Paracas, there is so much more in the simplicity of the sand

Coordinates: 13°50′16″S 76°15′06″O

Those of us, who are passionate about exploring, know that we prefer traveling instead of hoarding material wealth, just to absorb enriching experiences that will nurture our soul (like Mario would say, I’ll tell you about him later on) and keep alive our ability to surprise ourselves. The Paracas Desert, in the south coast of Perú, was all of this and so much more for me...

Near the place we were, the Peruvian Air Force practices parachuting. We were lucky enough to see various skydivers jump off a plane when we started our journey. Photo: Javier Vélez Arocho

Near the place we were, the Peruvian Air Force practices parachuting. We were lucky enough to see various skydivers jump off a plane when we started our journey. Photo: Javier Vélez Arocho

Moments that Nourish

“Traveling is necessary to feed the soul”, is what our desert guide, Mario Vera, told us in our conversation. We would sit, in the middle of nowhere, and talk about what makes us explore and discover. As scenery to this dialogue, the sun would set between the endless dunes, the vastness that the glance does not reach and the simple beauty of the moment, was an experience worth narrating.

Paracas is located in the Pisco province, inside the Ica department. Photo: Pamy Rojas

Paracas is located in the Pisco province, inside the Ica department. Photo: Pamy Rojas

ADRENARENA

We set off to Adrenarena at five in the afternoon, the operator of the buggies that would take us to an experience of contrasts: romance and reflection in the tranquility, with a dose of adrenaline and excitement on the journey. Getting on that kind of vehicle to move through the desert at high speeds never struck me, foremost, because I thought of the environmental impact the dunes would suffer, and secondly because of the questionable safety of extreme sports. I only wanted a romantic moment with my husband watching the sunset. In spite of this, to whomever I asked about watching the sunset in the desert told me: “Miss, the only way to get to the place is on the buggies”. Although they were kind enough to call me Miss, my anxiety was dormant. In my childhood I lost a tooth while driving a go-cart, it wasn’t necessary, at my age, loosing another one.

The speed of the buggy depends on what the client prefers. Photo: Mario Vera

The speed of the buggy depends on what the client prefers. Photo: Mario Vera

The Dunes and The Buggy

However, there was no other option, we would have to reach our destiny in a buggy. First, I made sure that the operator was conscious of the environment. They confirmed that the limited use of the vehicles did not affect the dunes, given that the wind would later take care of reestablishing them; in more than a thousand acres, there are very few vehicles in a pre-established route. Furthermore, there is no vegetation in the area that might be affected. With the first concern out of the way, I went to the second issue: safety.

Mario the driver, guide, photographer, and also our new friend. Photo: Javier Vélez Arocho

Mario the driver, guide, photographer, and also our new friend. Photo: Javier Vélez Arocho

Mario and his Experience

The operator of the Adrenarena buggies has more than fifteen years of experience in these stipulations, moreover a mature man, connoisseur, and very smart. His motto: indulging the customer. So, there are speed levels for everyone. Upon arriving at Adrenarena they had the buggy ready with the protective glasses. They told us about the trail and our adventure started. Mario obliged the claims for my disinclination towards speed and everything extreme. Our chauffeur and guide, who later was an excellent host and experienced photographer, took us to fathom in, and with, the desert.

Paracas is a translation of the Quechuan word “Paraaco", which means rain of sand. Photo: Javier Vélez Arocho

Paracas is a translation of the Quechuan word “Paraaco", which means rain of sand. Photo: Javier Vélez Arocho

enticement in the silence

We went up and down the gentle mountains of sand, at a speed that humored with my inertia. After a bit of adrenaline (controlled, of course), Mario stopped the buggy in a location where the only thing your eyes could see were dunes, only that, extensions and more extensions of custard colored mountains. An immense space completely filled with a vast beauty... the wavy marks of the wind in the sand... the line of an inaccessible horizon... the doss in the silence... the reverberating peace allured me!

In 1820, General José de San Martín disembarked at Paracas with his Expedición Libertadora del Perú (Peru’s Liberating Expedition) Photo: Mario Vera

In 1820, General José de San Martín disembarked at Paracas with his Expedición Libertadora del Perú (Peru’s Liberating Expedition) Photo: Mario Vera

Photographic Session

Then, our guide became our photographer. My husband and I went up the dunes holding hands, I lay on the sand beside him, we jumped with excitement, and of course, we kissed. Our lips shared the energy of that moment. An instant to cherish those memories that only house the intense.

The rippled lines of the wind in the sand, simple beauty. Photo: Mario Vera

The rippled lines of the wind in the sand, simple beauty. Photo: Mario Vera

Wow!

After a photographic session, we parted once again in the buggy to the area where we would contemplate the sunset. Once again I nurtured my ability to astonish myself. Wow! A thatch hut, one rustic table with two little benches, cushions on the carpet, and candles on lamps... a more than romantic setting in the middle of nowhere, which at the same time was everything.

Champagne, cheese, and chocolates in a spectacular environment. Photo: Javier Vélez Arocho

Champagne, cheese, and chocolates in a spectacular environment. Photo: Javier Vélez Arocho

Will you marry me? Again?

I was as ecstatic with love as the day of our wedding. We even had a photo session! Mario guided us in front of the sun for some amazing pictures. There, my husband asked me to marry him, again. We then sat under the thatch hut to talk about that and so many lived moments.

Mario made sure that the champagne glasses were full and we talked with him about the beautiful Peruvian contrast, the mysteries of the Nazca Lines and the pleasure of discovering new environments.

The words of my husband: Thank you... I love you... Photo: Mario Vera

The words of my husband: Thank you... I love you... Photo: Mario Vera

engrossed in the face of the majestic

I was immersed in the sunset. A grand horizon of sand diverging with a sky of pink and purple clouds confirmed to me, once more, the majesty of our Mother Earth. As the night made its entrance the cold started taking over my skin. My husband warmed me with his hug.

The colors of the sunset assured me the greatness of the Earth. Photo: Javier Vélez Arocho

The colors of the sunset assured me the greatness of the Earth. Photo: Javier Vélez Arocho

nourishment in the desert

We then went from the dunes to the operator’s establishment. Still fascinated by what I just experienced, I thanked our new friend for the transcendental experience. Then my husband and I went back to the hotel. The journey through the desert nurtured my soul, yes... it also increased my thirst of skin, of encounter.

We touched the sky, literally. Photo: Mario Vera

We touched the sky, literally. Photo: Mario Vera


conscious travel practices:

1. Minimizing, to the maximum, the risks in the practice of extreme sports.

2. Only promote activities that do not harm the environment.

3. Contemplate the beauties of the planet and feed the capacity of astonishment.

4. Enjoy the natural spaces without littering them.


Our shadows in the immensity of the desert. Photo: Mario Vera

Our shadows in the immensity of the desert. Photo: Mario Vera


TOURS and SIGHTS:

Adrenarena
Mario Vera Corrales
marvercor@yahoo.com

Ballestas Island


Besides the desert and other ecosystems like the Ballestas Islands, in Paracas there are also archeological remains of the Paracas culture. Photo: Mario Vera

Besides the desert and other ecosystems like the Ballestas Islands, in Paracas there are also archeological remains of the Paracas culture. Photo: Mario Vera