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Pisco, Peru Trip Journal

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January 29, 2010, Pisco, Peru

We arrived at the General San Martin port around 7am this morning, located near Pisco. There are many resorts and fishing villages along the southern coast of Peru.

When we walked this morning, we were treated to the sight of seals near the ship – I think they were putting on a show for us this morning. They would come up for air, take a look at us, dive under the water and quickly surface again. We got a big laugh out of their antics.

We hopped the bus to Paracas, just about 10 miles from where we docked. The Reserva National de Paracas, which we drove through, was home to one of the most developed coastal civilizations in ancient Peru. Paracas means “storm of the sands” and refers to windstorms that generally arise each afternoon. Fortunately, we did not have to deal with it today. It was a beautiful, calm day and temperatures were low 80’s F.

Just as we left the port security area, all the traffic came to a complete standstill. We waited and waited. When we finally started moving again, we found out that the local taxis had blocked the roads as they were angry that buses had been brought in to help move people. The police had to be called to come and make the taxis move.

When we arrived in Paracas and got off the bus, we were surrounded by people trying to sell us hats, jewelry, bags, tours of the area, boat rides, postcards and on and on. We quickly distanced ourselves and headed for the shore to take some pictures of the very colorful fishing boats.

The archaeological museum in Paracas includes exhibits of mummies that were preserved by wrapping the bodies in linen, then packing them in straw-filled caskets.

There’s an island offshore from Paracas – Islas Ballestas - which can be visited only by boat. The scenery is spectacular and the island is home to birds and sea lions. There’s only one drawback – the island is covered in “guano”, and the odor can be very strong at times.

There are quite a few shops and restaurants in Paracas – with many Peruvian artisans offering their wares. We looked around, enjoyed seeing some of the items for sale, then sat and had a cold drink.

While sitting, John saw a huge pelican on the shore, so ran over to shoot a picture. The pelican was being fed by two men, who wanted to be paid for a picture. If someone didn’t give them a tip, one of them would pout and stomp his feet – quite the show. A couple other pelicans joined – obviously they are not afraid of people and know they’ll get fed if they hang out for a while.

While sitting with our beverages, kids (girls and boys would come up to us selling postcards and jewelry. We felt like we were back home in Rome, as so many children do the same thing. It’s hard to say “no, gracias”, when you have such a cute little child asking you to buy something. But, we were strong and didn’t buy anything today.

Paracas is pretty small, so after visiting for a couple hours, we took a bus back to the ship, where we were able to get some work done.

This is our last stop in Peru – we are heading for Chile this evening. We will arrive in Arica on Sunday, so tomorrow is a day at sea.

Good news from Machu Picchu – the weather has cleared some and another 1,400 people were evacuated. A total of 2,542 have been evacuated since Monday. About 800 remain. The site will remain closed for weeks, while crews repair the highway and the railroad tracks that were washed away.

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About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on July 12, 2016.