Paracas National Reserve – Peru’s Timeless “Sand Storm”
Paracas is a term in Peru meaning “Sand Storm” and the wind here was pretty legendary. Paracas Peninsula is home to the famed Guano birds, on which a multi-million dollar fertilizer industry, once based its entire operation. Today, the entire region is a natural reserve and is under the protection of the Peruvian government. Instead of the previous economic gains, this windy desert landscape offers its visitors, one of nature’s most amazing shows. Millions upon millions of sea birds which make their nests between the dunes here.
Some of these birds are, the Humboldt Penguin, the Peruvian booby, the brown Pelican, the Guano birds mentioned above, and the Inca Tern. The cliffs along the coast are modeled by the relentless Pacific waters as marine arches, in which countless caves are carved into, home to many sea lions and seals. Among the largest flying birds currently in existence, the Inca Condors, fly down here in order to feast upon the plenty that Paracas beaches provide. Even Vampire-bats can be seen here and there, sucking the blood of their victims.
Established in 1975, Paracas National Reserve is the oldest in Peru, and it incorporates a variety of marine habitats and tropical desert. In addition to the biological areas, the reserve protects prehistoric sites of the Paracas culture and other ancient civilizations. Near the museum is the Paracas Necropolis (100 BCE – CE 300), comprising the burial sites known as the Cabezas Largas and Cerro Colorado, where Julio C. Tello found many fine grave goods buried with mummified remains of the Paracas elite.
The Bahia Lagunillas is bordered with red sand beaches, product of the erosion of porphyry rocks that dominate some of the hills of the Paracas Peninsula. On the Paracas Peninsula is the mysterious geoglyph called the Paracas Candelabro, which is believed to date to the Paracas culture about 200 BCE.