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La Punta and Chucuito neighborhoods: 'chalaca' tradition

Home / Travel Blog / La Punta and Chucuito neighborhoods: 'chalaca' tradition
La Punta and Chucuito neighborhoods: 'chalaca' tradition

The port of El Callao is 15 km from the center of Lima, the only South American capital facing the Pacific Ocean. In the 'chalacas' streets, a name for people born in El Callao, the mansions and balconies stand out, as well as a fortress that evokes times of pirates. The most important neighborhoods are La Punta, with Republican-style buildings and pebble beaches, and Chucuito, a traditional and colorful fishermen's neighborhood where you can still see Gothic or Neo-Renaissance-style houses built between 1900 and 1920 by Italian migrants.

 

Among the tourist places most desired by tourists who visit the province of El Callao in Peru, without a doubt the District of La Punta steals all eyes thanks to its splendid view and the many activities that can be carried out there.

 

General data

  • Foundation date: La Punta was founded on October 6, 1915, under Law No. 2141
  • Geographical Location: La Punta is a peninsula that is located in the westernmost extreme of the Constitutional Province of Callao, nestled in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Surface: La Punta covers an area of ​​0.7 km²
  • Limits: To the North, West and South with the Pacific Ocean. To the east with the neighborhood of Chucuito, belonging to the Cercado del Callao.
  • Climate: The climate of La Punta is typical of the Peruvian Coast. Mainly warm and clear in summer and slightly cold with overcast skies in winter.
  • Population: Approximately 5,000 inhabitants.

How to get to La Punta?

The district of La Punta is reached by two main roads of the Province of Callao:

 

At the end of Av. Sáenz Peña (which is the continuation of Av. Colonial, which begins at Plaza Dos de Mayo in the Center of Lima) turn right and bordering Real Felipe and passing Chucuito, you access Tip.

 

By Av. Miguel Grau (former Buenos Aires) which is easily reached by finishing Av. La Marina, crossing the new bridge of the Óvalo de La Perla, following Guardia Chalaca until the intersection with it.

 

History

 

The first mentions of La Punta

As always happens when looking for information on the History of Peru - where events appear uncertain, bordering on the ghastly - we must go back to the Chroniclers.

 

In this case it is a late one, the vaunted Jesuit Father Bernabé Cobo, who among the many descriptions and remembrances of our country in the mid-12th century, gives us the most remote information about La Punta in his "History of the Foundation of Lima" ( 1639), where he mentions that the first inhabitants of this area were some fishermen called "Pitipiti", who lived in modest rural huts located on "the tip of the mainland", which, presumably, would be the current and famous Playa de Cantolao. Almost a hundred years later, the French engineer Francisco Amadeo Frezier, in the book "Exploration Trip to South America" ​​(1716), points out on the map what would later become La Punta as "Punta del Callao". Several decades later, already in 1774, the geography of La Punta appears delimited on the map "El Puerto del Callao", but without any denomination.

 

Still in Colonial times we find that a row of fishermen's ranches called "Pitipiti Viejo" and/or San Miguel de Mancera joined La Punta and the original Puerto del Callao. Those began at the mancera gate, which was flanked by the bastion of San Luis and ended at the Playa de la Arenilla and the Playa de San Lorenzo (currently Playa Cantolao).

 

In the year 1836 we find that La Punta and Bellavista are integrated as part of the Province of Callao. It would be on April 22, 1857 that a grateful Ramón Castilla declared Callao a Constitutional Province, a title that he maintains, awarding it the rank of department. Finally, on November 18, 1889, during the presidency of Andrés Avelino Cáceres - called "El Brujo de los Andes" during his heroic participation in the Sierra Resistance against the Chileans - the limits of Callao would be established, within the which includes La Punta.

 

The last reference we find of our District, before it was created, dates back to 1910. The Annual Directory of Peru, written by Pedro Paulet, indicates that La Punta is made up of two main streets (Jirones Medina and Sáenz Peña), two secondary streets ( Jirón Ucayali and the other without a name) and a wide and leafy Plaza with elegant hotels and ranches, to the delight of the initial adventurers, avid summer incursionists.

 

From the baths to the district

The well-known and always remembered Baños de La Punta were established in the mid-19th century.

 

Such was the reception they received that, according to Agustín Tovar Albertis, the donation of the rails used in the transportation of materials for the construction of the Lima Penitentiary was requested and specified, and with them an animal traction road was implemented between Paz Soldán del Callao street and the Punteño baths, with the purpose of facilitating the access of vacationers.

