Pisco is a town 4 hours south of Lima. It was 80% destroyed in a 2007 earthquake and is still barely rebuilt. We thought it might be interesting to see, but there really is not much there! Lots of piles of rubble. This church with a cracked belltower is the oldest building still standing. We were most excited to take a tour to the Islas Ballestas – The Galapagos of Peru.
The Islas Ballestas have been called “The Poor Man’s Galapagos.” I’m not sure they were that cool but we were glad we went. We arranged a tour from Pisco for only 40 Soles ($13) apiece! Here we are, sporting our fat-people life jackets and bandanas in case of bird poop! Thankfully we didn’t suffer any direct hits.
The first stop was this strange ancient carving in a sand dune. No one really knows what it’s supposed to be, but some guess it might be a San Pedro cactus, which was used for spiritual/medicinal rituals by ancient tribes.
We circled the Islas Ballestas for about an hour and saw tons of sea lions, penguins, and other birds! They harvest certain birds’ poop (called “guano”) to be used for fertilizer. For awhile it was Peru’s biggest export!
Sometimes people spot dolphins on the boat ride out to the islands, although unfortunately we didn’t see any. All the penguins and sea lions were fun though! Animals make people so happy; everyone on our boat was smiling the whole time!