How to Spend 24 Hours in Paracas, Peru

A beach in Paracas, Peru
A beach in Paracas, Peru | © Mia Spingola / Culture Trip
Brandon Dupre

With islands teeming with life and one of the most beautiful coastlines that you’ll find anywhere in the world, Paracas has established itself as one of the must-stop destinations in Peru. Paracas has that unique ability to make even the most structured and strict travelers extend their stay – but for those who only have a day, here’s everything you must do to truly do Paracas right.

Start the day on the ocean

In Paracas, doing the Islas Ballestas (or the poor man’s Galapagos) is a must. Every hostel and hotel will be able to arrange the tour. The slots to do the tour are early in the morning or the afternoon. Most people don’t like the idea of waking early, but it’s a must for the islands. The seas will be more calm and you’ll have a better chance to see active sea lions – plus you only have a day. The tour itself will take you through the different islands, seeing one of the largest communities of sea lions in Peru. Make sure to bring a a hat, sunscreen and a jacket for the cool morning wind.

A geoglyph you can spot on your way to the islands

Take a break

If you chose the morning time slot, you’ll be back around 10am. Relax during this time, maybe take a dip in your pool (if you’re staying at a place with one) or check out the beach. This is always a good time to enjoy the small town – maybe go and shop.

Savour delicious dishes at lunch

Paracas has some of the best seafood in Peru. With an abundance of marine life, you’ll find every Peruvian dish done well and fresh. The fresh ceviche or jalea (fried fish) are the most popular items. Make sure to get a good meal in, because what you do next will take a while.

A look at one of the beaches in Paracas

Go on a Paracas Park tour

Paracas Park has some spectacular scenery that can be taken in on a tour – the best way to arrange this is with a taxi or with your hostel. There are buses that do the 40-hour trip to all the different beaches, but taxi is the way to go if you have some people to join you. You can go to whichever beaches you want, and spend as long as you want there.

Check out La Mina beach

This is by far the best beach in Paracas – and that’s not putting down the other beaches in Paracas, because they’re beautiful. La Mina is just perhaps the best beach in all of Peru. In term of beauty it is unsurpassed: bright clear blue waters surrounded by an orange desert that goes on as far as the eye can see. The cove protects you from the omnipresent Paracas air too, making the beach the place to be. End the day with a sunset in Paracas before your taxi takes you back to town.

La Mina beach in Paracas

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