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Islas Ballestas, Paracas & Pisco, Peru - Boat Tour Of Islands

Peru travel blog by Mark Berman - April 2009 May 2009   » View Photoset (47 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
I arrived in Pisco at about 5am from Lima which was a 3hr journey south. From the bus I was hussled by mototaxis
Peru Photo - A group of Pinguinos de Humboldt Humboldt Penguins at Islas Ballestas in Pisco.
A group of Pinguinos de Humboldt Humboldt Penguins at Islas Ballestas in Pisco.
for a ride into the center of Pisco. The buses drop passengers on the Pan-American highway because the road into Pisco is currently (2009) inaccessible to buses because of the earthquake in 2007. Much of Pisco was damaged, Paracas was damaged by the tsunami and 1000 people died. There is much rebuilding continuing in Pisco now. The ride along the road in the mototaxi was very bumpy indeed, weaving in and out of huge mounds of dirt.

Pisco

Pisco is a busy little town with the central plaza buzzing with the sound of mototaxis circling around it. There a several hostels and budget hotels in the streets off of the plaza and a few tour operators nearby too. The surrounding streets are fun to walk through with food, icecream and street made food such as hot sugary peanuts and chicken rolls for sale as well as hot drinks available at
Peru Photo - Looking across the yellow terrain at Paracas towards the fishing village and restaurants.
Looking across the yellow terrain at Paracas towards the fishing village and restaurants.
night or squeezed orange juice in the daytime. I enjoyed sitting down with the locals for the morning street cookups of soup for 2 Soles! There are also restaurants selling Peruvian meals such as my favorite called Churrasco which consists of meat with 2 fried eggs on top plus rice, fries and salad.

Boat Tour to the Islands

I booked a tour for the next day at a nearby tour operator for about 70 Soles and stocked up on some snacks for the day. A minivan picked me up early in the morning with others in the group and we headed for about 20 minutes to the coast to the fishing village and boats.
Peru Photo - The edge of Paracas on the way out to Islas Ballestas.
The edge of Paracas on the way out to Islas Ballestas.
There were many pelicans on the beach as well as a few dolphins in the water. A Peruvian man was feeding the pelicans and making them jump for a few photos and cash reward from the tourists. We left in the high powered boat after putting on life jackets and sped out to the Islas Ballestas. We saw the Paracas Candelabra (The Candelabrum) from the boat, it is 150 metres tall, 40 metres wide and 1 foot deep. We approached the huge rock formations that are the Isla Ballestas and it was amazing to start seeing thousands and thousands of birds on top of the island including Incan Terns, Pelicans, Belcher's Gulls and Blue Footed Boobys. There were also penguins and seals and beautiful rock archways with sunfish attached at the waterline. We saw an amazing beach with 100's and 100's of seals covering the surface of
Peru Photo - Boats and birdlife on Pisco beach.
Boats and birdlife on Pisco beach.
red rock and sand. The island has a very strong smell because of the amount of birds there and are covered in a white color. It was a fantastic experience to observe these animals migration habitat and refuge.

Paracas National Park

After the Isla Ballestas we headed back to the mainland to get transported to the Reserva Nacional de Paracas by minivan. After coming through the entrance we came into a big desert with a paved road going through. There was a lot of sand, shells, red stones and fossils that we found as we walked in the open space. There is a lot of Nazca lines but looked more like scribble on the rock faces in the distance. We continued in the minivan and came to Zarcillo Vista Panoramica La Catedral (the lookout area) for amazing
Peru Photo - Twin rocks at Islas Ballestas.
Twin rocks at Islas Ballestas.
panoramic views of the coast from the top of a great cliff. In the distance we could see the fishing village where the tsunami came in washing boats back for 100's of meters and killing I believe 3 people. We walked by a beautiful red stoned beach and cooled our feet from the hot sand, there were big cliffs in the background and it is a great sight to see. It came to lunchtime. We went to a really nice area where there were a few restaurants, a nice place to swim and a hill to climb to see the views. There are many pelicans and birds in the area close by and boats in the water in the bay. There are a lot of fish meals on the menu I recall. After about 90 minutes in this area, it was time to go to the Museo de Sitio 'Julio C Tello' Paracas, the museum. It is a very interesting museum. We learnt about how important Paracas is to the migratory birds as well as the whales and marine turtles and how special this ecosystem is for the wildlife that live here permanantly and for those that visit from year to year. Next day from here I went south to Ica/Huacachina.

