Where old Callao ends and La Punta begins is Chucuito, a little barrio on the rocky beaches to the side of Peru’s, main port. Originally settled by Italian immigrants as recently as the late 1800s, it soon merged seamlessly into its increasing urban surroundings.
Its first shanty fishermen village style shacks gave way to single story adobe buildings and were eventually joined by a few unattractive tower blocks in modern time. The area had a run down look and feel to it, and was generally considered unsafe.
The regional authorities, and the mayor Félix Moreno, last year attempted to rectify the situation in a way that has already been tried and tested in Antioquia. It seems that by simply painting the buildings in a bright an interesting way is enough to breathe new life into run down or impoverished areas.
Chucuito got a new coat of paint. All buildings, from old to modern were painted in different bright colours. More auxiliary police were hired and on weekends food and live entertainment is found in Chucuito’s sea-front plaza.
“Just like the Caminito in La Boca, Buenos Aires, we want to convert the bay of Chucuito into a tourist and commercial zone”, Mayor Félix Moreno explained at the time.
So far it has been a mini-success. Peruvians come along on weekends to spend time by the beach in an area that is now pleasant and much safer than it once was. Residents are very pleased. Not only did they have the exteriors of their homes painted, and in some cases restored, free of charge, the local authorities are also offering expedited permission to open small businesses to cater to visitors. House prices are also on the rise.