Paracas and Ballestas Islands Tours
TOURIST PLACES OF ICA
DEPARTMENT OF ICA
- Capital: City of Ica
- Altitude: 406 m.s.n.m
- Distance: 267 kilometers from Lima
- Area: 21,327.83 km2
- Climate: Temperate and desert
Its territory has an extensive coast, which mainly covers the central region of the coast, with little irregular relief, where there are systems of hills, valleys and arid plains, presents the characteristics of great desert, with many dunes and dunes, with more than 200 Meters, which causes a special attraction in visitors.
Ica is known for being the region of sand and sea, oasis and valleys.
How to get?
The city is well communicated thanks to the Pan-American highway. The Lima – Ica route (300 km) using the South Pan – American Highway.
It also has a small airport, from where mainly expeditions to the Lines of Nasca. There is an air taxi service that operates from Lima to Ica. The Nasca Lines also fly overhead locally.
Tourist places to visit:
1. National Reserve of Paracas
Paracas National Reserve is the only coastal marine reserve that includes a portion of the Pacific Ocean within its borders. It features unique flora and fauna species and is a haven to a variety of migratory bird species. The reserve is recognized by Ramsar as a Wetland of International Importance.
The landscape is mostly dominated by sandy desert. There are also some portions covered by desert scrub, made up of xerophytic species that have adapted to the extreme arid conditions. Seventy-four plant species have been identified to date.
The varying natural conditions in the area have resulted in a wide diversity of animal species: there are approximately 216 bird species, 19 mammal species, 52 fish species and six species of reptiles in the protected area. The reserve is a haven for large numbers of bird species, both native and migratory.
Several species found in the reserve are considered vulnerable, including the kelp gull (Larus dominicanus), black skimmer (Rynchops niger), and the American oystercatcher (Haematopus palliates).
According to the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) Redlist of Threatened Species, the following species are threatened to some degree: the South American flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis) and the condor (Vultur gryphus) are near threatened; the Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) is vulnerable; and the Peruvian diving petrel (Pelecanoides garnotii) is endangered. Both the Humboldt penguin and the Peruvian diving petrel are endemic species of the Humboldt Current of the Pacific Ocean and are found in the marine portion of Paracas National Reserve.
2. Ballestas Island
Are spectacular islands with many caves and arches, which provide shelter for thousands of seabirds and sea-lions. Although the islands fall just outside the Paracas National Reserve they are protected by separate legislation.
The islands are home to over 150 species of marine birds including the Humboldt penguin, cormorants, boobies and pelicans. Even condors have been known to visit. On the shores can be seen large numbers of sea-lions and in the sea it is possible to encounter dolphins and even whales.
Guano was widely used by the native populations of pre-Spanish Latin America for centuries as a fertilizer to increase crop yields. However, it was not until the early 1800s that guano was rediscovered by the Europeans to have valuable agricultural benefits as a fertilizer.
The best source of guano was discovered on a series of islands off the coast of Peru which are barren and rocky with no vegetation due to lack of rain in the area. Peru’s primary guano islands are the Chinchas, the Ballestras, the Lobos, and the Macabi and Guanape islands. Peru’s guano was considered to be the best for farming.Laguna de Huacachina.
3. Mysterious Nazca Lines
The Nazca lines are a series of geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert, a high arid plateau that stretches more than 80 km (50 miles) between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana in Peru. Although some local geoglyphs resemble Paracas motifs, these are largely believed to have been created by the Nazca culture between 200 BC and AD 700. There are hundreds of individual figures, ranging in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks or orcas, llamas, and lizards.
The lines are shallow designs in the ground where the reddish pebbles that cover the surrounding landscape have been removed, revealing the whitish earth underneath. Hundreds are simple lines or geometric shapes, and more than seventy are natural or human figures. The largest are over 200m across. Scholars differ in interpreting what the lines were for but generally ascribe religious significance to them. The dry, windless, stable climate of the plateau has preserved the lines to this day.
The exact reason the figures were built remains a mystery. A leading theory is that the Nazca people’s motivations were religious, and that the images were constructed so that gods in the sky could see them. Kosok and Reiche advanced one of the earliest reasons given for the Nazca Lines: that they were intended to point to the places on the distant horizon where the Sun and other celestial bodies rose or set.
This hypothesis was evaluated by two different experts in archaeoastronomy, Gerald Hawkins and Anthony Aveni, and they both concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support an astronomical explanation.
4. The Candelabra or Candelabro de Paracas
The Candelabra or Candelabro de ParacasOne of the most engimatic giant ground drawings (or “geoglyphs”) in South America is seen best from several miles out at sea. Etched into a sloping hill at Pisco Bay on the Peruvian coast, this strange figure looks vaguely like a candlestick; thus, its name “The Candelabra of the Andes.” The Candelabra is 595 feet long and can be seen from as far as 12 miles out to sea. Pottery found near the figure has been carbondated at 200 BC and is assignable to the Paracas Culture.
Separated by 130 miles from the Nazca Plain, with its famed giant figures, the Candelabra apparently is not the work of the Nazca people. It is puzzling why that such a figure would be placed where it could be seen best by sailors. As with Costa Rica’s stone spheres, the Candelabra’s makers, purpose, and symbology are in doubt.
Situated 120 miles north west of nazca is one of the largest of all geoglyphs the 700ft high trident on the mountain side at the bay of Paracas. This mysterious hieroglyph is etched into the ground to a depth of around 2 feet, and outlined by stones which may have been placed at a later date. No-one knows for certain the age of the original carving.
However, an expedition by the French writer Robert Charroux in 1969, noted that, although the mountainside was exposed to the wind, the wind contained no dust or sand. Chatroux thus concluded that the trident carving could have been drawn millennia ago and yet still have avoided any significant erosion.
The trident symbol at Paracas is a major clue to its origin. According to local legend, this carved trident represents the lightning rod of the god Viracocha, who was worshipped throughout South America.
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