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Ballestas Islands

Ballestas Islands: Our most recommended tours and activities

Paracas: Ballestas Islands Morning Boat Tour

1. Paracas: Ballestas Islands Morning Boat Tour

Your Paracas coastline adventure departs from the marina in the morning and then heads out onto the open blue waters of the ocean. The first stop of the tour is the famous El Candelabro, also known as the ‘Candelabra of the Andes’, a prehistoric geoglyph on the northern face of the Paracas Peninsula at Pisco Bay. Admire the imposing figure set into the landscape and learn more about the history of the geoglyph from your tour guide. The boat sails onto the Ballestas Islands next, a collection of biodiverse islets that are home to an array of protected and endangered animals and birds. From the boat, admire these beautiful islands and learn about the many marine species it houses, including the curious Humboldt penguins, the playful sea lions, and the exuberant colorful birds. Visitors to the islands are not permitted onto the land because it is a protected natural area, however there is plenty of time to see all that the islands have to offer from the comfort of the boat.

From Lima: Full-Day Paracas and Huacachina Bus Tour

2. From Lima: Full-Day Paracas and Huacachina Bus Tour

Your adventure begins with an early-morning pickup from your hostel or hotel. From here, travel to Paracas, a beautiful small town by the sea, on a spacious bus where you'll be able to relax for the 4-hour ride. Once in Paracas, begin a 2-hour boat tour of the Ballestas Islands, a smaller version of the Galapagos. Spot sea lions, penguins, and plenty of birds up close and all in their natural habitats. You may even get the chance to see a dolphin or two. Around lunchtime, it's time to move on from Paracas to Huacachina, a natural oasis located in the Ica Desert, home to the biggest sand dunes in South America. Enjoy some free time here. Explore and have lunch at one of the local restaurants around the oasis. Following lunch, it will be time for 2 hours of exhilarating dune buggy rides and sandboarding. Dune buggy up the sand dunes and sandboard down these giant hills of sands, a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the only natural desert oasis in South America. In the evening, board your bus back to Lima. Once onboard, sit back and relax on the comfortable seats while you enjoy a movie on board. You will later be dropped off directly at your hotel/hostel upon arrival in Lima.

From Paracas: Ballestas Islands & Paracas National Reserve

3. 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 Paracas: Scenic Boat Tour to Ballestas Island

4. 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 Huacachina: Ballestas Island and Paracas Reserve Tour

5. From Huacachina: Ballestas Island and Paracas Reserve Tour

Start with pickup from your hotel within Ica/Huacachina and drive towards the Marina Turistica to begin your adventure. Board a speedboat with your guide, and jet out onto the sea towards the stunning Ballestas. 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. 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. See other beautiful specimens, like majestic pelicans, and colorful blue-footed boobies. Return to the Marina Turistica for a drive to Paracas National Reserve. Discover the almost alien landscape of the Paracas National Reserve, with vast sprawling deserts and high sandstone cliffs. Driving through the reserve, see the Cathedral, an area where a vast rock formation once stood before being destroyed by a cataclysmic earthquake. Visit the stunning maroon-sand beaches of Playa Roja and Lagunillas Beach. Having seen some of the world's most unique natural features, flora, and fauna, At the end of the tour drive back to your hotel in Ica/Huacachina or in Paracas.

From Lima: Ballestas Islands, Huacachina Oasis & Winery Tour

6. From Lima: Ballestas Islands, Huacachina Oasis & Winery Tour

Start your adventure by departing Lima in the early morning. Travel for around 300 km on the Pan-American highway until you reach Paracas Bay, a very important place for Peruvian history which is full of wildlife.  Enjoy a boat tour to the Ballestas Islands and watch out for birds, sea lions, dolphins, and penguins. Then drive to drive to a small local winery to learn how Pisco is made and to enjoy a tasting. Stop at the Huacachina Oasis, and take some time to eat lunch and walk around. Test your skills at sandboarding for an additional cost or just enjoy free time at the pool drinking Pisco Sours. At the end of the adventure, head back to Lima via the same route.

From Lima: Paracas National Reserve & Ballestas Islands Tour

7. From Lima: Paracas National Reserve & Ballestas Islands Tour

After pickup, head to the south to discover unique landscapes where the desert, the islands and the sea all meet. Make a brief stop for a delicious breakfast and continue the journey. Then, go to Paracas dock to take a speed boat to the Ballestas Islands. Explore the rocky islands and discover the rich marine fauna. Take photos of sea lions and many types of birds such as penguins. Don't miss the enigmatic Candelabro Geoglyph, used as a navigational guide by ancient cultures. After your tour of the island, visit the impressive and isolated Paracas National Reserve. This natural reserve is part of the Guinness World Record for the driest desert on earth. Admire the stunning landscape of the peninsula. Learn all about dessert formation from your expert guide. If you are lucky you might see the great pink flamingos. Then, return to your hotel in Lima.

