Pisco & Nazca


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South America » Peru » Ica » Ballestas Islands
April 11th 2011
Published: April 12th 2011
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Tambo Colorado in PiscoTambo Colorado in PiscoTambo Colorado in Pisco

Inside court yard
Sunday 10 April – Pisco

We had only 1 night in Pisco. It’s very much a tourist place as it has an amazing oasis in the middle of the desert. This morning we had to get up early as we were boarding a boat which took us to Islas Ballestas, about 30 minutes from the Port of Pisco. These islands were known by the locals as ‘The Galapagos of Peru’. We have never seen so much bird life in one spot. There were many islands just covered with boobies, gulls, pelicans, red-chested and ordinary cormorants and penguins. There was one island ½ covered by penguins. We also saw a stack of sea lions, including big bulls and babies. We saw a mother sea lion with a little baby swimming on her back. The boat circled many of the islands, giving us a chance to have a ‘close encounter’ with the wildlife. Spectacular!

The town had a funny fishy smell to it which we first thought was because it was a fishing port. We later found out that it was guano droppings from all the birds.

After the boat trip we then drove an hour to Huacachina. After travelling right along the coast, through the desert, we came across some sand dunes that would have had to be about 100 metres high. The one great thing to do in Huacachina is to have their Pisco Sours as well as ride on a dune buggy and surf down the sand dunes. Have a look at the incredible V8 machine which had a maniac petrol-head for a driver – actually he was pretty safe. Both Tom and I went on the ride (60 Soles each) with 12 of our group members. We shared two buggys. I am sure you can imagine the sound of the V8 hooning up these massive sand dunes. It was a real roller coaster and sometimes stomach-in-the-mouth stuff.

We stopped several times to sand-board down these steep sand dunes. The boards were like snow boards but you lay down on your stomach to ride them. One member of our group, Mike, who is an excellent snow-boarder, used it like a snow board. The friction of the board was much greater than in snow so he went down a lot slower. We used our toes as our breaks. We all got covered with lots of sand which was slightly dirty. It was great fun!! We went down 5 dunes before going back into the town.
We all had swims and showers before lunch. As it was election day, it was illegal to sell alcohol or be associated with alcohol (this is from 12MN on Friday to lunch time on Monday after the elections). We were going to visit the pisco factor to see how it is made but the factory was closed. Never mind. After lunch we walked around the oasis lake and had an icecream.

We then caught a private bus for a 4-hour trip to Nazca

We arrived at about 6.30 pm and settled into our hotel. At 7.00pm we quickly went to the planetarium where we heard all about the theories and science of the Nazco Lines (see below). This is fascinating and something that has fascinated many people for a long time.
After, we found a pizza restaurant. We are finding that with having a group of 16 in these smaller places, they are over-whelmed when we arrive. We ended up having our dinner at about 9.00pm.

Monday 10 April – Nazca

After a 7.30 am breakfast we caught a van which took us to the Maria Reiche airport to fly over the Nazca Lines in a 4-seater plane. Tom and I left for the airport at 8.ooam and was in the air by 9.00am.
The Nazcas were the descendents of the great civilization .... the Paracas. The Nazca civilization settled on the Peru coast of the Ica Region. They were know for their pottery, work in jewellery and fine metals, feathered textiles and their pyramids and the immense lines and geoglyphs. The lines date back to 100AD and over the next 400 years, created this mystery of lines and designs in the desert.

Maria Reiche dedicated 50 years of her life, up until she died in 1998 at the age of 95, and Paul Kosokto was the scientist. Maria was the one who studied, measured, photographed and preserved these designs and lines. Through her work, it became evident that many of the lines represented “The biggest Astronomical Calender of the World”. Lines pointed to the horizon exactly where the sun set for summer and winter solstice. Maria called it “the Nazca calender-temple”. Many of the designs were that of the stars. Many of the lines also indicated an association with water and possibly the ceremonies of the Nazca Culture.
The size of the designs is extraordinary. The design of the Condor is 135m, the Frigate Bird 135m, Monkey, 90m and Parrot 230 m. There are 14 designs in all in this one area. There are many others in other regions. Fascinating.

Our flight was for 35 minutes. The co-pilot pointed out all the specific lines and designs, first showing Tom then circling back to show me. It was fantastic experience. One of the wonders of the world.
Tom & I then came back to the town and visited the Antonino Museum to learn a little more about the Nazca Culture.

For the rest of the afternoon, we sat around the pool, enjoying the surroundings, having lunch, getting our travel diary up to date, waiting for our 1st overnight bus ride to Arequipa.



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Candelabra carved in rockCandelabra carved in rock
Candelabra carved in rock

seen on way to Ballestas


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