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Things to do in Pisco, Peru

Our most recommended things to do in Pisco, Peru

From Paracas: Scenic Boat Tour to Ballestas Island

1. From Paracas: Scenic Boat Tour to Ballestas Island

After a convenient hotel pickup from either Paracas or Pisco, head to the Marina Turistica to start your islands adventure. Board a speedboat with your bilingual, Spanish and English-speaking guide, and jet out onto the sea towards the stunning Ballestas. Along the way, stop at the Paracas Peninsula to see the Candelabro, an enigmatic glyph carved into the side of the island — whose purpose, and creator, remain a mystery to this day. Afterwards, continue onwards towards the marine sanctuary of Ballestas. Gaze upon the rocky shores, filled to the brim with sunbathing seals and penguins diving into the turbid waters to hunt underneath the surface — all alongside other beautiful specimens, like majestic pelicans, and colorful blue-footed boobies. A protected habitat for the wide swathe of birds and sea-life that call these islands home, Ballestas is truly one of Peru’s natural treasures — and a speedboat tour around their shores is the best way to see the islands, and all they have to offer, up close.

From Paracas: Ballestas Islands & Paracas National Reserve

2. From Paracas: Ballestas Islands & Paracas National Reserve

After a convenient hotel pickup from either Paracas or Pisco, head to the Marina Turistica to start your adventure. Board a speedboat with your bilingual, Spanish and English-speaking guide, and jet out onto the sea towards the stunning Ballestas. Along the way, stop at the Paracas Peninsula to see the Candelabro, an enigmatic glyph carved into the side of the island — whose purpose, and creator, remain a mystery to this day. Afterwards, continue onwards towards the marine sanctuary of Ballestas. Gaze upon the rocky shores, filled to the brim with sunbathing seals, and penguins diving into the turbid waters to hunt underneath the surface — all alongside other beautiful specimens, like majestic pelicans, and colorful blue-footed boobies. You’ll then return to the Marina Turistica for a drive to Paracas National Reserve. An almost alien landscape, the Paracas National Reserve is composed of vast, sprawling deserts and high sandstone cliffs directly next to the bright, blue ocean. Driving through the reserve, see the Cathedral, an area where a vast rock formation once stood before being destroyed by a cataclysmic earthquake. Your tour caps things off with visits to Playa Roja and Lagunillas Beach, two stunning maroon-sand beaches that are truly one-of-a-kind. Having seen some of the world's most unique natural features, flora, and fauna, you'll hop back in the car for a convenient transfer back to your hotel.

From Pisco or Paracas: Nazca Lines Flight

3. From Pisco or Paracas: Nazca Lines Flight

Pick up from your hotel in Pisco or Paracas town to drive towards Pisco Airport. Meet your representative and go to the check-in zone to wait for your flight. Get briefed on the nature of your tour and on safety instructions. The flight lasts exactly 1 hour and 40 minutes including the travel time to the Nazca Desert and you will see 12 of the most representative figures drawn on the stony surface of the Nazca desert. Look out for representations of animals and plants, distributed in a labyrinth of lines, trapezes, and triangles which have been preserved for almost 2,000 years. The Nazca Lines are some of the most incredible remains from an ancient culture. These designs, some as long as 500 meters, can be truly appreciated from the sky at an altitude of 1,500 feet. After your experience, fly back to the aerodrome and head back to your hotel or to a bus station.

Paracas or Pisco: Private Huacachina Oasis Tour & Buggy Ride

4. Paracas or Pisco: Private Huacachina Oasis Tour & Buggy Ride

Start with pickup from your hotel and travel by private vehicle towards the city of Ica. On the way to Ica, visit a traditional vineyard where you will have the opportunity to learn more about traditional wines and the famous Pisco spirit, the national drink of Peru. Here, you will also have the opportunity to taste some of the products. Then, drive southwest towards Huacachina Oasis, a beautiful lagoon surrounded by palm trees and huge sand dunes with a spectacular view of Ica Valley and desert. Climb the sand dunes and enjoy one of the famous dune buggy tours. This tour will take 2 hours across the Ica desert, and you will also have a sandboard or sand-surfing lesson at the sand dunes. Finally, stop at the highest sand dune to enjoy the sunset. Return to Huacachina, where you can take a shower to wash off the sand, before returning to your hotel in Paracas.

From Paracas: Paracas National Reserve Private Tour

5. From Paracas: Paracas National Reserve Private Tour

Enjoy the convenience of the being picked up from your hotel in Paracas or Pisco and transferred to the Paracas National Reserve. The reserve was established in 1975 to protect the bird and marine of life of the Paracas Peninsula. Admire the stunning landscape of the peninsula, formed by a saline desert, islands, and the sea. See one to the largest sea lion colonies in the world. Marvel at the numerous birds along the coastline. Learn about the reserve by visiting the visitor center, which has exhibits about the local flora and fauna. Drive to an area where a great natural rock formation once stood known as the Cathedral. Unfortunately, the Cathedral was destroyed during a 2007 earthquake. Enjoy amazing views of the desert, the blue ocean, and thousands of sea birds. Visit Playa Roja and Lagunillas Beach. After your tour finishes, return to your hotel.