Lima: 2-Day Tour to Paracas, Pisco Vineyards, and Huacachina

8. Lima: 2-Day Tour to Paracas, Pisco Vineyards, and Huacachina

Day 1: Lima - Ballestas Islands - Huacachina Start with early pickup from your hotel in Lima or meeting point. Travel to Paracas, beautiful small town by the sea, on a 4-hour journey. Upon arrival in Paracas, begin a 2-hour boat tour of the Ballestas Islands. These islands are said to be a smaller version of the Galápagos. See sea lions, penguins, birds, and even dolphins up close in their natural habitats. After the boat tour, head to Huacachina, the only desert oasis in South America. Spend 2 hours getting your thrills with dune buggying and sandboarding on some of the highest sand dunes. Then, transfer to your accommodation in Huacachina. Use your free time to grab some food or maybe a beer. Relax after an adrenaline-filled evening and rest up for the next day. Day 2: Huacachina - Lima Leave Huacachina and head off to a 2-hour pisco vineyard tour. See how pisco, Peru's national drink, is made from the grape to the bottle and try lots of free samples. Spend the whole day enjoying Huacachina. Catch some sun by the pool or grab some lunch around the oasis for the perfect end to this trip. Travel by air-conditioned bus back to Lima, and get dropped off either at your hotel or the original meeting point.

From Lima: Ballestas Islands & Nazca Lines with Meals

9. From Lima: Ballestas Islands & Nazca Lines with Meals

Wake up early for pick-up from your hotel at 4:30 AM and travel to the Paracas National Reserve. Enjoy a breakfast box on the way there. Board the first boat to Ballestas Islands and admire the scenery of Paracas Bay, keeping an eye out for wildlife like sea lions, seagulls and penguins.  Travel to the aerodrome of Ica and watch an informative video on the history of the Nazca Lines, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Jump on to a Cessna 208 Caravan plane and fly over the ancient geoglyphs, to view them from above. Take pictures of the whale, astronaut, monkey, hummingbird and many more of the geoglyphs. Head to a traditional Peruvian restaurant and choose between a creole or seafood lunch, complemented with drinks. Indulge yourself with a wine tasting as well as traditional pisco, famously made in the region.  Return to Lima at 7:00 PM.

From Lima: Full-Day Tour of Islas Ballestas and Huacachina

10. From Lima: Full-Day Tour of Islas Ballestas and Huacachina

Start your day bright and early at 4:00 AM with a convenient pickup from your accommodation in Lima City. From here, enjoy a scenic 4 hour trip to Paracas (Ballestas Islands). Once you arrive, you will board the 'sliders', from which, you'll be able to appreciate the iconic Candelabro de Paracas geoglyph. This tour will allow you to marvel at the diversity of marina fauna once you arrive at the National Reserve. Keep an eye out for Sea lions, Guaneras Birds, Humbolt Penguins, just to name a few. Continue on your tour and head into the city of Ica where you will visit the Haciendas Pisqueras, a place where they produce the National drink of Peru, "El Pisco". Here, you will be able to taste a diverse range of wines and Pisco, also in the Hacienda, you will get some time to stop for a bite to eat.  After you've eaten, proceed to the Oasis of Huacachina, a natural lagoon surrounded by palm trees and desert dunes. You'll also have the chance to partake in adventure sports such as buggy driving and sand boarding. This is a perfect place to take some truly memorable holiday photos, so don't forget to bring your camera. After this experience, head to the city of Lima for a convenient drop off back at your accomodation. 

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What people are saying about Ballestas Islands

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 500 reviews

La veille dans l'après-midi, nous avons reçu la confirmation avec les informations concernants notre guide, la journée du lendemain avec les activités que nous allions faire et l'heure où nous serons récupéré à l'hotel. Notre guide Aymen est arrivé avec 10 minutes d'avance, il nous a toute suite mit dans le bain de la journée, souriant et très agréable. Nous avons pu parler de ce que nous allions faire, mais aussi sur tous les aspects culturels du beau pays Pérou. Il a su être à notre disposition, nous a mit à l'aise, et nous pouvions faire une pause à n'importe quel moment si nous avions besoin d'aller aux toilettes par exemple. Nous avons ensuite participer à la découverte des Îles ballets aussi belles qu'incroyable avec sa faune et sa Faure d'un autre monde ! Waw, L'Oasis était incroyable balade en Buddy et Sand Snowboarding, vraiment top ! Nous avions fini la journée avec un délicieux déjeuner avec notre guide qui nous a recommandé chacun de délicieux mets et boissons locales

Great day out and worth the early morning start! Boat trip was fantastic, saw plenty of wildlife up close. Seals, penguins etc Dune buggy ride was exhilarating and the boys enjoyed the sand boarding.

This trip was one of our highlights of Peru. The staff was wonderful. The bus was very comfortable and allowed us to sleep while traveling. From pick up to drop off, I'd rate this trip a 10/10.

The tour was amazing! Ricardo, the tour guide, was very pleasant and nice. We loved the experience

El guía Richi fue lo más, nos dió buenos consejos a lo largo del tour