Ballestas Islands: 2024 Updated information about the Ballestas Islands in Paracas Peru from how to get there, itineraries, prices, and FAQs.

Ballestas Islands Brief Summary:

  • Ballestas Islands are a group of rocky islands located off the coast of Paracas and are nicknamed “The Peruvian Mini Galapagos”.
  • Home to thousands of birds, penguins, sea lions, Inca terns, pelicans, and dolphins.
  • Best way to get to Paracas: No Airport, Peru Hop bus rated #1 bus company on Tripadvisor.
  • Best Ballestas Islands Tour companies: Check out Findlocaltrips to compare operators and prices here.
  • You can visit Ballestas Islands on a Day Trip from Lima with Peru Hop or stop off on your way from Lima to Cusco or Cusco to Lima.

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Below we have created our extensive guide to the Ballestas Islands based on our expert local knowledge having helped to transport over 250,000 travelers here since our formation in 2013.

Ballestas Islands Guide Contents:

  1. How to get to the Ballestas Islands – Transport information.
  2. Ballestas Islands Tour Information – Breakdown of Island boat tour.
  3. Did you know? – Ballestas Islands fun facts.
  4. What to bring to the Ballestas Islands? – Be prepared for your tour.
  5. Gallery – A selection of our favorite photos and videos from the tour.
  6. Ballestas FAQs – We answer your frequently asked questions.
  7. Summary – A quick recap on everything you need to know before you go!

Ready to experience the beautiful Ballestas Islands? Book a Ballestas Islands Tour now!

How to get to the Ballestas Islands

The Ballestas Islands are a group of rocky islands located off the coastal town of Paracas. The only way to visit the islands is to take a speedboat tour from the town.

There are many local companies that sell their tours in Paracas. These are usually at inflated prices and are not guaranteed to have safe boats or licensed drivers. Avoid the hassle and book in advance!

Paracas is a beautiful fishing town just 3 hours south of Lima. Nestled along the sandy streets are dainty cafes and restaurants serving up fresh fish and killer Pisco sours. Head south for the day, spend the night, or stay on board to experience Huacachina, only a short distance away.

You have 2 options to get to Paracas:

There are many public bus companies operating the Lima to Paracas route. The only problem is the headache you will have trying to compare prices and after you choose one, having to find the companies terminal since there is no central bus terminal.

Peru Hop busses offer a comfortable and safe trip, with free pickups and drop-offs. There are also included stops and tours on the way to Paracas which will make your trip much better! Make sure to check out the bus passes and decide which adventure best suits you!

Ballestas Islands Tour Information & What's Included

Peru Hop does not operate any tours to the Ballestas Islands. To see Peru Hop’s recommended operator for this tour read below.

Ballestas Islands Tour

Times: 08:00am or 10:00am

Duration: 2 hours

Meeting Point: Frayles Residencial Hotel – 15 minutes before departure time

Capacity: ≈ 42 persons per boat, including a bilingual guide and experienced driver

Suitability: Ages 2+

Note 1: Those who suffer from motion sickness should take necessary medication prior to boarding

Important Note: The duration of this tour is shortened to 1 hour 30 minutes during holiday periods (e.g. Easter weekend, end of July), with no change in price.

Special deal for Peru Hop Passengers: Tours booked via Find Local Trips allow date changes up until the evening before your tour begins at no extra cost.


Whether you start the adventure at 08:00 am or 10:00 am, this 2-hour tour will take you out to the amazing Ballestas Islands that are located off the coast of Paracas.

20 minutes out from the bay of Paracas you will reach El Candelabro, an immense geoglyph similar to those of the Nazca Lines. Your guide will talk about the different theories of the creation of the figure while giving you time to take pictures.

From there, the tour will continue for another 15 minutes until reaching the famous Ballestas Islands. These islands are a group of rock formations, caves, and arches that have eroded over time, providing shelter to thousands of seabirds, sea lions, and hundreds of other species.

You will pass through one of the caves known as the maternity beach for sea lions. Here you will be able to see baby sea lions splashing and playing around with their mothers, or basking in the sun’s rays.

