Malecón Costero – Wild nature in the heart of Ilo city

Millions of years ago a warmer sea and a peaceful land

millions of years ago a warmer sea and a peaceful land

Malecón Costero is a place in the shores of Pacific Ocean in Ilo city, a southern city in the Peruvian coast. Actually this wild place is in the heart of the city and it’s an urban miracle. Usually in Peru every beautiful place is ruined by mayors with beasts of concrete destroying its natural beauty. Ilo’s economy relies in artisanal fishing and the refinery of a billionaire copper mine (Peru is one of the world’s first exporters of minerals, what says that we’re also dumb because after sell the resources we buy them again in the shape of electronic devices). The mine, Southern Peru, financed an urban project and one of my masters at university designed it. Thanks to him, Arch. Edgardo Ramírez Chirinos (RIP), the heart of the city is still a place quite beautiful and at the same time a testament that we can build without destroying.

This happened one month ago in the last days of summer.

Victory of the Sun

victory of the sun

I was there barely before the twilight. I used a reverse graduated filter to get the colors of sunset but at the same time get the ground illuminated as seen by my eyes.

Ilo's Magic Sun

Ilo’s magic sun

Gulliver ship catched by Lilliputian ones

Gulliver ship caught by Lilliputian ones

But it happened so fast. The sunset was more like a sun falling. So there was just a soft light and a last ship.

Searching a safe port

in search of a safe port

A primal world
The noise of waves crashing with sharp rocks in a primitive world

the noise of waves crashing with sharp rocks in a primitive world

Did you know that the ocean was much warmer millions of years ago? I had that impression, that the sea was hot like a soup, and the rocks of the shores seemed like expecting in any time the rise of walking primitive fishes. Even more it looks like I imagine our planet billions of years ago, life dancing in waves and in every song its movements becoming more and more complex.

Explorers of the sea

explorers of the sea

Six heads awaiting the return of their gods

six heads awaiting the return of their gods




Old rocks between the city and the old sea
giants closing their eyes

giants closing their eyes

In other city the mayor had exploded the rocks and put another statue of one of our military heroes, harming the memory of those heroes with that barbarian act. I think that’s a tradition of the old Spaniards that came and used the rivers as sewers and built giving the back of the houses to lakes and the ocean. Of course they are not related to the modern Spaniards that built marvels in the distant Spain in this age. Fortunately the architect followed our native traditions to build harmonizing with the nature, without destroying it but using it as a friend. What you see in these pictures is a kind of main plaza but with traditional pre-hispanic concepts.

Stone dragos dreaming wooden ships

Stone dragons dreaming wooden ships

I couldn’t avoid to think in Norwegian fjords with Vikings preparing to dominate the sea. Of course I know the reality is quite different, my evocation comes from child fantasies.

A star above the stone circle of edlers

a star above the stone circle of elders

A watcher, employed by the city hall, came in his bicycle and warned me that the place was dangerous at night because the junkies and they could steal my camera. I thanked him and while he was explaining me the danger I stole his wallet, lol. That last is a joke of course. I packed my camera and went to take a bus to Tacna city.

Fortress awaiting

fortress awaiting

When the night came I already was travelling to another place.

33 thoughts on “Malecón Costero – Wild nature in the heart of Ilo city

  1. Beautiful images of a beautiful world joined by descriptive text and heartfelt sentiments – and even for other peoples wallets, as it seems … :D

      1. :D

        What I like very much in those photographs indeed, is that the water itself looks like the surrounding clouds, which makes those shots appear a little bit mystical even.

      2. Oh, it’s due to the low light of the hour. I can assure you that if you have even a compact camera your photographs at the same hour would be quite similar in the texture of the water due to the longer exposure.

  2. Awesome capture of low light and the sea and sky show all their energy because of the long exposure. Like how the big ship is controlled by the little ones. They are quiet near to the rocks. It seems to be a very natural harbour. Thanks for sharing, Francis.

    1. Oh, it’s an old natural harbor. Our studies says that one Inca (before to be the Inca) took a fleet from there to explore the Antarctic (that has a mythical meaning to us as Land of the Dead) and beyond the Ecuador to the Pacific Islands. We have thousands of years of maritime tradition. Thanks for the compliments, Reinhold. Kind regards, Francis.

  3. long story, short: I LOVE your awesome pix, often followed by interesting info… olé!:-))) there’s always a story behind or in the photo itself…;-)

    1. That’s why I try to tell, stories :-) A picture or a text without nothing to express I think would be a sad waste of space and time. I’m glad you liked it Mélanie, perhaps it’s similar to the Spanish islands you visited.

  4. Beautiful. The one that touches me most right now is the one that’s described as “The noise of waves crashing with sharp rocks in a primitive world”… the light on the rocks, their color, I can almost hear the waves… it makes me want to be there… bravo!

    1. By the way, I visited your space before. Your images are quite beautiful and tactile, seeing them I can sense the snow, the slowly meditation of somebody walking, so many things. I’d love to understand your words, your world, sadly understanding French is still far from me, but not its music. As pure sounds your words are quite beautiful too to my mind. So thanks for let me discover you.

