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Paracas National Reserve

The Paracas National Reserve has more than 43 years of creation as one of the protected natural areas that allows us to appreciate the enormous scenic beauty and unique biodiversity that exists in the marine and coastal environment of Ica. And the best tribute we can pay you is to visit or return to this emblematic tourist destination and promote its conservation.

The Paracas National Reserve has a total area of ​​335,000 hectares and was created as a protected natural area by the Peruvian State, on September 25, 1975, to protect representative samples of our marine-coastal ecosystems.

It is located at kilometer 245 of the Panamericana Sur, a completely paved road, and you can get there from the city of Lima in an approximate time of four hours. In addition, a few kilometers away is the city of Pisco, where you can spend the night and also undertake other activities such as visiting the Ballestas Islands, a place where sea lions nest.

Its incalculable value lies in the fact that it protects a great biological diversity essential for the maintenance of various biological cycles that guarantee the conservation of species, as well as generating economic income for the population of the surrounding areas.

The main tourist attractions of Paracas, Perú are the Lagunillas, La Mina and Mendieta beaches, as well as the Piedra Redonda and Tres Marías islands.

When was the Paracas National Reserve created?

Established on September 25, 1975, by Supreme Decree No. 1281-AG., It is the oldest marine reserve in Peru. ANother incredible National Reserve in Perú is the Salkantay Glacier, you can reach this attractions in the salkantay trek 4 days. or visit the citadel of Machu Picchu, with the classic inca trail 4 days 3 nights.

Location:

In the department of Ica, 250 km from Lima and is easily accessible from the Panamericana Sur highway. It is located in part of the Paracas and Salas districts. Paracas, Perú is located on a peninsula of coastal areas and tropical deserts.

Climate in Paracas, Perú

The average monthly temperature is between 15.5 ° C – 22 ° C. There is no rainy season. The Reserve can be visited all year round.

What is the objective of the Paracas National Reserve?

Conserve coastal marine ecosystems and their threatened biological diversity. Ensure the responsible use of hydro-biological resources. Protect the archaeological and cultural heritage for its tourist use and the welfare of the population.

What to see in the Paracas National Reserve?

The main tourist attractions of Paracas, Perú are undoubtedly the great biological diversity, especially in the marine-coastal part. It is estimated that there are about 216 species of birds, resident and migratory, 36 mammals, 10 reptiles, 168 fish and a large number of invertebrates that are the initial part of the trophic chain of this important place.

The main bank of fan shells (Argopecten purpuratus) in the country is in the Bay of Independence, where there is also an important variety of crabs, sea snails, octopus, urchins and other mollusks.

Among the birds that can be seen are the flamingo or parihuana (Phoenicopterus chilensis), the Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti), the potoyunco (Pelecanoides garnotii), the tendril (Larosterna inca).

You can also see the fine sea lions (Arcthocephalus australis), the funny sea lions (Otarya bironia) and the sea cat or otter (Lontra felina). This is how the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), the bufeo (Tursiops truncatus) and the dark dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) can also be seen in the marine waters.

The vegetation is scarce, however some portions of coastal hills can be observed in the highest parts of the hills, formed by the effects of humidity and which serve as habitat for various reptiles, insects, birds and some mammals.

Near the entrance, inside the Reserve, is the Interpretation Center of the Paracas National Reserve and the Julio C. Tello Site Museum named after the archaeologist who made the greatest discoveries of the ancient Paracas culture. In the museum you can see the fine funerary objects buried with the mummified remains of the Paracas elite.

The Lagunillas, La Mina and Mendieta beaches, as well as the Piedra Redonda and Punta Santa María islands. Between Playa Lagunillas and Punta Santa María, this Red Beach is one of the most beautiful in Paracas, Perú due to the reddish color of its coast, the most unusual along the Peruvian coast.

Biodiversity

The Paracas National Reserve is a privileged place on the Peruvian coast for nature tourism, because it houses a great biological diversity, especially in the marine-coastal part.

It is estimated that there are 216 species of birds, 36 of mammals, 10 of reptiles, 168 of fish and a large number of invertebrates, which are the initial part of the trophic chain of this important place.

