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Legacy of the Incas

Ballestas Islands

sunny 80 °F

Today is our last full tour day in Peru. After checking out of the hotel, we head to the local pier to board a boat to the Ballestas Islands, the "Galapagos" of Peru. Although only two islands, the wildlife is amazing. Our guide stated that we witnessed more than 500,000 birds!

The Ballestas Islands are a group of small islands near the town of Paracas located within the Paracas District of the Pisco Province in the Ica Region, on the south coast of Peru. Composed largely of rock formations and covering an estimated area of 0.12 kmĀ², these islands are an important sanctuary for marine fauna like the guanay guano bird, the blue-footed booby and the tendril. Other notable species include Humboldt penguins and two varieties of seals (fur seals and sea lions), amongst other mammals. On the way to the islands, we sailed by El Candelabro, a large-scale geoglyph that may have served as a beacon to mariners. The mystery as to the origins of this particular geoglyph is ongoing with much speculation. Pottery found nearby has been radio carbon dated to 200 BCE, the time of the Paracas culture. The design is cut two feet into the soil, with stones possibly from a later date placed around it. The figure is 595 feet tall, large enough to be seen 12 miles at sea.

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After our boat ride, we headed back to Lima for our farewell dinner, packing and saying goodbye. Although strenuous, this was a remarkable trip, with a wonderful group of travelers.

Posted by rpickett 13:54 Archived in Peru Tagged paracus Comments (0)

Legacy of the Incas

Paracas and the Nazca Lines

sunny 80 °F

After a great oxygen filled sleep and a good breakfast we boarded our bus and headed south on the Pan American Highway to Paracas. After a quick hour at the hotel, we headed to the local airport for our hour, 45 minute flight to view the Nazca Lines in our 12 passenger Cessna. The lines are easily one of the most mysterious man made features of the world. Scholars believe the Nazca Lines were created by the Nazca culture between 500 BCE and 500 CE. The hundreds of individual figures range in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks, orcas, and lizards. The designs are shallow lines made in the ground by removing the reddish pebbles and uncovering the whitish/grayish ground beneath. Hundreds are simple lines or geometric shapes; more than 70 are zoomorphic designs of animals such as birds, fish, llamas, jaguars, monkeys, or human figures. Other designs include phytomorphic shapes such as trees and flowers. The largest figures are over 200 m (660 ft) across. Scholars differ in interpreting the purpose of the designs, but in general, they ascribe religious significance to them. Due to its isolation and to the dry, windless, and stable climate of the plateau, the lines have mostly been naturally preserved. Each figure is a single line from one end to the other to form the figure.

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Posted by rpickett 13:33 Archived in Peru Tagged and lines nazca paracus Comments (0)

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