Paracas and the Ballestas Islands

f4ZXWugK9DQQdURtpd3KOkfv6HECie9OS-9wr3o3_4KJ3Yl51K6vYGN7uH5RiAPfDwJuADlh-XYxh1mqtW3pugvSnP18UNjA1IfgeuTlLzCVw0H9YoZIpRLbeM0vsm1J3sQpRlZQwzqMx-Zqt2CbTQHZXjCW4RhC29EsC5zuu-13vofW8VPdZUjs95As strange as it seems from May to September, there is no sunshine in Lima. If you imagine an overcast day that lasts for five months, then you are getting close to imagining it. Therefore, it is necessary to get out and find some direct sunlight. One of the places is Paracas, three or so islands to the south of Lima. Go for a weekend. There is a national park and sunlight. Maybe. If you really want to make sure, go down to Ica, location of the Nazca lines. Make sure to stop at the pitstop at marker 52 for breakfast.

IMG_4693We went for a weekend. Paracas is a small town that seems to exist nowadays for the tourism related to the Paracas National Reserve, a vast sandy national park, and the Ballestas Islands which is part of the park but a separate boat tour. These islands were the source of guano, bird poo, which is used for many products, including fertilizer. It was a big industry. The birds still produce and they like to aim for the tourists (wear a hat and long sleeves). You will also see sea lions sunbathing. The boat ride is two hours with no toilet, no roof, and lots of wind and water. Be prepared.

IMG_4932As much as I enjoyed the boat ride and watching the local fauna (a man and his 12 offspring) on the boat, I actually preferred driving around the desert part of the reserve and finding well appointed viewing platforms and amenities along the way.IMG_4542

Day Boat Trip Out of Dhaka

Our proud prow.
Our proud prow.

It is possible to take a one day boat trip out of Dhaka. We used a company that charged around 2,500 Taka per adult if there there at least 20 adults. The boat is spacious (and shaped like a peacock!) and we had it all to ourselves. Lunch and several touristy stops were included: we had a quick walk to an old estate, a stop for a swim (dolphins were also promised but alas), and a visit to a village where the laborers make “jamdani” saris. The “jamdani” clothe is a woven gauze and very expensive due to the labor involved in weaving it.

The country estate.
The country estate.
Jamdani weavers working on saris.
Jamdani weavers working on saris.

I enjoyed sitting on the rooftop deck, in a comfy chair, watching the river float by. Plus, there is a toilet on the boat. So the day out included two hours in traffic, six hours on the boat, and an hour back to Dhaka.

Grab a chair in the shade and enjoy the breeze.
Grab a chair in the shade and enjoy the breeze.