Callao, Peru, is the port city for Lima, enabling guests to take a variety of tours throughout the area or go exploring on their own. The capital of Peru and the country’s largest city, Lima is a bustling metropolis that is the gateway to the incredible Macchu Pichu, the mysterious Nazca Lines and so much more.
South America certainly is a continent of mystery and wonder, full of exotic and exciting adventures.
On recent calls during their respective cruises, guests Sharon Johnson and Jan Yetke chose different activities to fill their time.
On Prinsendam’s Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage this year, we are fortunate to have three days in Callao, Peru. Al and I were here three years ago so we decided that for our first day we would take the tour “Walk Around Plaza de Armas.” — Sharon Johnson
The tour’s first stop was at Plaza San Martin in Lima where guests were told about the history of the Plaza and the buildings that surround it. In the center of the Plaza stands a statue of General San Martin, who helped liberate much of South America from the Spanish.
The Plaza San Martin by Sharon Johnson.
Clockwise from upper left: Statue of General San Martin, Archbishop’s Palace, Presidential Palace and Lima’s Town Hall, all by Sharon Johnson.
Sharon continues on about her experience in Lima during day two:
For our second day in Lima, we took the HAL tour, “Inca Civilization and Pachacamac.” We thoroughly enjoyed this tour. In fact, we enjoyed it so much that I would repeat it again on a another visit to Lima. This tour packed a lot into seven hours.
Sharon dressed in Peruvian clothes.
Our first stop was at the National Museum of Anthropology, Archeology & History which is located in the Pueblo Libre area of Lima. Later when we had free time to tour the museum on our own, I wandered back into the educational area and asked if I could dress up. For me this one of the highlights of this fabulous tour.
We had a beautiful drive along the Peruvian Coast south of Lima to the archeological site. It is only fairly recently that archeologists are realizing how important Pachacamac was to the native peoples of Peru. It was a pilgrimage site for the various cultures throughout all of Peru. El Niño rains caused extensive damage to this city made of adobe bricks. The site was eventually forgotten.
A short distance from Pachacamac, we last visited Hacienda Mamacona where we were greeted by a 10-piece brass band, five Peruvian Paso horses with riders in traditional outfits, and two sets of dancers in Peruvian costumes.
Peruvian dancers at Hacienda Mamacona by Sharon Johnson.
Peruvian Paso Horses and riders in traditional costume by Sharon Johnson.
While we were enjoying the demonstration of the unusual gait of Peruvian Paso Horses, we were given a chance to try to the national drink of Peru: the Pisco Sour. Then they gave us a chance to ride these incredibly gentle animals. Both Al and I took our turn walking around the arena on these beautiful horses.
Sharon and Al on the Peruvian horses.
Then it was time for our buffet of Chilean dishes on the open air patio of Hacienda Mamacona while the dancers performed more dances to the music of the band. The visit to the Hacienda was a wonderful end to this outstanding shore excursion.
Jan and Dick Yetke who are on ms Amsterdam’s Grand World Voyage took a different tour to the Gold Museum, the Museo Oro del Peru.
The “Museo Oro del Peru” holds within its premises over 8,000 pieces of pre-hispanic gold, mainly originating from the north coast of Peru and from the Moche, and Lambayeque or Sican periods. The show rooms are organized by the type of material exhibited. We saw the Main Room, Vase Room, Mummy’s Room, Litters Room and Copper Room. We were not allowed to take photos inside the museum. — Jan Yetke
Another popular option from Callao, and one of the main reasons many passengers take a cruise itinerary that includes the call, is the opportunity to take an overland tour to Macchu Pichu. The Cuzco & Machu Picchu Overland Adventure takes guests to the ruins on a three day, two night excursion.
“Discovered” in 1911, Machu Picchu, called the Lost City of the Incas, represents the cultural heritage of mankind. It is a stone city constructed by incredibly sophisticated techniques, even in present-day terms. Stone upon stone are fitted together perfectly without cement, with exquisite detail worthy of the world’s greatest palaces.
If you get anywhere on the Pacific side of South America, this is a must do. The tour guides were top rate and handle all questions we had and were extremely knowledgeable. The hotel in Cuzco had oxygen available if needed. I didn’t need it and had no problem with the altitude, although others may. The meals were outstanding with a good sampling of Peruvian cuisine. This trip also included tours in Lima with a museum stop with Inca artifacts. — Guest LuckyDuck
What would you like to do in Lima? Explore the city or take an overland to Macchu Pichu?