Ballestas Islands: the poor man’s Galapagos

by freedomtravelers

The Ballestas Islands are often called the 'poor man's Galapagos' because of the cheap price and easy access from mainland Peru. The Ballestas Islands are home to a wide variety of wildlife such as sea lions, fur seals and the endangered Humbolt Penguins. There are also colonies of up to 600,000 birds which nest on the islands nearly all year round.

Due to the large numbers of birds in the area there is literally tons of bird poo covering the whole island. Unfortunately our boat was in the wrong place at the wrong time when a flock of birds flew over and dumped poo on the whole group.

Visiting the Ballestas Islands was an eye opener into the impact excessive tourism can have on fragile marine environments. We visited the Island on a busy Peruvian national holiday and it was a little shocking to see so many speed boats driving close to animals which are considered endangered. Although this form of tourism brings revenue for the local community, the limited tourism regulations may cause long term problems for the vulnerable animals.