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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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