Located just off the coast from Paracas (about 3-hours south of Lima) is the small island chain known as the Ballestas Islands. These rocky islands are only accessible by boat from Paracas, and it is easy to take a short tour of the islands for some amazing wildlife viewing experiences. The islands are a refuge for wildlife and home to Humbolt Penguins, blue-footed booby, sea-lions and, Pelicans to name just a few.
This turned out being one of our most memorable adventures during our 6-weeks traveling around South America, up there with the likes of Machu Picchu and Iguazu Falls. The fact that we got to see Penguins up close and personal was a real highlight for us, as seeing Penguins in the wild is an extremely rare and rewarding experience.
These islands are sometimes known as the “Poor mans Galapagos” if only because they are a bit more reasonable to visit when it comes to the pocketbook. A tour of the islands can be done in a few hours – a day trip from Paracas – which is all we had time for. Due to the fact that the Islands are protected, it’s not possible to step foot on the islands or swim in the waters, but a short circuit around the islands still allows for some amazing wildlife viewing, as you will see below.
While on the way to the islands, you also take a scenic route along the coast of the Paracas National Reserve and get to see the mysterious Glyphs carved into the shore. While, the exact purpose and who created them remain a mystery, the El Candelabro glyphs are reminiscent of the more famous Nazca lines.
Paracas and the Ballestas Islands are can’t miss if you are traveling along the coast of Peru. For us, they became one of the highlights of our entire trip. Have a look below at some of our favourite pictures from the Islands. Enjoy!
Kissing Sea Lions sunbathing. 2017.
A Sea-Lion climbing the rocks on the Ballestas Islands. 2017.
The Ballestas Islands. 2017.
A group of Penguins on the Ballestas Islands. 2017.
Thousands of Birds on the Ballestas Islands. 2017.
Pelicans sitting on the shore. 2017.
For the birds. 2017.
Sea-Lions resting on the rocks. 2017.
A sea-lion mother and her pup feeding. 2017.
Sunbathing Sea-Lion. 2017.
Ancient Glyphs of El Candelabro carved into the coastal sand. 2017.