Day 54 – Sunday, February 27 – General San Martin – Ballestas Islands, Peru


Pisco is a city located in the Ica Region of Peru, the capital of the Pisco Province. The city is around 9 metres (28 feet) above sea level. Originally the villa of Pisco was founded in 1640, close to the indigenous emplacement of the same name. Pisco is a Quechua word that means “bird.” Pisco originally prospered because of its nearby vineyards and is the namesake of the Peruvian grape liquor, pisco.

The area is normally visited because of the concentration of marine animals and birds at the Paracas National Reservation, or the Peruvian Galapagos. At the reserve there are the Islas Ballestas, a collection of islands which are off limits to people, but boat tours can get close. The Chincha Islands are also near its coast. On the islands there are many birds, including pelicans, penguins, cormorants, Peruvian boobies, and Inca terns. There are also sea lions, turtles, dolphins, and whales.

Another attraction in the area is “El Candelabro”, a giant lamp dug in the rough sand in the method use by the creators of the Nazca Lines. The origins of “El Candelabro” are not known and theories vary. Experts are divided over the authenticity of the lines.

The Pisco origins are from one of the major ancient civilizations in Peru, the Paracas culture. Due to its ease of access, and its crossroads to the Andes the Spanish considered making Pisco the capital, before they decided on Lima.

In the city is the Plaza de Armas, where people hang out and buy tejas, small sweets made from pecans and assorted dried fruits. Many different building that surround the Plaza are the statue of José de San Martín, the mansion he lived in, and the Municipal Palace. Other building in the city is the heavy Baroque Iglesia de la Compañía, begun in 1689, features a superb carved pulpit and gold-leaf altarpiece.

Near the town, just off the road to Ayacucho, lies the large well-preserved Inca site of Tambo Colorado.

The city has a population of 116,865 people.

We arrived at General San Martin about 8:00 AM. There is literally nothing here but a pier and a commercial dock work. It appeared that the major export from General San Martin is salt. There were hundreds of trucks lined up the road waiting to unburden their load. Our tour was one arranged with the Cruise Critic forum group. We numbered about 20 and were picked up by bus about 10:00 AM. We were some of the first off the ship after released by customs. We traveled through a portion of the Paracas National Reserveration to reach the small town of Paracas. Here we boarded our boat to the Ballestas Islands. The boat ride itself was an adventure. There was lots of wind and water but it was worth it for the unbelievable wildlife at Ballestas.

Before arriving at Ballestas, we passed by El Candelabra, the Nazca like lines in one of the hills on the bayl


The design is about 600 feet tall and the grooves are up to 3 feet deep.

I was totally unprepared for the magnitude of animal life on the Ballestas Islands. There were Sea Lions by the hundreds, perhaps thousands. Birds of all types by the 100,000’s. Pelicans, cormorants, and even penguins.






Humboldt Penguins


The photos below are all taken in the Paracas National Reserve. This is a desert park with beautiful shore scenes and much salt. This area was formerly undersea and there are huge deposits of salt.



One lonely Porta-Potty!

This hardy gentleman peddled his vending boot over 5 miles through the desert to sell ice-cream treats. Anyone willing to work this hard, I’ll certainly help him out. The ice-cream was good too…


One of the rare photos with all six of us!

The photographs are of a few locals in Paracas

I didn’t have time for much commentary, I am already a day behind.. Today we toured Lima and visited a fantastic museum. I will try to get some of these photos uploaded soon.




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4 Responses to Day 54 – Sunday, February 27 – General San Martin – Ballestas Islands, Peru

  1. Marge Rafalowski says:

    Your photography is as wonderful as our monthly National Geographic! Again, we can’t thank you enough for sharing!

  2. Carol Gentle says:

    It is wonderful to see such abundance of wild life!

    • Diane Pappalardo says:

      WOW These pictures are some of the best yet. You have an amazing eye for composition!!!! Thank you so much…


    Camden Loved the birds and the “Hippo” (sea lion). I guess that was close enough for a 22 month old. Good talking to you today. Love yall.

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