Islas Ballestas: Where the guano comes from

Natural paradise off the coast of Peru

  • Islas Ballestas

  • Islas Ballestas Peru

It is not surprising that a country that has almost 2,500 kilometers of coastline also has some islands. The Ballestas Islands are an attractive destination for those who want to know other parts of Peru than the ancient cultures and the Andes.

Islas Ballestas is the name of an archipelago located in the Paracas National Park. This is located in the district of Paracas, in the southern half of the country’s coast. The National Park is famous mainly for its seals and waterfowl, but also for a cave painting called Candelabro de Paracas, because it resembles a three-branched candelabrum (the cave painting is not in the Ballestas Islands, but in the Paracas peninsula ).

Who made this carving in rock, is not known, but it is so big that the sailors could guide it before. The Ballestas Islands are located north of the peninsula and can be reached by boat. In Peru, they are also called the “Galapagos of the poor”, whose name has something to say only in terms of animal wealth. It does not matter if you can pay for a trip to the Galapagos Islands or not, the Ballestas Islands are an attraction in their own right.

Ecological significance of Islas Ballestas

The Ballestas Islands consist of the three islands of North, Center and South and some scattered rocks in the water. The rough landscape, which consists solely of rock, makes the islands unfit for the human habitation, so they are protected as a natural reserve. Around 180 species of fish and several species of dolphins live in the waters surrounding the islands.

On the islands are colonies of Humboldt penguins, the only species of penguins in Peru, as well as gannets, terns, pelicans and cormorants. The seals of mane and sea lions also settled on the islands.

By the way, the islands are also used economically, but only very rarely, once every five years. This is because many of the waterfowl that live there produce guanina, which, in combination with the calcareous rock, is transformed into guano, the fertilizer not so pleasant but with a natural but totally natural scent. Every five years, the guano layer up to four meters thick is removed and sold.

Boat trip to the Islas Ballestas

Two-hour boat trips to the Ballestas Islands are offered from the port city of Paracas. These tours are a special experience, go to the seals and dolphins that are in the water (access to the islands is not allowed).

The noise produced by the various animals is sometimes considerable. There will also be a wreck in which the birds choose to stay, as well as the Candelabra de Paracas, the rock carvings.

However, the rocks themselves are just as interesting: through the guano they have become discolored, sometimes large veins of white bird droppings give the rock strange patterns. You can not determine the best travel time for Islas Ballestas, where it is relatively dry and warm all year round. However, visitors will see the highlights in March when, in addition to adult animals, hundreds of babies with seals populate the rocks and nearby water.

Best travel time

In Independencia, the hotels focus mainly on the western part of the district, which has a very good infrastructure. They have a low price at mid-range. The districts of the city center with the places of interest are not too far away, so it is possible to get to them by taxi. There is also a bus station in the Plaza Norte shopping center.

Getting there

In Independencia, the hotels focus mainly on the western part of the district, which has a very good infrastructure. They have a low price at mid-range. The districts of the city center with the places of interest are not too far away, so it is possible to get to them by taxi. There is also a bus station in the Plaza Norte shopping center.

Islas Ballestas

Inhabitants: 14390
Area: 14.56 km²
Height: 130 m
Municipalidad