The Ballestas Islands have come to be known as the “The Little Galapagos.” Why, you ask?
So many tourists flock to the Galapagos every year in the hopes to get up close to the Blue-footed boobies. The Blue-footed boobies are aptly named for their fascinating blue feet, and their mating rituals are quite the spectacle for animal lovers.
Many people think that the Blue-footed boobies are unique to the Galapagos. In fact, they also exist on Ballestas Islands. It is also home to a variety of seals such as fur seals and sea lions. You’ll also find Humboldt penguins on the islands. The islands also provide shelter for over 150 species of seabirds.
To access the islands, start from the resort town of Paracas. From there, it will take a tour boat about 2 hours to get to the Ballestas. And much like the Galapagos, the Ballestas Islands wildlife take kindly to tourists, often approaching their boats to give visitors a closer look.
When you visit Ballestas Islands, be dressed for the wind and the sun. Also be ready to spend a considerable amount of time on the water. So if you are prone to motion sickness, pack the medication you need. Wear a hat to protect you not just from the sun but from bird droppings.
On the trip to the islands, you’ll notice a massive prehistoric geoglyph on the Paracas Peninsula. It is called the Paracas Candelabrum not miss it as it stands 595 feet tall and can be seen 12 miles at sea. The creation of the geoglyph remains a mystery, but it is believed to be a representation of the mythological South American god’s Viracocha’s trident.
When you reach Isla Ballestas, expect to be welcomed by a diversity of animals in their natural habitat. There is an abundance of birdlife. Beyond the penguins and booby, you’ll be pleased to see albatross, Peruvian pelican, gulls, Alcatraz, and gulls. If you’re lucky, you might even catch dolphins or a whale!
On a trip to the Ballestas Islands, there are many options to visit nearby seaside communities, haciendas, and archaeological ruins. A site worth visiting is the Pachacamac which was first settled around AD 200 and was named after Pacha Kamaq, the “Earth Maker” creator. And while it’s never been proven, many archaeologists believe that human sacrifices took place in the Temple of the Sun, one of the many pyramids at Pachacamac.
So if you’re planning a trip to Isla Ballestas, don’t forget to bring a camera so that you capture the amazing sights and the unique wildlife that you’ll get an opportunity to get up close and personal too.