Continuing my series, Explorando Lima, in which I demonstrate the immense diversity that Peru has to offer without even leaving the region of Lima, I visit the Reserva Nacional de Lachay – an oasis in the desert between Huacho and Chancay.
In the hills located close to the sea, during the winter, grows a vegetation that survives on nothing more that water from the rolling sea fog brought inland by the wind. The fog that collides with these hills condenses and moistens the ground giving life to a flora and fauna unusual for a desert coastline.
These green hills, surrounded by a barren desert, form an oasis of fog. This winter fog is relatively cold, particularly with the sun blanketed out, temperatures don’t rise above 14c. In the summer, when the fog is no longer blown ashore, temperatures climb to 28c. These extremes have allowed a unique ecosystem to develop, with plants and animals displaying special skills at adapting.
The majority of plant life consists of bulbs hidden below the damp ground, this vegetation allowing the existence of many animals such as insects, birds and foxes that couldn’t exist elsewhere on the coast.
In prehispanic times, the area was employed to cultivate diverse produce, maintaining a permanent population. Because of this we find archaeological remains associated with a agricultural culture.