Pisco and Islas Ballestos

Pisco Travel Blog

 › entry 15 of 48 › view all entries

Time to leave Lima and we thought we would make it easier for ourselves by booking tickets for the bus to Pisco through a tourist office and include taxi pick up.  However they also work on South American time and turned up 30 minutes late giving us 30 minutes to make it through all the traffic into central Lima.  Fortunately the bus was also working on South American time and we made it comfortably.

Pisco - famed for being the home of Peru´s main spirit and its main cocktail Pisco sour.  However, more recently it is famous for being the epicentre of the August 2007 earthquake measuring 7.9 on the richter scale and killing 500 of its residents along with 75% of the town centre and 25% of its historical buildings.

  Our chosen hostel was one of the lucky buildings to remain habitable and checked in to the owners delight at having some custom and subsequently couldn´t do enough for us the whole of our stay.  The tourist office was not so lucky, along with the police station, the banks and only the two towers of the cathedral were left standing.  The walk around the town 4 months after the earthquake was quite sombrering with demolition still being the main activity bringing clearly an affluent town to its knees. 

Went to one of only 2 restaurants open and took the waiters recommendation of mixed seafood which subsequently included an gorgeous platter of king prawns, crab claws, octopus, squid, red snapper in a delicious tomato sauce. Had the traditional lemon meringue pie before trying the pisco sour (similar to tequila but less harsh).

  The waiter then gave us complimentary shots of pure pisco which was very much like tequila at its best.

Early start following morning to get a morning tour to the local Islas Ballestos, classed as a poor mans Galapagos.  Perfect for Dave and I.  Given the write up, it was predictably a little touristy and about 100 of us got split into 3 motor boats for the trip out to the islands.  We were quickly accompanied by four pelicans chasing the boat giving a good start to the trip. Stopped for 5 minutes next to a big candelabra drawn into the side of a sand dune.  I think the tour guide was suggesting it could have been aliens (we are only 2 hours away from Nazca) but Dave and I are far from convinced. 

Islas Ballestos was far more impressive, with the islands themselves being very picturesque with many coves and arches worn into the rock.

  Even from a distance, the ground was black with birds and the beaches brown with sea lions. The boats cruised and manouvered around the coast and rocky islands to get as close as possible (within a couple of metres in some instances) of cormerants, pelicans, penguins, boobies and sealions.  Surely not Galapegos but a very impressive number of wildlife to make it a great trip.  To add to the fun, the three boats raced back to the mainland - unfortunately we came last.

On our return, we caught the bus to our next destination - Huacachina.


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photo by: eefab