Pisco is a medium sized town on the Southern Coast of Peru just south of Lima. This fisher town itself has little to offer to tourists and is best used only as a starting point for a trip to the Ballestas Islands and possibly the nearby salt desert and national reserve, Paracas.
Most of the buses on the Pan-american Highway from Lima to Ica, Nazca, Arequipa etc. won't leave this road, dropping you of at the junction about 4 miles outside town, from where you can pick up a local bus or taxi.
You may be able to negotiate a taxi to take you from Lima to Pisco for around S/.200. This can be a lot more comfortable especially if you are going to arrive in the dark.
- Paracas reserve and the ballestas islands.
- Take a boat trip to the Ballestas Islands to see the sea lions and hillside Candelabra.
- You can usually add a tour of the Paracas national reserve for a small extra price over the Ballestas trip. The reserve has an information center, a small fishing village and some rather dramatical sea-shore cliffs. It will not be the highlight of your trip, but it may be worth the trouble and the money.
You should try Pisco, which is the national drink of Peru, and as the name implies, was first made in this city. Pisco sour is an excellent Peruvians invention too. You might be able to try it somewhere else (Chile) but it will probably not be as good.
- Hostal San Isidro. Kitchen use, free games (ping pong, pool, fooseball), a pool (which had no water when we were there), clean, nice people. S/.46 for a room with a double bed (shared bathroom).
The "tourist safe" area seems to be the 2-block radius around the Plaza de Armas. Paracas seems safe as well.
Numerous locals warned us about watching our bags, and even just walking in the market area and beach. Tuk tuks are recommended for safe, cheap travel through the sketchier parts of town.
A few buses a day go to Ayacucho in the Andes, passing the Inca ruins at Tambo Colorado 2 hours away. To get one of these buses you have to catch a taxi (10-12 Soles) up to San Clemente, a scruffy junction of a town; watch your bags. Two bus companies go to Ayacucho, but Molina is recommended over the other. It provides night service, with buses leaving at 23:30, midnight and 00:30. The trip takes 7 hours. For semi-cama service, S/.40.