Our next stop in Peru was Paracas, a small coastal town about an hour-and-a-half North of Ica. There is not much in Paracas. We learned that most of the town was destroyed in 2007 due to an earthquake and tsunami. Many of the buildings are new. The government recently designated the Ballestas Islands and the Paracas National Park as a national marine reserve. I think this area will be a popular tourist destination in the near future because it is a beautiful little beach town.
Although there are many restaurants and souvenir shops along the promenade and a good sized pier and a decent beach; once the big luxury hotels are completed I expect the crowds will start to arrive in earnest. At the moment accommodations are either a luxury hotel or a back-packer hostel. We opted for one of the better hostels in town.
The next day we got up early and took the boat tour around Ballestas Island. Our first stop was to see the Candelabra. Experts are not sure if it was made by the Nazca people or not. Although it has has some similarities to the the Nazca lines, it was created in a different way. We then toured around the protected island and saw Humbolt penguins, blue footed boobies, Peruvian boobies, sea lions, large jelly fish, guano birds….It’s a beautiful island, it’s covered in guano so it looks white, it doesn’t smell great, but it’s beautiful.
We returned with plenty of time to relax, pack, have lunch then onto the bus for the long ride back to Lima.