We left the dunes of Huacachina and hit the beach, specifically, Paracas, which is where Limeños (folks from Lima) go for a beach vacation. We were at the beach but still in a desert, which just seemed off – water on one side and then endless sand on the other. We stayed at Villa Kite, a beachside B&B owned by Jorge, who was an excellent host, spoke perfect English, and is the guy who brought kitesurfing to Peru. Villa Kite provided us great views and daily walks as it was about 2 miles from the main drag in Paracas.
The walk was great – we went past beautiful multimillion dollar homes, saw tons of birds and enjoyed the ocean. But then, as if to remind us that we are not in the US, was the stench. We noticed it the first night when we stopped to have a drink at the swanky Paracas Hotel. Despite the gorgeous surroundings, we gagged on the putrid odor. We later asked Jorge and he confirmed that the town has grown too quickly and the sewer infrastructure isn’t up to par. Wow, in the US you would not have multimillion dollar homes or $350 a night hotel rooms in an area that smells so vile. Thankfully, Villa Kite was far enough from town and set back from the beach so that only once did we get a whiff of the sewage. The other downside of the beach was the stingrays and jellyfish. The stingrays are always present, but a jellyfish bloom had occurred about 2 weeks prior to our visit so the ocean was teeming with them and when the tide went out hundreds would wash up on the beach and die. No swimming for us on this beach vacation!
Paracas is what I imagine Door County, WI, was about 30 years ago. The boardwalk is small and dotted with tsotchke stands and mediocre restaurants. It was quaint in a rustic, Peruvian way and 5 days was enough time to sightsee and relax.
Matt set off in Jorge’s kayak one morning. He had such a great time (once he got over the fear of tipping over into the jellyfish) that a couple of days later we rented kayaks. How incredible! We paddled across the bay and along the shoreline of the Paracas reserve. The colors were just amazing – bright blue water, even brighter blue sky and glowing yellow sand. The highlight was the flamboyance of flamingos that we saw. (As an aside, isn’t the word “flamboyance” just perfect to describe a group of these flashy birds? Kudos to whoever came up with that one.) There were probably 50 Chilean Flamingos, including gray babies. Their pink plumage was so vibrant, much more than that of flamingos at the Milwaukee County Zoo. We saw many other birds, and kept our eyes open for dolphins, but we didn’t spot any. (No dry bags = no pictures 😦 )
Next : Ballesta Islands, Paracas National Preserve and the Incan Ruins of Tomba Colorado
Your words and photos are a lot more descriptive than mine! And I’m jealous of your flamingos.
To be fair on the sewage system (which we also noticed), I think the massive earthquake in 2008 had a lot to answer for. It took 4 years to restore power and water. Hopefully the arrival of the Dakar Rally will force an improvement.
I have been waiting to see your posts from your trip to Peru! Are you back in the Falklands yet?
You raise a good point about the earthquake, but we also got the impression from our host that some corners were cut with some of the larger properties that contribute to the issue. It just surprises me that wealthy Limeños would put up with the stench.
Some photos are now posted at http://peterspenguinpost.blogspot.co.uk/ . But I seem to have hit some limitation in uploading. Either a local restriction or at blogspot. Will look into it. 🙂
I will say that the mountains seemed a lot cleaner than the cities or coast.. Lots of running water, and fields full of crops. Didn’t notice any sewage problems. Incas liked their public fountains!
Hi Kerry! I am finally catching up on your blog posts. Your posts are wonderful, as are the pictures! What an adventure! So glad you and Matt were able to take a vacation and see all of these wonderful places.
WOW! Those are some honkin’ jellyfish! You know how much I love the water (haha) and what a great swimmer I am (HAHA) as compared to the rest of my family (exception-my sister; I look like Esther Williams compared to her!). Of all the surfers, open water swimmers, octopus divers, etc., I know and love, who is the ONLY one to have been stung by jellyfish —-TWICE??!! They were nowhere near as large as these though and were transparent with blue tentacles so they were nearly invisible in the water — just looked like bubbles. Still hurt like hell. Are these edible? Do the locals eat them?
Thank you for your visit Kerry and Matt!
I enjoyed you pictures, particularly the ones with our dogs: Atomo, Duma and Jack. Sadly, Atomo is no longer with us (was hit by a car last November), so those are great memories.
Hope to see you some time again.
Hello, Jorge! So sorry to hear about Atomo. 😦 We hope you are doing well otherwise. Take care!