Paracas, Isla Ballesta and Parque National Paracas

We took an afternoon bus from Ica to Paracas. It’s two hours further north along the cost but the weather changed from a beautiful sunny day to a cold grey one during this journey. We arrived and walked along the sea front which was cold grey and drab. Think of a British seaside town in October just after the sun and all the tourists have left. Alice had booked an Air B&B just outside of town, 8km as it would turn out, so we stopped to get some supplies whilst Sam sat in a cafe and guarded our bags. After Alice and I wondered around town a little we found the only food store in town which was about 20 metres behind the cafe that Same was in. I switched with Sam and they brought the supplies as Alice had offered to cook for the next few days. Whilst sitting in the cafe Jaiver and Marina walked past and joined for a coffee-these are very small towns!

I booked us on a tour to see the Isla Ballesta starting at 8am which would get us back in time for the Parque National tour afterwards.

Then we jumped in a taxi which took us out of town along the cost to our beach accommodation. We drove further and further into an industrial complex, which I found quite funny, although let’s be fair the town itself wasn’t really much to look at. Hence why there are no photos in this blog. Soon the taxi driver pulled off to the left onto a really short dirt track that led to the beach. We all jumped out and a lady ran around the corner. She was shouting at our driver and insisted that we get back into the car. Turns out she was our host and he had come to the wrong place. It was about 50 metres from where we needed to be and we could have easily walked but she instead that he drove us.

Soon were in the house which was perfect. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to staying on the beach and it was amazing to be in an actual house for the first time since July. The day was pretty cloudy so I held off on the photos which you can see at the bottom of this post.

Alice and San set about making us all dinner. They cooked for me for the three days and I relaxed. We had delicious salad and vegetable dishes which was amazing as I don’t get many fresh vegetables here. After dinner we did our usual of retiring to bed at around 8.30, but this time it was slightly warranted as we needed to wake up around 6am for the tours.

The alarms went off far too soon and after a quick breakfast we were in another taxi to the town, this time organised by our Ai b&b host. I collected the tickets and then paid the various tax’s. There seems to be a fee for everything now. A fee to use the dock, a fee for the islands and a few for the park. I kinda wish it was included in the price we could just make an informed decision. When I was buying the tickets there was an option to use the bathrooms which I didn’t take for some reason and this would be something I’d later regret.

We were grouped together with people from other agencies on a small boat and sailed off into the Pacific on probably the greyest and coldest day I’ve had the privilege to witness. It take about 40 minutes to get to the islands, you stay there for a similar time and then 40 minutes back. I think about 20 minutes into the journey I realised I needed to use the bathroom, which was really not assisted by the cold. But we will come to that a little later.

On the way to the islands there were hundred go birds flying past and diving into the ocean to feed in fish.

We soon arrived at the islands and saw a lot of wildlife. There were a couple of penguins and seals we saw straight away but too far away to photograph. We then sailed around the various islands. The islands are protected and there is no fishing permitted. The reason you see industrial equipment is that every four years people come and take the birds poo away as it’s used for fertiliser.

And we did get to see some seals upclose.

After the seals we headed back to the coast and it stared to get really windy, rain and we were splashed by spray. All of this helped my toilet situation in the sense that it made me want to go more. It got to the point where I had no idea what was going to happen and Sam gave me a bottle which I tried to use twice which Alice and the very kind German man next to me protected my modesty. Although despite being in this desperate situation I couldn’t go. Typical. Although I think this journey has made me lose all sense of shame. I know there are more embarrassing things that you can do than trying to discreatly pee into a bottle in a boat full of people but it’s high on the list.

We reached the docks, i jumped off the boat and ran and a a disaster was averted. Remember kids always use the bathroom.

There was an hour to kill before the next tour started. We were told to meet back at the docks and I was surprised when no one else was really there. Our guide collected us and we soon joined a bus full of passengers which took us to the park via land. I had thought it was another boat trip.

The fist stop was a museum and a chance to see flamingos which when we got to the end of the path were so far away it was nearly impossible to see them. It was okay for me as I’d already seen a lot in Chile and Bolivia and I don’t think I’ll get better photos. The museum was interesting and told us why the Park was protected and a little about the animals there. Peru is one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet. Out of something like 32 different habitats the UN had identified Peru has something like 28. Don’t quote me on these figures I need to double check. But it gives you an idea.

I took these shots around the museum.

We then went and stopped at our first beach. There used to be something here know as La Catedral but sadly it was destroyed in be last earthquake. Still it didn’t take from the beauty of the place and i was happy the weather had began to clear.

Then we stopped at another beach, this time made of red sand and equally as beautiful.

Then for us the tour took a little turn for the worse. I was under the impression that it was only a couple of hours long but we were taken to a restaurant for lunch. There were a few around but our Dutch guide was insistent that this one was the only that was safe to eat at. It was obvious they had a deal with the tour and the prices were really expensive. We did eat as the tour stopped here for 90mins and what else were we going to do? If could easily have just gone back to town as that’s what it did after lunch.

Anyways I got to take a few more photos and watch the bay.

After we booked our bus on to Lima for next day and then headed back to the Air B&B to enjoy the sun and the rest of the evening of what had been a long day. I sat with a beer enjoying theses views.

Again I skirted the cooking and had an early night. Our bus was not stupidly early but it was early enough.

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