Also, while bordering the Ballestas Islands, you may see the rocky formation called “the face of Christ” which, according to local people, resembles Christ’s profile. You cannot miss the seas lions plunging into the ocean to cool down or just to play around. Additionally, you will be able to see the famous figure known as “El Candelabro” (the chandelier) which is situated on one of the hills of the peninsula.
Land of Lions
The nautical tourism company Ecomarine offers also tours to the San Gallán Islands and the Chincha Islands. The prices vary, depending on the excursion, between s/.60.00 and s/.80.00.
At a Speedy of 20 knots, we approach the San Gallán Island which is part of the Paracas National Reserve. A Group of sea lions welcome us with their songs. “That’s how they communicate”, says Manuel Melásquez, Ecomarine tour guide.
Even though it is not possible to disembarc in San Gallán due to its National Treasure condition, sea lions restinga on the shore can be seen from the boat. Do not be surprised if you see some around the boat poking their heads out of the water.
Melásquez points out that “the vast majority of sea lions are mongrel, their fur turns from brown to Black when they get wet. Unfortunately, the pure-breed sea lions are in danger of extinction.”
The Three Chinchas
The Chincha Islands are seen from afar like a giant invaded by minuscule creatures. Despite not being a popular touristic destination, they offer a great fauna diversity.
These islands are divided into Chincha Norte, Centro and Sur. On the first one, there are three constructions from the 50’s that served as houses, diner and hospital for the local workers during their time. The last one, on the other hand, has sandy beaches where tourists can relax, go kayaking, scuba dive or fish for an approximate of an hour and a half.
On your way back, you should visit Isla Blanca or “White Island” which honours its name with its looks. According to Melásquez, it even looks whiter on sunny days.
To make your stay a little longer, you can experiment live culture. Ecomarine offers a special stop in their tour to witness the production and extraction of scallops. But if you are tired of the open sea and you want to finish the day in a more relaxed way, you can enjoy a walk along the boulevard El Chaco overlooking the ocean, where you will find a great variety of restaurants whose speciality is fish and seafood.
You can also purchase an assortment of souvenirs such as jewellery made of shells, candy, ornaments, clothes and accessories in any of the local stores.
The icing on the cake is the incomparable clear sky decorated with the colours of the sunset that Paracas offers at the end of each day.
Here we go
Excursions leave at 8 and 10 in the morning. You should know that there are no tours in the afternoon since the wind ad waves get too strong for navigation.
The excursions to the islands last about a quarter of a day so the trips from Lima, Ica or Pisco can be made by bus or car.
We suggest that you take sun block and a hat with you to avoid getting burned as well as a light jacket in case you get cold. For your safety and the one of the ones that accompanies you, make sure that everyone is wearing their life vests throughout the entire trip.
Bear in mind that your belongings may get wet on board.
For trips to the San Gallán or chinca Islands, call: 349-8046/ (056) 532-994/ 99417-5812. Or go to: www.ecomarine.pe
Translated by Diana Schwalb