In the picture on the right see Hélène and the pilot, before take-off. We stayed a few days in Paracas and visited the Ballestas Islands and then went to Ica, where we stayed at the las Dunas Hotel. From there we made the flight to Nazca for the afternoon overflight of the Nazca Lines.
Paracas and Nazca are two different places but located in the same state at South of Lima, in the central coast. Paracas is a beach so it’s at sea level, but Nazca is not so close to the coastline, it’s at 600 meters or 2,000 ft. above sea level.
It’s hot and dry during the day, but cold at night (10°C or 50°F). It almost never rain, but in Paracas drizzles are common in winter.
Paracas is a marine reserve, the only one in Peru, and the reason is the quantity of seabirds that stop there in their migration from South to North, and the diversity of sea mammals and fish in the sea in this area. The species that can be seen all year around are sea lions, seals, penguins, sea otters, dolphins and almost 2 hundred species of birds, including Andean condor, flamingoes, pelicans, and of course, seagulls. It are many spots in the reserve, but the most famous is the Ballestas Islands.
It’s a group of small islands that shelter an enormous number of sea lions and seals. It can be reached by boats and you get very close, it’s common that seals and sea lions swim around the boats, great opportunity to take pictures. Another interesting spot is the Candelabro, a huge (120 meters long) etching in the sand on a hill that faces the sea. It was a signal used by pirates who hided theirself and their ships there.
These territories of Paracas and Nazca were home of two ancient cultures before the Incas. The Paracas was the first one (from 600 BC to 100 AD); but more interesting is the Nazca culture who left one of the biggest mysteries of ancient times, the Nazca Lines. Between the second and fifth centuries AD, it appeared the Nazca kingdom which developed new agriculture techniques and irrigation systems to convert the desserts into fertile valleys. They built aqueducts and dams that still work nowadays, and also a huge city, Cahuachi. Its remains can be visited, as the remains of its cemetery, Chauchilla. Both archaeological sites are very close to Nazca city.