THE DRIEST DESERT IN THE WORLD
The Pan-American Highway stretches thousands of miles from Alaska to the southern tip of Chile.
The Pan-American Highway stretches thousands of miles from Alaska to the southern tip of Chile and includes a jaunt through the extremely arid coastal desert of Peru. From Peru's capital city of Lima, hit the road on an adventure through this "driest desert in the world." The first stop is the Ballestas Islands 15 miles off the coast and home to a rich array of marine life. Get an up-close look at the marine mammals and millions of sea and shore birds. Learn how the cold Humboldt Current attracts the wildlife to the islands and contributes to the dry desert on the mainland. Along the way, marvel at a 600-foot geoglyph of a San Pedro cactus carved into a hillside hundreds of years ago. The road continues through the desert town of Ica and its oasis surrounded by immense sand dunes, which encompass more than 1,000 square miles of shifting sand. Finally, visit Toro Muerto - essentially a large canvas of rock and sand that contains one of the richest collections of petroglyphs in the world.