Peru's Desert Coast, Paracas, Ballestas Islands, Nazca Lines
Trip code: 812
Price from: On Request
Spend a few days exploring the scenery and villages of the Atacama desert south of Lima. There are fishing villages, bird-smothered islands, oases, extraordinary wind-carved landscapes home to a surprisingly lively wildlife population, and the vestiges of fascinating pre-Conquest civilisations.
We'll drive you (3 hrs) down the Panamerican Highway south of Lima, emerging from the smog to the milky sunshine over the Atacama desert. The rocky coastline here is relentlessly arid, but every now and again you'll pass through a simple fishing village or pocket-sized oasis where dates, cotton or maize thrive.
From your base in or close to Paracas National Park, we'll take you by motor launch to the Ballestas Islands (3 hrs south of the capital and close to the Paracas National Park), where the steep, barren, rocky cliffs are inhabited by tens of thousands of sea birds and large colonies of sea lions whose plaintive cries create a cacophony of noise as you approach.
From Paracas, you can take a light-aircraft flight over the Nazca Lines, during which you will not only appreciate the intricate, giant symbols carved into the rock by the Nazca people 1,500 years ago, but also the magnificent, crumpled desert landscape. Between Paracas and Nazca is the oasis at Ica , a little resort town with museums and sand dunes you can buggy down. We suggest you visit the Ica Regional Museum with its fascinating collection of mummies, pottery, and textiles from the Paracas and Nazca cultures.
Until recently, for lack of infrastructure visitors rushed through this atmospheric region but now there are a few splendid new high quality hotels where you can be based for a more relaxing stay. Base yourself here for your explorations of the region: the Ballestas Islands, Ica and Nazca Lines
Double Tree Guest Suites
La Hacienda Bahia Paracas
Hotel Paracas Luxury Collection
Las Dunas Sun Resort