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Weather

icon56.32°F | 13.51°C Max: 65.28°F | 18.49°C Min: 56.32°F | 13.51°C

Activities

Archeological sites

Archeological sites

Birdwatching

Birdwatching

Buggies

Buggies

Cycling

Cycling

Four wheeler riding

Four wheeler riding

Marine life

Marine life

Museum

Museum

Parapenting

Parapenting

Sandboarding

Sandboarding

Scuba diving

Scuba diving

Walks

Walks

Beach

Beach

Overflight

Overflight

Elevation/Pressure

0 m
1013 hpa

Marine Flora and Fauna

Paracas & Ballestas islands

Paracas & Ballestas islands is in the department of Ica, province of Pisco. This sea side town is attractive because of its weather, beaches and beautiful sea side houses.

Paracas means “sand rain” in Quechua. The city got its name because of the strong winds (up to 32 km/h) carrying sand. Paracas was declared a regional reserve for migratory birds.

In Paracas, the visitors can see different ecosystems, archaeological remains from the Paracas culture, the place where San Martín disembarked and the area’s wide marine fauna diversity (Ballestas islands).

When browsing the Ballestas Islands you will have the possibility to observe a colony of hundreds of sea lions, in addition to different species of birds, both resident and migratory.

In addition, an hour away by car you can visit the Huacachina oasis where it is possible to do different adventure sports such as buggies, sandboarding and paragliding. In addition, if you like nature we will have the opportunity to glamp at the top of the dunes and from there observe one of the most starry skies.

And if you want to learn more about our pre-Inca culture from the Pisco-Paracas airport, you can fly over the Nazca lines.

 

Map of Paracas & Ballestas islands

DON'T MISS THE PARACAS & BALLESTAS ISLANDS EXPERIENCE

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History

The Paracas culture, an ancient pre-Incan civilization established in this territory between 700 BC and 200 AD. It is contemporary with the Chavín culture, which developed in the north of the country, in the Ancash department and is predecessor of the Nazca culture. Some scientists think that the end of the Paracas culture is the starting point of the Nazca culture.

Among the activities carried out by the Paracas, we can find textiles that stood out for its high quality. They also made decorated pottery and very-well manufactured basketwork. They performed cranial trepanations, which were very common. There are several theories about their purpose.

This culture was discovered by the Peruvian Julio C. Tello in 1925. A cemetery with 39 tombs was found with funeral bundles wrapped in fine blankets surrounded by pottery, food, hunting tools and animal skins.

In the same zone, we can currently find the Paracas National Reserve. It was declared as a reserve in 1975 to preserve the Peruvian desert as well as the marine flora and fauna for resident and migratory species.

Geography

The district of Paracas is in the Pisco province, in the Ica department. Paracas’ geography consists of undulating terrain with plains, hills and sand dunes with a coastline bathed by the Pacific Ocean.

More than an hour by boat, we can find capricious-shaped islets inhabited by a big population of marine fauna.

The Paracas National reserve has an area 217,594 hectares. It consists of marine environments, for many, the richest sea in the world.

Attractions

Paracas is mostly visited to sail out to the sea and meet the great marine fauna and the different resident and migratory bird species.  The tour takes about 3 hours and it is advisable to take bottled water to drink and avoid dizziness.

On the tour to the islands, we can see a chandelier-shaped engraving on one of the hills. It is a 120-meter geoglyph engraved on stone and covered in sand. It is believed to be connected to the Nazca lines.

If you are looking for adventure, you can go through the dunes on the well-known buggies, sail on a kayak on the sea, ride a bike or a four-wheeler on the dessert, paraglide or dive in the sea and discover more of the zone’s marine fauna.

Flora and Fauna

The Paracas National Reserve is home to a great biological diversity, especially on the coast. It is estimated that there are about 216 bird species, 36 mammal species, 10 reptile species, 168 fish species and many invertebrates that are the base of the food chain. The main Peruvian calico scallop (Argopecten purpuratus) bed is in the Independencia bay where we can also find a wide variety of crabs, marine snails, octopuses and other shellfish.

Within the group of birds that can be seen, the species that stand out are the flamingo or parihuana (Phoenicopterus chilensis), the Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti), the Peruvian diving petrel (Pelecanoides garnotii), the Inca tern (Larosterna inca) and occasionally the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus). We can also see South American fur seals (Arcthocephalus australis), South American sea lions (Otarya bironia), marine otters (Lontra felina), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and dusky dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obscurus).

Vegetation is scarce in the reserve; however, there are some spots of coastal hills in the highest parts of the heaps, that are formed by the effects of humidity and are home to several reptiles, insects, birds and some mammals.

Food

Considering that Paracas is at the edge of the sea, the best choice is seafood. Be sure to try our fish ceviche or an arroz con mariscos. You can also try jalea (fish and seafood chicharron) and choritos a la chalaca.

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