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Ballestas Islands

Ballestas Islands: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Lima: Full-Day Paracas and Huacachina Bus Tour

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

Discover the serene landscapes of the Peruvian countryside on a day trip from Lima to Paracas and Huacachina with hotel transfers included. See Humboldt penguins and sea lions on the Ballestas Islands and slide down the Huacachina dunes by sandboarding and dune buggy ride.  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 your own expense) in 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 sand, 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.

Paracas: Ballestas Islands Morning Boat Tour

2. 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 Paracas: Scenic Boat Tour to Ballestas Island

3. 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

4. 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.

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

5. 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, 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 sand boarding or just enjoy free time enjoying the beautiful landscape . At the end of the adventure, head back to Lima via the same route.

From Huacachina: Ballestas Island and Paracas Reserve Tour

7. 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.

Lima: 7-Day Inca Tour with Flights and Macchu Picchu

8. Lima: 7-Day Inca Tour with Flights and Macchu Picchu

Discover Incan culture on a 7-day tour of Peru from Lima. Visit the Ballestas Islands, explore the beautiful town of Chinchero, and visit the famous Machu Picchu. Day 1Upon your arrival in Lima, your representative will be waiting with a sign stating your name. From there you'll be transferred to your respective hotel where you can check in. You'll soon begin a city tour through Lima, which will begin with panoramic views of the Pucllana Pyramid or Huaca Pucllana, the historical center of Lima. It will be there that you can appreciate more than fifty monuments and colonial buildings, and once the tour has finished you'll return to your hotel. Day 2Begin your day with a pickup from your hotel between 4:30 AM and 5:00 AM. You will begin with a trip to the Paracas Peninsula to visit the Ballestas Islands, which are a national reserve. From there, continue your trip to the city of Ica for a demonstration with wines and traditional Pisco of the valley. Following that, you will taste a typical local lunch according to the menu of the day. You will then travel for approximately 30 minutes to the oasis of Huacachina, where you will enjoy the adrenaline of riding buggies and sandboards. After this great adventure, you will return back to Lima in your private transportation. Day 3 According to your flight schedule in Cusco, your representative will be waiting for you at the Cusco Airport. From there, your day will be spent by you acclimatizing to Cusco's altitude. Day 4You will begin between 8:00AM and 8:30AM, at which point you will travel to the colorful town of Chinchero. There you will learn about Andean fabrics in a textile interpretation center, before continuing onward to the famous circular cultivation terraces in Moray. After that, descend towards the salt mines in Maras where you will visit the more than 3,000 wells of salt. Finally, you will travel to Ollantaytambo Station where you will board your train to Aguas Calientes. Day 5On day 5 you will encounter one of the 7 Wonders of the World: Machu Picchu. You'll begin by taking the bus from Aguas Calientes, as your tour guide provides you with all the information before your 2-hour tour through this Inca citadel. In the afternoon you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo, from where you will be transferred to Cusco by private transportation. Day 6Between 4:30AM and 5:00AM, your transportation will pick you up from your hotel from where you will drive for 3 hours in the direction of Rainbow Mountain. Following breakfast, you will drive for another 45 minutes to begin your 2-hour trek. Upon reaching the top of the "Mountain of Colors", you will have enough time to take photographs and enjoy the landscape. In addition, you will also be able to appreciate the highest snow peak in Cusco: Ausangate Mountain. Day 7On the final day of your tour, you will be taken to Cusco Airport, at which point your tour will conclude.

From Lima: Ballestas Islands, Nazca Lines, & Huacachina Tour

9. From Lima: Ballestas Islands, Nazca Lines, & Huacachina Tour

This day trip starts early in the morning to avoid the traffic. It takes around 3 hours until the arrival in Paracas from where the Ballestas island boat tour will start. The duration of this tour is 2 hours and you will be face to face to amazing marine species such as sea lions, guano birds and humboldt penguins. After the Ballestas islands tour you go to Pisco airport (located 15 minutes away) to jump into a plane and fly over the Nazca lines. This flight takes 45 minutes and you will see many geoglyphs that will blow your mind. When the Nazca lines flight is done, you go straight to Huacachina Oasis. In Huacachina you will have a delicious Peruvian lunch in a restaurant in front of the beautiful oasis. After lunch you will take a dune buggy tour through Huacachina‘s desert. The vehicle goes up and down the huge dunes and make many stops for you to surf the sand with a sandboard.

From Lima: Ballestas, Nazca Lines, & Huacachina Oasis

10. From Lima: Ballestas, Nazca Lines, & Huacachina Oasis

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 head to Pisco Airport and take a 1 hour and 45-minute flight over the Palpa desert to see the Nazca Lines. 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 drinking Pisco Sours. At the end of the adventure, head back to Lima via the same route.

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What people are saying about Ballestas Islands

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 500 reviews

What a fantastic tour. It's a long day but totally worth it. Pick up at the hotel was on time. The coach was really comfortable if you wanted to sleep. In Paracas there were toilets at the hotel meeting point. Short walk to the port to get the boat. Saw lots of birds and sea lions with a very informative and humorous guide. Lunch was organised at a local restaurant, this was probably the worst bit. Very rushed and nothing special. I would have gone elsewhere but you don't have long here. Another drive to Huacachina where you get the buggy. Great fun, excellent drivers. Then you sand board down some dunes. Lots of opportunities for photos and finally we watched the sunset. Just epic. One of my best days!

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.

I was very satisfied. We saw very beautiful places Paracas with the a lot spices of animal, wonderful. We visited dune in Huacachina also perfect places. Company and our guide was very professional, i can recommend very much. Sanboarding was excellent, our driver on the sand dunes was profesionall also. If i visite Peru in the future probably i can check it again.

An amazing experience! The boat ride was beautiful and the wildlife was so cool to see. And the sand boarding! Scary but also so amazing that it was worth it! The bus rides were comfortable and the pick up and drop off was stress free. Lastly, the tour guides, especially Mari, were so nice and helpful that they really enhanced the experience.

We loved every bit of it! We didn’t take the lunch recommendation and we still had plenty of time to go to the bathroom and chill a bit. The Huacachina trip exceeded our expectations.