The Western Point of South America: Punta Balcones
On Sunday, the @EcoSwell interns took a trip to the most western point of South America, Punta Balcones. The point is about an hour south of the EcoSwell headquarters in Lobitos, Peru, outside of the town of Negritos.
The point is in a relatively isolated area; tourism hasn’t reached the Western Point yet and the point and the beach remain undeveloped and relatively pristine. After we arrived, we scrambled up the rocky hill to the point, where a concrete monument stands. To our left stretched an endless, beautiful beach and to our right a small bay carved into the land before it jutted out into another point with a lighthouse on it. We spent some time admiring the waves crashing into the rocks below us and pointing at the sea lions that were swimming around and laying on the rocks before we decided to walk the beach to the lighthouse on the other point.
When we reached the beach, we ran into a group of locals doing a beach cleanup and spent some time talking to them and hearing about the work they were doing. Many of the beaches in this area are beautiful but polluted with litter, from empty plastic water bottles to rubber gloves to microplastics that are created when plastic items break down. The group we talked to explained that they wanted to see the beaches clean again so they can appreciate the natural beauty of the area and help the ecosystems that exist in this area thrive. It was wonderful to hear that locals are motivated to clean up the trash that pollutes this wonderful region of Peru; I haven’t seen many other local initiatives to minimize littering and pick up the plastic that has found its way into such a unique and fragile environment.
After thanking the cleanup crew for their work and motivation, we headed down the beach and scrambled up to the lighthouse, where we met a couple of guys from Lima who had a lot to say on fishing practices and sustainable development for Peru. At @EcoSwell we’ve been working to address these issues in a variety of ways, and it was wonderful to share opinions and ideas on how to guide Peruvian development on a sustainable path. As we made our way back down the beach to the parking lot, we all gathered as much litter as we could hold and brought it back to add to the beach cleanup crew’s pile. It felt good to do our part in cleaning up the beautiful area we enjoyed for the day; it’s important to give back to the environment that brings us so much beauty and diversity.
What was meant to be a quick outing to the westernmost point of South America turned into an opportunity to help locals clean up a beautiful beach, network with other groups that are working to improve the environment, and share ideas and opinions on the next steps toward Peruvian sustainability. Overall, it was an enlightening adventure!
Post and photos by Jessa Clark, Stanford University, Earth Systems
@EcoSwell is a for-impact, sustainable development organization based in Lobitos, Peru. Since 2014, we have been working everyday to help coastal communities thrive in unison with nature. All the revenue generated from our SteemIt posts go directly back into our projects. If you would like to learn more, please visit our Facebook, website, and follow us on SteemIt!
It's really admirable how the local people are conscious about their environment even though the place hasn't been run down by tourist packs.
Greetings from Cape Town :)
@haritakurdu, yes Lobitos is a beautiful yet secret vacation spot in Northern Peru rich with culture and nature. Lobitos welcomes you anytime! ZA has some great waves, and they're just as fun here in Lobitos.