So, the beginning.
Well, really the beginning is that one very early morning we departed our lemon house in the darkness and headed for the airport. Three plane rides later (filled with naps, movies and snacks), we landed in the last hour of the day in Lima. We then spent 4 hours in Lima. In the middle of the night. It was surprisingly eventful. But, well, that’s a story for another time. Maybe.
Really the beginning of our trek starts 4am Day 2 when we boarded a bus for a small coastal town called Paracas. A little nap on the bus and …. we awaken to a desert area with the bright blue Pacific nearby.
The town was really small. A few blocks by a few blocks, one major road really. But it was simple, friendly, sunny. And that was enough. Lots of sand mixed with small bodegas selling ice creams and children riding bicycles around the street.
Oh, and listen to this, they get drops of rain a year there. It’s sunny practically every day. Bliss.
We stayed at this friendly little place, a bright white building against the very blue sky, a hotel called Hotel Santa Maria.
Comfortable beds perfect for napping after lunch … and a great roof terrace with views of the water as we read books on lounge chairs.
It was glorious.
Oh, and I mentioned lunch. The food in Paracas was SO grand! The best ceviche I have ever had (i can still taste the delisiciousness in fact) … and a lot of scallops. One dish we loved was this one with scallops baked in the shell with parmesan on top. YUM!
Anywho, besides reading and eating and walking on the beach and exploring town… we went on two little half day excursions.
One took us afternoon exploring the Paracas National Reserve. It pretty much looks like the biggest desert you can imagine in one direction. If you turn your head the other way, the ocean and rocky coast .
The other took us by boat out to las Islas Ballestas. It is known as a small version of the Galapagos. On the way there you saw the Candelabra. It is a geoglyph on the side of this cliff that you can only see from the sea. It is abot 600 feet long and about a meter deep. I cannot image digging something that deep in the hard sandy soil. As you can image, this glyph is slowy disappearing becuase of the strong winds that are slowing filling in the trenches… As for when it was dug, we were told about 200 BC on our tour. Archiologists apparently for some pottery and such near the candleabra from that time. But really? Who knows? The bigger question seemed to be why?
We kept going by boat to the Ballestas. As we got closer to the islands, I was worried that the animals would elude us. Boy, was I wrong.
South American Humboldt penguins, sea lions, dolphins, Peruvian boobies, huge Pelicans, zarcillos, cormorants…
We even saw both baby penguins and baby sea lions. SO DARLING! The sea lions even all congregate on this one beach that we were told is nicknames maternity beach.
Instead of just seeing one little animal far away, in seemed like everywhere you looked, there was an animal right there. Gorgeous and so fun to watch.
This pretty much concluded our two day adventure on the coast.
We left via bus late one afternoon headed for Arequipa to the south.