Most visitors to Matarani tend to head inland, to Arequipa, but bird-watchers may want to travel to the Mejia Lagoons, just under an hour’s drive to the south. Some 690 hectares (2.7 square miles) of land running along the Pacific and north of the Tambo River have been set aside as a protected bird sanctuary since 1984. The Humboldt Current passes by here, resulting in surprisingly cool water for a location so close to the equator. This phenomenon pushes much of the marine life toward the warmer surface, which, in turn, attracts birds. Around 200 different species have been spotted in the sanctuary, including various ducks, egrets, flamingos, gulls and herons. There is a visitor center where you can get an overview of the birds and their habitats, and park staff will point out different species at viewing stations throughout the sanctuary.