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Paracas National Reserve is a popular nature reserve on the Southern Coast of Peru. Paracas is also a very popular beach resort destination although the beach in the town itself is not too large. The town Paracas is also referred as El Chaco and is mainly used as the tourist hub for Ballestas Islands and Paracas National Reserve.




Dry desert hills surround the town.

Flora and fauna[edit]

It provides a sanctuary to 74 species of plants that grow in this extremely arid area, and to 216 species of birds, 16 types of mammals, 10 species of reptiles and 193 species of fish. It is considered as one of the richest and most uncommon ecosystems in the world.


Dry and hot. (the reason it is a desert)

Get in[edit]

You can reach a comfortable regular bus company like ExcluCiva, Cruz del Sur, Oltursa and Peru Bus (Soyuz). The latter being the most inexpensive. They have bus stations in Lima, Paracas, Ica and Nazca. They also have connections to Arequipa or Cusco (and towns in between) although sometimes the schedule is not always met. Information on these and other services is available at AndesTransit.

Peru Hop buses operate 7 days a week to and from Paracas and Lima. They have a daily connection with Huacachina and their buses also go south towards Arequipa via Nazca. Besides, they offer comfortable and safe trip, with free pickups and drop-offs being included for free. There are also free additional stops and tours on the way to Paracas.

Also there are minibuses to Ica, which are a bit cheaper and provide hotel-to-hotel service. Cheaper bus companies only go to Pisco, from where you can get a taxi to Paracas (S./15 for two Apr 2015). Ica to Paracas trips can be done with PeruBus.

You can drive to Paracas from Lima which will take around 4 hours. The other way to get there is by flying. The route is Lima-Pisco with the Airline LC Bucre. With the time to get to and from the airports and boarding the flights, this option is unlikely to save you any time.

You can go by taxi to Paracas, there's a company named TAXI SUDAMERIS 24 hours at Lima, you need to make a reservation in writing. E-mail [email protected] or write to Jhoel Lara : [email protected] The price from the airport is $140.00 dollars all-included or S/450.00 soles. It´s about 4 hours from the airport and about 3 from other parts of Lima.

Get around[edit]

You can walk everywhere in the tourist center. There are some mototaxis if needed or taxis to take you to other towns. Always agree the fare before getting into the taxi.

See[edit][add listing]

There is a small/medium beach and lots of restaurants by the sea. For a much nicer beach walk to the Hilton Hotel and use their (public) beach. The beach by the town is quite narrow and has a lot of stones.

Do[edit][add listing]

Explore the Península de Paracas with a tour or on your own, for example on rented bike (which will cost around S/. 20 per day). Beware of dodgy bikes, you want a good one because the cycle is quite strenuous - test before you rent. If done independently you should start in the early morning when the wind is not that strong. According to park rangers these is a place with one of the strongest winds in the country. It's VERY HARD to bike when you have to face the wind. Alternatively, you can take a taxi or taxi colectivo, about S/. 80 for an entire taxi or S/. 20 per person in a taxi colectivo/minivan for the return trip - you will find people selling this trip around the main plaza or in any of the tour agencies.

You can also take a 2h boat tour to the Ballestas Islands for S/. 30 (bargaining is often unsuccessful, but the companies differ in prices around 5 soles, so compare well). Entrance fee to the reserve is an additional S/. 10 and there is a port tax of S/. 5. All tours seems to be exactly the same with very similar types of boats so go for the cheapest. The Ballestas Islands contain huge colonies of seabirds (including penguins) and sea-lions. Tours depart at 8 and 10 in the morning, the earlier one is said to be better. Each boat takes around 30-35 people and you want to have a good windbreaker with you as it gets cold when it speeds up on the return trip. The sun can be a lot stronger than people expect whilst on the boat tours, wear sunscreen and hat for protection.

It's possible to buy a package tour joining both trips stated above. (S./45 plus S./17 entrance fees as of May 2014).

  • Full Day Paracas (Paracas Ful Day), El Chaco (Paracas), +51 056 63 27 09, [1].  edit
  • Emotion Tour Peru (Paracas Tours), Muelle El Chaco Paracas, 056 63 27 09, [2].  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

There are many tourist shops with all kinds of trinkets/jewelry/etc.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Restaurants are all very expensive for Peruvian standards, but some do have a 'menu del dia' for S/. 8-15 (you have to ask because they will not tell you this and will just show their expensive a-la-carte menu).

You can find cheaper choices at the street parallel to the seafront boulevard. Some are open only for lunch and others just for dinner. There is also one Chifa (Chinese restaurant). At night there are some open-air grill stands that open up near the southern end of this street.

Aquamarine Sandwicheria Fruta Bar - NW of the plaza - Great food and drinks, cheap Pisco Sours, delicious milkshakes, and crepes.

You can buy cheese or carne empanadas and keke from vendors walking by the pier. There are also bread stands selling rolls for 8 per sol. There are also two grocery stores with reasonable prices on the west side of the plaza if you would like to make your own food.

