Sunday, October 6, 2019

Paracas to Huacachina- It is all Fun and Games till Someone Gets Hit in the Face with Booby Poop

Paracas is pretty when the sun is shining and there is no sandstorm. Everyone seems to have cleaned up the dusty mess which was left from yesterday's sandy event.

We had breakfast at the restaurant next door to our hotel. I am getting sick of eggs but am enjoying the retro 80s and soul music that they play all over Peru.

Our first tour was a boat ride to the Ballestas Islands which are known as the poor man's Galapagos.

Paracas is a fishing village and we passed hundreds and hundreds of small boats on our way out of the harbour to the islands...not to mention pelicans as well.

Our boat sat around 50 people and had two engines and no roof. On the way we stopped to look at a large candelabra carved into the side of a mountainous island.

The islands had all kinds of arches and caverns eroded into their bases by the ocean. It didn't take long to spot Humbolt Penguins waddling along the cliffs and over the arches. These penguins are much larger than the Galapagos penguin.

These islands definitely belong to the birds; they are all over the place, especially the Peruvian Booby.

There is a strong smell of guano (bird poop) in the air. The Peruvians collect this poop and sell it as fertilizer.The most prolific guano producers are the boobys and cormorants. John looked up at the wrong (or right) time and was hit on the cheek with one of these booby missiles...a common hazzard when travelling In the area. Many people in the boat got splattered with a little gift from the birds.

The birds share the islands with a colony of sea lions.

Too soon it was time to head back to port where 
flocks of pelicans were hanging out  on the beach. These pelicans seem to have more colorful beaks and heads than the pelicans I've seen before. 

The next tour was included in our PeruHop pass. It was to the Paracas National Reserve.

The Reserve is a large hilly desert area meeting  a wave bashed coastline. The sand is a golden colour and whipped around by high winds. Turkey vultures rode the air currents.

We were told that this desert is the driest one in the world. 

We stopped at many vantage points. The final being a red sand beach.

Upon returning to the town, we collected our bags, bought some snacks and got on the bus to Huacachina. We passed many Pisco vineyards on the way.

Huacachina is a small village which surrounds an oasis in the Peruvian desert. It is the only oasis in South America. The sand dunes here are the tallest that I have ever seen. 

A lot of people go on dune buggie rides or sand boarding but John and I decided to walk the town. John climbed part way up a dune to take some photos of the oasis. It is very picturesque.

Our hotel is clean and comfortable and has a really cute pool area and restaurant. 

We did decide to take advantage of the happy hour-  two for one pisco sour special before going out to a really nice Italian restaurant beside the oasis called "The Wild Olive". It was really good.

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