The Paracas port, located in the bay of Paracas, is a popular port of call for many cruise ships. The port of Pisco, which was the former port of Paracas, has now been disabled for marine traffic. Paracas is an excellent natural and biodiversity destination with the added attraction of cultural and historical places of interest. The climate of this place is warm and sunny most of the year. It is a peninsula, a bay, and a pre-Inca Culture and National Reserve—a paradise for bird watchers and hikers. The amazing mix of sea and desert has blessed Paracas with spectacular landscapes. The cliffs near the many beaches of Paracas teem with millions of birds and sea lions.
There are extraordinarily beautiful textiles, crafts, and sweaters available from the various shops in the Main Square. In Pisac—the Sacred Valley of the Incas—the natives celebrate each Sunday with feasts, headed by the bosses of Ayllus or caciques, carrying their "varáyoc,” to the accompaniment of their native dance and mass in Quechua. They also conduct an indigenous fair, which deals with many beautiful products such as craft items, textiles, ponchos, sweaters, and bags. This market opens on Sundays and Thursdays. You can buy ceramic items, replicas of the Incan archaeological pieces, ceremonial glasses, and necklaces here. Do not forget to buy the white grape brandy, a Pisco region specialty, called “Pisco Sour.”
Things to See
From El Chacos to Islas Ballestas, boats take tourists to see the sea lion colonies and birds such as the Guanay cormorants, Peruvian boobies, pelicans, Humboldt penguins, and Chilean flamingos. You can also see the famous three-pronged Candelabro (Candelabrum), carved into the sand. To enjoy the desert dunes, take a ride by car or buggy to the terrestrial areas of the Paracas National Reserve. Lovers of nature and ecology should make a visit to this reserve, which is dedicated to the conservation and protection of marine ecosystems. This is considered as the richest and most uncommon ecosystem in the world and has been declared as a “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO. The spectacular sight of the red and white plumaged Andean flamingos is a must-see in the beaches at the Bay of Paracas. The ruins at Tambo Colorado, which was an administrative center built by the Chinchas, are considered as one of the best-preserved Adobe ruins in Peru.
One of the world’s most impressive ancient mysteries—the Nazca Lines—consists of a series of enormous and intricate drawings of birds, animals, and geometric figures, supposed to be etched into the desert crust about two millennia ago. You can find a vast collection of Paracas, Nazca, and Inca artifacts, such as mummies, ceramic products, textiles, skulls, counting strings, and clothes made of feathers in the Regional Museum of Ica.
Restaurants and Bars
For the best Peruvian cuisine, visit the Paracas Restaurant. The fish Ceviche and Calamari, served as appetizers, are the favorites of the locals. The rice and the Palomilla steak of this restaurant are very popular. Beer is also available here. Grilled Guinea pig and rabbit are the specialties of the region and are available all over Paracas.