Coronavirus Travel Update: Learn More
(M-F: 9 AM-7 PM, Sat: 9 AM-4 PM EST)

Journeys Blog. Connecting the world through travel.

Peru's Route of the Sun? Always expect the unexpected.

By | November 11, 2014

The Legendary Peru tour normally concludes with a bus ride called the “Route of the Sun” from Cusco to Puno and Lake Titicaca.  But every veteran travel knows to expect the unexpected. So a few days before we were to take the bus to Puno we learned that major political demonstrations were scheduled in Puno.  Smithsonian Journeys always strives to ensure the safety of tour participants and the delivery of a quality experience.  So in order to avoid having the demonstrations affect the tour we made a last minute change to go to Paracas along the southern Peruvian coast. 

The beautiful Hotel Paracas. Photos by R. Szaro
The beautiful Hotel Paracas. Photos by R. Szaro

We later learned that the demonstrations were canceled because of heavy snow and ice and a high of 17 ° F.  We were all happy to be enjoying another route to the sun as the weather in Paracas was warm (75° F) and very sunny.

Downtown Paracas. Photos by R. Szaro

What a fabulous alternative for all on the tour.  Our bus ride was from Lima to Paracas and not Cusco to Puno.  So what did we see and do? Paracas is a marvelous sleepy fishing village but it has several highlights that make it a destination of choice. We enjoyed a boat ride to the spectacular Ballestas Islands with their many caves and arches that provide shelter for thousands of seabirds and hundreds of sea-lions. Along the way to the islands we passed by the Paracas Candelabra a well-known prehistoric geoglyph found on the northern face of the Paracas Peninsula.

Paracas Candelabra. Photos by R. Szaro
Paracas Candelabra. Photos by R. Szaro

The birds included the Guanay Cormorant, Peruvian Booby, Peruvian Pelican, and the Humboldt Penguin.  The cormorant is famous for its large deposit of guano which at one point was a major source of income for Peru. Along the way to the islands we passed by the Paracas Candelabra a well-known prehistoric geoglyph found on the northern face of the Paracas Peninsula.

Guanay Cormorants, Ballestas Islands. Photos by R. Szaro
Picture on the right shows hundreds of cormorants returning from fishing. Photos by R. Szaro
Sea Lion. Photos by R. Szaro
Peruvian Pelican. Photos by R. Szaro
Gray-headed Gull. Photos by R. Szaro
Humboldt Penguin. Photos by R. Szaro

Our afternoon was spent flying over the Nazca lines. It was a thrilling flight offering a spectacular opportunity to some of the most famous Nazca lines including the hummingbird, dog, hands, monkey, condor, astronaut, tree, compass, spider, whale, parrot, and many other geometric lines. This part of the trip is not what we expected when we left home but it certainly turned out to be a highlight of our journey. 


Ready to learn more about our Legendary Peru tour? Click here!

Hummingbird, Nazca Lines. Photos by R. Szaro.
Astronaut, Nazca Lines. Photos by R. Szaro.

Bob Szaro Legendary Peru Peru

Bob Szaro

Bob Szaro grew up fascinated by nature and started bird-watching while in grade school. His love of birds has led to travels and research around the world including many trips to Central and South America. His passion for different cultures, natural history and photography has led to his exploring the variety of landscapes found in Costa Rica starting in 1982 from the cloud forests of Monteverde to the dry forests of Guanacaste. Bob retired in 2008 as Chief Scientist for Biology for the US Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia. Bob received a Dual Bachelors Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from Texas A&M University (1970), a Masters Degree in Zoology from the University of Florida (1972), and a Doctoral Degree in Ecology from Northern Arizona University (1976). He also completed the Senior Executive Fellows program at Harvard University (1993). Bob currently serves as a consultant to the Smithsonian Institution on biodiversity, climate change, and tiger conservation.

Read more from this author