The Paracas peninsula located 235 kilometers south of the City of Lima, is the most important coastal formation in Peru. An unspoiled natural paradise where the desert sands reveal treasures of ancient civilizations. The Paracas National Reserve is the first marine conservation center of the country and one of the most important in the world. Established in 1975, it covers a total area of 335,00 ha. from which 117,406 are on land and 217,594 are in the ocean. With beautiful beaches, ideal weather an impressive scenery it is a place that can be visited all year round.
The abundance of marine fauna - birds, fish and sea mammals - found in the Reserve attracts visitors and ecologist who re amazed by the profusion of sea life. Peculiar rocky formations and geological stratus have made the are the object of many studies of origin of the Planet. In the ocean floor, on a straight line from the Paracas peninsula another wonder has been found, the Peruvian marine fault, formed millions of year ago when the coastal mountain range fell into the ocean.
This fault is now the merging point for two currents, "El Nino" - warm waters coming from the north-, and "Humbolt -cold waters coming from the south -which originates a unique climactic condition for proliferation of plankton and fitophankton, main food source of innumerable fish species resulting in the extraordinary chain of richness of marine life.
The sea of Paracas is considered the lungs of the Pacific ocean because of the pureness and oxygenation originated in its waters. Another peculiarity of the area are the strong wind called "Paracas" reaching speeds of up to 21 miles per hour. Added to tits natural beauty, Paracas is a very important archaeological and historical site, home to the advanced cultures that flourished in Peru 1,000B.C., know worldwide by the exquisite textiles with combination of many colors and stylized deign, and by the practice of brain surgery and cranial trepanation. The Paracas coast was also the place where libertador San Martin disembarked to initiate the liberation from Spain.
From the Labos de Tierra and Lobos de Afuera islands off chiclayo on the north to the world famous Paracas Island on the south Peru's coastal waters are a virtual have for sea life, birds and marine mammals.
Nearby half the birds and marine mammal populations inhabiting the southern island's are protected within the fifty six hundred square mile, Paracas National Reserve. The reserves croun jellel is Isla Ballestas, a critical hub for rare and endangered species including sea lions, two endangered turtles, and more than one hundred an ten migratory and resident sea birds.
Neighboring islands of Chincha and Guanape, are infamously rich in guano. The nitrogen rich fertilizer has been deposited in pockets over four hundred feet deep by ten of thousands of back cormorants over the years.
Both islands have also provided archeologists with significant discoveries, headless female mummies, whose breast and thighs were covered with symbolized platelets of hammered gold.
The sheer biomass of this island group's marine and terrestrial life forms are as great an attraction as the biodiversity niches of the Amazon rainforests. The island species typify the intrinsic values of Peru's complex natural landscape helping to form a more complete understanding of its total environment.
Could the Paracas Islands one day reflect the same travel magnetism that say, Manu or Tambopata-Candomo's biodiversity stimulates around the world. Would this increased understanding of another fragment of Peru's disappearing natural world give it another leap towards a resounding lead in natural and cultural tourism?