The Southern Coast Feature
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In Ica, Costa Linda and Pelican Travel Service offer tours of the city and can arrange trips to Paracas National Park and the Nazca Lines. One fellow you can't miss in Ica is Roberto Penny Cabrera, a direct descendent of Ica's founding family with a home right on the Plaza de Armas. After a long career in mining, Roberto started his company, Ica Desert Trip Peru, and began offering tours of the nearby desert in his fully equipped four-wheel-drive Jeep. He's fascinated with the fossils of gigantic sharks and whales he's come across and has a collection of huge incisors that would make Peter Benchley jump.
Guided tours of Paracas National Park and the Ballestas Islands are offered by Zarcillo Connections in Paracas. Ballestas Travel Service represents several travel agencies who sell park packages. Just about every hotel in Pisco and Paracas will assist booking tours, and most include transport to and from the dock at Paracas. Make sure your boat has life jackets.
Most hotels can arrange tours of the Nazca Lines, but several travel companies also specialize in local explorations. The going rate for a flight over the lines ranges US$40-US$60, depending on the season. Book ahead, because the flights are often sold out. The inexpensive and often recommended Alegría Tours includes stops at several archaeological sites, maps, guides, and options for hiking the area. Nasca Trails arranges flights over the Nazca Lines, trips to the Pampas Galeras vicuña reserve, and tours of the Cementerio Chauchills in Spanish, Italian, French, German, and English.
Make sure the guide or agency is licensed and experienced. Professional guides must be approved by the Ministry of Tourism, so ask for identification before you hire.
Ica Desert Trip Peru (Roberto Penny Cabrera) (Bolivar 178, Ica. 956/624-868.)
Huacachina Tours (Perotti s/n, Balneario de Huacachina, Ica. 051/113-252. www.huacachina.com.)
Alegría Tours (Calle Lima 168, Nazca. 056/522-444 or 056/506-722. www.hotelalegria.net.)
Nasca Trails (Jr. Bolognesi 299, Nazca. 056/522-858.)
Paracas and Islas Ballestas
Ballestas Travel (Pisco. 01/257-1146. www.ballestastravel.com.)
Pelican Travel Service (Independencia 156, Galerías Siesta, Ica. 051/456-7802.)
Peru Kite (Paracas L-10, Paracas. 01/959-524-940. www.perukite.com.)
Tikariy (Hotel Libertador. 056/58-1333. www.tikariy.com.pe.)
Zarcillo Connections (Paracas. 056/536-636. www.zarcilloconnections.com.)
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