Hey, today I have a good news for ecotourism lovers! For sure, Amazonas is the reachest area for its flora and fauna, but I know as minimum 5 places outside of the jungle where you can watch condors, whales, penguins and swim with seals and sea turtles.
photo by Enrique Castellanos
#1 Meet Condor Andino.
Condor is the biggest flying bird in the world (and the 2nd biggest after Straus), and yes – he is extremely big! Even if he is flying in a dozen meters away, you will be amazed by the view.
The most popular place to watch the condor in Peru is a Colca Cañon, that is nearby of the Arequipa city. A valuable fact about this activity is that it is a 99% guarantee that you will see a Condor during this trip, and it isn’t a tourist trap.
photo by Enrique Castellanos
Every day around the lunchtime Condors got a meeting on the same spot, where they make small circles, checking the temperature of the air. Once the air will warm up enough they are ready to fly for a long distance with incredibly high speed, that is about 14-15 m/sec.
photo by Skeeze
#2 Go for a whale watching
Mancora is an amazing place for spending a few days on the beach with a white sand and pure warm water. But, if you are so lucky and your trip is between mid-July and late October – your are authorized (by the Peruvian nature=) to see the whales in the local waters.
Are you ready to meet the biggest animals in the world, for sure you are! Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see whales from the Mancora beach and used to take some boat tour. The boat departs usually early in the morning (at 7-8 am) and the tour last 2-4 hour (depending on the luck of finding whales)
#3 Swim with sea turtles
Are you still in Mancora after whale watching? Then you should stay overnight here (if you don’t have an idea where to stay, check my article best backpackers hostels in Peru). Besides whales, just in 20 min from the Mancora, there is a small fisherman settlement called Ñuro, which is famous for the sea turtles that inhibit nearby area.
Turtles are very hospitable animals, once they will see a boat of tourists, they will try to get closer (they already know, that a guide with captain brought them some delicious squid to eat=).
They are not aggressive at all, you will enjoy swimming around them and even touch the shell!
photo by Lilimey
#4 Swim with seals
Swimming with seals tour is not enough promoted, however, I’ve got one the most memorable impressions from this trip. So if you have some spare days in Lima this is absolutely #mustDO activity for you and for your kids.
Swimming with seals tour is all day activity, and you should book it in advance. Also, it starts in the port of Callao, and you should plan to spend about an hour to get there from Miraflores or Barranco areas.
#inside: Callao (except the very centric area of it) is still one of the most dangerous areas in Lima. Don’t try to go there by the public transportation (you can be a victim of violent robbery even in the bus). Instead, take Uber or Cabify, they are safer than a taxi from the street and their fares are pretty low.
Once your journey will start, you will have one hour ride on a big nice yacht over the Lima Bay. Being outside on the deck, you will enjoy the nice views of the port and nearby islands.
#inside: don’t eat a lot in the morning (it’s better to have breakfast 2 hours before the ride), and visit a local pharmacy for some sea sickness pills. Even if you’ve never got a problems riding on the boat, here it might be different, because the boat will be enough pitched by the waves.
Finally, you will arrive at the small island, full of seals. They are very active and funny guys, don’t hesitate to take on a wetsuit and spend some time in the water, close to them!
photo by Frank am Main
#5 Watch for penguins in Islas Ballestas
Islas Ballestas are small relatives of Galapagos islands, you may see there lots of guano birds and seals (oh, guano smells..” like teen spirit ” =), but what is a real miracle in Peruvian coast is to meet penguins. I’m not a biologist at all, so during all my life, I was thinking that you can meet penguins only in Antarctica or the North Pole, but I was nicely surprised and I liked it! =)
All the tours to Islas Ballestas start early in the morning, so you should arrive in Paracas, book a tour for the next day and stay overnight there. Check place to stay in Paracas on booking.com or if you are a real backpacker, check my article about the best backpackers hostels in Peru.
Drop me #HandsomeTony or just #Like in the comment, if you’ve found this post useful!
If I’ve missed something, don’t be shy to tell me about it in comments too.