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What to see in Peru

Islas Ballestas

If you decide to travel to the Ballestas Islands, don't overlook the many things to be seen in the surrounding area. The reason for your trip is probably your love of animals and nature. If so, you've chosen the perfect destination. Let's see what awaits you in the Ballestas Islands. But before we start, you should know that to get to this group of islands you first have to get to Paracas. Although the islands are located off Pisco, the boats that will take you to the nature reserve leave from the next village.

Paracas: a charming fishing village

If you are visiting the Ballestas Islands you will have to pass through Paracas before or afterward. This is a fishing village with two personalities. During the day it's full of tourists and bustling with life. Especially in the port area, where everyone is looking for their boat. If you're staying at one of the local hotels, it's best to wait until six in the evening to visit. At that time the day-trippers have left and Paracas regains its charm.

Take a walk along the beach, gaze at the fishing boats returned from their day's labors and feed the pelicans. You may be surprised by the large population of stray dogs, but don't worry, they're used to strangers and won't bother you. 

Getting closer to marine life

Visiting the Ballestas Islands necessitates arranging a boat trip. It usually lasts about two and a half hours and you're not allowed to leave the boat. The reason? To ensure the safety and protection of the animals. Among the species on these islands are sea lions and Humboldt penguins. Don't be surprised by the presence of cormorants and pelicans, as both species are common. And it's more than likely you'll get to swim with the dolphins. 

The mystery of El Candelabro

You've probably heard of the Nazca Lines, the most important geoglyphs in the country. Well, El Candelabro is another of these unexplained, large designs, which you can see from the boat on the side of a hill. We don't know who made it, but it's estimated to be more than 2,500 years old and is 180 meters long.

Some of the stories told about it suggest that the pirates made it mark some treasure, although this would not accord with its age. Others claim it's the work of aliens. Whatever the explanation, the only thing we know for sure is that it's impressive.

By the way, do you know why El Candelabro maintains more than one meter of depth despite the centuries it has been exposed to erosion? It may surprise you, but it's due to the selfsame erosion: the wind fills and removes sand from the design, and thus its lines always remain visible.

Traveling to the Ballestas Islands and their vicinity

The Paracas National Reserve

The area that was established as the Paracas National Reserve is made up of two types of landscapes: sea and desert. The goal of the reserve is to protect the extraordinary biodiversity of the area, which provides a perfect place to observe the behavior of migrating birds. 

The landscapes here are not recreated in many places in the world. The waves of the sea break directly against the cliffs at the edge of a desert of sand. There's no way to explain it if you haven't seen it, but the best way to express it is that, on the first impression, it looks like someone has put a beach in the middle of a cowboy film. 

If you're going to travel to the Ballestas Islands to visit the Paracas National Reserve, we advise you set time aside to do so in three stages:

Reserve Museum

First, visit the reserve museum to learn more about the facts underlying the reserve and what it involves. Here they'll show you what you need to know to become familiar with the history of the place and its natural wealth.

Road trip

Map out a route that takes you through the main areas of the reserve. Actually, most of them are indicated, so you'll just have to choose the one that best suits what you want to see. We advise you to go to Lagunillas Beach or Red Beach.

Sea of Fossils

And finally, go to the area known as the "sea of fossils", a large expanse of land thronged with marine fossils. Almost like a prehistoric cemetery.

Unfortunately, it's no longer possible to visit the Cathedral, due to an earthquake that caused part of the rock to collapse. 

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