Reserva 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 archaeological zone, containing more than 100 small sites from the Paracas people, who flourished in the area from 700 to 100 BC. It is a beautiful park, full of beaches, cliffs and rock formations. The Ballestas Islands are offshore.
Crabs, sea otters, orcas, humpback whales, sea turtles and two species of sea lions may be seen here. Over 150 species of birds visit the area, such as the Humboldt penguin, boobies, flamingos, petrels, condors and three species of cormorant.
On the north side of the peninsula is the Candelabro de los Andes geoglyph (see Candelabro de los Andes for more information). At Lagunillas Beach are beachside restaurants. Be sure to ask about the lunch specials, much cheaper than Ã la carte dishes. Camping is possible at several places in the reserve.
Within the reserve you will find the Centro de InterpretaciÃ³n (6 km / 3.5 mi from the garita entry) which has a small display of whale bones, stones and other items illustrating Paracasâ€™ natural history. Museo Julio C. Tello is renowned for its impressive collection of pre-Columbian textiles, mummies and ceramics, and a good deal of information about the Paracas people. It was damaged in the 2007 earthquake-tsunami, but is scheduled to reopen in August 2012.
From Paracas tours cost $9, leaving usually at 11 a.m.. They are more than twice as expensive from Pisco. Tours include transportation and Spanish-English speaking guide, but not park entry or lunch.
Park entry fee: adults $2, children $1, under 5 years old free
Relative price: Mid-Range
Open Hours from:Daily 7:00 a.m.
Open Hours to:Daily 6 p.m.
Travel Skills: None
You Need to Bring:
Sun protection (sun screen, hat), water, camera and extra batteries.
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