Peru’s “Mini Galapagos”

If you make it to Peru this summer–or ever–be sure to take a trip out to the Ballestas Islands. Tour boats leave from the coastal tourist town of Paracas. It’s worth shelling out $30 or so for the two-hour cruise through the rock island arches. You’ll see penguins, blue-footed boobies and sea lions, oh my!


These three creatures are a unique combination found in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. Because of this, the Ballestas Islands have been nicknamed the “Mini Galapagos.” If you’re traveling South America and want a glimpse of the island wildlife without having to pay an arm and a leg to make it to the Galapagos (which is worth it and one day I will shell out my savings for it), then don’t miss out on this nature excursion!

Look closely! I spot 10 penguins in this photo. How many do you see?

Sure, it’s super touristy and you have to view the animals from the boat, but it’s a rare chance to observe these creatures in their natural environment. There’s no feeding of the animals, either, so they’re not exploited.


Depending on what time of year you go, you’ll see a hundred sea lions or a dozen. But regardless, you will see some up close and personal snoozing on guano-covered rocks. No, that’s not snow. It’s penguin poop.

Look closely in the second photo. How many penguins do you see? I count 10!


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