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2018 Updated Information: Paracas National Reserve. One of the biggest protected desert reserves in South America, spanning over 300,000 hectares of desert and ocean.
Located just 4 hours south of Lima, the Paracas National Reserve consists of the Paracas Peninsula, coastal areas, and tropical desert. It provides a sanctuary to more than 400 species of flora and fauna, the most notable being the Humbolt penguins, sea lions, Peruvian booby, humpback whales and dolphins.
The protected reserve covers 3350² kilometers, of which 65% of it is sea and 35% is dry land and islands. It is considered as one of the richest and most uncommon ecosystems in the world, but in all honesty, the attraction is not only the wildlife but the beauty of the ocean and desert landscapes.
Established in 1975, it is the oldest marine reserve in Peru, and in addition to the biological areas, the reserve protects prehistoric sites of the Paracas culture and other ancient civilizations. Near the entrance of the reserve is the Centro de Interpretación de la Reserva Nacional de Paracas and the Museo de Sitio Julio C. Tello named after the archeologist who made major discoveries about the ancient Paracas culture, like the elegant pieces buried with the mummified remains of the Paracas elite.
Located between Playa Lagunillas and Punta Santa Maria is Playa Roja. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Paracas National Reserve due to the reddish color of the shore, most unusual along the Peruvian Coast. The red color of the sand is caused by the nearby massif of Punta Santa Maria, formed by a sort of igneous rock known as pink granodiorite, which contains solidified magma inside. When breaking against the cliffs of Punta Santa Maria, the waves carry fragments of the reddish rocks that then settle on the shore, in a beautiful contrast with the yellow and other colors of the cliffs.
This reserve is unique not only because of its protection and the conservation of marine ecosystems but also the protection of the cultural and historical patrimony of the pre-Inca Paracas culture.
Is the entrance ticket to the reserve included in your passes?Yes, the entrance ticket is included, as well as the transport and tour.
Is it possible to do Ballestas Islands and Paracas National Reserve on the same day?Yes. The time you would have to go on the Ballestas Islands tour would depend on the direction you are traveling. The onboard guide will help you organize the tour if desired.
Is it possible to book a Paracas National Reserve with a tour operator?Yes. The cost of the tour can start from 40 PEN and some might not include the entrance ticket. Remember this is all included at no extra cost in all Peru Hop passes.