The second stop on our trip was a small town south of Lima – Paracas. After the city tour of Lima, we were dropped at the Cruz del Sur bus station by our guide. Cruz del Sur is a reliable and safe way to travel around Peru. We opted for the VIP seats – Comfortable 170 degree reclining seats, ample legroom, entertainment options, meals and refreshments, restroom – best bus ride ever! The journey to Paracas was a short one, and we reached by 6pm. We had reserved Hotel Zarcillo Paradise for the one night stay here. This was located just next to the Bus stop or rather the bus stop was an extension of the Hotel.
The Hotel had just rooms and no service. So when our stomachs started making noises, we headed out to the town. It is a very small town and mainly centred around tourism, so was pretty safe. The destination was Misk’i, a small restaurant with good reviews on Tripadvisor.
We ordered our usual – Chicken Pizza – and to go with it a Pisco Sour. Pisco is a local alcoholic cocktail. As the name suggests, it is sour, but in a nice way.
Next day, we had 2 tours planned back to back. First was a boat trip to Ballestas Island. Paracas is often called poor man’s Galapagos, these islands are the reason why. Located 30 mins off the shore of Paracas, these islands have a huge population of birds and few marine mammals, resembling Galapagos island wildlife. The rocky islands are covered in guano or bird droppings. There is so much of bird shit, that every 10 years, it is mined on a commercial scale!
But, the first stop on the ride was a unique Geoglyph on the sands – Candalebra. No one knows who created this, when or why. Speculation is it was a guiding beacon for mariners in the past.
As soon as the islands come in sight, so does the deafening sound of the birds. We had never seen so many birds flocked together is such a small location!
There were Peruvian Pelicans, Peruvian Boobies, Humboldt Penguins and Sea Lions.
The whole tour lasted exactly 2 hours and we were back to the jetty by 10am. Although late, we had a quick breakfast and went back to the Tour operator for our next tour – Paracas Reserve.
TIP : Try and sit on the front of the boat. You get a better view, less shaky and won’t get drenched.
This region of Peru, although in the Tropical region, does not have a Tropical climate. It is because of the cold Humboldt current, whereby the air is cooled and cannot produce precipitation or rain leading to an arid climate and desert landscape. Paracas Reserve falls in this region is home to rich Marine life and unique land formations.
As part of the Paracas Tour, you visit the Museum first, where you get to know more about the regions geological and zoological history. Just a short walk behind the museum you get to see Flamingos feeding in the distance.
After that you get to see different landscapes in the park, like the Playa Roja or Red Beach!
You wind up the tour with a visit to a beach-side restaurant. It is optional to eat here, but you would be definitely tempted to do so. Try the Ceviche, local seafood delicacy!
After the Tour we came back to our Hotel, checked out and was in time for our Bus ride to the next destination – Nasca!