San Fernando Reserve: a place where the Andes and the sea converge
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San Fernando Reserve: a place where the Andes and the sea converge

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San Fernando Reserve: a place where the Andes and the sea converge

Located one hour from the city of San Juan de Marcona, province of Nasca, Ica region, the San Fernando National Reserve is a unique place where the Andes and the sea come together to give way to a scene of majestic beaches and a magical desert.


This protected natural area is a refuge for a diversity of species, the most representative being the guanaco, the sea lions and the impressive Andean condor.


A must-see point during a visit to the San Fernando National Reserve is Punta Gallinazo, a place to see rock formations such as the cathedral and home to large colonies of sea lions and penguins. Likewise, the San Fernando cove, where you can enjoy the beach and observe the biological diversity of the area.


In the bay you can see the flight of the Andean condor over the golden dunes and its approach to the Pacific Ocean. You can also enjoy the presence of guanacos, a species of South American camelids.


The San Fernando National Reserve concentrates a varied marine and marine-coastal biological diversity: Humboldt penguins, sandpipers, pelicans, sea otters, oystercatchers, sea lions.


This important ecological zone has an area of 154,716.37 hectares. Its average temperature ranges between 17 and 23 degrees Celsius.


This protected natural area located in Ica comprises two very different sectors. On the north side there is a relatively accessible area, made up of the mouths of the Ica and Grande rivers, which give life to the great Ica desert with its riverside forests. There are also some sandy beaches where seasonal wetlands form near Punta Caballas.


The southern part includes the San Fernando cove, the coastal hills and the inaccessible cliffs of the Huasipara hill. This hill is the highest on the Peruvian coast, with 1,790 meters above sea level.


The San Fernando cove is the main area of the protected area, it is a unique geographical feature on the Peruvian coast. It is made up of two points or peninsulas that project into the sea and are very close to each other (parallel) with a large islet in the center.


Access to this place is through the Punta Caballas sector, which is the most beautiful beach in the reserve, where you can practice water sports and sport fishing. The second entrance is through kilometer 477 of the Panamericana Sur, where you can see the coastal desert and the hills and ridges.


San Fernando was created on July 9, 2011 by Supreme Decree No. 015-2010-Minam. The National Reserve is located in part of the districts of Santiago (province of Ica), as well as Changuillo, Nasca and San Juan de Marcona (province of Nasca), in Ica.


The Reserve is the second protected natural area, after the Paracas National Reserve, which protects maritime areas in an area where the outcrops in the sea and the resulting biological diversity, marine currents, relict forests, hills, reefs and others Geographical features, winds, landscape beauty, archaeological values and isolation are concentrated, creating priority places for conservation.


Useful data

  • Location: Nazca, Ica.
  • Altitude: 0 - 1790 meters above sea level
  • Environment: Sea and coastal desert
  • Suggested stay: 2 to 3 days
  • Suggested clothing: Slippers, shorts and swimwear, and a sweater for the night. Bring a cap or hat, glasses, sunscreen and binoculars so you don't miss anything.
  • Ideal Season: All year round, although the best time to see condors is in summer.

How to get?

1st option: From Ica to the detour to Changuillo (km 410) it is 107 km (2 hours), then continue parallel to the "Grande" river for about 50 km to Puerto Caballas.


2nd option: From Ica to the district of Marcona: 230 km (3 h and 30 min) and from Marcona to the San Fernando National Reserve (RNSF) it is approximately 17 km (affirmed to the Shougang Hierro Perú checkpoint) and from there; 45 min to the RNSF (car trail).


Bird watching and biodiversity

The most attractive area is the San Fernando cove, where up to 20 individuals of the Andean Condor gather at the edge of the cliff, and every day in the afternoon they put on a show before resting. You can also see Humboldt Penguins. Other desert birds are the Coastal Miner.


In the bay there are also several sea lions, where sea lions, fur seals and fur seals rest and procreate.


It is also possible to see Guanacos and the Andean fox, which frequently visit the lodge.


The marine area is also very rich, with a large concentration of macroalgae and fish such as anchovy, sardine, mullet and silverside.


Best Tours in Peru

Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.

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