A short motor coach drive from the dock takes us to the Marina Yacht Club of Callao. If you´re feeling adventurous, bring along a swimsuit, as there will be an opportunity to jump from the boat and swim in the refreshing waters off the Palomino Islands.
We receive our life jacket and board the open boat for a 2.5-hour tour of the beautiful Palomino Islands off the coast of Lima. Cameras should always be ready (hold them tight as the sea can be bumpy!), because the trip offers numerous photo opportunities of maritime life. See fishing boats, pleasure yachts, navy ships and container vessels do a coordinated dance on the waters.
Our captain points out historic Real Felipe Fort, once used to defend against pirates. Named for King Felipe V of Spain, the 200,000 square foot fort is also the site where the Peruvians fought one of their last battles for independence against the Spanish. We continue through the "El Camotal" shallows and hear the tales of shipwrecks and fierce storms from long ago.
Further off the coast, we spy San Lorenzo Island, Peru's largest island and an important research area for scientist Charles Darwin, who was drawn to its unusual geography, flora and fauna. The island´s protected ecosystem is populated by penguins and a variety of other birds. San Lorenzo´s lack of fresh water has precluded permanent human settlements, but it has still played an important role in local culture dating back to pre-Incan times. Also known as "Mysterious Island”, San Lorenzo was a perfect hideaway and is steeped in legends of pirates and treasure. The island was later used as a naval base during the War of the Pacific (1879-1883).
On the other side of San Lorenzo Island, we see the Palomino Islands, a group of small rocky islets with grottos and caves that serve as a natural refuge for sea birds and a large colony of sea lions. The carefree sea lions often swim, play and interact with the boat, as there are no predators around. Get up close and personal for amazing nature photo opportunities. You can even jump into the sea and frolic with these sleek creatures!
The return trip to the yacht club takes us through the islets and along dramatic cliffs. If the sea is calm, we´ll enjoy a light snack before returning to the pier.