The beauty of the coastline and the remarkable wildlife have seen tourists flock to the south of Peru and make Paracas National Reserve a main stopping point along the Peruvian Gringo Trail. The beach town makes for the perfect place to stop on your way from Lima to Arequipa, even if you don’t have much time. For those who are time-poor, here is the best way to spend 48 hours in Paracas.
Arrive in El Chaco
This is the basecamp for all of your adventures in Paracas. The little town has hostels, luxury hotels, cafés, and delicious restaurants – everything that you could possibly need. The only difficult part is leaving. The town is fun and has that magical property that seems to make everyone stay longer than they intended to.
Explore Paracas Desert
The quickest way to see all of Paracas is by taking a taxi tour. These can be arranged from your hotel or hostel or with any taxi driver in the area; they’ll be actively trying to sell you a tour. The driver will take you to all the most beautiful beaches and lookout points for around 80 soles (US$24), but prices are of course negotiable.
You’re in one of the driest places on earth, with scorching sun beating down on you all day, yet biking the coastline of Paracas has become something of a cult hit. You can save some money and get yourself a workout into the bargain, but make sure to bring plenty of water. Rent bikes in El Chaco and start your ride as early as possible so that you can rest at a beach during the most intense part of the day, before finishing the ride in the evening. Outside of renting your own car, this option gives you the most freedom.
Isla Ballestas tour
The tour of the islands dubbed “the poor man’s Galapagos” is one of the area’s main attractions and an absolute must while in Paracas. The best tour to take is the early morning one that sees the calmest seas and the least heat. The tour is around two hours long and can be coupled with a bout tour of Paracas, which turns it into a half-day trip.
Enjoy El Chaco
After completing the trips of the islands and Paracas, you’ll still be left with plenty of time to enjoy the charming town of El Chaco. Lie out on the beach or at your hostel’s pool and then eat some fresh seafood. You’ll quickly find the charming magic of this town taking effect and you’ll doubtless want to stay another day at least.