Pisco is a medium sized town on the Southern Coast of Peru just south of Lima. This fisher town itself has little to offer to tourists and is best used only as a starting point for a trip to the Ballestas Islands and possibly the nearby salt desert and national reserve, Paracas. Pisco was the tourist hub of the area prior to the earthquake in 2007 but has not completely bounced back from that. Most businesses moved to Paracas, but enough remained to still provide a comfortable stay.
Most of the buses on the Pan-american Highway from Lima to Ica, Nazca, Arequipa etc. won't leave this road, dropping you of at the junction about 4 miles outside town, from where you can easily pick up a local bus or taxi (S./10 as of May 2014).
You may be able to negotiate a taxi to take you from Lima to Pisco for around 200 soles. This can be a lot more comfortable especially if you are going to arrive in the dark.
There are plenty of mototaxis to take you around the town.
On the west side of town Pisco is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and they have built a large walking area and nice playgrounds for children. There are also monuments and military replicas (torpedoes, helicopters, etc).
Los Tres Duendes - Av San Martin 188 - Smoothie and Juice Bar with good food as well. Huge, delicious blended drinks, sandwiches, crepes, desserts, yogurt/fruit salads.
You should try Pisco, which is the national drink of Peru, and as the name implies, was first made in this city. Pisco sour is an excellent Peruvian invention too. You might be able to try both of them in Chile, but the Chilean recipes are adapted to different tastes.
The "tourist safe" area seems to be the 2-block radius around the Plaza de Armas. Paracas seems safe as well.
Numerous locals warned us about watching our bags, and even just walking in the market area and beach. Tuk tuks are recommended for safe, cheap travel through the sketchier parts of town.
A few buses a day go to Ayacucho in the Andes, passing the Inca ruins at Tambo Colorado 2 hours away. To get one of these buses you have to catch a taxi (10-12 Soles) up to San Clemente, a scruffy junction of a town; watch your bags. Two bus companies go to Ayacucho, but Molina is recommended over the other. It provides night service, with buses leaving at 11:30p, 12:00am and 12:30am. The trip takes 7 hours. For semi-cama service, 40 Soles.
A taxi to Paracas was S./15 for two as of May 2014