Pisco is an important port city on the south coast of Peru, known for its production of grape brandy of the same name, Peru’s national drink. Pisco, meaning “bird” in Quechua, was home to one of the most highly developed pre-Inca civilizations from about 900 BC to 200 AD – the Paracas culture, which the nearby town of Paracas is named after.
Pisco is the capital of the Pisco Province in the Ica region of Peru. It is located in Peru’s southern coastal region about 250 km (150 miles) south of Lima and 460 km (280 miles) west of Cusco.
Pisco is located right next to the Paracas National Reserve, where you can visit the Paracas peninsula, as well the Ballestas Islands, sometimes called the “Peruvian Galapagos” or “poor man’s Galapagos.” These wildlife sanctuaries are home to many different marine birds and mammals, including pelicans, Humboldt penguins, Peruvian boobies, Inca terns, Chilean flamingos, sea lions, dolphins and whales. The large, well-preserved Inca adobe complex Tambo Colorado is also nearby, just off the road to Ayacucho.
A bus ride from Lima to Pisco takes roughly 3-4 hour, with buses leaving several times throughout the day and night. Buses from Cusco are also available, however, the ride will last around 17 hours. From Pisco, it takes about half an hour to arrive in Paracas, where you can book a tour to the national reserve and the Ballestas Islands.