The poor man’s Galapagos – Paracas

Do you like penguins, sea lions, pelicans and other birds? Or maybe you don’t know, you like them – yet, like we didn´t. Anyway, all these animals can be seen on Ballestas islands in the middle of the Peruvian Pacific coast.

We drove with a boat to the first island, where you can only see birds. But many, really. Oh, not to forget the »candelabra«, a geoglyph in the Bay of Pisco. They still don’t know, why it’s there or what its function is, but they presume the Paracas people made it around 200 B. C.


On the second island live a lot of penguins (they are sooo cute!), birds and sea lions. We were shocked how much the sea lions fight, we guess this is the nature’s way.

Every eight years guano is gathered on these islands and used as fertiliser. You can probably guess that birds sh*** a lot. That’s why a tip: wear clothes, which can get pooped on 🙂

Birds, birds, birds
Birds, birds, birds

We also went to the Paracas Museum, where this interesting environment is explained. Behind the museum building a path leads to a lagoon with flamingos (but they are very far away). On the path shell fossils can be seen in the ground from the time when the ocean was here.

Fossils in the ground
Fossils in the ground

Then we drove to the peninsula to see the famous “cathedral” – a rock formation, which unfortunately broke a few years ago because of sea erosion. The next stop was the red beach. There we had some piscos (Peruvian alcoholic drink, mentioned in our article about Tacama winery), time to take a dip (very cold water) or have lunch. Here we tried our first ceviche – raw fish prepared with lemon juice. It’ very spicy but we very happy to finally eat some spicy food.

Red beach
Red beach

Back in Paracas we had some nice moments on the beach and the good thing about this village is it’s so small you can get anywhere on foot in 10 minutes.

Tips for travellers:
– on the Islas Ballestas tour sit on the left side
– if using a bus, try out Exclusiva
– don’t drink tea/coffee at the first street vendor opposite the marina, or if you do, ask for the prices first
– watch out for pelicans

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