An old train station that served as the start and end point of the Mollendo – Arequipa – Cusco line, is still the silent witness that Mollendo was once an important port town. The station is now a small museum where old black and white prints try to keep that past alive. A small town in the south of Peru, Mollendo now exudes mostly past glory, except during the summer when the beaches of this Pacific seaside resort are visited en masse by holidaymakers from the region.
Gateway to England
Mollendo had close contacts with Europe from an early age. Ships from England docked regularly during the 19th century. At the time there was a lot of trade with this country. Especially Guano, a type of fertilizer made from the droppings of seabirds, was an important export product. International trade also meant that during the heyday of Mollendo as a port, several consulates were housed. In the small old center, situated on a rock above the coast, several wooden buildings still remind of that period.
If you visit Mollendo outside the summer season, experience the beauty of a deserted seaside resort .. Where the beach is owned by the local fishermen and an often-cloudy sky tempts you to melancholy reverie …
Ceviche and Jalea on the beach
Today Mollendo is a seaside resort of the people. Only an uninhabited ‘castle’, elevated above the beach, is reminiscent of the wealth of yesteryear. Most of them are residents from the ‘white city’ Arequipa, who descend to the coast during the summer. If you want to get away from the international ‘tourist trail’ and spend a few days holiday with the locals, then Mollendo is a great destination. Mollendo has three wide beaches. In the many beach bars you can eat Peruvian fish dishes such as ceviche and jalea. You can be assured that you will get fresh fish on your plate because in the early morning the local fishermen bring the daily caught fish ashore.
Sultry summer night
During the sultry summer nights a pleasant kind of chaos reigns in the streets. There are numerous entertainment venues, most of which only close when the sun comes up again. Cumbia and salsa concerts, reggaeton, miss elections and a day devoted to the Pisco Sour, the national drink, are the main ingredients of summer fun.
The journey from Arequipa to Mollendo takes approximately 2 hours by local bus. During the 125 kilometer route you descend slowly from 2300 meters to sea level. The last part in particular is spectacular with a number of sharp hairpin bends.
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