Attractions Nearby Callao, Day Trips and Excursions
Lying on the westerly shore of Peru
and enjoying a fairly central setting, Callao is the perfect base if you are looking to explore the attractions along the coastline. Callao is conveniently close to a multitude of beachfront attractions, along with major cities and Inca treasures.
is just so close by that day trips to this Peruvian capital are quite unmissable, with endless attractions and gourmet dining. Those staying in Callao really should make the effort to head south and explore the expansive Nazca area, which has become famous the world over for its spectacular figures and lines, etched into the actual surface of the land.
is one of Peru's most alluring and visited cities, and is certainly very worthy of an excursion. Ayacucho is located to the south-east of Callao and Lima, and brimming with quality attractions and sights. On the Plaza de Armas, Ayacucho's 17th-century cathedral
contains a noteworthy museum and an extremely elaborate interior. Close to the cathedral is the Salon de Actas at the Consejo Municipal, and the Palacio del Marques. Museums include the Museo Andres Avelino Caceres
and the Museo Arqueologico Hipolito Unanue. A good place to shop
and enjoy a bite to eat in Ayacucho is the Centro Turistico Cultural San Cristobal
is a fairly large town with a population of around 400,000 people, and yet it often appears fairly empty, particularly in the suburbs, which exude an undeniable feeling of the Wild West. From Callao, Huancayo is situated to the east and combines the best elements from modern and traditional towns. Attractions in Huancayo come in the form of the Museo Salesiano
, the Cerro de la Libertad
and the acclaimed geological formations simply referred to as the 'Torre Torre'. The biggest annual events
in Huancayo include the New Year's Day (Ano Nuevo) celebrations, the Easter Holy Week (Semana Santa) and the Independence Days (Fiestas Patrias) at the end of July.
The small city of Huancavelica (Wankawillka) can be found to the south-east of Callao and contains a small, but interesting selection of attractions. Huancavelica's numerous churches are especially impressive and open most days between 17:00 and 19:00. The Santa Ana is the most historic church in Huancavelica and dates from the 16th century, while the cathedral was built a little later, in 1673. Also much visited are the San Cristobal Mineral Springs, and also the Instituto Nacional de Cultura (INC) on the Plaza San Juan de Dios.
Ica is well connected to both Callao and Lima, and sited to the far south, just above Nazca. Known for its wealth of local wineries, colonial-style churches and vibrant fiestas, Ica has also earned itself somewhat of a reputation for pick-pocketing, so be sure to keep a close eye on your belongings and valuables. The main attraction here is the Museo Regional de Ica, which houses a superb collection of ancient artefacts and treasures, from past civilisations such as the Incas, the Nazcas and also the Paracas. Slightly more central and on the Plaza de Armas is the Museo Cabrera Piedra, which may also be of interest to visiting tourists.
The city of Lima lies just a matter of minutes to the east and is currently called home by more than eight million residents, making it nothing short of a sprawling metropolis. Due to its sheer size and scale, the main attractions
of Lima are rather spread out and tend to be grouped within certain neighbourhoods, such as Barranco, Miraflores, Monterrico and San Isidro.
Now listed as a World Heritage Site, Nazca has become something of a tourist hotspot, with its most visible lines being found some 20 km / 12 miles to the north, in the desert. The Mirador observation tower allows you to certainly get a feel for the layout and structure of these mysterious lines, although if you can afford it, the best way to appreciate the Nazca lines is to view them from high above, onboard a small plane from the aerodrome. These trips are known as 'overflights' (sobrevuelo) and generally last around 30 minutes.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge for tours
Pisco is a particularly important port town and is located directly to the south of Callao, close to the Pan-America Highway, where it is easy to reach using public transport. Visitors to Pisco will find a number of appealing attractions, many of which reside around the central Plaza de Armas and smaller Plaza Bolognesi. Regular boat trips connect Pisco with the Islas Ballestas, while closer to home, the Reserva Nacional de Pracas is an exceptional national reserve and stands next to the village of Paracas.