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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.

  • Elevation Sea level
  • CLIMATE Typical of Peru’s coastal region, Paracas experiences a summer season and winter season with transitional periods.

    The word paracas means “raining sand” in Quechua, in reference to the sandstorms that sometimes whip through the bleak pampa terrain that dominates the region. Despite the blustery conditions, sunshine and warm days prevail.
  • Summer From December to March
    Daily Average: 80°F (27°C)
  • Winter From June to September
    Daily Average: 60°F (18°C)
Islas Ballestas, a collection of rocky isles not far from mainland Peru, are home to an astounding concentration of marine wildlife such as cormorants, pelicans, Humboldt penguins, and colonies of playful sea lions.
A haven for bird species and other marine life, this protected region has an undulating coastline that stretches for as far as the eyes can see and give way to remote beaches.
Catch a glimpse of this immense cactus-shaped geoglyph on a boat tour to the Ballestas Islands.
This once-regal arch was an icon of the coastline of Paracas but was unfortunately largely destroyed in the 2007 earthquake. Its locale continues to be a wonderful lookout.
Wade in the turquoise waters that lap gently ashore this picturesque beach in the Paracas National Reserve.
Named in honor of the Peruvian archaeologist Julio C. Tello, this small, but informative museum displays exhibitions of his discoveries from local burial sites of the Paracas Culture.
Ideal wind conditions make the bay of Paracas one of the best spots in the Peru to practice these extreme sports.
Speedboard tours depart from the town of Paracas and navigate up to the islands’ banks for closer wildlife observation.
Indulge in a rejuvenating spa treatment and lounge poolside at a premium resort hotel with a Paracas bay-view.
Walk along the waterfront of the tiny town of Paracas where you can observe local fishermen arriving to the docks with their fresh catch.
Discover Peru’s southern coast with an adrenaline rush. Sandboard down the dunes around Huacachina Oasis, embark on a guided ATV ride, or rent windsurfing equipment.
Using Paracas as your exploratory base, embark on a Flyover Tour of the Nazca Lines. Flights depart from the Pisco airport about 6 mi/10 km from Paracas.
Il Covo
Enjoy an Italian menu specializing in fresh baked pizzas amid a casual ambiance.
Av. San Martin (in front of Hostal Brisas de la Bahia), Paracas
Chalana Restaurant
Fresh seafood dishes are served at this restaurant, part of a 5-star hotel, located on the pier.
Av. Paracas 173, Urb. Paracas (Hotel Libertador Pier)
La Negra y El Blanco
Order dishes like fettuccini topped with lobster at this second-story restaurant above the main marina. Happy Hour is 5-7pm daily.
Marina Turistica, Paracas
Restaurant Paracas
This pleasant restaurant serves classic Peruvian dishes, many prepared with fresh seafood. Seating on the outdoor patio boast a nice seaview from the 4th floor.
Av. Paracas (entrance to Chaco pier)
Restaurante El Che
Paradise for seafood lovers. Fresh fish, prawns, and octopus.
Lagunillas Harbor, Paracas National Reserve
Chalana Restaurant
Fresh seafood dishes are served at this restaurant, part of a 5-star hotel, located on the pier.
Av. Paracas 173, Urb. Paracas (Hotel Libertador Pier)
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Paracas Travel Tips

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:

  • 155 mi (250 km) from Lima (Miraflores)
  • 7.5 mi (12 km) from Pisco airport
  • 132 mi (214 km) from Nazca
  • 45 mi (73 km) from Huacachina Oasis (Ica)

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.


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