Paracas, Islas Ballestas and Reserva Nacional

We left our hotel in Mancora and its beach, sharing a taxi ride of three hours, with Jeroen’s dad and partner, and Thijs. We flew from Piura to Lima, arrived in our apartment at around 23h to catch the bus to Paracas at 07h. That was a short night.

We reached Paracas in the afternoon, and checked in at hotel Bamboo Lodge. Our room was fine, the view was great, overlooking the bay with dozens of colourful fishing boats in it. Walked around a bit, finding out that it’s actually a very small village with not much to do, especially if you’re not in the high season. We booked two tours for the next day, took a nap and then had dinner at Punto Paracas, quite nice!

Next morning we woke up to go to the first tour of the day: Islas Ballestas. On our way out, the guy of the hotel reminded us that breakfast was included, which we never realized. As we were on our way to the tour, he said it would be ready for us afterwards. So we went to the boats, put on our life jackets and sailed on. First stop: El Candelabra. This is a prehistoric  figure created in the hills facing the ocean, of which man still doesn’t know for sure why it’s there. From here we sailed on to the Islas Ballestas. These are rock formations that are an important sanctuary for marine fauna like the guanay guano bird, the blue-footed booby and the tendril. Other notable species include Humboldt Penguins and two varieties of seals (fur seals and sea lions), amongst other mammals. And during the two hour bout trip we saw all of these!

After the tour we quickly went back to the hotel, had our (simple but ok) breakfast and headed to our next tour: Paracas National Reserve, which contains both coastal areas and tropical deserts. We drove via a road of dry salt around the desert, enjoyed the great views and huge space, and watched a special rock formation called The Cathedral. It has always been attached to the ‘land’ and looks like a cathedral, but the big earthquake of 2007 has demolished the connection with the land. But it still looks quite impressive!

We continued our way through the desrt and stopped at a little fishermen’s village, Lagunillas, where people were invited to have lunch. Since we had only just had breakfast and the restaurants didn’t look very clean, we only had drinks and walked around a bit. We watched a fishing boat being unloaded of a lot of little fish. These were put in crates that were then loaded into little trucks. Under these trucks were a few pelicans picking all the fish that fell from the crates. A lovely scene to watch! From this spot, we drove back with the bus, payed a visit to the visitor’s centre and headed back to town.

After freshening up at our hotel, we had dinner again in Punto Paracas, and went to our hotel and to bed. Next morning, we had to take the Cruz del Sur bus, destination: Nazca!

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