According to The Nature Conservancy, the Paracas National Reserve in Peru is one of the most important marine habitats in the world. Located 165 miles south of Lima, the area is fed by the cold waters of the Humboldt Current flowing northward from Antartica, making it a vital source of food for hundreds of species of fish and birds. Several islands within the Paracas Preserve act as a breeding refuge for anchovies, an important link in the food chain.
Within its protected area of more than 850,000 acres, the Preserve is host to whales, orcas, and sea lions, as well as scallop, crab, abalone and octopus. Green, leatherback, and hawksbill turtles are found there as well. There are also almost 100 archaeological sites created by indigenous people, some of them dating back as far as 6,500 BC.
Getting there has been difficult until now, as the area is under-served by roads and other infrastructure. But the Peruvian government has invested $34,000,000 to construct a new highway serving the southern province of Chincha in the Ica region. The road will link the towns of Chincha Alta, San Andrés and Ica to attract more tourist to the area. That added tourism will be an economic benefit to the 700,000 local people who live in the region.
The 60 mile long “Sea To Desert” route is scheduled for completion in April, 2016 and will open up many more possibilities for tourism in the south of Peru, particularly within the protected areas in and around the Paracas National Preserve.
Source: Andina.com Photo via Nature Conservancy. Map via Wikipedia