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The Ballestas Islands are a group of small islands near the town of Paracas located within the Paracas District of the Pisco Province in the Ica Region, on the south coast of Peru. Composed largely of rock formations and covering an estimated area of 0.12 km², these islands are an important sanctuary for marine fauna like the guanay guano bird, the blue-footed booby and the tendril. Other notable species include Humboldt penguins and two varieties of seals (fur seals and sea lions), amongst other mammals.
These islands are accessible from the resort town of Paracas (near Pisco) by tour boat which typically lasts 2 hours. During the visits it is not uncommon for the sea lions to approach the tourist boats and make spectacles for the visiting tourists. The sea lions are also responsible for a unique audio spectacle with their wolf-pack cries that echoes around the Ballestas and creates an effect of a 360 degree surrounding choir.
On the way to the islands, on the Paracas Peninsula, visitors will notice El Candelabro, a large-scale geoglyph that may have served as a beacon to mariners. The mystery as to the origins of this particular geoglyph is ongoing with much speculation. The visit to the Ballestas Islands is, from an ecotourism point of view, probably the best known along the Peruvian coast.
- Eduardo, Andrés; Montoya, Toro (2011). "Pelícanos de Islas Ballestas" [Pelicans of Ballestas Islands]. Medicina U.P.B (in Spanish) 30 (2): 119–20.
- Hughes, Holly; Murphy, Sylvie; Flippin, Alexis Lipsitz; Duchaine, Julie (2010). "Islas Ballestas: Peru's Pacific Playground". In Reilly, Jennifer. Frommer's 500 Extraordinary Islands. Hoboken: Wiley. pp. 116–7. ISBN 978-0-470-50070-5.
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