Islas Ballestas

islas ballestas

After departing Lima the sun reappeared and we continued 235km south to Pisco and then on to Paracas to tour the Ballestas Islands.  Nicknamed the ‘poor man’s Galapagos,’ these offshore islands are home to sea lions, Humboldt penguins, Chilean flamingos, dolphins and seabirds that are present in thousands-strong colonies.  Layers of seabird droppings, or guano, have been deposited on the islands over thousands of years and in some places the droppings are as much as 50m deep.  Used as a fertilizer since pre-Inca times, the guano became Peru’s principal export during the mid-19th century and even led to the so-called Guano War of 1865-66.  Paracas is also an important archaeological area and was occupied from 900 BC to AD 200 by the ancient Paracas culture, one of the most highly-developed pre-Inca civilizations.

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