 

After decades of oppression of the country, between which we waged two wars: with Spain and Chile - of contrasting outcomes, memorable heroic victory and absolute defeat, respectively -, the years of apparent stability returned to Peru and the reception of the Baños de La Punta was reborn with her. Its boom increased with the passage of time, so that at the end of the Government of Remigio Morales Bermúdez, on February 13, 1894, the Railway Company was authorized to extend its service to the then hamlet of La Punta, so that more people from Lima could enjoy the famous baths, with all the transport facilities that the place and the people deserved.

 

Thanks to the expansion of the railway service, La Punta, as a seaside resort, began to take on importance in 1985, since, in those years, engineers and employees of the Dock and Dock Company attended, as well as those of the English Steamship Company. , to enjoy in unison the young and beautiful beaches, while San Lorenzo Island paternally protected them, waiting from a corner.

 

Despite the tourist importance of La Punta, it would only be in 1889 when it became part of the history of Callao, establishing a geographical unit and the same political and judicial administration.

 

The large turnout at the Punteño Spa resulted in the construction of four hotels: The "Grand Hotel", which unfortunately was destroyed as a result of a fire in 1914. (The fire was spreading at great speed, so the crew had to cut the building in two parts so that the fire would stop. Obviously the enclosure was made of wood, which made the mission easier for the flames. That day Amelia Vargas celebrated her honeymoon, which took place, literally, between flames). The "Grand Hotel" and the Hotel "Eden", both managed by the eternally remembered Mr. Luis Giampetri. The "Bristol", owned by Dr. Paulino Fuentes Castro; and the “International”, by Don Luis Martinot, a French citizen. The favorite of the English was the International Hotel, where lavish and long parties were held during the seasonal months in the summer, which could begin, or end, with a game of football in the morning. On the other side we find Peruvian families, those who preferred to stay during the vacation months at the Hotel Bristol, known for its splendid cuisine.

 

Gradually, the seas of La Punta were gaining more prestige, which is why it began to be recurrently visited by the aristocracy at the beginning of the 20th century. The most renowned personalities of the other City of Kings had their summer homes in La Punta, among these we find one of the great political personalities of the 20th century, and also twice President of the Nation, the civilist José Pardo y Barreda , who spent the night in what is now the Malecón Pardo, a baptismal name that he holds, evidently, in his honor. It was in the 1910s when our house ceased to be a humble fishermen's village to become a beautiful resort frequented by high-class families, who came to La Punto in summer and Chosica in winter – as he remembered his childhood. writer Alfredo Bryce Echenique. We must remember that the luxurious Baths of La Punta lasted until the middle of the 20th century, so the presence of Bryce is understandable.

 

Thanks to the growing prestige of La Punta and after intense efforts by honorable Chalaca personalities of the time, such as: Antonio Miró Quesada de la Guerra, Agustín Tovar, Alberto Secada Sotomayor, Rafael Grau - son of the Knight of the Seas, Miguel Grau -, Don Francisco de Alberti, among others, achieved that on October 6, 1915 during the second presidential period of José Pardo y Barreda, through Law 2141, the District of La Punta was created, a law by which it was also legalized the birth of the district of Bellavista. The birth of the district of La Punta coincides, anecdotally, with the transfer of the facilities of the Naval School of Peru to La Punta.

 

In this way, after "oligarchic" pressures, with the president himself supporting them, the official life of the District of La Punta begins. At that time, La Punta had approximately one hundred houses, called ranchos, built entirely of wood and which were generally rented or occupied by their owners during the summer season. The permanent Punteño population was so scarce that we can mention each one of those patriarchal families: Antola, Arenas, Astorga Cichero, Barragán, Calvo, Carcovich, Carpio River, Castagnetto, Chiabra, del Pino, Durán, Fuentes Castro, Giampietri, Ísola, Lanatta, Martinot, Matti, Muro, Noziglia, Plaza, Piaggio, Price, Rospigliosi, Sáenz, Savastano, Secada, Silva, Ventura, Solf y Muro, Taboada, Tovar, Valle Riestra, Wiese, Ziegler; to whom the Pardo y Barreda family would surely be added, were it not for the busy work of the founding president in the House of Pizarro. The regnícolas Gómez Chepote, Huapata and Salazar Balandra were also permanent residents.

 

La Punta in the Big Story

It is the duty of every Punteño to know that his District has been the scene of decisive events in the history of the Republic of Peru; and, as we mentioned in the title, of the great story, that plethoric body in which the great men in uniform and rifles, in suits and words shine.