From Paracas: Ballestas Islands and Tambo Colorado Tour

6. From Paracas: Ballestas Islands and Tambo Colorado Tour

Start with convenient pickup from your hotel in either Paracas or Pisco before heading to the Marina Turistica to start your adventure. Board a speedboat with your bilingual, Spanish and English-speaking guide, and jet out onto the sea towards the stunning Ballestas. Along the way, stop at the Paracas Peninsula to see the Candelabro, an enigmatic glyph carved into land whose purpose, and creator, remain a mystery to this day. Afterwards, continue onwards towards the marine sanctuary of Ballestas. Gaze upon the rocky shores, filled to the brim with sunbathing seals, and penguins diving into the turbid waters to hunt underneath the surface — all alongside other beautiful specimens, like majestic pelicans, and colourful blue-footed boobies. Return to the Marina Turistica for a drive to the Inca settlement of Tambo Colorado. Most-likely built at the end of the 15th century, the site was ruled by the Inca Emperor Pachacutec. Wander around the site with your guide and admire the decorated surfaces and structure that has survived remarkably well over the centuries, thanks to the dry climate of the region. The site was built in the typical Incan design, with recessed trapezoidal niches and a rectangular floor plan. Learn about the styles of architecture from this historical period, and the cultural influences from the Ayacucho and Cusco people. Explore the site’s ceremonial plazas, platforms, and houses, as well as the main building known as La Fortaleza. Listen to your guide explain the heritage of the site, that is believed to have been used as an administrative, ceremonial, and military center which controlled the main road from the coast to the highlands. The site was also used as a resting place for many of the Inca army soldiers across the local territory.

From Paracas or Pisco: Ballestas Islands Private Boat Trip

7. From Paracas or Pisco: Ballestas Islands Private Boat Trip

A protected habitat for the rich array of birds and animals that call these islands home, Ballestas is one of Peru’s natural treasures. See the islands up close on a speedboat tour around the shores. Make a stop at the Paracas Peninsula to observe the Candelabra glyph. After a convenient hotel pickup from Paracas or Pisco, head to the Marina Turistica to start your island adventure. Board a private speedboat with your guide, and jet out onto the sea towards the stunning Ballestas. Along the way, stop at the seaside hill of Paracas Peninsula to see the Candelabra, an enigmatic pre-historic glyph etched into the side of the island—whose purpose, and creator, remain a mystery to this day. Afterward, continue towards the marine sanctuary of Ballestas. Gaze upon the rocky shores, filled to the brim with sunbathing seals. Watch penguins dive into the turbid waters to hunt underneath the surface—all alongside other beautiful creatures, like pelicans, and blue-footed boobies. After an exclusive tour of the islands tailored for just you and your group, be taken back to your hotel or be dropped off around Paracas.

Ballestas Islands and Tambo Colorado from San Martin Port

8. Ballestas Islands and Tambo Colorado from San Martin Port

Meet your guide at 9:15 AM at San Martin Port and enjoy a transfer to Paracas town. Here you will meet the rest of the group and board a speedboat to begin the adventure to the stunning Ballestas Island. On the way you will stop at the Paracas peninsula to see the enigmatic figure of the Candelabro, a stunning design drawn on the side of a hill in the Peninsula. Nobody knows for sure who did it or why. Afterwards, you'll head off to Ballestas Island, where you will see a stunning world filled with birds and sea lions. Here, visit the three islands at a distance and explore some caves, depending on the condition of the sea. On your return to the port, you drive towards Pisco town for a sightseeing tour. Then, travel east to finally arrive at the well preserved Inca Fortress of Tambo Colorado. Tambo Colorado was an Inca settlement and was most likely built at the end of the 15th century and was ruled by the Inca Emperor Pachacutec. The site consists of several structures around a large central plaza. The central plaza is shaped like a trapezoid with its largest side being 150 meters long. Because of the mild local climate, many of the buildings' original colors have been preserved, helping experts reconstruct the site. Finally you will return to San Martin Port to rejoin your ship.

Other Sightseeing Options in Pisco, Peru

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What people are saying about Pisco, Peru

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 122 reviews

This was a wonderful and exciting trip. Everyone got good looks at each line. If you are prone to air sickness, I would encourage you to take a full dose of air sickness remedy as the plane makes strong turns from left to right and vice versa. When I fly, I take a very small dose of Dramamine but decided to take an entire pill for this. Glad I did, as there were times I thought I was going to lose it, but didn’t. No regrets with making the trip though. Pilot and guide did a great job of pointing out each of the lines.

Una muy bonita experiencia, Las Adventure se hizo cargo de recogernos, guardar el equipaje y llevarnos al muelle. La comunicación y la ayuda fue excelente. El tour dura 2 hrs total (30mins ida y 30mins vuelta hasta las islas). No se vieron muchos pingüinos pero sí lobos marinos y muchas aves, la guía fue muy informativa. Importante llevar sombrero con amarre porque el viento es fuerte en el camino hacia las islas.

Part 1: Islas Ballestas Very touristy, lots of people, very crowded (~40 people/boat). But still definitely a must see. Part 2: National Park It was just my travel companion, Olenka (guide) and the driver. Very private. We asked lots of questions and Olenka had answers for all of them. We took our time and encountered almost no other people. Breathtaking views of the ocean and the cliffs. We saw many birds.

Super nice guide in the national park, who also gave us a lot of additional information about Peru and the culture. We were lucky and had the guide to ourselves - very cool! :)

Excellent driver gave us plenty of time for everything