbian times.

In 1947, it was from Callao that Norwegian explorer and author Thor Heyerdahl set sail in his balsa wood raft Kon Tiki, on a successful voyage to Polynesia to support his theaoty that people from South American could have settled Polynesia in pre-Columbian times.

Today that theory is subject to some questioning, but no one questions the seamanship and bravery of Heyerdahl and his crew.

Lima, the capital and the largest city of Peru, lies about 9 miles or 15 kilometers to the south.

With a population of almost 10 million, Lima is the second-largest city in the Americas, behind São Paulo and before Mexico City.

That puts about one-third of the entire nation’s population in and around Lima, a handsome and bustling city that brings together things colonial and modern.

UP TO MACHU PICCHU

Up in the interior of Peru, along a magnificent mountain pass from the city of Cusco, lies the mystical city of Machu Picchu. You cannot sail there by cruise ship (or any other waterway).

Some of our guests headed there on an extended land excursion. Here is some of what I saw when last we made a pilgrimage there:

Machu Picchu. All photos by Corey Sandler
Machu Picchu

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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