Pisco Travel Blog› entry 24 of 43 › view all entries
After getting into Pisco we were greeted then taking to her home by a young girl. ONce at the home we got shown our room and arranged a tour the following day to the Ballestas Islands. We had thought that when the women had arranged for somewhere to stay in Pisco that it would be a hostel bu instead we had been taken to a Family home us being the only ones staying in what I think was the spare room. WE wernt complaining though it was one of the nicest places we had stayed with a large double bed, ensuite bathroom with bath and lots of space. We just spent our first day talking a walk around what was left of Pisco. Pisco had benn hit only 6 months previously by a large earthqyuake and the city was still in ruins. In every direction you could just see piles of rubble where houses had once stood. Was unbelievable the destuction that this Earthquake had done. The only real life we saw although we were staying out of twon was the petral staion and a small make shift shop. Other than that everywhere seemed to be lifeless. Not every building had been distroyed obviously otherwise we would have no where to stay but I would say at least 70 percent of the property was destroyed or affected onn some way. The only food we could find was from the nearby petroal staion who served up a great chicken and chips.
The next day we went of a tour from the main town which was around a 15 min drive from where were staying to the Ballestas Islands just a short boat ride away. The ballestas islands were described in the lonley planet as a poor mans Galapicos. The islands were obviously tiny in comparison but still were really amazing to sea. The islands seemed overfolwing with sea lions, penguins and many different species of bird. The sea lions were just so noisy especially as we got closer to the sure that they filled, the niose constant by the hundreds of sea lions. We took the boat around the islands and got as close to the sea lions as possible for some great pics.
After visiting the Ballestas islands in the morning we then as part of the tour went to the Paracas reserve just a 10 min drive from town. Not the most beautifull place I had seen but still intersting to go to the small information centre to hear about the conservation programme. Once in the park we were taking to a place where we could swim and have a very overpriced fish meal. I think the purpose of going here was just to help the restuarants to recoup after the earthquake. We headed back and were dropped to our accomadation after a good tour. In the evening wwe went to go and watch the sunset over the sea. The sunsents in Pisco I think were the prettiset I have ever seen, just unbelievable. As the sun went down it just lit the sky completley red, not just a light red like you sometimes sea but a thick dark dark red that was just unreal. From the sunset it was another meal of chicken and chips then off to bed.
In the main town of Pisco the trail of devistation from the earthquake was evn more apparent. The trip from where we stayed i to town there was just block after block of nothing but rubble where houses had stood. In the main town you could see the huge shelter camps made up of metal shetaing. There was sighs that buildings were starting to be constructed again but to try rebuild from that amount of devistation I think will take a good few years if not longer.
The next day we stolled around the nearby local market. Here were your usual mix of fake clothing, fake glasses, fake dvds all put together in a maze of stalls. Although obviously the town was desperatley poor after the earthquake still the shop owners gave us the same price as the locals. A refreshing thing happened in the market when I bought an item I though the guy had said the price was higher so I put the money in his hand and he actually gave me back and said I had given him to much. The town people seemed to have a sence of proudness and determination that was seen by the hundreds of workers desperatley working to get the town back on its feet again.
I really enjoyed Pisco, the ballestas islands were really cool, the sun sets were out of this world and although very little going on was amazing to see first hand what a natural disaster like an earthquake can do to a place.
We left the next day leaving the family we had become quite freindly with specially there tiny sweet dogs. The mother put us on a bus to Huacacchina and bidded farewell.
Paracas National Reserve
The Paracas National Reserve (340,000 hectares) was established in 1975 and is important for the protection of both bird life on the Paracas Peninsula and marine life in the sea. The Reserve is about 15km south from Pisco (not a particularly attractive place but famous for the white brandy named after the town). The entrance fee to the reserve is about US$2 per person. Places of interest within the Reserve include a visitors' center (free maps available) and an archeological museum (entrance US$1, 09:00-17:00 daily). A short walk down from the museum to the edge of Paracas Bay allows you to see several types of birds including flamingos feeding by the waterside.
The area within the Reserve played an important role in the Peruvian economy during the mid-nineteenth century. Vast quantities of 'guano' (birds' droppings) produced by the seabirds was exported to Europe for use as fertilizer. For many decades this industry was Peru's most important source of revenue.
Islas Ballestas (Ballestas Islands)
These spectacular islands, eroded into many caves and arches, provide shelter for thousands of seabirds and hundreds of sea-lions. Although the islands fall just outside the Paracas National Reserve they are protected by separate legislation. The islands are home to over 150 species of marine bird including the Humboldt penguin, cormorants, boobies and pelicans. Even condors have been known to visit. On the shores can be seen large numbers of sea-lions and in the sea it is possible to encounter dolphins and even whales.
The Ballestas Islands form an important wildlife reserve, with over 160 species of marine birds, including Humboldt penguins, cormorants, boobies, pelicans and, occasionally condors. There is also animal life, including sea lions, seals, dolphins and whales. The islands are off the coast of the Paracas National Reserve, 240 km south of Lima.
Visitors are not allowed onto the islands but views of the wildlife from the boat are usually excellent. The tours also pass the 'Candelabro' - a 50m candelabra-shape traced in the desert hillside overlooking the sea. Their are numerous theories as to its origin (best left to the guides to explain some of them).