Saturday, September 7, 2013

Islas Ballestas, Paracas Peru

Situated off the southern Peruvian coast on the Paracas Peninsula, the Ballestas islands, together with the Paracas National Reserve, is really a wonderful excursion for wildlife enthusiasts.

I visited only the Ballestas islands though, and somewhere along the way, someone had nicknamed it 'the poor man's Galapagos'. While I am not in the position to comment on that nickname, I am somewhat impressed by the amount of wildlife seen on the short trip around the islands. And that's the crux of the matter about visiting the Islas Ballestas. The only way to visit the islands are via 2-hour boat trips from the various tour agencies in town. Perhaps it may be due to some policies controlling the amount of exposure tourism has on the ecosystem. The boat trips are purely sea trips; there are absolutely no landings at all. Of course, given enough resources (money), I'm sure there may be alternatives...

Thus one will tour around the rocky islands on a boat together with 20-30 other tourists. You'll be largely confined to your seat area, so needless to say, photography on the moving boat is somewhat challenging as well. And narration is in Spanish. However, you do get to see seals, sea lions, penguins, pelicans and large number of birds. In fact, it is the sheer number of birds seen at a single place that astounded me. And all these in about 30-40 minutes of actual time around the islands.

On the way to the islands, you get to see the El Candelabro, a large-scale geoglyph etched on the hill overlooking the Bay of Paracas. A little like the Nazca lines, this is also somewhat of a mystery as to its origins and purpose.

I regretted not visiting Paracas National Reserve. It would have made the trip more complete I think. Nevertheless, Paracas is a worthwhile stop just 4 hours from Lima. And you could probably stop by Pisco, and have your pisco sour fix!

1 comment:

Henderson said...

It's such a beautiful place! I think that everyone should be able to take such a trip to Peru at some point or another, the experience is just too good.