What You Need To Know
El Callao is the chief seaport of Peru. The city is also called Provincia Constitucional (Constitutional Province), the only province of the Callao Region. The Historic Centre of Callao is located 15 km (9.3 mi) west of Historic Centre of Lima, the country’s capital, and is part of the Lima Metropolitan Area. Callao borders Lima Province on the north, east and south, and the Pacific Ocean on the west.
Population: Estimate 1,010,315
Area: 147 km²
The local currency in Peru is the Nuevo Sol.
Callao is built on and around a peninsula, the district of La Punta, a wealthy residential neighborhood. A historical fortress, the Castillo de Real Felipe (site of “Rodil’s Last Stand”), stands on the promontory overlooking the harbor. A large naval base is sited in Callao. Its prison holds Abimael Guzmán, the leader of the Shining Path terrorist organization, and Vladimiro Montesinos, the ex-director of internal security during the Fujimori regime. Jorge Chávez International Airport is located in Callao. On a bluff overlooking the harbor sits Colegio Militar Leoncio Prado, the military high school. The city also has a university, the National University of Callao. The main Naval Hospital, Centro Medico Naval is located on Avenida Venezuela in Bellavista. It contains the U.S. Navy command Naval Medical Research Unit Six. Residents of Callao are known as chalacos. Callao’s professional football teams are Sport Boys and Atlético Chalaco.
Local government affairs are divided into two levels. Regional matters are handled by the Regional Government of Callao (Gobierno Regional del Callao), which is located in the Bellavista District. Affairs such as city cleaning, promoting of sports and basic services are handled by the Provincial Municipality of Callao, which is headquartered in the Callao District. Also, each of the six districts has its own Municipality which handles matters in their respective jurisdictional areas.
Callao has several islands: San Lorenzo (currently a military base), El Frontón (a former high security prison), the Cavinzas Islands, and the Palomino Islands, where numerous sea lions and sea birds live in a virtually untouched ecosystem. There are proposed plans to build a huge naval, terrestrial, and air port on San Lorenzo Island. This project is called the San Lorenzo Megaport Project.
Peru is a multilingual nation. Its official language is Spanish. In the zones where they are predominant,Quechua, Aymara and other aboriginal languages also have official status.
Jorge Chávez International Airport (IATA: LIM, ICAO: SPIM), known as Aeropuerto Internacional Jorge Chávez in Spanish, is Peru’s main international and domestic airport. It is located in Callao, 12 km (7.5 mi) from the Historic Centre of Lima and 19 km (12 mi) from Miraflores. Callao is the port city now fully integrated with Lima, the nation’s capital. In 2008, the airport handled 8,288,506 passengers and 98,733 aircraft movements. For many years it was the hub for now defunct Aeroperú and Compañía de Aviación Faucett, one of the oldest airlines in Latin America. Now it serves as a hub for many aviation companies such as TACA Perú and LAN Perú.
The port is served by the Ferrocarril Central Andino railway, which from 2006 to 2010 was converted from 3 feet (914 mm) gauge to the world standard gauge of 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm).