Ballestas Islands

h-ballestasOur 2017 detailed guide to Ballestas Islands from how to get there, what to do and all your frequently asked questions

Ballestas Islands Brief Summary:

  • The Ballestas Islands are a group of rocky islands located off the Pacific coast near the town of Paracas, 3 hours south of Lima.
  • Nicknamed “The Poor Man´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.

Below we have created our extensive guide to the Ballestas Islands based on our expert local knowledge having helped to transport over 30,000 travellers here since our formation in 2013.

Ballestas Islands Guide Contents:

1. How to get to the Ballestas Islands – Compare transportation options.
2. Ballestas Islands Tour Information
– Check start time, prices, and more.
3. Did you know?
– Ballestas Islands fun facts.
4. What to bring to the Ballestas Islands
– Be prepared for your tour.
5. Ballestas FAQ
– We answer your frequently asked questions.
6. Photo Gallery – A few of the best photos of the Ballestas Islands.

How to get to the Ballestas Islands

How to get to the Ballestas Islands:

The Ballestas Islands are located off the coast of the small coastal town Paracas. The best way to get there is to take a speed boat tour of the islands from Paracas.

If you are looking for information on the best buses to take to Paracas, visit our passes page. Select your departure city, the countries you want to visit, and amount of time you have to travel. Then browse our passes to see which include your desired stop in Paracas.

Ballestas Islands Tour Information

Ballestas Islands Tour Information:

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

Ballestas Islands Tour with Paracas Explorer
Price: S/.50 soles (or $15 USD)
– First Tour: 08:00am
– Second Tour: 10:00am
Duration: 2 hours
Meeting Point: Frayles Residencial Hotel – 15 minutes befor departure time

Special deal for Peru Hop Passengers – Tours booked with Paracas Explorer via allow date changes up until the evening before your tour begins at no extra cost.


Please note this tour will be booked via, a search and comparison website we strongly recommend for tours across South America.

If you are looking for information about tours of the Ballestas Islands, visit where you can compare itineraries, operators and prices.

Did you know?

Did you know?

  • The Ballestas Islands are home to the endangered Humboldt penguin.
  • Sea lion breeding season is between January and March. If you are lucky enough to travel during this time of the year, you will see the beaches full of sea lion cubs and huge rival males defending their mating territories.
  • On the way to the Islands, you will be able to see “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 06.00am from Lima, you have time to do the 10.00am tour of the Ballestas Islands and continue to Huacachina the same day.
What to bring to the Ballestas Islands

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 08:00am and 10:00am, every day of the week. We advise where possible to opt for the 08:00am tour for the best weather conditions and wildlife spotting.

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

Ballestas FAQs:

I am planning to follow your recommended minimum schedule leaving on one of the 07:00am 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 13:00pm on the second day?

Yes, our buses are programmed to allow you to visit the Ballestas Islands (08:00-10:00am), the Paracas National Reserve (depart 11:00am) and still leave for Huacachina at 13:00pm 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 cancellations up to 18:00pm the day before at no cost. Cancellations after this time 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 cancelled before 18:00pm 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.

Is there a pick up?

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.

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery:


To book tours of the Ballestas Islands we strongly recommend you use, a search and comparison website for tours across South America.