Birds in Paracas, Perú

The Paracas National Reserve was declared a Ramsar Site in 1992. Peru is the 2nd country in the world with the largest number of bird species. Of the 8,500 species that exist in the world, 1,700 are located in Peru, grouped in 22 orders and 88 families. Nowhere else on Earth will you have the same opportunity to meet this diversity of birds in their natural habitat, in harmony with the nature of their environment.

Among the ancient Peruvians there was already a veneration and admiration for birds, even before the Inca culture (XIV century), the Nazca culture (330 AC – 1000 CE) left us as proof the Nazca lines, also the Paracas culture (600 AC – 200 EC) in its beautiful and unique fabrics and ceramics.

The pre-Hispanic inhabitants of the Peruvian coast used guano (bird excrement) as fertilizer, achieving high technology in agriculture, they also developed marine vessels to extract guano from the islands.

In the Paracas National Reserve there are a large number of resident birds, and migratory birds arrive between the months of October and May. Among the most common birds in the reserve are:

  • Tendril (Larosterna Inca) Seabird native to the Peruvian coasts, covered with a beautiful purple plumage, white plume behind the eyes, red beak and legs, they inhabit rocky beaches of the central and southern coast.
  • Parihuana (Phoenicopterux chilensis) Andean ciconiiform bird, with showy white and red plumage. It has a protuberance in the rump from which the Incas extracted amber, which they threw into the fire to perfume the environment. Occasionally they are found in the National Reserve of Paracas. General San Martín (1821) was inspired by this bird for the creation of the flag of Peru.
  • Alcatraz (Pelecanus thaghus) or Peruvian pelican. Pelecaniform bird, inhabits steep places on the coast and islands of the central and southern coast, in large groups. Flies in large flocks very close to the surface in long glides. It feeds on anchovies and other species, and is highly prized for its guano. It constituted the totem of the Yungas (inhabitants of the coast in pre-Hispanic times)
  • Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) Native to the north coast, brown and white plumage
  • Potoyunco (Pelecanoides garnotii)
  • Camanay (Sula Nebouxii) Guanera pelecaniform bird, covered in white plumage with black wings and blue legs. It lives in steep places on the coast and islands of the entire Peruvian coast. Also called blue-footed booby. Species in vulnerable situation.
  • Franklin’s Gulls (Larus Pipixcan) and White Sandpipers (Calidris alba)
  • Simeon (Larus Belcheri) A marine caradriform bird covered in white plumage and black wings. Also called Peruvian seagull.
  • Mateo (Larus Modestus) Marine caradriform bird covered with white plumage and gray wings. Also called gray seagull. It inhabits the entire Peruvian coastline, in large groups.
  • Red-headed vulture or shrimp (Cathartes aura) Falconiform bird, inhabits the Peruvian coast, mountains and jungle. Peru has the 6 species of South American condors and buzzards.
  • Condor (Vultur gryphus) Andean falconiform bird; occasionally it descends from its natural habitat in the great Andean heights, and up to the beaches of the Paracas National Reserve. Of magnificent gliding and sailing flight.

You can also see the fine sea lions (Arcthocephalus australis), the funny sea lions (Otarya bironia) and the sea cat or otter (Lontra felina). The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), the bufeo (Tursiops truncatus) and the dark dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) can also be seen in the marine waters.

Vegetation is scarce in the Paracas National Reserve, but some portions of coastal hills can be seen in the highest parts of the hills, formed by the effects of humidity and that serve as a habitat for various reptiles, insects, birds and some mammals.

Observation of flora and fauna

The Paracas National Reserve harbors a great biological diversity, especially in the marine-coastal part. It is estimated that there are about 216 species of birds, 36 of mammals, 10 of reptiles, 168 of fish and a large number of invertebrates that are the initial part of the trophic chain of this important place. The main bank of fan shells (Argopecten purpuratus) in the country is in the Bay of Independence, where there is also an important variety of crabs, sea snails, octopus, urchins and other mollusks.

