Peru is not just Machu Picchu and the Inca Empire, there is much more to see in this vast country. It is considered one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet. Have you considered the Amazon rainforest for lovers of nature and animals? Alternatively, the Arequipa area is complemented by the Colca Canyon, where you will see the mighty Condor flying above. Why not travel to the north coast of Peru and visit the archaeological sites of Chan Chan and Señor de Sipán? They can all be visited on a Peruvian vacation. However, in this article that we prepare with Cusco Peru Travel, we will take you on a trip to an area south of Lima. It is here where you will find the Ballestas Islands of Peru and the Nazca Lines.
All about the incredible Ballestas Islands
- The city of Paracas and the Ballestas Islands
- What are the Ballestas Islands?
- How to get there
- The boat trip
- Experience the tour
- What to expect on the Ballestas Islands
THE CITY OF PARACAS AND THE BALLESTAS ISLANDS
Travel south from Lima for around 4 hours and you will arrive in the coastal city of Paracas. The city has only a few houses and some hotels with fabulous sea views, but what most people travel to the area is to see the Ballestas Islands. These islands and the rest of the Paracas Wildlife Reserve create a safe place for many creatures to live, breed, and play. In a short speedboat ride from the city, you will see thousands and thousands of birds of different varieties that call the islands home. The tour will take you close to the islands to witness the birds in their native environment. After your tour, it would be a good idea to know the different Peruvian beaches and what there is to appreciate.
WHAT ARE THE BALLESTAS ISLANDS?
Also nicknamed the “Poor Man’s Galapagos” because they are similar way too much but on a smaller scale. The Ballestas Islands is one of the best tours to experience the numerous and varied wildlife that you can find in the Andean country without having to enter the Amazon. This group of islands has incredible biodiversity of species and among them, you can find thousands of classes of birds and mammals such as penguins, sea lions, pelicans, dolphins, and much more. They are located off the south coast, near the city of Paracas and the Paracas National Reserve. It is a must-see for all those who love nature and wildlife. Keep in mind that these islands are protected, so you will not be able to swim with the animals or walk on the islands, but you will still be very close to appreciate the different species. Among the many tours in Paracas, you can enjoy a speedboat trip to tour the different islands and take photos of the most beautiful animals in Peru.
HOW TO GET THERE
To get to the Ballestas Islands, there are numerous companies, agencies, and tour operators that offer tours to the beautiful coastal city. Some companies without prior reservations can inflate prices excessively, so try to book in advance. The beautiful city of Paracas is only 3 hours away from the Peruvian capital. Normally you travel by bus from Lima to Paracas to get to enjoy the tour by boat. You also have to keep in mind that the only way to tour the Islands is through a tour accompanied by certified and accredited guides. You can decide to do it within one of the luxury Peru tours that we offer.
THE BOAT TRIP
To enjoy the Ballestas Islands you will usually have a departure time at 8 in the morning to get to the boat. The boats don’t leave until 08:20 in the morning until they are all loaded and installed. The tour lasts 2 hours, so the return time is at 10 am. Life jackets are provided and these are mandatory for added safety. The boats are very comfortable and you can sit on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you want to position yourself well, try to arrive early. If you are susceptible to dizziness, don’t worry because it is a fairly short and exceptional trip. You will notice that there is also a quick stop to appreciate El Candelabro, a prehistoric geoglyph located on the Paracas peninsula, it is large enough to be seen 19 kilometers from the sea. The trip is so short you can take advantage of your time and compliment your trip with a full day in Paracas.
EXPERIENCE THE TOUR
The tour in the Ballestas Islands is usually quite busy, but despite this, it is quite controlled and well managed. You will not be able to get off the islands and walk on them, but the man who drives the boat does it so that you will be very close to the main entrances and pointing out the different wildlife on site, pausing whenever necessary. Keep in mind that it is a protected location, so avoid yelling, taking flash photos, or anything that can disturb the peace of animals, especially when you are near sea lions. The time is enough to appreciate the different animals and islands, so don’t worry about being short on it. There will be enough breaks to take photos and closely follow the different species that inhabit the place.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE BALLESTAS ISLANDS
Some of the bird species you can expect to see are the Peruvian pelican, the Humboldt penguin, the Peruvian booby, different varieties of cormorants, and the Inca tern. For the bird lover, the Ballestas Islands are a paradise to stay. Not only will you see the birds, but the islands are home to the “South American sea lion.” The sea lion, although they move slowly on land, the sea lion is a very effective hunter in the ocean. SeaWolves often come and play around tour boats, and at the right time of day, their barks and calls will create a deafening chorus that blasts from all corners of the islands. After you tour the Islands, you can choose to visit the beautiful beaches around. Many of these are not so good for surfing in Peru, but they are still worth a visit. Around the islands in early spring (August to October) humpback whales can be seen on their way north for the mating season. Once nearly extinct, these majestic creatures have made a remarkable recovery and are stable, which is today an inspiring story of conservation. If you are lucky, you may be able to catch a glimpse of a rare species of otter. It is the smallest mammal that lives exclusively in saltwater. Very little is known about this elusive creature, including the number that remains in the wild. Both poaching and hunting to protect fish populations threaten the sea otter. Which makes nature reserves like Paracas essential for their continued survival.
“WE DON’T NEED OBJECTS; WE NEED ADVENTURES.”
The Ballestas Islands and the Paracas Reserve are two incredible places to visit in Peru. It cannot be denied that in recent years it has become a very important tourist spot. We hope together with the experts from Cusco Peru Travel to have helped you. Remember that if you want to know about the beautiful Ballestas Islands, you can organize a tour with us. Our advisors will be happy to help you get to know this incredible place.