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Just four hours south of Lima, you’ll encounter the seaside town of Paracas, known for its selection of luxury resorts, and the nearby expansive national reserve. Where rolling sand dunes meet the edge of rocky cliffs, the Ballestas Islands provide habitats for hundreds of marine species, while nearby modern pisco distilleries have taken root in lands that have nurtured human civilizations for thousands of years.
The town of Paracas, known as El Chaco Beach, rests on the southern shores of the Bay and is the departure point for Ballestas Islands boat tours and land excursions on the Paracas National Reserve. A string of luxury hotel resorts reside here. The town is easy to navigate on foot, walking from hotel to coastal boardwalk to nearby restaurants.
The town of Paracas is located:
Nazca Lines | For travelers staying at a hotel in Paracas, the Pisco airport is a convenient departure point to do a Nazca Lines Flyover Tour. The Pisco airport is only a 6-mi (10-km) drive from the town of Paracas.
Ballestas Islands | To get there, guided speedboat tours depart from the town of Paracas. The rocky isles are located roughly 12 mi (20 km) away.
Paracas National Reserve stretches into remote parts of the desert peninsula and is mostly not populated. If explored independently, it is always recommended that you travel in groups and during daylight hours as people have gotten lost, or worse, robbed.
Travelers are reminded to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated in the desert climate of Paracas and use sun protection.
Ballestas Islands Tour | Travelers prone to seasickness will benefit from taking a remedy to prevent or reduce symptoms before the start of a speedboat to Ballestas Islands.
Bring a camera with zoom to capture close up shots of the marine life you observe in the Ballestas Islands.
Sun protection: sun block, hat, sunglasses
Bring a bathing suit if you stay overnight at a luxury hotel in Paracas. While the town of Paracas isn’t known for great beaches, the hotel pools are a nice way to cool off from the desert heat.
A long sleeve or jacket is nice to have when conditions are windy and at nighttime when temperatures cool off.
Huacachina Oasis | Tucked away in the sand dunes of Peru’s southern coast is the Huacachina Oasis. This quaint resort town comprises colonial-inspired buildings and leafy palms framing a lagoon. Lima city residents and travelers come to Huacachina for two reasons: sunshine and sand boarding.
Ica Wine Tour | Ica, famed for its year-round sunshine, rests in the fertile river valley hugged by dry mountains and towering sand dunes. Visit the region’s premier bodegas to relish a variety of wines and Peru’s famed clear brandy, pisco.