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Mozaico Callao.jpg
Photo montage of Callao
La Perla del Pacífico (Pearl of the Pacific) [1]
El Primer Puerto (The First Harbor)
La fiel y generosa ciudad del Callao, asilo de las leyes y de la libertad. (The faithful and generous city of Callao, asylum of the laws and freedom.)
Peru location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Peru
Coordinates: 12°2′S77°8′W / 12.033°S 77.133°W / -12.033; -77.133 Coordinates: 12°2′S77°8′W / 12.033°S 77.133°W / -12.033; -77.133
CountryFlag of Peru.svg  Peru
Region Callao
Provinces Constitutional Province of Callao
Founded6 March 1537
Founded byDiego Ruiz [2]
  MayorPedro López Barrios
  Total147.85 km2 (57.09 sq mi)
5 m (16 ft)
 (2017) [3]
  Density6,700/km2 (17,000/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Chalaco/a
Time zone UTC-5 (PET)
Postal code
Area code(s) 14
Website Official Website

Callao ( /kɑːˈjɑː/ ; [kaˈʎa.o, -ˈʝa-]) is a seaside city on the Pacific Ocean in the Lima metropolitan area. Callao is Peru's chief seaport and home to its main airport, Jorge Chávez International Airport. Callao municipality consists of the whole Callao Region, which is also coterminous with the Province of Callao. Founded in 1537 by the Spanish, the city has a long naval history as one of the main ports in Latin America and the Pacific, as it was one of vital Spanish towns during the colonial era. Central Callao is about 15 km (9.3 mi) west of the Historic Centre of Lima.



Callao Harbor (1744). Plano del El Callao en 1744 - AHG.jpg
Callao Harbor (1744).
Historic map (1888). Situationsplan von Lima.jpg
Historic map (1888).

El Callao was founded by Spanish colonists in 1537, just two years after Lima (1535). It soon became the main port for Spanish commerce in the Pacific. The origin of its name is unknown; both Amerindian (particularly Yunga, or Coastal Peruvian) and Spanish sources are credited, but it is certain that it was known by that name since 1550. Other sources point to the similarity with the Portuguese word calhau [pebble], having a similar sound.

At the height of the Viceroyalty, virtually all goods produced in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina were carried over the Andes by mule to Callao, to be shipped to Panama, carried overland, and then transported on to Spain via Cuba.

After the Battle of Ayacucho, 9 December 1824, that sealed the independence of Peru and South America, Spain made futile attempts to retain its former colonies, such as at the Siege of Callao (1826). On 20 August 1836, during the Peru-Bolivian Confederacy, President Andrés de Santa Cruz mandated the creation of the Callao Littoral Province (Provincia Litoral del Callao), which had political autonomy in its internal affairs. During the government of President Ramón Castilla, Callao was given the name of Constitutional Province (Provincia Constitucional), on 22 April 1857; before that, Callao had the name of Littoral Province. All of the other Peruvian provinces had been given their names by law, while Callao was given it by constitutional mandate.

Callao was never part of the Lima Department nor of any other departments.

The province's first mayor was Col. Manuel Cipriano Dulanto.

By 1949, Callao was known as one of the biggest centers of coca-based products and cocaine traffic in the world. [4]

Notable events

City highlights

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 Communist Party of Peru, 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.


Sea lions in The Palomino Islands. Islaspalomino.jpg
Sea lions in The Palomino Islands.

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.


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 front of the Jorge Chávez International Airport. [5] 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.

Administrative divisions

Callao is divided into seven districts, (Spanish : distritos; singular: distrito), each of which is headed by a mayor (alcalde).

Districts of  Callao [6]
Map of the districts
of Callao
1 Callao (downtown)415,88845.659,147.60 Location of the province Callao in Peru.png Callaodistritos.gif
2 Bellavista 75,1634.5616 483.11
3 Carmen de la Legua Reynoso 41,8632.1219,746.7
4 La Perla 61,6982.7522,435.64
5 La Punta 4,3700.755,826.67
6 Ventanilla 277,89573.523,779.86
7 Mi Perú (part of Ventanilla until May 2014)51,5222.4720,859.11

The rest of Callao Region is composed of the islands of San Lorenzo, El Frontón, Cavinzas and Palomino, which all together have an area of 17.63 square kilometres (6.81 sq mi).



