South of Lima, about 240kms is Pisco

A further 21km along the coast past the Peruvian Air Force Base with it’s B-25 Mitchell Bomber on a plinth at the gate.

I used to have a photo of that, but it is long gone. I have just spent an hour searching on the net and I can’t believe that that with 7 billion people on the planet and no one, nobody has ever taken a photo of this monument and posted it on the net… unbelieveable.

Further on down the coast past San Andres fishing wharf.

Muelle, San Andres


Kids take possession of the fishing boats as a playground


On past the fish meal factories and their interminable stench…

Fish meal and fish oil are major exports for Peru

Until you come to the fork in the road, veer right and pass the church, standing alone among the dunes. On the left, high amongst the dunes over looking the small fishing village of Playa El Chaco is the monument to Simon Bolivar. Playa El Chaco was where he landed to liberate Peru.

Playa El Chaco is famous for tourism. It is the departure point for tourists to embark on their two-hour tours around the Ballestas Islands 17 nautical miles off the coast.

Basically, that’s what tourists come here for, that and the starting point for an afternoon exploring the Paracas Peninsula.

The programme for most backpackers consists of staying in Pisco overnight; some groups come on down to the Paracas Hotel in the evening for Happy Hour pisco sours and return to Pisco for dinner.

After breakfast they return to El Chaco (there is not enough accommodation in El Chaco to hold so many tourists). An 8am or 10am Ballestas tour (tours are not done in the afternoon because the sea is too rough). Then off to the peninsula, with lunch at Langunilla (four restaurants, no toilets and a lovely beach where you must wear sandles to avoid the sea urchins).

Then they’re off, off to Ica and the oasis at Huacachina, then Nazca… but that’s another story.

The Ballestas Islands


Sunset over the Paracas Peninsula silhouetting the fishing boats

Credit: 4 photos are mine, the kids on the boat and the last three. Once again, I apologise for the quality of the photos, but time and traveling have ravaged them.

NB: I lived in El Chaco for six months on 2000, working for a travel agency in Pisco, and ocassionally doing the tour guide bit on the boats.

Ballestas Is and the Peninsula will be another post.