Paracas is a small village and area 200km south on the Pacific coast from Lima. It is very popular for its natural environment best know on the Islas Ballestas, which are also called the poor mans Galapagos. This is probably also the reason why i chose to stay a week in the area. The village itself is easy to reach via bus from Lima and takes you around 4h and 60Soles. Coming from Lima and big city stress the village is so relaxing and slowing you nicely down. The fact that Paracas is also quite close to Ica, makes is also a good base for further day tours.
The village itself is called El Chaco and is a small fisherman‘s village with some touristic flavors. It is not big and everything is easy reachable by foot. The beachfront (Playa Chaco) with the small promenade offers some nice restaurant options and other shops. As you can see on the pics there is a big problem with seaweed for which reason I can also not recommend to go swimming there.
Further down south the beach clears a little and the sand is free of seaweed. I sat down there for some time and observed the pelicans.
Also a very nice view is the lonesome road at the end of the village in the east, surrounded by the sandy hills of the desert.
The Galapagos for the poor is a small island group located around 30min boat ride away from the coast. One of them has a big sea-lion colony on them the others are mostly conquered by birds and penguins. Honestly the experience is way overselled. You will see those three mentioned animals but that’s it. A little more impressive were the rock formations of some of the islands. This is really unique and exited me more than the sea-lions which I already saw in Lima super close.
Paracas Nature Reserve
South of El Chaco is a huge peninsula which is part of the nature reserve and also a typical day-tour destination. I combined it with the Ballestas Islands in one connected tour, which was a little challenging for logistics. Nevertheless the drive to the area is not far and you will already be surrounded by the desert. The tour itself will take you first to the viewpoint Mirador Istmo II, where you can see the entire bay from above and also already the 2 beaches of the next visit.
The red stripe you see from the viewpoint on your right is the playa rojo. In fact the entire rock is red colored but the erosion only washed out the beach area. The view from above is honestly much nicer then when you get closer. There is seaweed everywhere and during my visit there were loads of animal cadavers from turtles, sea-lions and birds on the beach. Not a very nice image.
The other beach further down the road is named after being an old mine in former days but really has a surprisingly golden sand beach. It was a little windy during my visit and the Pacific is always rather cold, but the water was a welcoming refreshment. The little penguin from the last image came super close to the people and played around with them – was quite funny.