Just a few hours drive south of Lima through part of the world’s driest coastal desert is Paracas. This peninsula into the Pacific Ocean is a nature preserve, with beautiful bays and beaches and remains of the pre-Inca cultures. Amazing for birdwatchers and hikers, the Paracas National Reserve is considered one of the richest and most uncommon ecosystems in the world and is a UNESCO “Natural World Heritage Site”. The preserve harbors turtles, dolphins, whales, sea lions, seals, iguanas, a wide variety of birdlife including Rhea (South American ostrich), Humboldt penguins, flamingos, condors, and many other species both common and rare. Just offshore are the Ballestas Islands, often called the “Little Galapagos Islands” as you will see similar marine and terrestrial wildlife.
Private, 2 Day Itinerary: Includes Paracas and the Ballestas Islands.NOTE: This is operated with private guide service and transportation throughout, allowing for custom stops as desired along the way.
Morning departure (around 9am) from Lima with private guide and transportation to Paracas Bay, about 156 miles south and about 3 hours drive time. The scenery is one of the urban sprawl of Lima, Pacific beaches, sand dunes, and desert broken by fertile valleys under agriculture with busy towns, and seaside communities. Along the way, a nice stop is the El Batan restaurant in Chincha for some of their delicious empanadas or desserts. In the afternoon is a tour of the National Reserve of Paracas, one of the most interesting and richest ecosystems in the world. The desert peninsula and waters of Paracas hold a great diversity of fish, birds, and marine mammals. Birdwatching is excellent in the Reserve for condors and flamingos, the colorful National Bird. Be sure ride through the dunes and have some fresh seafood and cold drinks at Lagunillas beach, one of the most serene and beautiful locations of the Reserve. The Paracas and nearby Pisco area is famous for great food made from fresh seafood including the most typical dish, the traditional Peruvian ceviche, and, of course the national drink, “Pisco Sour”. Overnights are seaside in Paracas at the lovely DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Resort - optional hotels include the Hacienda Bahia (www.hoteleslahacienda.com), or the Hotel Paracas Libertador (www.libertador.com.pe). (B)
After an early breakfast (we suggest you eat light), you board a passenger boat at around 8AM* to tour the Ballestas Islands, also known as the “poor man’s Galapagos Island”. (*This first boat tour of the day allows for calmer waters and superior wildlife viewing.) These spectacular islands, eroded into many caves and arches, provide shelter for thousands of seabirds (over 150 species) and hundreds of sea-lions. On the tour you will view the famous Candelabra hillside figure, sea-lion colonies, and the abundant birdlife (penguins, booby, albatross, alcatraz, pelican, cormorant, terns, gulls, etc.), dolphins, and maybe a condor or even a whale! After the boat tour, your private guide drives you back north to Lima. There are many options for stops along the way, such as visiting haciendas, archaeological ruins, and seaside communities. Normally included on the return is a visit to the impressive archaeological site of Pachacamac, on the outskirts of Lima. Nearby the ruins, if time permits, a great place for a meal is La Casa De Don Cucho. (www.cuchosazonperuana.com). Late afternoon return to your Lima hotel, or transfer the airport for flights out. (B)