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 district, 12 km (7.5 mi) norwest, from the Historic Centre of Lima. 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 Avianca Perú, Viva Air Perú, and LATAM Perú.

Aero Condor and LAN Airlines planes AeropuertoJorgeChavez2006-1.jpg
Aero Cóndor and LAN Airlines planes


The port is served by the 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge Ferrocarril Central Andino.

Related Research Articles

Lima Capital of Peru

Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín Rivers, in the central coastal part of the country, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima Metropolitan Area. With a population of more than 9 million, Lima is one of the largest cities in the Americas, after São Paulo.

Jorge Chávez International Airport

Jorge Chávez International Airport, , is Peru's main international and domestic airport. It is located in Callao, 11 kilometers (7 mi) northwest from Lima Center, the nation's capital city and 17 km from the district of Miraflores. During 2017, the airport served 22,025,704 passengers. Historically, the airport was the hub for Compañía de Aviación Faucett and Aeroperú. Now it serves as a hub for many aviation companies. The airport was named after Peruvian aviator Jorge Chávez.

Callao is the largest port city of Peru.

Lima Metro

The Lima Metro is a rapid transit system that serves the area of the cities of Lima and Callao, both of which make up the Lima metropolitan area, currently linking the district of Villa El Salvador in the south of Lima with San Juan de Lurigancho in the northeast of the same city.

Rímac River

The Rímac River is located in western Peru and is the most important source of potable water for the Lima and Callao Metropolitan Area.

Lima metropolitan area Place in Peru

The Lima Metropolitan Area is an area formed by the conurbation of the Peruvian provinces of Lima and Callao. It is the largest of the metropolitan areas of Peru, the seventh largest in the Americas, the fourth largest in Latin America, and among the thirty largest in the world. The conurbation process started to be evident in the 1980s.

La Punta District District in Callao, Peru

La Punta is a district of the Constitutional Province of Callao in Peru, and one of the seven districts that make up the port city of Callao. It is located in a peninsula in the western part of the province and is almost entirely surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, except on its northeastern side, where it is bordered by downtown Callao.

Celios Airlines, commonly known by its old name Cielos del Peru, was a cargo airline based in Callao, Lima, Peru. It operated scheduled, ad hoc and contract charter domestic and international cargo services. Its main base was Jorge Chávez International Airport, Lima. The company slogan was Spanish: para ayudarlo a llegar lejos, To help you get far.

Callao District District in Callao, Peru

Callao is one of the seven districts of the Constitutional Province of Callao in the Callao Region, Peru. The Chillón River marks the district's northern border with Ventanilla. On the east, the Callao district is bordered by the Carmen de la Legua-Reynoso as well as the Lima Province's districts of San Martín de Porres and Lima. The Bellavista and the La Perla districts are located to the southeast, while La Punta borders the district on the west. The Pacific Ocean borders the province on the west and south. At 1956, it expanded to the north, encompassing latifunds, lands and estates that belonged to the San Martín de Porres District and the Carabayllo district. During this expansion, the Jorge Chávez International Airport is built.

Atlético Chalaco

The club is the first soccer representative of the first port of Peru, Callao, which laid the foundations for future Chalacos clubs, going from being a school club to being a professional club, gaining recognition, prestige and trust among fans of the Callao, from Lima and Peru, since today there are many clubs with the name of Atlético Chalaco, but only one is the original and traditional. [At present, Atlético Chalaco is called the "Historical Soccer Heritage of the Constitutional Province of Callao ".