  • Il Covo, Av. Los Libertadores s/n (In front of the marina turistica), 056530324, [3]. 12:00pm-3:30pm and 7:30pm-11:00pm. Italian Cusine restaurant. High end food with good prices and nice atomsophere. 20$.  edit
  • Fruzion, (Second row from the beach), (056) 311866, [4]. 7:00am-11:00pm. Fruit Smoothies. Great breakfast and many vegetarian/vegan options. $10.  edit

There are a couple of stores around the main plaza where you can buy food to cook yourself in your hostel, beware of overcharging from the largest one closest to Kokopelli - they have separate prices for gringos and locals.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Restaurants also serve drinks, but must charge a lot. Some have 'happy-hours' for mixed drinks, but the prices are very high. You can get cheaper drinks in the two minimarkets near the plaza.

  • Taberna de Don Jaime, Malecón Paracas (Towards the north pier), 056535023, [5]. -2200. Very good for trying Pisco Sour (very well made and taste better than most) and lots of different local wines and licquores. Not many people seem to go there but the owner is very friendly and informative. 10 Soles.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Most options are really expensive, especially when you book them online. Better is to just show up and try to get a discounted price, which shouldn't be much of a problem in the low-season. Expect to pay around US$ 25-30 for a double in a two star hotel close to the beach. Bear in mind that some places shut down in the low season.

  • Five Star Double Tree, Lote 30-34 Urb. Santo Domingo.
  • Hotel Paracas, Avenida Paracas 173.
  • Paracas Backpackers House, Av. Los Libertadores. Basic place with privates and dorms. Friendly and helpful owners who also speak English. S/. 55 (March 2018) for a double with shared bathroom (there are two hot showers and one cold), S/. 70 with private bathroom. Free wifi but not good. No breakfast. Shared, good-size kitchen with dining area perfect for preparing own meals. Great outdoor seating area with a hammock and other lounge chairs and tables. Walls are thin so it can be noisy. They can also organize tours and shuttles for you at the typical price. Note that there are two other hostels in the same street which are also called 'Backpacker'-something and look very similar.  edit
  • Zarcillo Paradise Hostel, Av Principal de Ingreso al Chaco 101, [6]. Inside the Cruz del Sur bus terminal, new, clean and comfortable, but completely characterless motel-like and right on a busy road quite far from the center. Wifi available, breakfast optional. S/. 50 for a double with private bathroom.  edit
  • Santa Maria Hostal, Ignacio Morsesky 126 (other side of the street from Paracas Backpacker House). Looks nice from the outside, but the rooms are nothing special albeit they're clean and with hot showers. Also houses the most well known restaurant of the town. Simple breakfast included. US$30.  edit
  • Backpacker House Soler, (On the main road). checkout: 1200. Friendly owners, hot water showers (2 of them are currently just cold water), many cabins that look and feel like sheds, electricity in each room, free WiFi, kitchen. All you need really. The beds seem to be new as are the mattresses. They are comfortable but seem to form a bucket which some people won't like. 20 Soles for a dorm bed, not sure how much for other options. Prices increase if they expect to have lots of guests. 20 Soles for a dorm.  edit
  • Backpacker's Hospedaje, (On the main road, one block north from plaza). checkout: 1200. Friendly owners, hot showers, free WiFi (good speed), kitchen & living room. It seems quite new, beds are very comfortable. They also rent bikes (35S/. but you can get it for 30S/.) and run a tour agency. 20S/. for a dorm, 25S/. for single, 60S/. for matrimonial with bathroom.  edit
  • Kokopelli Paracas, ("At). checkin: 1400""; checkout: 1200. helpful staff, many speak English, hot showers, free WiFi, kitchen (relatively small), swimming pool, pool/ping pong/foosball tables, & movie room. The beds are podular and good sized, each with a locker (no lock). A decent bar, hammocks, and beach is right outside the gates 29S/. for a 14 bed dorm (January 2016).  edit


You can camp at Playa La Mina in the Reserva.


Stay safe[edit]

There isnt much to worry about in Paracas safety-wise in the main tourist area.

Get out[edit]

Only a couple of (expensive) bus companies serve Paracas (Cruz del Sur, Oltursa), as well as the cheaper Soyuz which has buses to Ica (but only a few per day - S/. 6). To get to Lima on a normal bus you need to first get to the Panamericana and flag down a bus there. Colectivos run to Pisco (S/. 3), from where you can change to another colectivo to "Pisco cruce" (S/. 1.50). Alternatively, you may be able to find a taxi colectivo to take you all the way for S/. 5 - look out for a taxi which has just dropped some people off, they will not want to hang around waiting in Paracas for too long, so you might be able to negotiate a good price. From Pisco cruce it is S/. 15-18 and 4hours to Lima. To get to Arequipa you need to take a bus to Ica (S/. 20).

There are also daily organised shuttles to Huacachina leaving at around 11am, about S/. 20.

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