Paracas and its Nature Reserve

Paracas is a seaside town in the Ica region of Peru. They have a nature reserve encompassing a desert landscape and islands teeming with life.

16 Dec 2019

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We arrived in Paracas aboard a Peru Hop bus at around 13:30 and the sun was still quite strong. It was such a different climate to what we had in Lima only a few hours ago and we hastily slapped on some sunblock with SPF 50+.

As with any touristy place, there were people hawking tour packages, lunch menus and drinks. It didn’t really take us long to settle for a place that offered ceviche, fried calamari and some South American pop music.

fried food on plate

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Knowing that the next day will be hectic, we chilled most of the afternoon and waited for the sunset to pop! The place we were staying at was by the beach so we didn’t have to go far to catch the sunset.

For a while, locals started to hang out by the beach with their kids in tow and a few meters away was a guy feeding the pelicans!

And then the sun started setting. I knew the skies would not look like it was on fire since there were hardly any clouds, but boy did it still pop.

Nature Reserve

The nature reserve is mostly comprised of the arid desert area, however, there are a few islands at the tip of the peninsula teeming with seabirds and sea lions.

view of hill with markings

On the way to Ballestas Island, we passed by a geoglyph carved onto the side of a hill. This thing is carved at around two feet deep into the ground.

When we got to Ballestas Island, we were told that this place is referred to as “the poor man’s Galapagos” since it does not cost a lot to get here compared to the Galapagos.

penguins from afar

Peru used to be a big exporter of guano which was used for agriculture and making explosives! Look at how jam packed the hills are with birds.

hill with seabirds

Some of these islands are manned by people who monitor the islands and harvest some of the guano. We were told by our guide that they could be spending as much as a week without going back to the mainland.

It is known that as many as 4 thousand sea lions congregate around the islands on mating seasons, this year, there were a few of them perched on rocks snoozing. The birds seem to leave them alone, which is probably for the best.