Most of the people who come to Peru do so to visit Cusco and Machu Picchu. This is the most popular thing to do in the South American country, however, there are many other wonderful things to see in Peru. For example, you may want to take the time to explore Lima, the bustling capital of Peru, where you will find some of the best restaurants in the world. But what we will focus on today is the Paracas area, which is one of Peru’s unknown treasures. For this reason, together with the experts from Machu Travel Peru, we have prepared an article about the best things to do in Paracas. Explore with us this natural jewel of Peru, where you can experience a great variety of places and attractions.
All the incredible things to do in Paracas to take advantage of
- Take the Ballestas Islands tour
- Flamingos in the Paracas National Reserve
- Admire the Candelabra
- Explore the coastal city
- Sand Buggy adventure
- The Jet-Ski ride and Kite Surf
- Sandboarding and Paragliding
- Visit the Paracas History Museum
- Journey to the nearby Nazca
- How to get to Paracas
1. Take the Ballestas Islands tour
Then you can choose to travel to the Ballestas Islands, one of the most popular tours within Paracas. Grandly nicknamed the “Galapagos of the Poor”, the Ballestas Islands site is a memorable excursion. The only way to get here is through a boat trip, offered by many travel agencies and hotels. Tours depart at 8 am, 10 am and noon from Pisco.
The 8 am tour generally has the calmest seas and the best wildlife viewing. While the two-hour tours don’t land on the islands, they bring you surprisingly close to an impressive array of wildlife. Of course, it is the best example of biodiversity in Peru; especially on the Peruvian coast. Without a doubt, the tour to the Ballestas Islands is one of the best things to do in Paracas.
2. Flamingos in the Paracas National Reserve
Nearby Paracas is the vast desert reserve that occupies most of the Paracas Peninsula and is home to remote beaches backed by spectacular arid landscapes and an abundance of wonderful wildlife. Within a tour in Paracas National Reserve, you will have different and alternative ways to get to know this spectacular natural setting. In front of the Interpretation Center, near the park entrance, there is a viewpoint from which it is possible to see Chilean flamingos in the bay.
Further south, you have the possibility of touring La Mina. One of the best beaches in the reserve with soft and calm waters, perfect for swimming and spending it with the family. To the west of La Mina, is Punta Arquillo, which is home to an important colony of sea lions. One of the best things to do in Paracas is to visit the reserve on a bicycle ride. These can be rented in the city at a reasonable price. And as if that was not enough, you can also choose to do Kitesurfing in Paracas.
3. Admire the Candelabra
On your tour of the Ballestas Islands, you may have the opportunity to distinguish a curious geoglyph. You will see a giant three-pointed figure etched into the sandy hills, which is over 150 meters high and 50 meters wide. No one knows exactly who made the glyph or when, or what it means, but theories abound.
Some connect it with the Nazca Lines, where there are similar geoglyphs. While others propose that it served as a navigational guide for sailors and was based on the constellation of the Southern Cross. Some even believe that it was inspired by a local cactus species with hallucinogenic properties. If you plan to enjoy summer in Peru, make sure to spot this amazing geoglyph.
4. Explore the coastal city
Paracas is a small coastal city, which has many charming resort-style hotels for you to spend a few days relaxing. Some of these are the Aranwa Paracas, the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton, and the Paracas Luxury Collection complex. All wonderful five-star hotels in Paracas to stay and enjoy a relaxing vacation. If the budget doesn’t stretch to five stars, consider some other hotels on offer. In addition to all the things to do in Paracas, you will find luxury hotels, hostels, cafes, and some distinguished seafood restaurants.
5. Sand Buggy adventure
Paracas has many historical and natural attractions to visit (Below, you will find more information about these treasures). However, other important options are increasing year to year, among these, the sand buggy activity is the most famous on the list of new things to do in Paracas.
The desert of Paracas is known for its rolling sandhills, warm breeze that creeps in from the shores, and its blue skies; the perfect scenery to go throughout the desert at full speed. Feel adrenaline and liberty overcoming dunes and climbing sand walls aboard these famous sand buggies. You don’t know how to drive it? Don’t worry, the service includes a driver per sand buggy (Max. 5 people per car)
Another important activity among things to do in Paracas is Quad biking. This activity is destined for someone who wants to be the owner of his path, feel free over the dunes and rolling sandhills. The difference with Sand Buggy is that you will the driver of your quad biking.
