Islas Ballestas~

Islas Ballestas, an island group off the coast of Paracas, are often referred to as Peru’s Galapagos. They are a group of uninhabited islands that are part of the wildlife rich, Paracas National Reserve. This is a colony of Guanay Cormorants native to Peru and Chile.

You cannot visit the islands without passing the giant Candelabra carved into the rock face and carbon dated to 200 BCE.

The islands shelter an incredible variety of fauna. There are literally millions of birds and their feathers float and fill the air like lazy drifting snowflakes.

There are fur seals, Humboldt penguins, Inca terns, blue footed boobies, and so many more amazing wild creatures here. I will show you them in my next few posts.

But for now, let’s just look at these unusual islands.

They are volcanic, and riddled with arches and ancient sea caves. The layers in the caves show the process of geologic time.

You can go in the caves, if you dare, and if you do, look at what you will see!

Cheers to you from Peru’s incredible islands~

186 thoughts on “Islas Ballestas~

    • The Candelabra remains a mystery. I took so many photos of it, looking at it from all angles, trying to figure out what it could be or mean, and I remained stumped. Here’s what wiki says:
      “The Paracas Candelabra, also called the Candelabra of the Andes, is a well-known prehistoric geoglyph found on the northern face of the Paracas Peninsula at Pisco Bay in Peru. 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 earth, with stones possibly from a later date placed around it. The figure is 595 feet (181 meters) tall, large enough to be seen 12 miles at sea.
      Although the exact age of the Candelabra geoglyph is unknown, archaeologists have found pottery around the site dating back to around 200 BCE. This pottery likely belonged to the Paracas people, although whether they were involved in the creation of the geoglyph is not known. The reason for the Candelabra’s creation is also unknown, although it is most likely a representation of the trident, a lightning rod of the god Viracocha, who was seen in mythology throughout South America. It has been suggested that the Candelabra was built as a sign to sailors, or even as a symbolic representation of a hallucinogenic plant called Jimsonweed.”

      Liked by 5 people

  1. Beautiful photos. The colors in the caves are amazing. I see the Guanay Cormorants are colored more like penguins and have a very narrow range along the west coast of South America and the Islas Ballestas from the large colony in your photos. We get Neotropic Cormorants up here, but I only seen one or two at a time. The Neotropic Cormorants are blackish brown and their range is all of South and Central America, with an island up here in the Middle Rio Grande Valley.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, cormorants are remarkable birds. The Guanays do look remarkably like penguins are hard to distinguish from a distance. I have seen and photographed them at the farthest reaches of South America. I have also seen the neotropics in South and Central America, handsome birds, but had no idea they lived in the Rio Grande Valley. How cool is that! Thank you for educating me.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Before arriving to Paracas, there is the city of Pisco. There I lived until I went to Lima to study at the University near Callao, in front I had Palomino Island. As a school assignment, we were going to clean the Candelabro. We also helped Maria Reiche, raising funds to build an elevated vantage point to appreciate the Nazca figures before they became more famous, 1964. As a curious fact, at that time we unearthed ceramic objects from the Paracas Culture without knowing the historical value they had . I had one at home but we gave it to the Museum of Paracas that I do not know if you went through there. As you can appreciate, you have brought part of school life in your photos. Fate plays us those passes in life. First, Palomino Island / University, and now Paracas / College. I do not lie to you that a tear ran through my eyes because of that nostalgia of times that went by very quickly. A hug and thanks for making me enjoy my memories.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your memories bring tears to me. I love Pisco. I have been to this region twice before, and I keep coming back. There is something magical that draws one back and never really lets you leave entirely. The wild creatures, the sea, the ancient Paracas culture, the clues they left behind, the incredibly stunning beauty, if it had such a strong effect on me, and it did, and does, I can only imagine what it must feel like for you, to be born in this stunning place, cleaning the Candelabra as a school assignment, holding on to the Paracas ceramic you brought home, and protected, without knowing it’s actual value, somehow, you did know though. It is all magical isn’t it, and it is in your blood and memory. Lucky you to have such beautiful memories, and lucky me to to visit here, and to know you. Gracias por compartir sus recuerdos conmigo. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  3. So glad it wasn’t me lol. WP did an update and wiped out tons of people’s follows. I’m still trying to find them all. I’m guessing your comment issue is just another part of it.

    These caves are amazing. And the wildlife!! I’m really living this trip. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Who knows? Dealing with so many many millions of people must be a burden, right? Facebook? Except of course, for the profitability of it. These are just rhetorical questions of course. We are in good hands. I am not too worried I just said this, unless there is an algorithm to obliterate me, and such comments completely.
      Laughing….sort of.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Essentially no one really knows what it means. It is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. I looked at it from every angle, I had ideas, but no conclusions. Which maybe is exactly what this ancient art is meant to depict?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh ok…so modern art apparently didnt have such ‘modern origins’….it could be found in these 200BCE creations!! 😀
        Jokes apart…looks very mysterious…wonder what would be in the mind at that time!!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Islas Ballestas~ — | Rethinking Life

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