Birding and biodiversity
These islands are a 30 minute boat ride from the port of Paracas. They are very popular with Peruvians, so be aware if you’re visiting during any of Peru’s national holidays. You cannot disembark on the islands, but on weekends and holidays the water is full with tourist boats.
What most people go to see are the birds: Humboldt penguins, Inca tern, elegant tern, guanay cormorants, neotropic cormorants, Peruvian booby (below), Peruvian pelicans, Peruvian black skimmers, Peruvian gull, gray gull, Franklin’s gull, Chilean flamingos, American oystercatchers and many more. What’s amazing about the Ballestas islands is the sheer quantity of each of these birds. If you see one, you are likely to see a thousand.
There are also lots of sea lions, brightly colored crabs and other sea life. Read about my visit to the Islas Ballestas on this blog.
Many tour agencies in Paracas and Lima sell tours to the islands. They’re best to visit in the morning when the seas are usually calmer with smaller waves.