PICS: Sea lions are bringing all the tourists out to the Peruvian coast

2018-10-05 14:00
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Tourists are flocking to the Peruvian coastlines to swim with sea lions.

Foreign tourists are flocking to a group of rocky islands a few miles off the coast of Peru's capital for a once-in-a-lifetime experience: a chance to swim with sea lions.

The 39 rocky islands near Lima are home to an untold number of sea lions who bathe gracefully and feast on abundant fish that thrive in the cold-water Humboldt current. 

Peru Sea Lions

(Photo: Rodrigo Abd / AP)

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But activists warn that the largely unregulated eco-tourism activity could be potentially dangerous and disruptive to the wild animals and their habitat.

Peru Sea Lions

(Photo: Rodrigo Abd / AP) 

Last year, more than 20 000 tourists visited the sea lion reserve, according to the government, with most stopping at Palomino island about 5 kilometres from the coast.

SEE PICS: Tourists advised to take caution as 'psychedelic tourism' thrives in Peru 

Many tourists swim just feet away from the giant mammals and snap selfies near the rocks. Small motor boats shuttle onlookers past the island throughout the day.

Peru Sea Lions

(Photo: Rodrigo Abd / AP)

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Local tour operators appear grateful for the boost.

Peru has earned a growing reputation for world-class cuisine, and the sea lions have become another offering for travellers seeking out better-known attractions like the Incan site of Machu Picchu.

Peru Sea Lions

(Photo: Rodrigo Abd / AP)

Peru Sea Lions

(Photo: Rodrigo Abd / AP)

Peru Sea Lions

(Photo: Rodrigo Abd / AP)

Peru Sea Lions

(Photo: Rodrigo Abd / AP)

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