The Ballestas Islands
The Ballestas Islands are often described as Peru's answer to the Galapagos Islands and
although they don't quite match the splendour of their northern cousins,
they are quite spectacular in their own right.
The islands have been eroded to form countless natural caves and arches.
In fact, this is where the islands' name comes from - the word Ballesta means 'bow'
(as in archery).
There are colonies of thousands of seabirds such as pelicans and penguins, and you will also see hundreds of sealions and often schools of dolphins.
It only takes a few hours to visit the islands. As well as getting you out to the islands themselves, this is also the ideal way to see the Paracas bay, complete with its stunning natural rock formations such as the Paracas Cathedral.
You also get a great view of the 'Candelabra', which is either a Paracas culture
geoglyph similar to the Nazca Lines or, more excitingly, a marker to lost treasure left by
pirates during the 17th century. Maybe it's worth digging out that metal detector from under the
Leave at 07.30 am
back around 11 am
Time spend in the car: about 30 min.
Transport will pick you up from your hotel, English driver/guide
You need to bring:
daypack with food
sunglasses and sunblock
Paracas Nature Reserve and the Paracas Culture
The Paracas peninsula is named for the seasonal Paracas sandstorms.
Today, almost the whole of the peninsula is covered by the Paracas Nature Reserve.
Altogether, the reserve covers a total of 350,000 hectares and is one of the most important marine reserves in the world.
The reserve is home to millions of sea-birds such as flamingos, pelicans and Humboldt Penguins,
all of which feed in some of the richest fishing grounds in the Pacific.
On a historical note, the flamingos were apparently the inspiration for the red in Peru's flag when it was designed after
independence by General San Martin,
who landed in Paracas bay to begin the liberation of Peru from the Spanish Crown.
As well as wildlife, the reserve is also home to a museum of the Paracas culture (c.700BC)
which features examples of this culture's textiles and funerary bundles.
The culture's weaving was highly advanced you can see some examples which are amazingly well-preserved in the
museum which is part of the reserve.
More scarily, you can also see some of the Paracas
culture mummies and some of trepanned skulls which are evidence of the medical
inventiveness of the ancient inhabitants of the peninsula.
And while we're on the subject of the weird and wonderful, science-fiction fans should also be
aware that the peninsula is also persistently rumoured to have been the site for much of the
filming of Planet of the Apes... so if it looks familiar - you know why!
Leaving every day, just ask for itinerary and tell us what you'd like!
Prices: Ask us ! (depending on services)