You will also be witness other animals up close, like penguins, pelicans, guanos, and chiquitas, all in their natural habitat!

During the tour, your guide will explain about each of the different species seen, and you will have an opportunity to take some amazing photos from up close.

After approximately 1 hour, the speed boat will start making its way back to the port of Paracas.


  • Ballestas Islands entry ticket
  • All tourist fees and taxes
  • Guided boat trip
  • Professional bilingual guide (Engish & Spanish)
  • Safety equipment and life jackets

Not included:

  • Gratuity

Ready to experience the beautiful Ballestas Islands?

Book a Ballestas Islands Tour now!

Did you know?

  • The Ballestas Islands are home to the endangered Humboldt penguin.
  • Sea lion breeding season is between January and March. During these months you will see the beaches full of sea lion cubs and huge rival males defending their mating territories.
  • Keep your eye out for “The Candelabro”, a huge geoglyph in the form of a candlestick (or is it a cactus?) found on the northern face of the Paracas peninsula. Sailors used this for hundreds of years as a coastal reference point.
  • If you take the Peru Hop bus at 06:00 am from Lima, you have time to do the 10:00 am tour of the Ballestas Islands and continue to Huacachina the same day.
  • Humpback Whales are frequently spotted in these waters between August and October as they move north for mating season.
  • Nicknamed “Peru’s Galapagos”, the islands are a must-see for all wildlife lovers as they’re home to thousands of birds and mammals including penguins, sea lions, Inca terns, pelicans and dolphins.
  • The islands, locally known as Las Islas Ballestas, are protected, meaning you cannot swim with the animals or walk on the islands themselves, but you can get very close to them on a boat tour.

What to bring to the Ballestas Islands?

Due to increasing winds during the course of the day, the tours only depart in the mornings at 08:00 am and 10:00 am, every day of the week. So be sure to wrap up if you are on the 10:00 am tour and tie that hair back to avoid missing the beautiful views!

  • Wind jacket or jumper
  • Sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen
  • Camera or cell phone to take pictures

Ballestas FAQ's

I am planning to follow your recommended minimum schedule leaving on one of the 07:00 am departures from Lima. Spending the first night in Paracas do I have time to do the Ballestas Island Tour, go on the free National Reserve Tour and still catch the bus leaving for Huacachina at 1:00 pm on the second day?

Yes, our buses are programmed to allow you to visit the Ballestas Islands (08:00 am – 10:00 am), the Paracas National Reserve (depart 11:00 am) and still leave for Huacachina at 1:00 pm to arrive in time for sandboarding at sunset!

I do not feel well and wish to cancel my tour for the next morning. Will I get a refund?

Peru Hop does not operate the Ballestas Islands trip. The tour provider allows changes up to 6:00 pm the day before at no cost. Cancellations or missed tours will be charged the full fee.

I woke up late and missed my tour. Can I change it for tomorrow?

Unfortunately, the operator of the Ballestas Island will charge fully for any NO SHOW or missed tours not previously changed before 6:00 pm the day before. If you would like to book the tour again for the next day then this is possible, but you will have to pay a second time.

Are there pick ups?

No, we meet at Frayles Residencial Hotel. Paracas is a tiny village, just a couple of hundred meters long and Frayles Residencial Hotel is very centrally located.

Is it possible to walk on the islands or to go swimming?

The islands are protected, meaning you cannot swim with the animals or walk on the islands themselves, but you will get very close to them by boat. A unique experience for those that will not make it to the Galapagos.


  • The Ballestas Islands are a small group of rocky islands that are home to thousands of birds and mammals including penguins, sea lions, Inca terns, pelicans and dolphins.
  • They are located in the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of Paracas. Paracas is a small fishing town in the Pisco Province of the Ica Region.
  • The islands are only accessible via boat. Speedboat tours run daily from Paracas.
  • Peru Hop provide safe and flexible bus services from Lima to Paracas. Click here and choose your perfect pass.
  • Peru Hop also provide a unique opportunity to see the Ballestas Islands along with other trips including the Pisco Vineyard and Huacachina, the only oasis desert in South America! Start your journey, here.


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