Celebrating Peru’s mixed naval history
The Battle of Angamos, Peru.
Image from Creative Commons
A look back in time
Peruvians will be downing tools for a national holiday on Thursday 8 October, an annual act of remembrance for the naval disaster suffered at the hands of Chile in the Battle of Angamos on 8 October 1879.
The battle became a decisive moment in the War of the Pacific between Chile and the allied countries of Peru and Bolivia. By crippling the Peruvian ironclad the Huascar, Chilean naval supremacy was achieved, paving the way for a land attack and eventual victory.
But despite their strong sense of patriotism, Peruvians are unlikely to let history get in the way of a good holiday, and 8 October has become an excuse for a celebration throughout the country, with plenty of opportunities for visitors on Peru vacations to get involved.
A number of public events take place in Lima’s neighboring dockland city of Callao, including a ceremony at the main war memorial monument and displays by various naval units.
The events are focused around Plaza Grau, on La Punta, a peninsula that juts out into the Pacific Ocean which is home to a pleasant neighborhood of original architecture and beachfront shops, restaurants and attractive, well conserved parkland.
La Punta is home to a large Peruvian Naval School complex and is very close to Callao’s docklands, where much of Peru’s maritime history has been concentrated. The events start at around 10:00am and last for several hours.
Getting to Callao from the popular tourist district of Miraflores in Lima is best done by taxi, as the journey is a long one and can take up to an hour, passing through some fairly poor neighborhoods. Expect to pay between 20 and 30 soles for the taxi ride.
Meanwhile elsewhere in Lima and throughout Peru, families and friends take the chance to spend the day together at home, drinking their favorite brand of Peruvian beer and enjoying a typical meal of the famous Peruvian cuisine.
Key points for traveling in Peru during national holidays
National holidays are a good time to explore Peruvian culture and history during your Peru travel experience, but to ensure you have the best time possible, try to remember the following key points:
– ATMs should still be functioning and street money changers will be working, but banks and other services will be closed for the day, so don’t get caught short without enough cash.
– Restaurants, hotels and public transport will be functioning as normal, but in busy areas (especially on La Punta) expect crowds, higher than normal prices, and a queue for even the smallest purchase.
– As with any crowded area in any city, exercise caution – keep an eye on your bags, don’t put your expensive cameras or cash on display and watch out for pickpockets.
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