Illescas is a peninsula in northwestern Peru
. It forms the southern boundary of the Sechura
Bay, the largest bay in Peru. Sechura Bay also includes the northernmost portion of the Pacific Ocean that is under the influence of the Peru-Chile
or Humboldt Current. The Illescas Peninsula is located in the department of Piura
, and is scarcely inhabited. Illescas is also the name given to the highest point of the peninsula (500 m.), the Cerro Illescas.
A mountain between sea and a flatland desert
The Peninsula and Cerro Illescas are located more than 150 km west of the Andes, in the middle of a flatland desert, the Sechura Desert
. The cerro is a series of small hills (up to 500 m. in elevation) interspersed by narrow and short valleys formed during rare rain events.
Vegetation cover is extremely reduced in the peninsula, and only a few shrub and tree species grow in the area, especially mesquite trees and shrubs locally known as zapote. An endemic species of fox, the Sechura desert fox is found in the peninsula. Along the coast, and at its westernmost point, there are colonies of sea lions, blue-footed boobies and Humboldt penguins.The only human settlement of the Illescas Peninsula is the fishermen town of Bayovar.