Lima (Callao), Peru

Our first stop in Peru was El Chaco, a small port town serving the city of Pisco since the 1600’s.  However, the shore excursions in Pisco, Peru were too long or energetic for us, so we simply went into the port town of El Chaco, a charming village on Paracas Bay.  The Malecon has been rebuilt after a major earthquake in 2007.  We stopped for a “magnet”, some great scallops that they are known for and their famous drink “Pisco Sour”.   

The word Pisko (pisco) is an indigenous word for bird.  In the 16th century, the Spaniards brought pisco grapes to South America and made brandy with them in this area.  The Incas drank this stuff and thought they could fly, so they named it pisco — bird. 

The next day we were docked in Callao and while John went on a boat ride to see some Coastal Wildlife of Peru,  I went on a Peruvian Cuisine and Famous Cocktail tour, of course! 🙂

The Peruvian Pelican is restricted to the cold water of the Humboldt Current along the coast of Peru and Chile.  Peruvian Pelican is nearly twice as big as its northern counterpart, the Brown Pelican, which is found in both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America and northern South America.


Yes there are little penguins in this picture. The pelicans are bigger.

Humboldt penguins can breed at any time of year, usually digging burrow-like nests among piles of guano in caves and along cliffs. The Peruvian Booby is one of the most guano producing birds along the Peruvian coast, which is much needed by the Humboldt penguin for their nesting ground.  Many were seen on the rocks, but no good pictures of them.

Another shot of the same Peruvian Pelicans and Humboldt Penguins.
Since our photos are weak, thought you might like a biggie.

The Humboldt Current is one of the largest water currents in the world as it carries water for longer distances. The water then mixes with the warm waters at the equator, which marks the end of the Humboldt Current. The current is usually cold, except during El Nino.

Due to its cold nature, the current leads to the formation of fog along the coastal regions of Peru, Chile, and Ecuador and adds to the dryness of he coastal cities.

Furthermore, the arid climate experienced in the Peruvian coastline, and the Atacama Desert in Chile, are as a result of the Humboldt Current.  

Sea Lions coming out to see the boat. John said some folks went in swimming with the Lions!

My tour took me into Lima that has a population of over 9 million!  But the pre-Spanish civilization was estimated as having more than 16 million.  There was a 3-night overland tour to Cusco and the abandoned site of the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu, (mid 1500’s) rediscovered in 1911. What a fascinating history. Too much climbing for us to go.  60% of Peru is Amazonian, 30% Andes. 

Less than 1 inch of rain per year in Lima! And I thought Yuma, AZ didn’t get any rain! The cloudiness is humidity that doesn’t evaporate, due to Humboldt current. There is a fog-collecting beetle that is sustained by the condensation of fog that it collects.

We tasted Pisco in both Chile and Peru and were told there is a competition as the grapes in both countries are a little different, plus the distilling method is different in both.  It is referred to as a wine or a brandy.

Peruvian pisco is single-distilled to proof and nothing is added, not even water. 

Chilean pisco is distilled more than once and then watered down to a desired proof. 

Peruvian pisco is aged in neutral casks and is therefore clear, while Chilean pisco is caramel colored because it’s aged in barrels.