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Paracas, Peru

The smallest town I have probably visited on this trip and we favoured staying here over Pisco. Rightly so from what we saw too.

Paracas is a really nice little quaint fishing village with just about enough restaurants and bars to entertain you for the few days you are there.

The main reason we were here was to visit the ‘poor mans Galapagos’ (Lonely Planets analogy).

Islas Ballestas

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We set off from the harbour in Paracas towards the islands early morning on a speedy boat that made you feel the ocean chill.

Once at the islands we could see a huge pile of guano (bird shit) and what was causing the mess. There were thousands of Peruvian Pelicans, Boobies and even Penguins! Amazing to see Penguins in the wild for the first time.

We took a tour round the islands to see more birds than you could imagine. At one point at the far side of the island there was a seemingly endless influx of birds coming from what looked like the middle of the Pacific Ocean. They we all flying in perfect lines across the sky and onto the islands. How we didn’t get covered in guano I’ll never know.

There were also colonies of Sea Lions on the islands who didn’t even notice us there. They were more interested in chilling on the rocks, I don’t blame them.

It’s a nice tour but I couldn’t help but just want to go straight to the Galapagos. It just gave me an appetiser to what I would potentially see on the Ecuadorian islands.

Reserva Nacional de Paracas

On the same day with an hours break in between we visited the national reserve.

First stop was the visitor centre which I thought was going to bore the arse off me. I was pleasantly surprised to be more interested in the information there than any Incan museum I have been to so far.

2014-10-16-11.58.19 The whole place was filled with information about the surrounding areas, and some further afield, nature and the animals that lived there in the past compared to the animals there now.

It turns out that according to top scientists, if they could save one country in the world from an impending armageddon it would be Peru.

This is due to the extreme diversity of landscapes and the nature it provides. Peru has everything from extremely dry deserts to dense rainforests and high Andean peaks. It has one of the most diverse ecosystems of any country on the planet.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading as much as I could take in before I was told I had to leave. Yes I, Jack Davenport, got kicked out of a visitor centre for taking too much time reading everything!

I was a little annoyed I had to leave but we were on a tour and had other things to do, like spend an hour in a restaurant so they could milk as much money out of my pocket as possible. But I’m not bitter. Not at all.

So we moved on to La Catedral (The Cathedral) which was a beautiful rock formation with a cave like structure formed a long long time ago. Since an earthquake in 2007 though its now a pile of rocks in the sea. Still, it was a picturesque coastline worth a look.

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Next we stopped at the restaurant as I mentioned a second ago before visiting La Playa Roja (The red beach). So named for the red colouration of the sand from rocks giving off iron.

Paracas is nice and quaint but short of the two tours there wasn’t too much else to keep you around. The tours felt like an introduction and a taster for something greater, like the Galapagos. Very interesting in parts but in others frustrating and disappointing.

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