Sunday, 24 October 2010

Peru- Pisco and Islas Ballestas

We'd decided we'd try to get through Peru as quickly as possible, we hadn't found it as friendly as other places, and felt like we were constantly being hassled and scammed, so when we got to Lima we just got on the next bus out of there heading further south as we thought the coast road would be quicker than taking the notoriously dangerous inland mountain roads.  The whole journey along the coast was pretty bleak; really arid land, and really poor ramshackle little towns.  The trip between Lima and our next destination, Pisco, was particularly grim as this whole area had been destroyed by the big earthquake in 2004.   Pisco was in particularly bad condition as 80 per cent of the town had been destroyed and there was rubble and dust everywhere, although the centre of town and a few hotels and hostels had been rebuilt to cater for the tourist industry that the town depends on.

The reason Pisco attracts tourists is because it's where the drink 'Pisco' comes from, and it's close to the Islas Ballestas - a wildlife sanctuary- nicknamed 'the poor man's Galapagos.' We caught a boat for an interesting trip around the islands and saw loads of birds including pelicans, boobies, humboldt penguins, and some seals, it was really great to see the wildlife but the stench from the droppings was overpowering to say the least.
On the way to the Islands we saw 'El Candelabro', a large-scale geoglyph, like the drawings at Nazca. Apparently little mini whirlwilds, caused by the meeting of a cool wind from the ocean and a hot wind from the desert, keep it clean and visible.

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