The coastal south of Peru is known for the ancient civilizations of Nazca and Paracas as well as some fine resort hotels. Pisco is the largest port between Callao and Matarani, 155 miles south of Lima and just west of the Pan-American Highway. The town is divided into two sections: Pisco Pueblo, which features colonial-style homes with lovely patios and gardens, and Pisco Puerto, which recently has been replaced as a port by the new deep-water Port General San Martin, located beyond Paracas. The smell from a modern fish-processing plant pervades the town and its surroundings.
The shores and waters of the Paracas peninsula and the bay teem with wildlife and have been declared a National Reserve. The complex interaction between wind and ocean, sun and land has transformed this region into a kind of lunarscape under an equatorial sun. The winds have carved the land into strange shapes. The rich marine life of the Ballestas Islands is often likened to a miniature Galapagos. Inquisitive sea lions come right up to the excursion boats.
Another reason for travelers to come to this area is its proximity to the famous and mysterious Nazca Lines. Visible from the air, these strange markings stretch for miles on a large barren plain and have bewildered archaeologists, historians and mathematicians for over a century. The earliest Andean people found shelter here. The Paracas culture was known for fine weavings in geometrical designs and vibrant colors which have been preserved for thousands of years by the dry climate. Some of the finest examples are in museums in Lima.
Much of the region surrounding Paracas Bay features an unspoiled natural paradise. Condors frequently can be seen gliding on the sea winds or perched on the cliffs; pink flamingos often rest here on their migratory flights. Further inland, the desert sands harbor treasures of ancient civilizations, while the coast offers beautiful beaches, ideal weather and pleasant scenery - a combination that draws visitors throughout the year.The town of Ica is Peru's finest wine center; its surrounding area features oases with springs considered to have medicinal cures.