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Paracas, Peru: Stunning Beaches & Delicious Seafood

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This small beach town is usually overlooked on people's South American Itineraries. However, we're here to tell you a few great reasons to travel to Paracas, Peru.


Just a few hours from the capital, this can be a great day or weekend trip from Lima. Also, it can be the perfect place to break up your trip if you're heading to or coming from the southern cities such as Cusco or Arequipa.


We suggest adding Paracas to your travels for a day or two. Here are some things to know when visiting Paracas, Peru.

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Where is Paracas, Peru?

Paracas, Peru is located in the center of Peru, a little under 3 1/2 hours south of Lima, and an hour east of Ica. Unfortunately it doesn't have an airport, and the closest one is in fact in Lima.

where is Paracas Peru

Paracas is just a few hours south of Lima.


How to Get to Paracas, Peru

If you are coming from another country, you'll first have to fly into Lima. Luckily, Lima is one of the most well-connected cities in South America, and has plenty of affordable flights from many different countries!

Flight Tip: Did you know that many cities in the US have flights to Lima for under $100?! Just check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates for flying to Lima!

Search for a flight to Lima:

How Do You Get From Lima to Paracas?

From Lima there are quite a few ways to reach Paracas. Here are the different options:


Renting a Car from Lima

The easiest way to get from Lima to Paracas is to rent a car. We love this option because it gives you the freedom to explore on your own time. Here is a site that we use to book our rentals online:

Taking a Bus from Lima to Paracas

If you don't want to drive, or are on a bit of a tighter budget, you can easily take a bus from Lima to Paracas! They leave regularly from the main bus station, and can be purchased from a number of agencies that are making trips down south.


Want to book in advance? There are also private shuttle options (although the buses are much cheaper)


Taking a Tour from Lima to Paracas

Don't have a ton of time but want to see the highlights of Paracas? There are a few different companies that do excursions to Paracas from Lima. This way you won't have to worry about any of the details going on your own. Some of them even include Huacachina and Nazca, which are two other highlights in the area!


Here are a few of the tours from Lima to Paracas to choose from:

How to Get to Paracas from Other Areas of Peru

Located right along the coast, Paracas is pretty easy to reach by bus from many other cities in Peru. There is a bus terminal right in the center, and it connects to plenty of different cities in Peru such as Ica, Nazca, and Arequipa,


You can purchase tickets on the spot in the terminal where you are traveling from, from a number of different agencies. Most companies that are traveling from the south up to Lima will make a stop in Paracas, Peru, so just ask whichever companies are promoting traveling to the capital.


It definitely helps to have your tickets in advance though. Here are a few popular routes to book:


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Entry Requirements for Peru

Before planning a trip anywhere, you'll need to keep in mind the different requirements for entering. Here's everything you need to know for traveling to Peru.


Visa Requirements for Peru

Most nationalities from the Americas and Western Europe can visit Peru visa-free for a period of up to 183 days. The only thing you'll need is your passport, with a validity of at least 6 months from the date of departure. Citizens of ArgentinaBoliviaBrazilChileColombia, Paraguay, and Uruguay may visit the country with just their national identity document. If you'd like to know if you need a visa, make sure to check with the local embassy.


We do suggest getting your yellow fever vaccine in addition, since it can be a risk, and is required in many countries throughout South America.


Covid Requirements for Peru

Peru is currently requiring travelers to either be fully vaccinated, or to have a negative Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours of flying. Make sure to keep your vaccination card on you, as certain places will require it in order to enter their establishments. Also make sure to carry a mask on you, as it is still required on public transportation throughout Peru (updated December 2022).


Peru is currently open for all travelers, and there are no longer any restrictions in place in regards o Covid-19.

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Local Adjustments for Paracas, Peru

Whenever you visit somewhere new, there are things that you may forget about. These could be different from where you are coming from, and are what we call local adjustments. Here are the local adjustments for Paracas in Peru.


Language Spoken in Paracas

The official language in Paracas is Spanish. Peruvians speak pretty clearly, so they are actually much easier to understand than some of the people from surrounding countries (such as Chile for example). Paracas does have some people that speak English, but it certainly helps to speak Spanish so you can get better deals and avoid getting ripped off.


Currency Used in Peru

The currency used in Peru is the Peruvian Sol. Each 1 USD is equivalent to about 3.83 Sol right now (April 2023). There aren't a ton of places that accept credit card in Paracas, so we definitely suggest going to an ATM and taking out plenty of cash.


Electrical Outlets

The electrical outlets in Peru are for plug types A & C. Type A is the one with two flat pins (used in the US), and type C is the one with two round pins that are used in Europe. The standard voltage is 220V, and has a frequency of 60 Hz. It may be a good idea to bring an electrical adapter, as the outlets vary depending on where you go.


Can You Drink the Tap Water in Paracas?

