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Altitude: 0 to 786 meters (0 to 2,562 ft) Population: 1,265 Phone Code: 056

Paracas consists of a peninsula, bay, pre-Inca culture and the national reserve (Reserva Nacional de Paracas). It is located approximately 240 kilometers (150 mi) from Lima, 80 kilometers (50 mi) from Ica and 210 kilometers (130 mi) from Nazca. The word Paracas comes from an ancient language and refers to the windstorms that can last for up to three days, especially in August, whipping up sand.

From Pisco, the road for Reserva Nacional de Paracas heads for Playa Pisco, which was wiped virtually clean from the tidal wave. The route then edges the ocean. Beaches all along the way are mounded with rubble of the 2007 earthquake. After San Andrés, fish meal factories become the common feature of the landscape. You then arrive at Playa Chaco, a village on the edge of the Reserva. At the entrance of Playa Chaco, on a hill to the east is El Mirador, a lookout point over the bay with a monument commemorating Liberator San Martin's expedition launch from here during the Wars of Independence. At this point, the road branches, the left fork heading for Reserva Nacional de Paracas and the right, called Avenida Paracas, heading through Playa Chaco.

Along the main drag are hotels, restaurants and tour operators. Plazuela Quiñónez (also called Plaza de Armas) forms the focal point for tourism. Two blocks away is the Bahía de Paracas, along which runs Boulevard Playa Chaco, the seaside promenade (malecón). The dock is here, and a nice stretch of beach, rows of souvenir kiosks and restaurants. Past the hotels, the road divides at the Bolognesi roundabout. From this point, the road forms a broken loop. Avenida Paracas is the old section and runs along the shore. It later becomes Avenida Independencia, then Avenida Santo Domingo and arrives at the control post, or garita of the national reserve. The newer road on to the left of the Bolognesi statue goes inland, shadowed on one side by worn hills, arriving at the post.

On Paracas Peninsula, where the desert and sea join in a show of vibrant life, the wind- and wave-carved cliffs are home to millions of migratory birds from the northern hemisphere as well as numerous sea lion colonies. The beautiful Reserva Nacional de Paracas is a coveted destination for birdwatchers and hikers. Its geographical and biological features make the sea of Paracas one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world as well as one of the most peaceful and serene. In Paracas, there are also sites such as the Candelabro petroglyph and museums featuring information on the Paracas culture and ecosystem

15 Jun 2012

Things to do in Paracas

Candelabro De Los Andes

108137An image carved into the north side of the Paracas Peninsula is one of South America’s most mysterious archeological sites: Candelabro de los Andes (Candlestick of the Andes, because of its ...

Reserva Nacional de Paracas

102812Reserva Nacional de Paracas, established in 1975, protects 335,000 hectares (827,803 acres) of the Paracas Peninsula and surrounding sea. Besides being a land and marine reserve, it is also an ...
National Park

Islas Ballestas

104300Just 18 kilometers (11 mi) north of the Paracas Peninsula are Islas Ballestas, the famous wildlife refuge. These wind- and wave-sculpted islands are part of the Reserva Nacional Sistema de Islas, ...
National Park
View Paracas Map

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