El Candelabro sand formation

This morning started with a 6am wake up call, bags in the lobby by 6:45am, and on the bus to leave by 7am. It took us about 3 hours to get from Lima to Paracas, a place I had always wanted to visit. It is a peninsula south of Lima.  The drive was interesting. We were driving on a road with desert on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other!

We got to Paracas around 11:00am, dropped our stuff at the hotel, and went out for lunch. I was starving! The guide told us that you can eat the best ceviche in Perú here in Paracas. We all went to a little restaurant by the ocean and had ceviche. I wasn’t too keen on eating raw fish, but the guide said that it was marinated in lime or lemon juice with olive oil, onion, cilantro, and other spices. The acidic juices cook the fish, so it’s not really raw. It was weird to hear about it, but once I tried it I loved it!

After lunch, we went to a place called the candelabro. It was spectacular! It’s a huge sand design on a dune that resembles a candlestick. We saw a million birds all gathered together; it may have been more. Really, everything here is just incredible. The best part, and the last thing I was expecting, was the guide surprised us with dune buggies. Who would have imagined that I would be riding in a dune buggy and zooming down a huge sand dune on a fast board? That was cool!

At around 4:00pm we went to the Paracas Bay where we took a boat (deslizador) to see the Ballestas Islands. We weren’t allowed to get off the boat because

Wildlife at The Ballestas islands

Peruvian authorities want to prevent tourists from disturbing the animals that live there. I didn’t understand what they were talking about, disturbing the animals. I LOVE animals and this place was full of them in their natural habitat! But when we turned the corner I understood what they meant. We saw sea otters, South American fur seals, sea whales, dolphins, sea lions, leatherback and green sea turtles, and many more marine animals. There were soooooo many of them! I don’t think we could have walked around anyway. It was crazy how all the different animals were all just there and chillin’ in their own world.

After this short trip, we drove around the National Reserve of Paracas where there are different rock formations like the catedral. We saw tons of birds, like sea condors, pelicans, flamingos, black skimmers, blue-footed boobys, black-faced ibis, and many others. I seriously had to ask what kind of animals they were because I’d never seen them before back home.

La Catedral Cliff

Then we went back to our hotel after a full day of adventures. What an unbelievable experience to be able to see all these animals in the wild! I’ll never forget Paracas.