The water is generally not safe to drink in Paracas, so we suggest sticking to bottled water. You'll have to stay extra hydrated, as the city of Paracas, Peru has a lot of beaches and desert like landscapes. We suggest buying giant jugs of water, and refill a reusable water bottle to be prepared for wherever you go.


Tipping in Paracas, Peru

The tipping culture in Peru is a standard 10%, and they are always expected to be in cash.


Things to Do in Paracas, Peru

Paracas is a very small town, but has plenty of great landscapes to enjoy that are around the area. Enjoy walking around near the pier, strolling along the beach, or checking out other cool places nearby. Here are the best things to do while visiting Paracas, Peru.


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1. Take a Tour to Islas Ballestas

Islas Ballestas are definitely the number one reason that people come to Paracas. These islands boast a great deal of wildlife including sea lions, pelicans, and even penguins! Boat tours are about $15, and leave early each morning.

Islas Ballestas, Paracas, Peru

Islas Ballestas are a great place to experience the wildlife of Paracas, Peru.

Looking for a tour to Ballestas Islands? Check out the ones below:

2. Marvel at the Candelabra

This is usually a place that the boat tours stop by. But if you don't happen to go on a boat, you can also go on your own to check it out.

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Candelabra is a well-known prehistoric geoglyph found on the northern face of the Paracas Peninsula. It's located at Pisco Bay, and is thought to be dated back to 200 BC.

Candelabra, Paracas, Peru

The Candelabra is a geoglyph dating back a couple thousand years.

 

3. Watch the Sunset on the Beach of Paracas

The main beach of Paracas is by no means one of the most beautiful, and definitely not worth spending time there during the day. However, we definitely suggest joining everyone to sit and enjoy the beautiful sunsets that this small beach town offers.

Paracas Sunset

The beach of Paracas isn't the best one, but it has spectacular sunsets.

4. Visit Paracas National Reserve

In our opinion, Paracas National Reserve is the best place to check out in Paracas, Peru! Home to some beautiful beaches, nature, and landscapes, there are a few great spots to stop by. You can spend a few hours or even a full day enjoying all of the different areas.

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Paracas Peru Pin
Paracas Peru Pin

There are tours available, you can hire a private driver, or you can rent a vehicle to explore on your own. Here are some great spots to check out while visiting this reserve.

Paracas National Park

Paracas National Reserve has some of the best landscapes in the area.

Want an organized tour of Paracas National Reserve? There are plenty of great ones to choose from:


Playa Roja

Red Beach or "Playa Roja" is known for the striking red color of its sand. With its contrasting blue waters, yellow rock, and red cliffs as a backdrop, this unique beach is a must see while visiting Paracas, Peru.

Playa Roja, Paracas National Reserve

Playa Roja is known for it's red sand contrasting its turquoise waters.

Mirador Istmo

Located right at the cliffs over Playa Roja lie 2 different viewpoints "Mirador Istmo" and "Mirador Istmo II" giving great views of the red beach from a higher elevation.


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Lagunillas

Lagunillas is a great spot because it includes a small beach, a path with a viewpoint, and a local restaurant with the freshest seafood. What else could you possibly ask for?

Lagunillas, Paracas, Peru
Lagunillas, Paracas, Peru
Lagunillas beach in Paracas, Peru

Lagunillas is a small beach with restaurant and viewpoint.

Playa La Mina

Playa La Mina is the most popular beach in the area if Paracas, Peru.. With a stairway leading down. There is a great view from the top, overlooking the colorful umbrellas, blue waters, and beautiful cliffs along the coast. Get here early if you want to beat the crowds,

Playa la Mina Paracas
Playa La Mina, Paracas, Peru

Playa La Mina is one of the most popular beaches at Paracas National Reserve.

Playa el Raspon

Located right on the other end of Playa Mina, is Playa el Raspon. This beach is also really nice, but a little less crowded than its sister beach Playa Mina.

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5. Go Paragliding 

One of the most fun things that you can do while visiting Paracas, Peru is to go paragliding. This activity is usually done at Paracas National Reserve, so that you can admire all of the stunning landscapes down below.


Want to book a paragliding excursion? We've picked out a few good ones for you:

6. Take a Day Trip

While Paracas, Peru is known for its beaches, there are a couple of other great places to check out nearby if you are planning to spend a few days in the area.


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Huacachina is one of the most unique places in Peru. This desert oasis is just a little over an hour away from Paracas, and makes for the absolute perfect day trip.

Huacachina desert, things to do in Paracas, Peru
is Huacachina worth visiting
Huacachina, day trips from Paracas, Peru

Huacachina is one of the best day trips from Paracas, Peru.

Try sandboarding, riding around in buggy on the sand dunes, or taking in the views of the Oasis from the top of the dunes. Check out everything to know about Huacachina!

