Paracas and Islas Ballestas: The “Poor Man’s Galapagos”

Known to most as the “Poor Man’s Galapagos” the Ballestas Islands in Peru are famed for their wildlife. With this reputation we had high hopes for our day trip from the little town of Paracas.

Like us, many opt for the combined tour – in the morning a boat trip to the islands and in the afternoon a trip to the National Reserve.

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It’s an early start of 8am when you head out on the boat and with just about as many tourists crammed in as birds flying above, it gets a bit crowded…

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In just under 2 hours we where whizzed round the islands, spotting hundreds of different variations of birds, a few penguins, sea lions lazing on the rocks and dolphins. It’s fair to say on the wildlife front the Ballestas had lived up to their reputation. Although it was a fairly grey and miserable day this somehow intensified the colours and didn’t stop the wildlife from making an appearance…

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However before we knew it we were back on dry land, having luckily escaped without a drop of bird poop. Apparently this is rare.

During our afternoon in the reserve we admired various viewpoints along the coast and some more of the various birds…

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And a man with a motorbike…

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But the reserve seemed to lack the wow factor we’d become accustomed too. The fossils sign posted left everything to imagination and the flamingos though pink were mere specs in the distance. Perhaps the grey weather didn’t help.

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The Cathedral Arch, once a great attraction, had unfortunately collapsed in an earthquake…

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The lunch stop naturally provided some overpriced restaurants in the middle of nowhere, and a free pisco sour the size of a thimble. But it did mean we got hassled by and up close to some of these feathered friends…

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Who artfully backed Sam into a corner…

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However for under £10 for the day we couldn’t really complain. And although the boat trip was brief, it’s worth it just to get a look at some of the wildlife on show.

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