 

Evidently the most notorious is the Battle of Dos de Mayo in 1866. Those were times of "bonanza" for Peru, mainly and almost exclusively due to the exploitation of guano from the coastal islands, which was required in superlative dimensions to be used as fertilizer in Europe. During the government of Pezet, controversies arose with Spain, since they demanded that the debt of Independence be paid to them. During the course, a fleet, apparently scientific, but in reality an army of war, took the islands of Chincha, the main source of fiscal income for the Nation. Consequently, the Vivanco-Pareja Treaty is signed, considered denigrating and damaging to Peru, for which Mariano Ignacio Prado leads a revolution that dismisses Pezet and annuls the Treaty, declaring war on Spain - or at least on a Spanish squad - . None of the Latin American countries had the warlike conditions to face the peninsular Nation of Isabel II, so a quadruple alliance of South American States was formed: Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia, where the first two prevailed. Hard clashes were fought on various flanks of the American coast, but the war would be defined on May 2, 1866.

 

La Punta helped, due to its strategic geographical location, in the consolidation of the victory. Although it is true that the Spanish fleet represented a danger and an attack against the freedom of the American countries, we must recognize that Spain did not intend to retake its colonial possessions, because they simply did not have enough crew to do so. Landing would have been suicide. What we cannot deny are the Iberian intentions to take economic advantage, both with the debt of Independence and with the Peruvian guano. The Combat was waged pointing towards the southern flank, taking advantage of the position of the Real Felipe Fortress - bastion of the Colony inherited by the Peruvian military hosts until today - and the placement of towers on the same flank. Such a strategy could have occurred because it was impossible for the Spanish navy to skirt La Punta - except that they had done so behind the two immense islands that protect us, a slow, predictable and difficult movement, therefore unsuccessful -, since the subsoil between the The peninsula and the insula are shallow - hence the reason for the existence of the Camotal, a brief elevation of the tiny subsoil, the last refuge for surfers from Punt -, so the boats would run aground if they tried to cross it. This geographical feature allowed most of the forces to be agglomerated in a single sector, apart from a battery that was placed as a precaution on the flank behind that of the central attack. The sea-land combat began with favorable conditions for the American troops - mostly Peruvian -. In addition, La Punta served as an attack zone, where several fighting fronts were located: In what is now the Regatas Unión, the Torre de la Merced was located, placing two rotating bodies of the Armstrong caliber 300 system. In turn, the Battery Abtao was located in the current area of ​​the Malecón Figueredo and Jirón More. The Chacabuco Battery was between the two mentioned, also in Cantolao. On the other flank, pointing north, was the Zepita Battery, on the current Malecón Wiese and Jirón Tnte. Palaces.

 

Because the Torre de la Merced had not been finished, those who fought in it did so in the open. The then Secretary of War, José Gálvez, fought from said tower. At the second shot from the Spaniards, after fifty minutes of combat, they opened fire and unfurled the Peruvian flag, unleashing an explosion that disabled the Torre de la Merced and twenty-seven combatants died in unison, including José Gálvez - for this reason the two On May 1945, an obelisk was inaugurated in the same place that perpetuates its historical importance, and on July 8, a bust in honor of José Gálvez was placed in the entrance square of La Punta, which is why it bears his name - . The destruction of the Tower was an important dent for the American forces and the danger of a defeat increased considerably, but, after hours of ardent struggle, the national army managed to defeat the Spanish forces and solemnize May 2 as a historic day. , writing one of the most illustrious pages in the history of Peru and Latin America, where an outstanding point, apparently insignificant, played a primordial role in the florid writing of its brave lines.

 

Thirteen years later, La Punta witnessed another war, without the same luck as in the previous one. The Chileans were preparing to occupy Lima, and the first scene of this attempt was the Port of Callao. This area is immediately fortified to stop the Mapochos. Real Felipe was once again the center of defense. "Later (1879) two Delgran cannons of a thousand, smooth bore, and two more batteries with 9 inoperative cannons were placed at the point to resist the attack of the new artillery. There were also, although almost destroyed, the batteries that were built in 1866, to wit: to the south, the Merced tower, armored, with 2 300 cannons, Armstrong system; the Abtao battery with 6 32-gauge smooth-bore guns..." On April 22, the fight began in El Callao, through shootouts between both squads. They were light and sporadic clashes, without major consequences. "The inhabitants became so accustomed to the explosion of enemy bombs that many families, who abandoned their homes, fearing fire or destruction, returned little by little and lived in peace." After shelling the defenseless Port of Ancón, on May 27 the Chilean forces fired on the Dock Dock and on the land population, and on the 29th they culminated their attack by deposing part of the Peruvian squad.

Seventy years later, La Punta was the scene of the Revolution of October 3, 1948. It was the third year of the government of President Bustamante y Ribero, who rose to power thanks to Aprista support in the elections, calling himself the National Democratic Front Party; an alliance of parties. A serious economic and social crisis was unleashed, to which was added a political conflict, after which the President decided to annul the Congress and set up a Ministerial Cabinet of the Army. With this APRA loses its benefits, which is why the "Revolution" is unleashed.

