Paracas and Peru’s Pristine Coastal Desert

In a country where logistics make it tough to connect the myriad destinations, Paracas National Reserve represents an easy extension onto any Machu Picchu trip, adding variety and unique adventure.

Paracas, a sleepy beach town and protected natural reserve three hours' drive south of Lima, is a popular getaway for Limeneans seeking secluded sandy sanctuary and cozy accommodations. The treasures that that lay within reach of the town, however, go much further than warm sand and the occasional dolphin spotting.

Paracas offers pristine stretches of coastal desert ecosystem with superb biodiversity. Millions of birds call the protected reserve home, making the region a must-see for birders visiting Peru. The nearby Ballestas Islands are off-limits to people, but are positively overrun with sea lions, penguins, turtles, dolphins, and migrant birds. Although landing at the islands is prohibited, curious travellers may observe from the comfort of a privately chartered yacht, and even hop in for a swim with the playful sea lions.

History and culture hide around every corner for the traveller who knows what to look for. The pre-Incan culture for which the town and National Reserve are named left behind mausoleums and mummies in the thousands, as well as other desert ruins and world-renowned textiles and artefacts. These archaeological discoveries are generally underrated and overshadowed by the mystifying Nazca Lines located just south.

Inland from the town lies the fertile Ica Valley - Peru’s main grape-growing region, and the birthplace of the country’s popular Pisco spirit. Wineries and distilleries offer tastings and unique educational experiences with viticulture. The surrounding sand dunes are some of the most picturesque in the world, and offer exciting sand-boarding opportunities for thrill-seeking travellers. For a truly unforgettable evening, consider arranging a 4X4 excursion to a luxurious private tented camp at the top of a remote sand dune to view a spectacular sunset and end with a dinner under the stars.

For the best views of the dramatic desert coastline, take to the skies in an Ultra-Light Aircraft. These small aircraft are nimble enough to fly low over the reserve and cut exhilarating routes over the pristine desert landscapes. Alternatively, travellers can take small propeller planes outside of the reserve to fly over the world-renowned Nazca Lines. See for yourself the gigantic desert symbols that have stumped scientists and theorists for centuries.

Just a quick charter flight or drive from Lima lies Paracas National Reserve, home to a plethora of adventure activities and opportunities for profound wildlife interaction and cultural exploration. Easy logistics and the support of expert travel planners and tour operators make Paracas a no-brainer for travellers looking to add an extra two-day extension onto their trip to Machu Picchu. This is the perfect balance of leisurely beach vibes, fantastic fresh-caught fare, exhilarating adventure and unique attractions – Paracas beckons!

To learn more on how to incorporate Paracas National Reserve into your unique, individually tailored Peru itinerary, contact the Peru Empire Company at or at +51-1- 700-5100 or, if you are in the US, 347-713- 7030/34.

#NazcaLines #Sandboarding #Nature

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