6. The Jet-Ski and Kite Surf
The sea of Paracas is very famous among Peru beaches for its clear water and sky, warm breezes, and the tranquility of its waves. These are perfect conditions to develop aquatic activities like the Jet-Ski. The hire of each Jet includes a previous hour of instructions in which you will learn to drive them. After that, the funny will begin, you only have to follow your instructor-guide over the sea, enjoying the landscapes of Paracas coasts, gliding over its waters. (Max 2 person per quad biking)
Kitesurfing is another best activity among the things to do in Paracas. Calm sea and constant calm winds are the main ingredients to develop this activity over the sea of Paracas. You will stay over a surfboard, being propelled by some kind of parachute (elevated to more than 30 meters) over your head. If you don’t know anything about this sport, don’t worry because there is a kitesurf school where you can learn the techniques of this aquatic sport in only three days.
7. Sandboarding and Paragliding
Everything you need for a relaxing vacation. You will even find fun activities like sandboarding in Paracas. The only difficult part of visiting this city is leaving. The city is fun and has that magical quality that will make you stay for a few more days.
If you want to see, like a falcon, over the sandy shores of Paracas, the Paragliding activity is for you. The experience is operated by local travel agencies and begins on top of high sand ravines, in front of the Paracas sea, where the sea winds are steady. There, you will be accommodated in on paragliding with a person who will take control. You only will have to enjoy the views and feel these sea winds crash into your face. It is one of the best things to do in Paracas.
8. Visit the Paracas History Museum
After having enjoyed the different tours in Peru, you can choose to visit the Paracas museum. The Paracas History Museum houses one of the largest collections of elongated human skulls. These belonged to the royalty of the Paracas culture who mysteriously died about 2000 years ago.
These skulls have left numerous interpretations among people. Some of them claim they are proof of extraterrestrial existence, while others insist that they are false. The reality is that these skulls were the result of ancient indigenous traditions. This collection of skulls is captivating and worth visiting. Among the many things to do in Paracas, touring the museum is one of the best.
9. Journey to the nearby Nazca
There are many things to do in Paracas and the surrounding areas as part of your Paracas Peru tours. But if you are looking to travel further south from Paracas, you will arrive in the desert city of Nazca. Just outside the city, you can find the famous and mysterious Nazca Lines. The lines are geoglyphs or drawings on the ground that feature many shapes and lines that cover the desert floor on the outskirts of Nazca.
The lines were discovered in the 1930s when two pilots on a commercial flight saw the lines and reported them to the Peruvian government. Nowadays, they are other wonderful things to know in Peru. No Peru vacation would be complete without first visiting the renowned Nazca lines. However, take a moment before planning a trip there, first, we recommend you check the Peruvian weather, especially the weather of the coast, and know the best time to visit them.
10. How to get to Paracas
Lima is the main hub in South America for many airlines companies. Most probably you will get there for your first time in Peru. From Lima to Paracas (located in the south of the Peruvian capital) are 260 kilometers of distance. Happily, many regular bus transportation depart from Lima every day, the most important are Soyuz, Cruz del Sur, inter alia. The route on the bus lasts 4 hours, but you will have the possibility of enjoying the Peruvian coasts and the landscapes that are situated through the route. One of the best things to do in Paracas or on your way to Paracas.
“AT THE END OF THE DAY YOUR FEET SHOULD BE DIRTY, YOUR HAIR MESSY AND YOUR EYES SPARKLING”
The southern coast of Peru offers a lot to tourists, including the Paracas and Nazca areas. Filled with natural beauty and astonishing man-made wonders. Take a tour from Lima or spend a few days relaxing in Paracas. The area has the best climate in Peru, with almost no rainfall throughout the year.
There are many ways to get to Paracas depending on your budget and time. Take one of the many buses that travel to the region daily. Alternatively, if money is not an issue, hire a private car from Lima to take you where you want to go. Together with Machu Travel Per, we hope we have been helpful. Don’t miss out on all the wonderful things to do in Paracas.