Paracas National Reserve

Considered one of the strangest and richest ecosystems in the world.


Department of Ica, province of Pisco and Ica.
335,000 hectares.
September 1975.

Reserva Nacional de Paracas (Paracas National Reserve) is a natural protected area that has for objective the conservation of the marine ecosystem and of the characteristic formations of a portion of tropical sub desert, protection of the cultural and historical patrimony of the pre-Inca Paracas culture, and to promote the rational use of the marine resources.


From the total of its extension (335 thousand hectares), 217,594 correspond to marine waters and 117,406 to mainland.

The marine reservation has characteristic of great beauty, with average temperatures of 18.7°C (65.66°F), with sun almost the whole year and absence of rains. The wind has a speed average of 14.9 km/h (8.7 miles/h) and in some opportunities winds that reach speeds of 32 km/h (20 miles/h) that lift masses of sand which are denominated paracas.

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Photos of Paracas National Reserve


The sea of Paracas presents small marine currents that favor the numerous presence of the plankton, origin of the marine food chain, giving place to a habitat of numerous marine species; are registered more than 250 species of algae. The terrestrial flora is almost nonexistent for the absence of rains.


In the ocean also exists a variety marine wealth; great quantity of species, fish like the sole (Etropus ectenes), white toyo (Mustelus whitneyi), bonito (Sarda chilensis), tramboyos, dims, mero, pampanito, corvine, lornas, chitas, among others.


Bufeos [dolphins] (Delphinius dephis), turtles, mollusks like the octopus, squids, clams and crustaceans, as purple crabs and the muy-muy (Emerita analoga) are also common in this area.


In the terrestrial area exists a rich fauna, it harbors the biggest colony in sea lions [seals] (Otaria byronia and Arctocephalus australis), guano birds, Inca Terns (Larosterna inca), migratory birds, Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldt) and parihuanas or flamingos (Phoenicopterux chilensis), species in danger of extinction, condors (Vultur gryphus), marine cats (Lutra feline) in danger of extinction, gulls, pelicans, red head turkeys buzzard, the black ostrich, unique species.


The reserve is located basically on the peninsula and bay of Paracas, it also has archaeological remains of the Paracas culture, outstanding the archaeological locations of "Cabeza Larga" and "Pampa de Santo Domingo" where human remains of collectors and fishermen have been located with an antiquity of 6,500 BC. There was found a "quena" [flute] (musical Peruvian instrument) with decoration considered as the first musical instrument of Peru.


Within the Paracas National Reserve have been identified over 100 archaeological sites that demonstrate the degree of adaptability to the area of ​​ancient Peru. The remains show a simple lifestyle, mainly dedicated to fishing and shellfish harvesting. In the evolutionary process of the Paracas culture are known and valued textiles are classified in the Necropolis of this important stage culture.


In the Site Museum Julio C. Tello can see part of the fascinating history of this place that represents a major cultural center of the country. On the way through the different Paracas National Reserve are the archaeological remains of the place and the interdependence of the sea with the resident.


The main attractions are undoubtedly the Paracas National Reserve natural settings that allow us to appreciate the beauty of the place and its diverse flora and fauna. Lagunillas outstanding beaches, La Mina and Mendieta and Piedra Redonda Islands and Tres Marias. This is an excellent point to birdwatching.


Beaches in Paracas: La Mina, La Catedral and Mendieta

Without a doubt, Paracas is blessed with the most spectacular stretch of coast along the Peruvian shoreline. The unique landscape features a saltladen desert that runs down to a deep blue sea through horseshoe-shaped beaches, gigantic cliffs and rocky bluffs carved out by the wind and waves. The National Reserve, which stretches across 335.000 hectares, is one of the country’s best beach destinations, and ideal for activities such as diving, fishing, windsurfing, surfing and photography. Access and services: A paved road leads down to the reserve and its beaches from the town of Pisco at kilometer 234 of the South Pan-American Highway. Once past the guardpost, the road turns into a packed dirt track. In the nearby resort of Paracas and El Chaco beach, one can find hotels, restaurants and boats for hire. Apt for all vehicles.

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