Weekend Excursion to Islas Ballestas
If you love sea life then a weekend excursion to Islas Ballestas is a must. With sea lions, seals and birds galore, a visit to these islands off the coast of Peru is a delightful experience where animals are found in nearly every crook and cranny.
This area, known as the Galapagos of Peru, is included in the Paracas National Reserve. Paracas and the Islas Ballestas of Peru charm all wildlife observers and rightfully so. Once you have had a taste of the Islas, it is off to Paracas which is the gateway to the Islas Ballestas. To journey to these highlands it is best to take a cab from Punta Hermosa over to the bus stop on the Pan American Highway. From there a bus will take you to Pisco where you can then change over for Paracas.
A lovely seaside town, Paracas consists of local hostels, restaurants, the marina and some fishing trade. Affected by the earthquake in 2007, the town has since had to rebuild, but is still standing proud and tall. From here, tours leave for the Islas Ballestas. To make a full day out of the tour it is best to leave as early as possible. The Ballestas Islands, considered the “Peruvian Galapagos,” boast a huge collection of protected species. Red boobies, pelicans, red-footed cormorants and turkey vultures reign over this region.
A two hour tour will give you enough time to gaze at the local creatures and to pass by the mysterious “ Candelabra” markings. If you look over to the sloping hill at Pisco Bay on the Peruvian coast you can see etchings of this famous design. The Candelabra is 595 feet long and can be seen as far as 12 miles off of the coast. Pottery was found nearby the site and dates back to 200 BC and was therefore assigned belonging to the Paracas Culture. As with the Nazca lines, mystery surrounds the Candelabra’s marking and why they were created. Nevertheless, these markings are intriguing and worth making the trip.
After a tour of the islands, you can take a bus and head back to Pisco or settle down for the day in one of the quaint local hostels.
Either way, this weekend excursion is a must for those who are crazy about wildlife and experiencing more of the natural preserve in the area.