Luis Giampietri

Luis Alejandro Giampietri Rojas is a Peruvian politician belonging to the Peruvian Aprista Party and a retired admiral of the Peruvian Navy. Giampietri ran successfully as Alan García's first running mate in the 2006 general election, and was sworn in on 28 July 2006 and served until 28 July 2011. He was also elected as Congressman representing the Constitutional Province of Callao for the 2006-2011 term. He lost his seat in the 2011 elections when he ran for re-election under the Radical Change party, but he received a minority of votes and the Radical Change failed to pass the electoral threshold and subsequently lost it's registration the following year. Before he served as Vice President and Congressman, Giampietri was a Lima City Councilman from 1999 to 2002, elected under the Fujimorist Vamos Vecino, close to-then President Alberto Fujimori.

Peruvian Primera División Sports league

The Peru First Division —known as Liga 1 Betsson for sponsorship reasons and officially as Liga 1 — is the top flight of association football in Peru. It has been referred to as Torneo Descentralizado since 1966, when the first teams residing outside the Lima and Callao provinces were invited to compete in the inaugural league national competition.

San Lorenzo Megaport Project

The San Lorenzo Megaport Project is a proposed plan to build a huge air, naval, and terrestrial port on the island of San Lorenzo in Callao, Peru using land reclamation techniques. It plans to be the largest port and only megaport in Latin America. The island is strategically located on the middle west coast of South America where it has easy access to Asia, North America, and Oceania. It also has easy access to the Atlantic by a proposed railway to connect it to the Amazon River which is only 700 miles away through Pucallpa. Its plan is to link the world to Latin America through Callao. It would be linked to the mainland by a proposed four kilometer long underwater tunnel with access for subway, freight trains, and automobiles. A financial center would also be built on the island.

The Peruvian prison massacres occurred on June 18–19, 1986, after a series of riots in the San Pedro, Santa Mónica, and El Frontón prisons in Lima and Callao. The military repression of these riots resulted in the loss of at least 224 lives.

Real Felipe Fortress

The Real Felipe Fortress was built to defend the main Peruvian port and the city of Lima from pirates and corsairs during colonial times. The fortress was pivotal in the 1866 naval battle between a Spanish fleet sent to South America to "reclaim" its colonies and land batteries in the coast of Peru. The Real Felipe Fortress is currently the Peruvian Army Museum, displaying historical uniforms, weapons and other military paraphernalia.

Football is the most popular sport in Peru. Football in Peru was introduced by British immigrants, Peruvians returning from Great Britain, and by English sailors in the later half of the 19th century during their frequent stops at the port of Callao, which at that point was considered one of the most important ports of the Pacific Ocean. According to the work entitled La Difusion del Futbol en Lima, during the last decade of the 19th century, records show that sailors were known to practice sports such as football and played against teams made up of Englishmen, Peruvians, or a mix between Englishmen and Peruvians.

Lima Airport Partners

Lima Airport Partners S.R.L. is a Limited liability company that operates Peru's main airport: the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Callao, near Lima. It was founded in February 2001 and holds a 30-year concession to operate the airport. The company is 70.01% owned by Fraport AG of Germany.

Peruvian Naval Aviation

The Peruvian Naval Aviation is the air branch of the Peruvian Navy. It was originally formed in 1919 as the Naval Aviators Corps but was merged in 1932 with the Peruvian Army Aviation. The service was recreated under its current name on July 3, 1963. It is currently made up of three operational squadrons and the Naval Aviation School. The squadrons are distributed among three bases: Lima-Callao, which is part of Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport, San Juan de Marcona and Pucallpa.

San Lorenzo Island (Peru) Island in Peru

San Lorenzo Island is the largest island of Peru. The island is in the Pacific Ocean near the port of Callao and measures 16.5 square kilometres (6.4 sq mi).

The Miss Perú 1985 pageant was held on May 11, 1985. That year, 22 candidates were competing for the national crown. The chosen winner represented Peru at the Miss Universe 1985.The rest of the finalists would enter in different pageants.


  1. Camara de Comercio de Lima, ed. (2000). "La Perla del Pacífico" . Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  2. "Página en". Archived from the original on 22 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  3. "Population of Callao". Archived from the original on 15 August 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  4. "The White Goddess", TIME Magazine , 11 April 1949
  5. "Directorio Regional". Gobierno Regional del Callao (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  6. Municipalidad provincial del Callao (2012). "El Callao – Distritos del Callao" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 1 May 2015.