How many times have you read or heard of the meaning of an oasis? a pleasant source of water and nature in the middle of the desert, where nothing can grow or live. Sounds like it comes straight out of a fairy tale, right? Well then, welcome to the desert

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Want to book a tour from Paracas to Huacachina? We have a few picked out for you:

As the capital of Peru, it's no wonder that it makes a great place to visit. Lima is located three hours north of Paracas, Peru, and there are plenty of direct buses there. Check out the best things to do in our full Lima travel guide.

Being the capital, it is no wonder that there are so many great things to do in Lima, Peru. It is an absolute must see when you are visiting the country, and definitely a great place to start your Peruvian travels.. Not only is it the main hub for Peru,

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Local Food of Paracas, Peru

Being that Paracas is right on the water, and full of fisherman, it is no wonder that the number one thing to eat here is seafood. Check out the great outfoor dining of the restaurants lined up along the beach on the main avenue for plenty of different options, where there is fresh seafood prepared right in front of you.

Paracas seafood

Having seafood in Paracas is a must.


How to Get Around Paracas, Peru

Paracas is well connected, with direct service from Lima, Ica, Nazca, and plenty of other cities in Peru. When it comes to getting around the town itself, it is very small and walkable. When it comes to exploring the surrounding areas, there are a few options.


Taxi

Taxis are an easy way to get around, and are pretty affordable. Prices need to be agreed upon beforehand, as drivers will always try to rip you off if you just agree to whatever their price is, especially if you wait until you arrive to ask.


Rent a Car

The easiest way to get around Paracas is by having your own car. There is one rental agency in Paracas called Transporte Aquije that you can check out. However, we suggest renting a car from Lima, as there are more options, and they have more affordable rates.


Rent a car in Lima:

Tuk Tuk

Tuk Tuks are definitely not as fast as taxis, but are cheaper, and definitely a lot more fun than regular taxis. Stop them on the side of the road and agree on a price before hand. Prices should never exceed more than a few dollars.


ATV Rental

Looking for a more fun and adventurous way to get around? Renting an ATV is personally one of our favorites. This is actually more of a tour if you'd like to go for a few hours with a group to discover the greatest areas of Paracas, and it costs around $40.


Bicycle

Bicycle rentals are just $15/day and are a great way to see the area. Paracas isn't so big, so riding with a bike is definitely doable, and the most affordable option!


Hitchhike

If you want to save a bit of money and add a little bit of adventure to your stay, hitchhiking is great option! In Peru it's fairly common to see people hitchhiking, so it's worth giving it a try if you'd like to skip paid transportation.

Hitchhiking in Paracas, Peru

Hitchhiking is pretty easy in Paracas.


Is it Worth Staying in Paracas, Peru?

We definitely think it's worth spending at least a night or two in Paracas!


Paracas is a small town located right on the beach. We suggest staying as close to the center as possible, so that you can easily walk around. We stayed at Hospedaje Yakumama, which we personally thought was perfect. It was very simple accommodation, but right next to the beach, clean, and budget-friendly.

where to stay in Paracas, Peru

Hospedaje Yakumama is budget friendly, and right next to the water.

Looking for another place to stay in Paracas? Just take a look at the map below for different options:

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Is Paracas, Peru Safe?

Overall, South America is an region of the world where you'll want to be extra careful. There is a lot of petty theft, and if you're walking around alone or at night, you could easily become a target. Always be extremely aware of your surroundings, especially your belongings.


We had a great experience in Paracas, but also had instances around other surrounding areas that weren't the best. It definitely isn't anything that should deter you from traveling there, but to just keep your eyes open so you don't find yourself in a bad situation.


Other Things to Know About Visiting Paracas, Peru

Now you know almost everything you need to know for visiting Paracas, Peru. But we have just a few other things to share.


Weather in Paracas, Peru

The weather in Paracas doesn't actually vary too much. It never gets too hot or too cold. The warmest months are from January to April, which are hot enough for the beach, but not overbearingly hot. The coolest months are July and August, which are still not very cold at all.


The Best Time to Visit Paracas, Peru

Being that there are a lot of beaches in Paracas and surrounding it, we suggest going in the summer months from December to March.


Packing for a Trip to Paracas, Peru

Here are some of the things we suggest bringing to Paracas, Peru:


Looking To Travel Somewhere?

Off The Beaten Trips is our travel agency.

But this isn't anything like you've ever experienced before. You'll have an epic trip without having to break the piggy bank.

Unique locations. Epic adventures. Lifetime memories.


Paracas, Peru is home to some great beaches and surrounding landscapes. We suggest spending a day or two to enjoy the area.


Want to see some other great places nearby? Check out our list "10 Places You Need to Visit in Peru"!


Ready to start planning your next trip? We're here to help! Sit back and relax, while we take care of the details. We're different than other travel agencies, as we work on a small flat fee, and aim to save you money. Want to learn more? Take a look at our travel planning packages or schedule a free consulation.


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