History of Paracas
In the current territory of Paracas, it flowered the ancestral civilisation of the culture known as Paracas, during the pre-Incan period. This culture was characterized by its textile art, very advanced for that period, due to its funerary rituals and the cranium trepanations, which were made to remove bad spirits. The Paracas culture is also known for deforming their heads until having them lengthened with a conical shape. The archaeological remains of this culture were found by the archaeologist Julio C. Tello in 1925. In 1820, six ships disembarked at its coast, and were part of the Ejército Libertador, from the Freedom Expedition of Peru, commanded by the General José de San Martín. The name Paracas means “sand rain” due to the strong winds that bring sand remains, typical of this territory (those winds reach speeds of 20 miles/32 kms per hour).
-Paracas is located in Paracas Bay, at 168 miles (271 km) from Lima.
-The climate can be changeable, but the average temperature throughout the year is 86 °F (30 °C), but it can go over 97 °F (36 °C) in summer. In winter the temperature descends to 50 °F (10 °C) during the night.
-Most of the accomodations look for the tourists on the bus terminals to welcome them and promote directly their services (so if you went there without plans, you will have lots of choices waiting for you upon arrival).
-You must bring sun lotion, which is essential to resist the sun lightning, but you should also have a kerchief or glasses to protect your eyes from the sand winds (when visiting the outdoors areas).
How to get around in Paracas?
You can get around by foot during the day, walking through the city and visiting the center. For long stretchs we recommend you to take “colectivos”, which are shared mini buses. Some of these conveyance can be found at the authorised agencies on the city.
Risks and cautions
It’s not appealing to walk around at night, and even worse on the beach or the outskirts of the city. We recommend you to go on group, it’s always better to travel together with someone. As in any other big city with lots of tourism, suffering an assault or theft is a common risk; take care of your valuable belongings (cameras and cell phones). Don’t you trust the taxi drivers recommendations, because they get a commision for driving customers to specified locals (hotels, restaurants, etc.).
Paracas is a beach city very visited, at the Ica department, and it’s the location of the only marine reserve that has the protection of the UNESCO. From the city you can start your adventure to the most visited places of the area as the disembarkation of San Martín, the Ballestas islands and the archaeological remains of the Paracas culture.
Location: you board a ship from the Paracas port
Price: The tour with a company and guide for 8h costs about 35 soles per person + 1 sol of port tax.
You will enjoy about one and a half hour of the marine breeze and the beautiful views of the large ocean, getting to know the habitat of some of the main marine species that live on the region as the sea lion.
Natural reserve of Paracas
Location: you can get there with a tour or by taxi
Price: an average of 50 soles
At the natural reserve you will find many different birds species as the oarsman, grey seagulls or Humboldt penguins (considered endangered), besides historical places and of archaeological importance of the Paracas culture.
Paragliding or tandem paragliding in Paracas
Location: Cerro Miradr or Supay beach
The flight in paragliding lasts about 10 to 15 minutes and you do it with an instructor, who has the required certifications to do a safe and delightful experience. The descent is about 320 meters, while you can record your extreme adventure.
Kitesurf in Paracas
You can take a complete course of more than 3 hours, learning from the basics with the intent of feeling that you overfly the sea, sliding on the waters and propelling you with the strong air currents, so frequent in Paracas.
Buggys and sandboarding in Paracas
You will have the chance of practicing surf in sand dunes, practicing sandboarding under the Paracas sun. To do it, you must first of all take a tour of buggy to the dunes. Some of them pick you up from the hotel and take you directly to dunes of 5 meters to carry on going up the adrenaline with dunes of 20, 90 and over 100 meters. Don’t you miss that if you look for an extreme and warm experience. Bring a lot of water for the tour!
In Paracas you will find the most flavourful dishes of the region, with the unmistakable creole taste of the coastal cities. Don’t you miss the following plates:
Pallares: stew of Lima beans, seasoned with red pepper
Picante de pallares: it’s similar to the pallares plate, but it’s prepared with milk, cheese and eggs.
Carapulcra: it’s based on potatoes cut into small pieces, stewed with meat and dried chilly pepper, one of the creole dishes most popular of the coastal region.
Location: Turístico Boulevard
Hours: 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Price: about 15-40 soles
The Juan Pablo restaurant is one of the best in Paracas and well-known for the freshness of its fish and seafood, and you can also have breakfast in this inviting atmosphere.
Location: Calle Paracas (no number)
Hours: 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Price: 20-30 soles
The El Chorito restaurant is only a few streets away from the beach next to the San Maria Hostal, and is the perfect place for large groups, and has great fish dishes too.
Location: Av. Principal de Paracas (no number), in front of the Brisas de la Bahía hostal
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Prices: from 33 soles to 100 soles
At this restaurant you can taste Peruvian and international food, as well as an asorted drink menu to enjoy with friends or family. There the pastas and shelfish stand out.
Location: 173, Av. Paracas, at the Hotel Paracas Luxury Resort
Price: from 199 to 265 soles
It’s one of the most exclusive restaurant in Paracas, where you will live a gastronomical experience of high kitchen, with typical dishes of various regions of Peru, international plates and exotic delights that the chefs prepare in an infinite variety of flavors. It’s not recommended to bring little children.
Location: 1, Calle, facing the dock
Hours: from 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Price: 13 to 50 soles
They offer a complete service, given that the restaurant operates as bar, cafe and pub. It’s a good place for having a drink and eat some good snacks.
Location: Plaza de Armas (main square)
Price: 15 soles and up
The Muca House is a perfect hostel for backpackers and offers dormitory room for 4 or 6 people at 15 soles per person, breakfast included.
Hostal el Refugio del Pirata
Location: 6, Avenida Paracas
Price: 60 soles and up, breakfast included
The Hostal el Refugio del Pirata has tidy rooms, some of which are ocean-front. There is a terrace on the top floor which is a perfect spot to watch the sunset.
Hotel Libertador Paracas
Location: 178, Avenida Paracas
Price: $230 and up
The Hotel Libertador was built following the 2007 earthquake in Paracas and is a luxurious complex with gardens, a spectacular pool and comfortable and modern rooms. Plus it has its own harbor and organizes excursions for guests.
Location: Av. Los Libertadores (no number)
Hours: from 2:00 p.m. to 00:00 a.m.
It’s a unique place where you will enjoy with friends the Paracas nights. You can have a great time having some varied drinks or handmade beer, while you eat pizza made on a mud oven. You can also have fun at its disco-bar, perfect to end the night.
The distance from Lima to Paracas takes about 4 hours. The companies which cover the route are Oltursa, Excluciva and Perú Bus. The price of the bus tickets is between 35 and 60 soles. The buses arrive to a central avenue, where you can find all kind of services.
Besides Lima, there are four other cities from where you can travel to Paracas: Camaná, Nazca, Arequipa and Ica.