After another good morning of eating at the market in Ica, we set off for our next destination, Pisco, which is the jumpoff point for the visit to an island call Islas Bellastas which has countless sea birds, penguines, and sea lions. The ride took a little over an hour on a regular bus (3.5 soles/seat) from Ica. Along the way, we saw more desert and sand dunes. But there was also many sizable plantations on the desert sand, showing that these desert lands are being converted into productive uses.
Arriving in Pisco was a shocking experience. We were expecting a touristy like town but instead we saw a town that was in shamble. Every block was in construction. Streets were dusty and bricks and half finished houses & builidng were everywhere.
We were totally unaware that only less than 9 months ago, an 8.0 earthquake hit this town killing more than 700 people, causing tsunami, and causing severe damage to the city which is still clearly seen today. Many of the scenic natural arches, caves were destroyed and tourist hotels and broadwalks destroyed. The town thus didn´t feel pleasant to stay in but we can understand.
For the rest of the afternoon, we went to a beach at the National Park nearby (10km away, 10 soles by taxi). There were also many mansion-like beach houses there with beautiful lawns and piers. It was a fun experience as there were many seabirds, large pelicans, and tons of sea shells to collect. The sea birds kept diving into the ocean to catch fish which makes the whole scene feel very natural and exciting. The children had the most fun finding colorful sea shells and large barnicles. Small crabs were around too but we had no luck catching them.
For dinner we went to the central market as usual. The BBQ was good and we found a chicken noodle stall that had one of the most tasty chicken soup we had this whole trip in S. America.
We can´t wait to see more birds and wildlife tomorrow.
1) We stayed in a unknown hostel, led by a local, a bit far from the center of the town. It cost only 30 Soles for a room with 6 beds, but just felt too far. I wouldn´t recommend it.