Islas Ballestas~

Islas Ballestas, an island group off the coast of Paracas, are often referred to as Peru’s Galapagos. They are a group of uninhabited islands that are part of the wildlife rich, Paracas National Reserve. This is a colony of Guanay Cormorants native to Peru and Chile.

You cannot visit the islands without passing the giant Candelabra carved into the rock face and carbon dated to 200 BCE.

The islands shelter an incredible variety of fauna. There are literally millions of birds and their feathers float and fill the air like lazy drifting snowflakes.


There are fur seals, Humboldt penguins, Inca terns, blue footed boobies, and so many more amazing wild creatures here. I will show you them in my next few posts.

But for now, let’s just look at these unusual islands.

They are volcanic, and riddled with arches and ancient sea caves. The layers in the caves show the process of geologic time.

You can go in the caves, if you dare, and if you do, look at what you will see!

Cheers to you from Peru’s incredible islands~

186 thoughts on “Islas Ballestas~

    • I do not know what the rock layers are and I would like to know. I do they are volcanic and you can see the strata in the exterior rocks, but the exterior formations are muted by the effects of erosion and sun exposure, these cave interiors are polished by the sea and kept in the dark. We need a geologist to way in here. You are right, the BIRDS are coming!!! Take cover!

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    • Basically The Candelabra remains ‘a mystery wrapped in an enigma.’ It is a geoglyph, thought to have been made by the by the Paracas people who lived in this region from 800-100 BCE, because pottery from around The Candelabra carbon dated to around the same time the Paracas Culture was present in this area ie., 200 BCE, although it is possible the geoglyph is much older. The figure is cut into the earth about two feet deep, and the earth petrified over time saving the geoglyph. It is huge, 181 meters tall and can be seen up to twelve miles out to sea. It oddly geometric, basically a series of triangles and straight lines, until the top section, where the lines curve in patterned waves. Some surmise it is a depiction of Jimson Weed which was a hallucinogen plant used at the time for religious purposes, others guess it might be a depiction of the lightning rod of the god Viracocha, still others think it was a navigational symbol. I do have more photos which I can post as people do seem interested.

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  1. I have seen some colorful rocks directly and many more by admiring photos of places like Sedona or the Grand Canyon.  The sea caves here surpass anything I have seen or could have imagined before seeing this post.

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  2. You do have amazing excursions to fantastic places ! Hi ya Cindy 😀 I thought I’d do some surfing here today, who knew I’d arrive in Peru ? The first photo is really mind blowing ! Sooooo many birds. We enjoyed Cormorants at the lake I used to live at. They followed around the Pelicans because they found the good fishing I suppose. Did you get a good whiff of bird droppings when you floated by? Well worth it to see unspoilt nature. I do love the idea of an uninhabited island reserved for nature…wish we were that smart up here. xK

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    • They actually harvest the guano from on these islands and sell it for fertilizer at a hefty profit as there is so much of it. (My husband has been waiting for me to talk about this, which I have been avoiding.) I love it that I get to talk about it with you!!! 😉 I think guano harvesting would be a truly difficult job, although I know someone who has made a fortune picking up and selling agricultural chicken poo in the USA. One creatures poo, is another creature’s profit, and all gets recycled. Aren’t you glad you mentioned the birdie doo!!!! ❤ 😉

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  3. They are incredible indeed, Cindy! The colours inside the cave, materials formed over a long long time, are just fascinating. And that candelabra, wow! Makes me think maybe some aliens got lost or stranded so they made a huge ‘HELP’ sign so the mothership can spot them, haha. Cheers to you my friend.

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  4. Oooh, your seas were calmer and more low tide that the morning we did the boat ride out the island. We did not see through those bridges nor see the range of colors you saw. Nice photos. (we did see thousands of birds though). – Oscar

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