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Getting There

There are frequent buses up and down the coast from Lima to Arequipa, with stops in between. From Lima, frequent buses normally take between 3 and 4 hours to reach Pisco. However, because the town is not directly on the Carretera Panamericana, not all coastal buses stop there. Be sure to confirm that the bus won't merely leave you on the side of the road en route to Ica (which would result in the hassle of getting a combi to town).

Ormeño (01/472-5000; www.grupo-ormeno.com.pe) travels from Lima to Pisco and to Ica, Nasca, and Arequipa. In Lima, the office is located at Av. Carlos Zavala 177; the Pisco office (tel. 056/522-058) is at San Francisco 259, 1 block from the Plaza de Armas. Transportes Soyuz (tel. 01/265-0501; www.soyuz.com.pe) connects Pisco with Lima and Ica; you'll find an office in Lima at Av. México 331, La Victoria, and in Pisco (tel. 056/531-014) at Av. Ernesto R. Diez Canseco 41. Bus terminals are located right in the center of town, on or just off the Plaza de Armas. Frequent colectivos travel to Ica from Pisco.

Visitor Information

The Municipality of Pisco office at the Plaza de Armas (tel. 056/532-525) might be able to provide some rudimentary tourist information; a better bet is one of the travel agencies offering tours to Paracas and other places in the region.

Fast Facts -- Banco de Crédito, Pérez Figuerola 162 (tel. 056/532-954), has a Visa-compatible ATM. You'll also find cambistas, or money exchangers, hovering around the Plaza de Armas. If you need medical attention, go to Hospital Antonio Skrabonja Antoncich (ESSALUD), San Francisco 322 (tel. 056/532-784) or San Juan de Dios, Av. San Juan de Dios 350 (tel. 056/532-332). In an emergency, you can reach the police at the Plaza de Armas, Calle San Francisco (tel. 056/532-165). The post office is at Av. Federico Uranga 211, Independencia (tel. 056/220-208). There's a Telefónica del Perú office at Bolognesi 298.

Getting Around

The best way to get around Pisco itself is on foot because anything of interest -- hotels, restaurants, the cathedral -- is only minutes from the Plaza de Armas. Taxis are readily available and cheap for any trip within the city (S/3-S/4). For transport to the Paracas National Reserve and other areas of interest, you can hire a taxi (about S/20) or travel by bus. The most efficient way to see the highlights of the area is with a tour company, especially because there is no public transportation on the peninsula or within the reserve.

By Bus -- Combis to the Ballestas Islands and Paracas National Reserve (marked EL CHACO-PARACAS) depart from the Pisco market on Fermín Tangus every half-hour at a rate of S/2.

By Boat -- Boat tours of the Paracas Bay and Ballestas Islands are available right on the El Chaco waterfront (S/40 per person) or by arranging an organized tour.

By Organized Tour -- The following companies all offer packages to the Ballestas Islands and Paracas National Reserve (as well as tours to Tambo Colorado and Nasca): Zarcillo Connections, Callao 137 (tel. 056/536-636; www.zarcilloconnections.com); Ballestas Travel Service, San Francisco 249 (tel. 056/533-095); and, near Ica, Huacachina Tours, Av. La Angostura 355, L-47, in front of the Hotel Las Dunas (tel. 056/256-582; www.huacachinatours.com).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.