The peninsula and the city of Paracas in Peru are best known for their national park (it bears the same name). This is a huge area of desert, islands, beaches and rocks on the Pacific coast, 250 km from Lima and 15 km from the city of Pisco. This reserve is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and has become home to rare animals: flamingos, pelicans, penguins, dolphins, fur seals and others. Check ehangzhou for other cities and countries as well as overview of South America.
How to get to Paracas
There are several options to get to Paracas. One of them is by plane to Lima to Ica (about an hour on the way), and then by taxi or bus to Paracas (1 hour).
The trip from Lima to the city of Pisco by bus will take about 3 hours, you can also stay overnight there – from there it is only 15 km to Paracas. In Pisco and other nearby cities, you can book bus tours to Paracas, buses usually pick up tourists directly from the hotel (and return there), the cost is about 85 PEN per person.
There are several hotels in the national park, but they are quite expensive. The cost of living in them starts from 100 USD per day for a double room. There are several relatively budget hotels and apartments (from 60 USD per night), but the amenities there are minimal, and the rooms in them run out very quickly.
Accommodation in Pisco, 15 km from Paracas, will cost significantly less: from 20 USD per day for a double room in a 3 * hotel, in the city of Ica, prices are about the same.
Cafes and restaurants in Paracas
In the restaurants of the city of Paracas, you can try national Peruvian dishes and the freshest fish and seafood that the western coast of the Pacific Ocean is famous for. There are also fish restaurants in the Paracas park itself, but the prices there are higher than the average for the region.
You should definitely taste the national drink pisco (strong alcohol made from Peruvian grapes), as well as try local dishes:
- sopa seku – soup with vermicelli, beef and poultry meat,
- carapulcra – sun-dried potatoes mixed with pork, pepper, achiote (a spice that gives red color) and ground mani nuts,
- giso de palares verdes – green beans stewed in a spicy sauce,
- tekhas – locally produced sweets stuffed with nuts, boiled condensed milk, prunes, bananas, strawberries, chirimoi.
Attractions and entertainment of Paracas
The main attraction of the region is, of course, the national park. It does not look like the parks we are used to: most of its territory is not rough vegetation, but terracotta-colored dunes, along which you can drive jeeps (a very popular entertainment among tourists).
Many tourists come here to see the Andean Candelabra, a geoglyph in the form of a giant trident depicted on a rock. You can view it from the side of the bay near the northern border of the reserve.
All animals in the reserve live near the ocean coast. Peru’s largest colony of sea lions, gulls, albatrosses, boobies settled here, and there are a lot of fish in the waters. Ballestas Island is called the local Galapagos, primarily because of the similar fauna. In addition, the Andean Candelabra is perfectly visible from this island, the origin of which is still a mystery.
Near the city of Nazca, near the desert of the same name, there are the ancient aqueducts of Kantayok: depressions are located at an equal distance from each other, spirally leaving in steps into the ground. These wells are still used to clean and repair the underground water supply system. Curious are the excavations of the ancient cemetery of Cahuachi, which is 17 km north of Nazca, and the ruins of the Inca settlement of Tambo-Colorado (aka Pucayacta and Pukahuasi) in the valley around the city of Pisco.
There are sandy beaches on the territory of the reserve. It is cold to swim there at any time of the year due to the cold ocean currents, but they are very beautiful and almost deserted.
The park offers daily tours by car or boat, as well as buggy rides, diving or snowboarding on the sand.