Paracas Peru: Our 2017 detailed guide from how to get there, where to stay, how to book the ballestas islands and much more!

Paracas Brief Summary:

  • Paracas is a beautiful small town by the sea.
  • Located 4 hours South of Lima, Paracas is drenched with sunshine all year round.
  • Home of the Paracas National Reserve, which includes one of the biggest protected deserts in the Americas as well as the Ballestas Islands, also known as “poor man’s Galapagos”.

Below we have created our extensive guide to Paraca based on our expert local knowledge having helped to transport over 30,000 tourists here since our formation in 2013.

Quick Tip: If travelling to or from Lima Airport, it is strongly recommended to use the luxury Airport Express Lima bus to get to or from your hotel. Safer and cheaper than a taxi with no baggage limit as well as free Wi-Fi and USB chargers onboard, it is ideal for travellers.

Paracas Guide Contents:

1. How to get to Paracas – Compare transportation options.
2. Must do in Paracas – A list of the most popular activities for travellers.
3. Must see in Paracas – The sights you cannot miss.
4. Paracas safety tips – Safety issues to be aware of.
5. Where to stay in Paracas – The best hotel/hostel options.
6. Photo Gallery – The best hotel/hostel options.

How to get to Paracas

How to get to Paracas:

Paracas is approximately a 4-hour drive away from Lima. There are many public bus companies operating the Lima to Paracas route. The only problem is the headache you will have trying to compare prices and after you choose one, having to find the companies terminal since there is no central bus terminal.

Peru Hop busses offer comfortable and a safe trip, with free pickups and drop-offs being included for free. There are also free additional stops and tours on the way to Paracas which will make your trip much better!

Must do in Paracas

Must do in Paracas:

  • Paracas National Reserve Tour, free with your Peru Hop pass.
  • Ballestas Islands (Islas Ballestas) Tour.
  • Rent quad bikes and drive around the desert.
  • Rent bicycles.
  • Practice kitesurfing.
  • Sample local Peruvian Chocotejas, a typical Peruvian chocolate.

Paracas is perfect for all types of travellers. With its relaxed vibes, this beach town has a surprising variety of activities to choose from. The Paracas National Reserve is one of the main attractions here in Paracas. It is the oldest marine reserve in Peru and consists of almost 335,000 hectares of area, with its main function to preserve the marine life ecosystem. You will find many different species of birds here, most sitting on the shore’s edge basking in the sunshine that reflects of the water. This offers some excellent photo opportunities as the desert lands and endless ocean waters provide the perfect scenery to capture that treasure memory on film.

Just 15 minutes away on boat from the Pacific Coast lie the Ballestas Islands, also referred to as the “poor man’s Galapagos”. With a tour of these islands you get to see a lot of animals in their natural habitat at just a fraction of the cost! The Ballestas are a must do for all wildlife lovers as they’re home to thousands of birds and mammals including penguins, sea lions, Inca terns and pelicans. The islands are protected, meaning you cannot swim with the animals or walk on the islands themselves, but you will get very close to them by boat.

Must see in Paracas

Must see in Paracas:

  • Watch the sunset along the Pacific coast
  • See an interesting exhibition of the evolutionary process of the Paracas culture, textiles, ceramics and reproductions of their daily life at the Julio C. Tello Site Museum.

Like mentioned before, this beach has a really relaxing vibe and you will feel it even more while watching the sun set along the Pacific coast. Just grab a couple of beers and enjoy the view.

The town has expanded a lot over the last few years as many new hotel complexes open up to accommodate this increase in tourism, but the stunning local beauty has not been affected and if anything, it has only been enhanced.

Paracas safety tips

Paracas safety tips:

  • Bring sunblock and a hat, it is sunny all year round
  • Never carry your passport/credit card unless 100% necessary
  • Avoid using ATM machines at night.
  • If moving on to Huacachina after Paracas make sure you take cash out from the ATM while you can. While there are two ATM machines in Paracas there are NONE in Huacachina.
Where to stay in Paracas

Where to stay in Paracas:

Below are some of the most popular places to stay in Paracas. Remember that all Peru Hop passengers get special discounts and prices. For more information see our hotel/hostel discounts page.

Kokopelli Backpackers Hostel:

Description: The best hostel in Paracas, with a swimming pool and lively bar.

Facilities: Swimming pool, small bar, breakfast included, Wi-Fi.

How to Book: Email


Kokopelli Backpackers Hostel paracas peru

Paracas Backpackers House:

Description: Family owned quiet hostel, good ratings on Hostelworld.

Facilities: Kitchen, common area, Wi-Fi (no swimming pool).

How to book: Email


paracas backpacker house peru

Los Frayles 3-star Hotel:

Description: Beautiful 3-star hotel with clean 4bed/3bed and private rooms.

Facilities: Swimming pool, Wi-Fi, secure rooms ALL with private bathroom.

Excellent for: Those who want to avoid large dorms – hotel quite empty apart from Peru Hop passengers.

How to book: Email


los frayles paracas peru

Photo Gallery:

Paracas photo gallery peru

Overall, Paracas is the perfect place to relax and have some fun by the beach. We strongly recommend spending at least 1 night to experience it to the maximum.

To book a tour in Paracas we recommend you use a search and comparison website for tours across South America.