Paracas, Peru – May 12th to 16th
We drove a few of hours south of Lima to a lovely resort in Paracas with a beach and pool. It was a very nice change of pace from being in the city.
Our first day, Haven and I went on a boat trip out to the Ballestas Islands were we saw Humboldt penguins, more sea lions and tons of birds. The islands are shelter to more than 1500 species of marine birds. Every few years they collect the guano droppings for use as fertilizer. From the water we got to view a candelabra geoglyph which can only be seen from the water. The way the wind blows over the islands means that it does not touch the candelabra. Archeologists have determined that this geoglyph is not related to the more famous Nazca lines because it points to burial grounds for a different indigenous people and the construction is different. This geoglyph is cut 2 feet into softer sedimentary earth, while the Narza lines are only about 2 inches deep into harder granite earth. In the afternoon, we all went to the Paracas National Reserve with an interesting museum, impressive geological formations and a beautiful coastline.
Of course, the highlight of this area is the incredible Nazca Lines. I remember first hearing about these lines on an old TV show called “In Search Of,” hosted by Leonard Ninoy. First discovered in the 1920’s by early commercial airlines, these gigantic lines and shapes still remain a mystery today. Are they ancient road maps or messages for visiting aliens? If the roadside ice cream stops are any indication of the local theory then Aliens win out! They all had signs with little green aliens or one even had an ET creature out front.
We boarded our little 12 seat Cessna plane and flew about 30 minutes before coming to the area to see the geometric figures and shapes. There were a few roads for traffic that where built before people realized the lines were there, but it is pretty much in in the middle of nowhere. It was fun flying over the figures and looking to see who could find them first, we each had our own window. We saw about 12-15 figures including the whale, hummingbird, monkey, spider, condor, flamingo, and several geometric shapes and spirals. Too cool!
The last thing we did during our stay here was to go on a dune buggy ride in the desert. We all enjoyed the experience. It was like a giant rollercoaster, going over the tops of the sand dunes and diving down the opposite side. We stopped and went sandboarding, which was a super fun thing to do. (We had sandboarding at several other stops on our trip – once in Egypt and again in New Zealand, but this was the best. Fast and Fun!)