Latin America Travel & Tour Information
Pisco, Paracas & Ballestas Islands Travel Information
The city of Pisco lies just a few hours away from Lima, and is the gateway to visit Paracas and Ballestas Islands. The name Pisco stems from the famous grape-based drink from Peru and Chile. Pisco played an important role in the independence quest of the 19th century. It was here where the freedom fighter San Martín designed the first Peruvian flag.
In 2007, Pisco hit world-wide news as a result of an earthquake, 8 degrees on Richter´s scale, which destroyed a great deal of the city. Reconstruction is slowley bringing the city back to its former glory, but whole task is estimated to take around 20 years.
The Reserve of Paracas lies barely a few Kilometers from Pisco, an ideal place to enjoy nature and the beach. Buses and taxis are available from Pisco. This reserve constitues a large coastal dessert and became the settlement area of an ancient pre-Inca culture, the Paracas, highly skilled people in irrigation and textile techniques. Although a cemetery related to this civilazation was discovered inside the reserve, the area is not rich in attractive sights.
The 'JC Tello' Museum awaits 3 km away from the entrance to the reserve. It displays different fabrics and perforated skulls. Opposite the museum, there is a look-out from where you can see red flamingos. The Cathedral, a majestic rock formation and one of the most remarkable icons of the Peruvian coastline, used to be a must during this tour. But unfortunately, it was destroyed by the earthquake in 2007. However, the place is still worthy of a visit to admire the amazing combination of dessert and ocean.
It is possible to take a boat tour from either the town of Paracas to the Ballestas Islands and inmerse in the delightful experience of bird and sealion watching. These islands hold an enormous diversity of birds and in ancient times were of major importance for the extraction of guano from the birds. This was a rather prosperous industry during the 19th century that it even led to war with Spain to secure a position in the business. Nowadays, extraction is very low and is done every 10 years. Another hightlight here is the Chandelier, a huge shape etched into the side of a hill, of unknown origin.