Las Islas Ballestas

I travelled south from Chiclayo to Paracas via bus and then onto Pisco in a taxi. I had to change buses in Lima, which involved a 3 hour wait. During the wait, I managed to fall out with the restaurant staff, who somehow had managed to lose my order. They seemed dumbfounded when I insisted on having my money back but eventually saw sense.

The journey overall took more than 21 hours during which I dozed a lot but I was very tired when I got to my hotel. I went out for dinner and then had an early night ready for an early start the next day to the Islas Ballestas, a marine wildlife sanctuary close to the coast.DSCN2491I was on a boat similar to this one. There are many boats that do the tour of the islands, which lasts about 2 hours.

DSCN2396The tour starts with a look at some of the other boats in the port…

DSCN2402…before moving quickly to the islands.

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DSCN2418There is a massive population of birds…

DSCN2430…seals and sea lions…

DSCN2422…and Humboldt penguins.

DSCN2448The islands were a source of guano for many years, which was exported around the world as fertilizer. The bird population is busy replenishing the stock.

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DSCN2465Affectionate…

DSCN2467and sharing.

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Chaparrí

Chaparrí ecological reserve is a dry forest area in northern Perú about 70kms north of Chiclayo. It is home to some endangered species, such as the Spectacled Bear and White Winged Guan as well as many other types of flora and fauna.

I was part of a small group which included myself, a couple from Lima and our driver. We travelled in a family sized car but this was not a great idea as the last 15kms of the journey are more suited to a 4×4. I suspect the underneath of the car sustained some damage as we neared our destination.

At the ticket office, we were joined by our guide, Juan, who was very knowledgeable, as you would expect and eagle eyed. He was constantly pointing out subjects worthy of photographing, however, as frequently seems to be the case, the subjects proved to be uncooperative. This was not helped by another group of tourists who failed to realise that if you make a lot of noise, it tends to frighten the wildlife away.

Chaparrí appears to be a great place for bird watchers. I imagine it is a good place to stay for a couple of days, so that you can settle down and wait for the birds and animals, instead of trying to pursue them through the forest. Nevertheless, I had yet another good day out.

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DSCN2331I was happy that this bear was some distance away.

DSCN2354Balancing act.

DSCN2355Even further away.

DSCN2338This bear was in an enclosure. As I understand it, it is used for bears which have been recovered from people who have captured them illegally. The bears are put in the enclosure before being released back into the wild.

DSCN2369Probably not another Inca bath.

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DSCN2341Not quite perfect camouflage. Well, I spotted it.

DSCN2388After walking for a great distance for a few hours, chasing birds through bushes and thickets, these 2 posers were waiting for us when we got back to the car park. I love irony.

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Pete Perusing Perú

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I was woken up at silly o´clock this morning by a noisy neighbour. Unable to get back to sleep, I decided to have a pictorial review of life in Perú over the last 3 months. I have selected a few of my favourite photos.

Las Playas

I went on a trip to the seaside recently, to some beaches near Chiclayo in Perú. As there were only two clients for this trip, the tourist company, Sipán Tours, provided us with a car and driver instead of the usual minibus. Also, because David, the other client, did not speak any Spanish, they provided an English speaking guide, Christopher. It was a very pleasant day.

I was surprised when, on our way to the beach, we stopped at an ostrich farm, although I did make a connection with sand, where ostriches allegedly bury their heads. There was no evidence of this at the farm, however.

The farm is not a sanctuary and the birds, ostriches and emus, are reared for their feathers, their skin and of course for their meat. My previous experience of eating ostrich meat was not pleasant, so I declined the offer to try it.

DSCN2208Young emus…

DSCN2209…and a solitary young ostrich.

DSCN2214Not so young and very inquisitive.

DSCN2223A much larger and much less friendly ostrich.

From the ostrich farm, we moved onto the beach at Pimentel, which was really pleasant. So much better than the only other beach I have visited in Perú, at Lurín in Lima, which was badly polluted.

DSCN2231The pier is open to the public for a small admission fee.

DSCN2232The beach is popular with surfers.

The waterfront has many restaurants, as you might expect in such a popular seaside town with a strong fishing tradition. I finally decided to try ceviche, which is a national dish of raw fish marinated in lemon. It was delicious and I am looking forward to having it again. Unusually, for me, I did not take a photo of the meal but have located one which is similar to the meal we had.

Ceviche de pescado (La Punta, Callao)
By Jorge G. Mori ([1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

DSCN2245After lunch, we went to look at the Caballitos de Totora. Reed boats used by the local fishermen.

DSCN2239Fishermen returning home…

DSCN2243…with today´s catch.

DSCN2237This attracts a crowd of prospective customers…

DSCN2248…and a crowd of scavengers.

DSCN2260From Pimentel, we travelled to nearby Santa Rosa where the fishermen use much larger craft…

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DSCN2229…with which the reed boats have to compete.

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Sicán Museum and The Valley of the Pyramids

The Sicán museum is in Ferrañafe, to the north of Chiclayo and as well as housing many artefacts of this pre-Incan civilisation, also shows the strange methods they had for burying their dead.DSCN2135 The elite got to be accompanied by family and servants…

DSCN2136…and wear their regalia.

DSCN2142There are examples of manufacturing processes…

DSCN2152and the finished articles.

DSCN2158This reconstruction of a face looks more unhappy than the skull.

DSCN2162A live performance of an ancient ceremony.

DSCN2167Possibly the prettiest bike shed ever.

DSCN2169On to the Valley of the Pyramids,Túcume. 26 in total…

DSCN2176with spectacular views over the valley…

DSCN2199…and mountains.

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Laquipampa

Laquipampa is a wildlife refuge ( Perú´s first) in the Lambayeque region in the north of Perú. Its main goal is to protect the pava aliblanca (white winged guan), which is an endangered species. The reserve is also a haven for various other types of flora and fauna. I was filled with anticipation as we set off early on Sunday morning, expecting to see a whole bunch of wildlife.

I could have returned to my hotel disillusioned and disappointed as we did not actually see very much in terms of animals. To see the pava aliblanca, you would have to arrive very early in the morning. As we did not arrive until late morning, they were already out of sight and probably out of harm´s way. It was still a great day out and a good place to visit, to just enjoy nature.

I was delighted to see more butterflies than I have seen previously, in my entire life. Unfortunately, they proved to be elusive as far as photos are concerned, although maybe I was a bit too slow to capture them.

DSCN2045One of only 2 butterflies I managed to photograph.

DSCN2041As I tried to get closer to this bird, I managed to scare it away. I should have had more creeping lessons in my previous life.

DSCN2049At last. Something that won´t run or fly away.

DSCN2060And something that kept flying away and then returning. A proper tease.

DSCN2071Beautiful scenery, as I have come to expect in Perú.

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DSCN2123Our trusty guide Napoleon, in whose hands I was, literally, as we had to sidle along a narrow ledge to access this lovely pool.

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