ISLAS BALLESTAS: The poor man’s Galapagos

ISLAS BALLESTAS: The poor man’s Galapagos

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I left Lima at 3 AM bus to reach Paracas. I already had reservation with an agency but they did not turn up. Luckily there was another  company who were conducting boat trip for a group. So I spoke to them and they happily agreed.

The boat trip from Paracas to Islas Ballestas is 24 kilometers and it took us about 30 minutes to get there. On our way we saw Paracas Candelabra, a geoglyph that sits on a hill overlooking the water. The Paracas Candelabra is 180 meters tall and it can be seen from a distance of up to 12 miles out at sea. The design is carved 2 feet into the ground, and it has been around for over 2000 years. The symbol is a mystery , nobody knows for sure its purpose or origin. One common theory is this was used as marker for ships. Some theory even suggests extraterrestrial influence.

We saw lot of wildlife . Boats are not allowed to disembark tourists which means wildlife can only be observed from a distance. We saw some Humboldt Penguins. These penguins are native to Peru and breeds in a hot Mediterranean or desert climate. There were birds everywhere,

We spotted pelicans, bright red sea stars, boobies. We also saw sea lions and red sea crabs. Male sea lions were just basking in the sun. Females (darker in color) and babies were playing in water. This islands were full of birds . It was nesting season and there was not even an bare patch of rock.

Guano , bird dropping are very are valuable as fertilizes due to their extremely high nitrogen content. There are special structures in these islands to collect this substance. In eighteenth century before artificial extraction of nitrate started “Guano export” was a major contributor to the economy of Peru. Licences are still  issued to commercially collect Guano from these islands.

 

 

 

 

 

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