      1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Francis.
        Here is a glimpse at my poetry… though this one would be better described as prose… I translated the very last one for you.
        Thank you again, Francis. And wishing you the best to come.


        on the way back from Quebec City
        last Sunday

        because someone I love
        thought of moving there
        we took the Chemin du Roy
        and went to see Grondines

        I grew up in Montreal
        some two hundred steps from the river
        and when on its shore
        wherever that may be
        I feel at home

        gently rocked by the lapping
        and tranquil at heart
        I saw the geese fly

        dear April
        you were cold indeed
        but I thank you nonetheless

      2. Camino del Rey, Chemin du Roy, sounds quite beautiful in French.
        I think in Heraclitus’ rivers, that are never the same but always are the familiar place; in the spirit of the traveler, in space for being so far the distance or in time for being so remote the past. I think in standing in your shores and feel that distance in time and space there exists no more because I’m standing in my mind right there, and also in the shores of Ilo one month ago, and the shores of Lima twenty years ago. It’s what I feel when you say “I feel at home”, je me sens… It’s good to read with innocence, I taste your language like an explorer a new planet.
        Mille merci for such a delicate gesture Caroline, I feel honored and a bit ashamed to receive something so beautiful and at the same time undeserved. suddenly I remember the expensive gifts parents gave me and that I would receive afraid to bread or lose.
        Best wishes and a smile from the Peruvian autumn :-)

      3. Oh Francis, thank you. My heart and eyes filled up with gratitude as I was reading your gentle words. They resonate in me, profoundly, inspiring me a sense of peace. Heraclitus’ words, as yours. Rivers, shores, spirit, changes, sameness.
        And please don’t feel ashamed. And know that on my end, I am humbled.
        Thank you again. And the very best to you… with a smile from our Spring… long awaited this year… it’s sunny today… this city is rejoicing, believe me… :-)
        P.-S. Roy is the ancient spelling… we spell ROI now… thought you might want to know… who knows, maybe the traveler that you are will want to speak this language one day.
        And a smile your way again. :-)

      4. Montreal is one of the places I’d like to visit, and French one of the languages I already want to speak. At least I know a bit of them hearing your mots and feeling you images, and you are now part of my mind will imagine when I heard the word Montreal. Time will say.
        Thanks for everything Caroline, and for make me learn much more, I feel like a Roy, I mean, Roi. :-)

  5. Hello Francis- I’m so happy to see beach photos from Peru that are so rugged and untamed. I love the photo of the yellow barriers as “gods” looking out to sea. I love how you turn something mundane into a work of art…A question – are you suggesting Peruvians start manufacturing electronics? What would a Peruvian mobile look like;)

    1. Hello there, hoping you’re having a nice night Melissa :-) It’s in the center of Ilo, so it’s just apparently untamed, or at least untamed until that part, fifty meters inside the city is with its buildings. If your time and comfort allow it and if you come to the South I can show you the place (just a few hours in bus, before the sun sets you would be coming back), because it’s not so safe to be there alone.
      Actually I suggest that we should use our resources too, to have more curiosity. For example nothing would cost to ask the cooper mine to give a minimal percentage to do a fabric of copper cables, something so basic, and with the time and experience with that initial step make more complicated things and machines.
      A Peruvian mobile could have the shape of an ear XD, or an spondylus.
      I’m happy that you liked the captions n_n, well, I’d love to use less mundane things but is the only things I see XD

      1. Ahhh yes! Perhaps to encourage Peruvians to create and innovate instead of sending the raw materials away to be processed.
        lol – a mobile phone in the shape of an ear…I’ve heard of a third eye, but a third ear is a new one ;)
        I hope that you’re having a good evening, too. I’m stuck in Chiclayo because my bus can’t go to Chachapoyas (the road’s blocked) I can’t decide whether it’s good luck or bad luck ….Enjoy your holiday weekend :)

      2. That’s not bad or good luck. It’s just Peru ;-) XD In any case is quite good luck because you aren’t in that bus.
        Happy holiday weekend too, although as I work independently I don’t notice much the holydays :P Take care with the busses, never try the cheapest or more uncomfortable. They’re quite old and suffer in the road, search in internet the name of the enterprise to see if in the news they’ve a good record. For example to go to the south to Lima I use Enlaces. The safer aren’t the most expensive but definitively aren’t the cheaper ones.

      3. Francis – Thank you for the information! I usually don’t try to get cheap bus rides because I know that it means the passengers will be crammed into the bus like sardines, and I can’t handle that.
        I think you’re right about my luck :) I’d rather have a comfortable night in Chiclayo and arrive a day late, than an uncomfortable night stuck on a bus for many hours while they cleared the road….Thanks for the perspective.

      4. You’re welcome, Melissa. I’ll wait to read the chronicle of your travel. I hope without romantic teachers or stylists.

    1. It was funny to get the light because I had to run, get a taxi and prepare my tripod, camera and graduated filter, if not this post had been a nocturnal one XD.
      Considering the beautiful places you have been and seen that’s a big compliment, thank you ;-)

    1. Thank you, Inese. It is one of my favorite places in Peru! I went back to there but sadly arrived at night. I adore your eye too, wishing you nice holidays ^-^

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