Among the birds that can be seen include the flamingo or parihuana (Phoenicopterus chilensis), the Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti), the potoyunco (Pelecanoides garnotii), the tendril (Larosterna inca), guano birds and eventually the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus). You can also see the fine sea lions (Arcthocephalus australis), the funny sea lions (Otarya bironia) and the sea cat or otter (Lontra felina). This is how the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), the bufeo (Tursiops truncatus) and the dark dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) can also be seen in the marine waters.

Vegetation is scarce in the Paracas National Reserve, however some portions of coastal hills can be observed in the highest parts of the hills formed by the effects of humidity and that serve as habitat for various reptiles, insects, birds and some mammals. .

In its waters there is also a varied ichthyological wealth; large number of species, fish such as sole (Etropus ectenes), white toyo (Mustelus whitneyi), bonito (Sarda chilensis), tramboyos, rays, anchovies, groupers, pampanitos, corvinas, lornas, cheetahs, among others.

Bufeo, leatherback and green turtles, mollusks such as octopus, squid, clams and crustaceans, such as purple crabs, and the muy muy (Emerita analoga) are also common.

Archaeological sites

Within the Paracas National Reserve, more than 100 archaeological sites have been identified that demonstrate the degree of adaptability to the ancient Peruvian zone. The remains found show a simple lifestyle, basically dedicated to fishing and collecting shellfish. In the evolutionary process of the Paracas culture there are the well-known and valued textiles that are classified in the Necropolis stage of this important culture.

The cathedral, a must-see area

If you go to the Paracas National Reserve, it is clear that the cathedral is another area you should go to. For those who do not know what it consists of, it is an imposing rock formation caused by the erosion of the sea and the wind over the centuries. It stands out for having a concave that resembles the one that can be found on the dome of cathedrals.

If after reading everything you can find there you are clear that you want to travel to this area of ​​great beauty, you should know that you can do it through organized visits. In this way, you will be able to discover the multiple natural and archaeological attractions of the area throughout its 335,000 hectares. You can enjoy its incredible flora and fauna but also its incredible beaches, birds and adventures in the desert.

In addition, you can also camp a few kilometers away are the city of Pisco and El Chaco. In this way you can spend the night and also carry out other activities such as a visit to the Ballestas Islands. All this without forgetting that you can visit the Julio C. Tello Site Museum, which permanently exhibits pieces of the Paracas culture. These are pieces that were found in the cemeteries of the place.

In the Julio C. Tello Site Museum you can learn part of the fascinating history of this place that represents an important cultural center of the country. On the journey through the Paracas National Reserve, there are different vestiges of the archaeological wealth of the place and the interdependence of the sea with the population.

Tourist Routes

Within the reserve you should only travel along the authorized paths, and it is recommended to enter with a guide, since the little signaling can cause loss of time. In this area there are large numbers of endemic and migratory birds, so you must take special care not to alter the natural habitat and follow all the indications and regulations of the National System of Protected Natural Areas. At km 27 of the Pisco – Puerto San Martín highway, the Visitor Center is located, attached to the Julio C. Tello Site Museum, where you can receive complete information on the reservation and guide service.

The main tourist attractions of the Paracas National Reserve are undoubtedly the natural settings that allow us to appreciate the beauty of the place and its varied flora and fauna. The Lagunillas, La Mina and Mendieta beaches stand out, as well as the Piedra Redonda and Tres Marías islands.

The reserve is located basically on the peninsula and bay of Paracas, it also includes archaeological remains of the Paracas culture, highlighting the archaeological sites of Cabeza Larga and the Pampa de Santo Domingo, where human remains of collectors and fishermen have been located with an antiquity of 6,500 BC. In it, a quena (kind of flute) was also found with decoration considered to be the first musical instrument in Perú.

Classic day tour in the Paracas National Reserve

The first point is the port of Chaco. On the way we will make a brief stop to observe the enigmatic figure of the chandelier, related to the Nasca Lines and pirates. Then we will continue our journey out to sea where we will begin to see the rock formations, the marine fauna such as: sea lions, penguins, pelicans, boobies etc. To end the circuit, you will go through the beaches: Playa Supay, Playa Roja, Playa Lagunilla.

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