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Pisco

Travel Guide South America Peru Pisco

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Introduction

pisco_sunset boats

pisco_sunset boats

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Pisco is a city in the Ica region in Peru and is the capital of the province with the same name. It has approximately 120,000 inhabitants and is probably most famous because of the Peruvian grape liquor called Pisco, a local favorite. The nearby vineyards still produce for this liquor, but not exclusively anymore. The Quechua word Pisco means 'bird'. Sadly Pisco was rocked by a major earthquake in 2006 destroying most of the city. To this day the city is considered a disaster area and it is advised not to travel around the city after dark unless in large groups.

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Sights and Activities

Pisco Sin Fronteras

Pisco Sin Fronteras is a fascinating community service project based in urban Pisco. Many of the larger international aid efforts have left Pisco since the earthquake in 2006 but this grassroots group has stayed. They build basic concrete block houses or housing complex's for local residents. They also repair home for people that are still living in emergency tents. This is a great place to help the people of Peru, meet other travellers and just have fun while carrying a concrete bucket. It also provides a wonderful opportunity to interact with locals.

Volunteers Finding a Pot

Volunteers Finding a Pot

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Volunteers can stay for as long or as short as they want and it costs 10 soles a day to volunteer, which go directly to the sight. It is an additional 15 soles a night to stay in the dorms located on their campus or you can stay at a nicer hotel down the street. Breakfast and dinner is included with your volunteer costs and lunch is usually provided at the sight. People volunteer all day monday to friday and half day on saturday. To get their take the bus to Pisco, which stops at the highway night the city itself, then take a cab for 21 soles to Asociacion San Pedro C-5 Pisco-Playa. Although all volunteers should apply and register online.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Ballestas Islands are a short boat trip away and are known as the poor man's Galapagos Islands because they have some of the same wildlife on them as those famous islands. Most hotels and Pisco Sin Fronteras can help you arrange a tour. Wildlife includes pelicans, penguins, cormorants, Peruvian boobies, and Inca terns. There are also sea lions, turtles, dolphins, and whales.
pisco_islas ballestas_INCA chandelier

pisco_islas ballestas_INCA chandelier

© All Rights Reserved joenstock

  • Beaches here are quite stunning. Due to he earthquake there is very little infrastructure and bring everything you need for the day. There are also no lifeguards.
  • Tambo Colorado is a large well-preserved Inca site just outside the city.

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Weather

Pisco has a great climate and temperatures rarely rise to extremes, thanks to the colder Humboldt current which affects most of the coast of northern Chile and the southern half of Peru. January to April is summer while temperatures are still around 20 °C or more during the colder wintermonths from June to September. Rain is scarce and mainly falls during the warmer summermonths.

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Getting There

By Plane

The nearest major airport is the Lima Jorge Chávez International Airport, 235 kilometres to the north. There are numerous airlines serving Lima from other countries in South America and further away towards North America and Europe.

By Car

Pisco is located off of the Pan American Highway.

By Bus

Pisco is a 4-hour bus ride from Lima and also 4 hours for Nazca. Remember that buses without the final stop in Pisco stop at the junction located on the Pan American Highway, so it pays to have some money for a taxi into town. There are also buses to Ica (1.5-2 hours) and Arequipa (12-15 hours).

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Getting Around

By Car

Taxi's exist but the motos are much more common and cheaper. Although after dark one should avoid them because the moto's have been known to rob solo people in the past.

By Public Transport

The bus system was destroyed like most of the public services during the earthquake.

By Foot

Walking is possible but the roads are pretty destroyed and watch out for large pits meant for new sewer lines.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Hotel Miramar PiscoAvenida Genaro Medrano 120 San AndrésHotel81
Hostal Tambo ColoradoAv. Bolognesi 159 IcaGUESTHOUSE89
Posada HispanaAv. Bolognesi # 222HOTEL-
Hostal La Terraza PiscoAv San Martin 701 San Andres, PiscoHostel92
Yuppie HospedajeSan Clemente Street 103-1HOSTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

More and more hotels, resorts, airports, cafes, and retailers are going Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity), becoming "hotspots" that offer free high-speed Wi-Fi access or charge a small fee for usage. In Peru, by far the easiest way to check your e-mail and surf the Web is to drop in at the Internet cabinas (booths) that can be found in virtually every city and even small towns. Connections are usually fast, and the service is as little as S/2 per hour.
Aside from formal cybercafes, most youth hostels and many hotels nowadays have at least one computer with Internet access.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Peru's country code is +51. Emergency numbers include 105 (Police), 117 (Ambulance) and 116 (Fire).

In all towns and villages that are not too small, it is no problem to find public telephones for national and international calls. Many public phones can be expensive, and an attractive alternative is a Locutorio, or "call-center". Typical rates include .2 Nuevo Sol/minute for calls in the country, and .5 Nuevo Sol/minute for most international calls. Phone cards are cheap and easily available from shops or vendors who hang around pay phones. You'll often see people with a bundle of mobile phones who act as pay phones, they'll be shouting 'llamadas'. Telephone booths are primarily used for making local calls. Calling to other countries from Peru is expensive.

If you have an unlocked cell phone you can buy local SIM cards. Movistar and Claro are two of the phone companies in Peru. You can buy your sim card from these companies and buy a phone card also.

Your best, cheapest bet for making international calls from Peru is to head to any Internet cafe with an international calling option. These cafes have connections to Skype, Net2Phone, or some other VoIP service. International calls made this way can range anywhere from 5¢ to $1 per minute -- much cheaper than making direct international calls or using a phone card. If you have your own Skype or similar account, you just need to find an Internet cafe that provides a computer with a headset.

Post

Check the Serpost website, the national postal service (a private company), for more information about prices and options regarding the sending of postcards, letters and parcels. The post service is relatively efficient and post offices can be found in most cities and (larger) towns. Post offices generally are open from 8:00am to 8:00pm Monday to Saturday and some are open on Sundays from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Postcards are available from street vendors and shops at any touristy area, and stamps are generally available as well, though sometimes only at the post office itself. It takes at least 10 days to send a postcard to North America and prices start at S/5.5. To Europe it is S/7.8 and it takes even a bit longer, around 2 weeks. For little extra money, you can choose 'expresso' services. For large parcels and quantities, you can use both Serpost or companies like DHL, UPS, TNT or FedEx, which are faster and offers the same prices, though it is still relatively expensive.

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This is version 17. Last edited at 8:46 on Apr 29, 14 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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