While most tourists envision a lush Peru—with mountaintop citadels shrouded in jungle and mist—the Pisco region is a stunningly stark junction of lunar landscape and teeming sea—all earth tones and aquas. For a place whose beauty is so austere, however, the area is shockingly fertile, both agriculturally (the beloved national brandy of the same name hails from here) and culturally (civilizations from the Paracas to the Incas have left a mark—or many—here).
But your visit won't be all about signature cocktails and ancient ruins: The local waters are home to such a mind-blowing menagerie, they're often called the Galápagos of Peru or simply Little Galápagos. You can reach these wildlife hangouts, among other Pisco-area highlights, quite easily from the port of General San Martín. Or you can simply stake out a seaside table and fill up on some of the freshest ceviche of your life—a house pisco sour close at hand for good measure.