Home to the Peruvian equivalent to the Galapagos Islands, Paracas is a must-visit destination for wildlife and nature lovers. The coastal town boasts the spectacular Paracas National Reserve, some of the best seafood in Peru, and serves as the gateway to the Ballestas Islands. Here’s how best to spend one day in Paracas.
Morning: Best of the Ballestas
Rise early and head straight to the Ballestas Islands by boat. Tour options are plentiful and range from time-saving speedboat trips to private tours that ensure you receive undivided attention from your guide. Whichever you choose, your boat is sure to pass the enigmatic Candelabra geoglyph—a colossal figure of a candlestick etched into the side of a mountain—and may stop to observe the hundreds of sea lions sleeping on its shores. You’re also likely to see dolphins, cormorants, and the Peruvian pelican.
Afternoon: Desert Delights
Devote the afternoon to the desert scenery that characterizes the west coast of Peru. Choose between tours that visit Paracas Natural Reserve, where sandstone cliffs drop down onto terracotta beaches lapped by turquoise waves, and Huacachina, home to rolling sand dunes that offer some of the best opportunities for sandboarding in Latin America. The desert town is also home to a vivid green oasis that makes for unique photo opportunities and is close to the Nazca Lines, a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprised of geoglyphs best seen by air on a guided flight.
Night: Ceviche at Sunset
Stay in Huacachina to watch the sun set over the seemingly endless sand dunes before heading back to Paracas for dinner and drinks on the waterfront. The coastal town is famous throughout Latin America for its fresh seafood and ceviche, raw and thinly-sliced fish seasoned with lime juice and chilli. Following dinner overlooking the sea, head to Hotel Paracas for cocktails in a sophisticated atmosphere.