19 November, Wednesday - Day 23

Ballestra Island Tour, Paracas Nature Reserve Private Tour

Continental breakfast on the balcony patio at 7 am. There are roosters here too but they are not as obnoxious as the Nasca ones. Maybe because the spaces here are more open. The weather is more humid but cooler. Nasca had been the warmest place we had stayed in other than the half day spent at Puerto Maldonaldo.

It is overcast and cool which is fine as the boat doesn’t have cover.

Humboldt Penguins

Took lots of photos of the sea lions, comorants, Humboldt penguins, Inca terns, and the pelicans on the islands.

Guard for the islands. The guano is very valuable and collected every seven or eight years for overseas sales

I have seen many of these animals before but not in such abundance and mixture.

There had been a 7.9 earthquake and a tsunami a year ago August 15th and the area is still recovering from it. We see a picture of the old town in the lobby of the hostel and it used to look like a Greek island village.

At 11am we take our private tour to the Paracas Nature Reserve. Our taxi driver/guide explains that the road we take is actually black from tires and is actually made of salt.

He shows us the fossils in the sand.

The famous natural cathedral structure in the park had collapsed during the earthquake. What took nature millions of years of wind erosion to create was destroyed by nature in 2 minutes.

Cracks in the earth left by the earthquake last year

Campers are allowed to stay free at the beaches. One is called “El Diablo” because campers don’t realize that the current is very strong and can come suddenly to wash them away.

We take a walk along one of the safe camping beaches. We stop for lunch at the fishing village of Lagunillas. The famous restaurant has been there 50 years. Other restaurants have not been so lucky, especially since the tsunami. We get the scallop cerviche and it’s so good, we get a second order of it.

Kids fishing the tidepools

Walked along the beach at sunset. We split an arroz con mariscos (Seafood and yellow rice) for dinner.

At night, the obelisk of sails commemorating the liberation of Peru from the Spaniards in the 1800’s is lit up. I check the internet to make sure our flight hasn’t changed. My feet are tired and the pedometer says we did over 15000 steps today.

20 November, Thursday - Day 24
Return to Lima. Flight to Miami

We see international flags flying over the private dock at Paracas so figure that the dignitaries from Lima are visiting the Ballestra Islands this morning. Visibility is low on the ocean which we are told is unusual weather.

Caught our bus to Lima at 1 pm and the ride takes about 4 hours. Watched the silly movie “Bruce Almighty” onboard. Caught the taxi for 35 soles to the airport. Same price as the bus ride from Nasca to Paracas. Spent the last our soles in the airport shops and had tamales for dinner. Rusela ordered a special ice cream dessert which was quite good. Our flight left at midnight and we arrived in Miami at 6 am (the 21st of November).

Our exploration trip is done. We are not feeling too worn out so must have paced ourselves well. Tried to keep things varied and not overdo the archaeology. We traveled from the lowland rain forest to higher and drier land until we hit the sea. The weather was pleasant  throughout, with the exception of Nasca and a half day in the Amazon.  We got lots of good food, exercise, and plenty of sleep. Now it is safe to say we had a great journey.

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