Paracas is a very small coastal town that would be easy to miss if we were driving ourselves. We decided to visit Paracas to see the Isla Ballesta and the National Reserve.
The Isla Ballesta is famous for its excrement. In fact, countries have fought wars over bird droppings left on the island. Apparently, every five years or so, someone comes and harvests the poop which gets turned into nitrate fertilizer for export.
A few kilometers or so from the coast, the small island is home to millions of birds. Bird lovers can watch Cormorants, Peruvian Pelicans, and even Humboldt Penguins! I´ve never seen a wild penguin before, so this was a treat. The most populous of the birds, however, were the Boobies. Stop giggling, please. Seriously, now. Please be mature. As I was saying, you can look through your binoculars and see literally millions of boobies and other birds on the rocks.
In addition, we saw the cryptic candelabra formation carved into the side of one of the hills, as well as numerous sea lions (including a very cute sea lion puppy).
After we finished on the boat, we took a tour with our guide Ricardo and a couple from Israel through the Paracas National Reserve. I enjoy the desert, and I love the ocean, and thankfully I could do both. This area of Peru usually gets around 2mm of rain per year, so Ravi and I really didn´t need our umbrellas. The area used to be a salt lake that has long since evaporated. Our guide pointed out natural salt rocks that actually taste pretty good! There are also many beaches of many colors, including the Playa Roja which was much redder than anything we saw in Santorini and many white sand beaches that will be crowded beyond belief once summer finally hits. Finally, we looked at some Flamingos on their way south for the winter. Thankfully, we brought a pair of binoculars, since visitors aren´t allowed very close to where they nest.
All in all, we had a full day of Peru´s wildlife!