The Top 10 Things to See and Do in Pisco, Peru

El Candelabro | © FLASHPACKER TRAVELGUI/Flickr
El Candelabro | © FLASHPACKER TRAVELGUI/Flickr
Photo of Harry Stewart
28 December 2017

Often overlooked by tourists on the well-trodden gringo trail, Pisco and the surrounding region have a surprising number of off the beaten track attractions to explore. From a world-class marine reserve to the ancient relics of long-lost civilizations, here are the best things to see and do in Pisco.

Cruise around the Islas Ballestas

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Cruise around the Islas Ballestas

Also known as the “poor man’s Galapagos“, this series of rocky islands are home to a delightful array of unusual aquatic life. Despite being off-limits to humans, boat tours can sail near enough to see penguins, seals and the blue-footed booby up close and personal.

Islas Ballestas, Perú


Islas Ballestas | © Esmée Winnubst/Flickr

Explore the Paracas National Reserve

Located just south of the islands is the Paracas National Reserve, a vast expanse that covers both land and sea. Sadly, the spectacular Cathedral Cave collapsed during a 2007 earthquake, although plenty of prime wildlife spotting opportunities and archeological sites remain.

La Cathedral | © Steve Burt/Flickr

Learn the colonial history

Many are unaware that Pisco was a contender to be the capital of Peru before Lima was eventually given the honor. During revolutionary times, Pisco served as a base for independence movements and housed the legendary war hero José de San Martín whose manor still stands today.

José de San Martín | © Wikipedia

The Band of Holes

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The Band of Holes

Another must for the ancient history buff, this series of undulating manmade holes stretches through the desert in the shape of a serpent. Again, no one really knows who built them or why, but theories include a burial site, a storage center, or for agricultural purposes.

Band of Holes, Nazca, Peru

Sample the ceviche

A staple all along the Pacific Coast, Pisco is as good a place as any to sample this delicious seafood delicacy. The fish is cooked in lime juice rather than fried, giving it a sumptuous tangy flavor.

Ceviche | © InterContinental Hong Kong/Flickr