 

In the early hours of October 3, the vast majority of the Navy's Staff: Sailors and NCOs, Aprista militants, revolted. One of the first actions was to take prisoner the Senior Staff of the Navy, who were locked up in the house of our neighbors, the Zagals, while the negotiations took place. Around twelve o'clock the matter became serious. The Army and the Air Force arrive to depose the rebels, the focus of the fire being Cantolao. After an intense fight that lasted all day, the Armed Forces sent an ultimatum to the Navy, in which they said that if they did not surrender they would bomb the School, since entering it was becoming very complicated for them, in addition to fighting in populated area. The revolted sailors decided to surrender.

 

It was frightening. Residents had been prohibited from leaving or entering La Punta. Meanwhile, curious punters could not resist the temptation and approached, very carefully, yes, the Cantolao to see how things were going. Tanks crossed the streets between bullets whistling in all directions and these reckless people came up with... Detonating virtual reality. Obviously there were civilian deaths and injuries. Lorenzo Giraldo and Julio Piachigua Cárdenas, co-founder of the La Punta Firefighters Company, died. Others were wounded by bullets that grazed them and Jorge Pardo Figueroa was shot through the stomach, fortunately without touching any vital organ. The transfer of the wounded was extremely complicated, because, as we already mentioned, no one was allowed to leave La Punta, much less in vehicles. However, a group of friends managed to transfer Jorge to Callao, where he was helped.

 

We imagine it must have been a terrible moment, in which anyone would panic. But, the locals have those things, they tell us that some newlyweds, instead of taking care of themselves, were very worried about their relatives who lived in Callao, and in the middle of the war zone they went to see them. The mother was carrying a month-old baby in her arms. Then, because his Chalaca family was very well, don't worry, they returned home, taking refuge from the bullets between the cornices of the houses. An hour and a half later they were safe, unharmed. Or this other one, in which a group of neighbors approached a soldier who had placed a mortar on the Calavera court, and asked him if he could, please, put it a little further away. It would have been seen and the soldier sent them... Immediately the soldier prepared to attack with the aforementioned mortar, which spat the bomb no more than thirty meters falling in the same place from which he had started. No Boom! The bullet fell like a stone without causing any damage. What face will the poor man have? This kind of thing usually happens in La Punta in the middle of a Revolution.

The beautiful beach in La Punta Callao – Lima

 

Places to visit

Particularly noteworthy is the Balneario del Distrito de La Punta, a picturesque, traditional and perfect place to get out of the routine and monotony generated by cities. There tourists can enjoy the beach, breeze and sea that everyone longs for on their vacations

 

To this is added a majestic boardwalk, which is attended by many foreign and national visitors. Of course, the Inca gastronomy cannot be left aside either, which shines due to the number of restaurants that can be found there. Tourists are undoubtedly the most delighted with the many dishes that they can taste in the Balneario del Distrito de La Punta.

 

  1. Real San Felipe.- Fortification built against Pirate invasions
  2. Boat ride to the San Lorenzo Islands.- Departures daily.
  3. The Naval Museum.- Dedicated to the maritime history of Peru.
  4. Abtao Submarine Museum.- Tour of a submarine.
  5. Streets and Boulevards by the sea.

 

Restaurants in “La Punta” Callao

  • El Mirador .- Specialty Fish & Seafood

Address: Malecon Santiago Figueredo, La Punta 07021

  • Cabos restaurant of the Port.- Specialty Fish & Seafood

Address: Jorge Chavez 120, Callao 07021

  • La Rana Verde .- Fish & Seafood Specialty

Address: 76, Av. Miguel Grau, La Punta 07021

 

La Punta and its magnificent Main Square

To visit Callao is to make a forced stop in the quietest district of said province, which is La Punta. Characterized by grouping the descendants of the first Italians in Peru, it preserves its culture and typical expressions of the residents of Punte as Chucuitanos.

 

This Chalaca area houses many places full of history, but it is its main square that draws the attention of visitors, since, despite the years, it retains its ornamental beauty that blends perfectly with the current buildings.

 

Located in Jirón Medina, block 3 with Bolognesi Avenue, this square has a roundabout, a replica of a pergola that was in that same place in the middle of the 20th century, being the most attractive for those who come to the place.

 

At present, and in order to meet the expectations of locals and foreigners, it has a totally free Wi-Fi zone. In addition, in its surroundings are the Municipality of La Punta, the Fire Company No. 34 - La Punta and the Pardo boardwalk.

 

So do not hesitate to visit the most beautiful district of Puerto Chalaco that also offers a wide variety of seafood restaurants facing the sea, and you can try the characteristic "rebozado" of pejerrey.

 

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