JAN 20, 2016 – From Lima I decided to go to Cusco by bus rather than airplane. This allowed me to see two very worthwhile attractions I hadn’t heard of before. The first one was Paracas with its Ballestas islands, nicknamed “poor man’s Galápagos”. The fauna was not half as cool as on the famous Ecuadorian islands, where dragonlike geckos can be found, among many other animals. But the Humboldt penguins, sea lions and thousands of birds were still an attraction. The pelicans were perhaps my favorite creatures there, and their slow take-off made it easy to take pictures of them in flight. Apparently the bird droppings, called Guano, used to be collected and sold as fertilizer. According to our tour guide, this has been discontinued in order to better protect the birds’ habitat.
In the afternoon, I rented a bicycle and rode into the nearby desert reserve with people from my hostel. This trip turned into a little adventure when my chain broke, just as I started riding back to catch my bus. Thanks to friendly locals, I still made it back to Paracas on time, only the owner of the rental bike was not too happy to learn that he would have to pick up his crappy vehicle from the desert. Luckily he had neglected to keep a deposit, so he didn’t have much of a choice.