     

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Distances & times (if available) from Pisco, Islas Ballestas & Paracas (Peru) to:


Map location: Pisco, Islas Ballestas & Paracas, Peru. Isla Ballestas has 1000's and 1000's of birds including Incan Terns, Pelicans, Belcher's Gulls and Blue Footed Boobys! You will also see a seal colony. Nature and animals are things you never forget!
 A : Chiclayo to Piura - Peru 32 kms 32 kms straight distance | 57mins 57mins by car (44 kms) | 1hr 8mins 1hr 8mins by bus (44 kms) (44 kms)
 B : Huacachina / Ica - Peru 64 kms 64 kms straight distance | 1hr 31mins 1hr 31mins by car (85 kms) | 1hr 49mins 1hr 49mins by bus (85 kms) (85 kms)
 C : Nazca to Pisco - Peru 74 kms 74 kms straight distance | 1hr 30mins 1hr 30mins by car (91 kms) | 1hr 48mins 1hr 48mins by bus (91 kms) (91 kms)
 D : Nazca - Peru 185 kms 185 kms straight distance | 3hrs 31mins 3hrs 31mins by car (223 kms) | 4hrs 13mins 4hrs 13mins by bus (223 kms) (223 kms)
 E : Lima - Peru 206 kms 206 kms straight distance | 3hrs 41mins 3hrs 41mins by car (246 kms) | 4hrs 25mins 4hrs 25mins by bus (246 kms) (246 kms)
 F : Huancayo - Peru 213 kms 213 kms straight distance | 7hrs 13mins 7hrs 13mins by car (334 kms) | 8hrs 39mins 8hrs 39mins by bus (334 kms) (334 kms)
 G : Ayacucho - Peru 222 kms 222 kms straight distance | 5hrs 30mins 5hrs 30mins by car (337 kms) | 6hrs 36mins 6hrs 36mins by bus (337 kms) (337 kms)
 H : Andahuaylas - Peru 305 kms 305 kms straight distance | 10hrs 2mins 10hrs 2mins by car (540 kms) | 12hrs 2mins 12hrs 2mins by bus (540 kms) (540 kms)
 I : Camana - Peru 495 kms 495 kms straight distance | 9hrs 23mins 9hrs 23mins by car (613 kms) | 11hrs 15mins 11hrs 15mins by bus (613 kms) (613 kms)
 J : Huanuco - Peru 425 kms 425 kms straight distance | 10hrs 28mins 10hrs 28mins by car (631 kms) | 12hrs 33mins 12hrs 33mins by bus (631 kms) (631 kms)
 K : Huaraz - Peru 488 kms 488 kms straight distance | 10hrs 2mins 10hrs 2mins by car (652 kms) | 12hrs 2mins 12hrs 2mins by bus (652 kms) (652 kms)
 L : Abancay - Peru 358 kms 358 kms straight distance | 11hrs 30mins 11hrs 30mins by car (687 kms) | 13hrs 48mins 13hrs 48mins by bus (687 kms) (687 kms)
 M : Tingo Maria - Peru 490 kms 490 kms straight distance | 13hrs 27mins 13hrs 27mins by car (744 kms) | 16hrs 8mins 16hrs 8mins by bus (744 kms) (744 kms)
 N : Cusco - Peru 455 kms 455 kms straight distance | 15hrs 27mins 15hrs 27mins by car (874 kms) | 18hrs 32mins 18hrs 32mins by bus (874 kms) (874 kms)
 O : Machu Picchu - Peru 402 kms 402 kms straight distance
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Islas Ballestas, Paracas & Pisco, Peru:

Hostal El Cesar, Pisco, Peru - Large Photo
Hostal El Cesar, Pisco, Peru (Apr 2009 - 2 nights) - A comfortable room with a bathroom at a good price, not far from the plaza. A cheaper option than some of the other hostels in the area that charge around 45 Soles per night.
Hostal Tambo Colorado, Pisco, Peru - Large Photo
Hostal Tambo Colorado, Pisco, Peru (May 2009 - 1 night) - I had a great room, it's close to the plaza, has a computer and nice staff, mid-priced. It cost 45 soles for my room but there are cheaper options very nearby for around 30 soles.

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Islas Ballestas, Paracas & Pisco, Peru - Boat Tour Of Islands. Isla Ballestas has 1000's and 1000's of birds including Incan Terns, Pelicans, Belcher's Gulls and Blue Footed Boobys! You will also see a seal colony. Nature and animals are things you never forget!

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