Discover the beautiful landscapes of Paracas National Reserve and the Ballestas Islands, also known as the “Galapagos of Peru”, on this short 2-day trip from Lima. Among the animals you will have the chance to see: Andean flamingos, Humboldt penguins, Peruvian pelicans, sea lions and maybe dolphins if you are lucky!
Depart from the boat dock in Paracas at 8:00 am for your visit to the Ballestas Islands archipelago. As you cruise west from the tiny beach town of Paracas, you won't be able to miss the Candelabra geoglyph, a 150m high and 50m wide figure of a candlestick etched into the mountain, rumored to have been an ancient guide for sailors or a connection to the Nazca lines. A short description and time for photos is given before cruising on to the famous Ballestas Islands.
Ballestas islands is an excellent opportunity to see large families of over 100 sea lions sleeping on the shores, basking in the sun on the rocks or some barking loudly in efforts to protect their territory. Spot cormorants, the Peruvian booby and Peruvian pelican as well as other impressive varieties of sea bird species and Humboldt penguins nesting together in small groups. Feeling lucky? Watch the waters for dolphins.
Apart from the abundant marine and bird life found here, the Ballestas Islands are also very well known for the guano (seabird droppings) deposited on the island over thousands of years which creates a natural reserve of nitrogen-rich fertilizer over 50 meters deep in some areas. The guano came to be Peru's #1 export in the mid-19th century however today the extraction of guano has been regulated to every 10 years.
The return trip to Paracas is a quick, very windy, direct boat ride to the dock. Upon arrival at 10:00 am, your first tour comes to an end. You should have some time to take photos of the friendly pelicans that hang out on the shoreline beside the dock. Then make your way to the same departure point for your next tour.
At 11:00 am depart to the Paracas National Reserve for a guided tour through this pristine and unique natural reserve located south of the town of Pisco. Visit the Mirador de Flamencos and see flamingos eating at the shore, continue your adventure towards the Centro de Interpretacion to learn about all the fauna in the reserve. In this Centre you can see skeletons of whales, sea lions, and penguins. To finish your tour go off road in the desert towards beautiful Lagunillas Beach, where you can enjoy lunch with a view (not included). At Lagunillas, those who want to go for a swim are welcome to! Return to Paracas.
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