Practical Tips for your Visit to Paracas & Ballestas Islands

09 Mar
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Practical Tips for your Visit to Paracas & Ballestas Islands
Thursday March 09, 2017 - Posted by to Destinations, Peru Travel

Practical Tips for your Visit to Paracas & Ballestas Islands

If you travel overland from Lima to Arequipa, you will encounter the National Park Paracas, at a 4 hours bus drive from the Peruvian capital. Many travelers in Peru make a one day stop here (or even less) before they continue their trip further south, to (Ica, Nazca, and) Arequipa. The main attractions of this region are the Paracas National Reserve itself and the Ballestas Islands. What can you do and see here? Check it out and read our Practical Tips for your Visit to Paracas & Ballestas Islands.

Practical Tips for your Visit to Paracas & Ballestas Islands

 

Ballestas Islands

And just a few kilometers in front of Paracas’ Pacific coast lies an incredible diversity of guano birds, seabirds, sea lions and Humboldt penguins on the Ballestas Islands. These rocky islands are densely populated with pure wildlife and nature. The Ballestas Islands – nicknamed “the poor man’s Galapagos” – contain huge colonies of seabirds and sea lions. One of the most important seabirds of the Ballestas Islands is the famous Humboldt penguin, which is a fast swimmer and the only penguin permanently living in Peru.

 

Practical Tips for your Visit to Paracas & Ballestas Islands

 

These natural wonders can be discovered only in the early mornings, as tours to the Ballestas Islands either leave at 8 am or 10 am from the small port. If you book a tour, you will be picked up from your hotel. Because many of the animals are nocturnal, the tours are only offered early in the mornings, when the animals are relaxing out in the open in a tranquil state. The tour on the speedboat takes approximately 2 hours.

 

Practical Tips for your Visit to Paracas & Ballestas Islands

 

The best time of year to visit these beautiful islands is in the Peruvian summer, from November until February. However, the climate in this region is mostly warm and not too rainy throughout the whole year.

Paracas National Park

Many travelers in Peru combine the tour to the Ballestas Islands with a visit to the Paracas National Reserve. The Tour National Reservas generally leaves at 11.00, which is why many travelers do the Islas Ballestas Tour at 8.00 and the National Reserve directly after, from 11.00 till 15.00 (there is another tour later in the afternoon).

 

Practical Tips for your Visit to Paracas & Ballestas Islands

 

There is not much wildlife to be seen in the National Reserve, but the landscapes and the geology are well worth a visit as they are simply stunning. Here you can see, where the desserts meet the ocean. This region is considered as one of the richest and unique ecosystems in the world.

 

Practical Tips for your Visit to Paracas & Ballestas Islands

 

In the Reserve you can also find a museum or Visitors Center that provides interesting information about the history of the region. The Paracas civilization named this region Paracas, which means “storms of sand” in their original language. If you are lucky, you can also see flamingoes; the flamingoes, however, are protected, and you cannot come near by. Finally, you will see the beautiful beaches. Located between the Playa Lagunill and Playa Punta Santa Maria, many prefer the beautiful Playa Red or Red Beach. It’s amazing, reddish color gives this beach it’s special beauty.

 

Practical Tips for your Visit to Paracas & Ballestas Islands

 

As we said before, most people continue their travelers after one day to Ica or Arequipa (or, if you travel the other way around, to Lima). But for those who will spend some more time here, this area offers great options for biking, hiking, quad biking and buggy tours. The park is perfect for this kind of adventure activities, and there are some nice restaurants where you can enjoy Peruvian seafood (try the wellknown dish “ceviche”!) (although some of them a bit pricey). An entrance fee of a few dollars is required for the park. And if you decide to stay for a few more days: there are great kite-surfing, and paragliding opportunities and the weather conditions (wind) are almost perfect in this part of Peru.

 

Practical Tips for your Visit to Paracas & Ballestas Islands

 

Tip!

Please make sure to bring enough sunblock, water and general protection against the sun, as it can become very hot and dry in this region during the summertime. A hat might be best, as it gets both sunny, chilly and windy. Especially during the afternoons, you will want to use a wind-proof jacket. For the Ballestas Tour: don’t forget to bring a rain jacket and a hat as the mornings can be cold on the speedboat. If you tend to get seasick, we recommend you take some medication.

 

Practical Tips for your Visit to Paracas & Ballestas Islands

 

For more info about trekking and tours in Peru, feel free to contact a Dos Manos Peru trip counselor.

 

 

 

One thought on “Practical Tips for your Visit to Paracas & Ballestas Islands

  1. Pingback: Adrenaline Pumping Sand Tour Adventures in Peru | Dos Manos Peru

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