Depart from the boat dock in Paracas at 8:00 am for your visit to the Ballestas Islands archipelago. As you cruise west from the tiny beach town of Paracas, you won't be able to miss the Candelabra geoglyph, a 150m high and 50m wide figure of a candlestick etched into the mountain, rumored to have been an ancient guide for sailors or a connection to the Nazca lines. A short description and time for photos is given before cruising on to the famous Ballestas Islands.
Ballestas islands is an excellent opportunity to see large families of over 100 sea lions sleeping on the shores, basking in the sun on the rocks or some barking loudly in efforts to protect their territory. Spot cormorants, the Peruvian booby and Peruvian pelican as well as other impressive varieties of sea bird species and Humboldt penguins nesting together in small groups. Feeling lucky? Watch the waters for dolphins.
Apart from the abundant marine and bird life found here, the Ballestas Islands are also very well known for the guano (seabird droppings) deposited on the island over thousands of years which creates a natural reserve of nitrogen-rich fertilizer over 50 meters deep in some areas. The guano came to be Peru's #1 export in the mid-19th century however today the extraction of guano has been regulated to every 10 years.
The return trip to Paracas is a quick, very windy, direct boat ride to the dock. Upon arrival at 10:00 am, your first tour comes to an end. You should have some time to take photos of the friendly pelicans that hang out on the shoreline beside the dock. Then make your way to the same departure point for your next tour.
At 11:00 am depart to the Paracas National Reserve for a guided tour through this pristine and unique natural reserve located south of the town of Pisco. Visit the Mirador de Flamencos and see flamingos eating at the shore, continue your adventure towards the Centro de Interpretacion to learn about all the fauna in the reserve. In this Centre you can see skeletons of whales, sea lions, and penguins. To finish your tour go off road in the desert towards beautiful Lagunillas Beach, where you can enjoy lunch with a view (not included). At Lagunillas, those who want to go for a swim are welcome to! Return to Paracas.
Suggestions for Ballestas Islands Boat Tour: Make sure you bring adequate clothing to keep you protected from the cool ocean air, the sun and spray from the sea. Bring a pair of binoculars to get a closer look at the birds and sea lions. If you are prone to motion sickness, you should take medication about a half-hour before you board.
Suggestions for Paracas National Reserve Tour: If you are taking this day tour during summer (December to March), please bring an extra set of fresh clothing due to high temperatures, especially during January and February. For the rest of the year, please bring a jacket to protect you from cold winds. Sun block, hat and sunglasses are highly recommended.