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Peru: Paracas and Nazca

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The Paracas Nature Reserve on a rocky desert peninsula and the guano-rich Ballestas Islands just off the Pacific coast, a short drive from Lima, are often visited en route to the Nazca Lines and Arequipa, but for wildlife lovers they are a real treat in their own right. Sealions, Humboldt penguins, pelicans, terns, cormorants and flamingoes thrive here, and the marine life is equally prolific, with dolphins, sharks and whales.

The Nazca Lines, huge geometric designs and figures etched into a bleak, barren plain inland from the coast (3.5-4 hrs’ drive from Paracas and 7 from Lima), were carved around 2,000 years ago, possibly as an astronomical calendar.

Our holidays to Paracas and Nazca

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Things to do in Paracas and Nazca

Boat Trip to the Ballestas Islands

Boat trip to the Ballestas Islands

Desert etchings

Fly over the Nazca Lines


What our experts say

En route to the Ballestas Islands you'll see El Candelabro - a petroglyph carved in the rock measuring 10m x 100m, said to represent a San Pedro cactus whose hallucinogenic properties are used by shamans throughout Peru. Its origin is unknown but theories abound, from aliens to the pre-Columbian Nasca culture or pirates. The wildlife we saw at the islands was impressive - huge quantities of birds, many migratory, sea-lions, penguins, boobies and huge cormorant colonies.
Ben Line

Ben Line

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