Looking for a long weekend getaway that is close by to Lima? From camping in→
Paracas or El Chaco is a lovely beach town in the South of Peru which→
Often referred to as the Galapagos Islands of Peru, the Islas Ballestas rank as one→
|Sunset over the Bay of Paracas, a favorite destination for Limeños, nature lovers, birdwatchers and free spirits. See slide show.|
By Jorge Riveros-Cayo
Photos by Eileen Marie Roche
We decided to leave early in the morning on the first bus departing at 3.45 a.m. to be exact. After some deadly strong pisco sours and supposedly refreshing pitchers of beers, we headed to the bus station – quite dead indeed – with the hope of sleeping tight during the approximate four-hour drive between Lima and Paradise. We were escaping from Peru’s capital damp weather and grayness to start a four-day trip in Ica, the sunny region 300 kilometers south of Lima. We were going to explore the land of superb pisco, of creamy butter beans and of a nature haven called the Paracas National Reserve.
People are reputed to live happy and warm all year round in Ica. Okay, maybe not the entire year but anything could be better than drowning in Lima’s humidity between June and November. And anyway, our boundless enthusiasm was going to summon the sun from wherever it was hiding from us. Eileen, a U.S. born photographer traveling South America who I met weeks before, and myself had been invited to spend a couple of days at the Doubletree Hilton-Paracas Hotel. The plan was to explore the sledgehammer-shaped chunk of desert coastline jutting in the Pacific Ocean from this comfy base. And that is exactly what we did.→
By Deborah Charnes
Sometimes, the best vacation souvenirs are not what you buy or what you visit, but rather, about the people you meet and the experiences you share.
|The author made two friends during her stay in Paracas, Peru.|
With three hours to kill, I went to eat lunch at an informal oceanfront café in a small town four hours south of Lima, Peru. For 15 soles ($5), I ordered the seafood special. My selection for an appetizer was a tangy and spicy whitefish ceviche, which was served with corn nuts, boiled sweet potato and white potato slices, and a small piece of corn on the cob served over a few lettuce leaves. To save room for my main course, I left about a third of the platter untouched. My next selection was lightly breaded and fried fish served with a heaping side of French fries and slices of avocado, tomato and onion. I barely touched the fries but gobbled up the fish and vegetables.
A little girl came by selling beaded jewelry. I told her I wasn’t interested. She still hung around. I started to talk to her. She was seven. She said she went to school during the week, but admitted she didn’t know how to read or write. Her mother made the beads and worked nearby.→
|Hanging out on Paracas’s fishing bay. (Photo: Elizabeth Levy Paluck)|
By Deborah Charnes
Paracas may not be your cup of tea if you want all the amenities of a major resort town. There is one small five-star Starwood hotel, complete with spa services, pools and cabanas for those that want luxury at $350 a night. Many of the property’s bungalows are filled on the weekends with wealthy families from Lima that drive down in their $120,000 Audis. But if you appreciate nature, natural habitats, and life as it used to be lived, this is a paradise full of European backpackers where simplicity can be found for $15-$30 a night.
When we think of Peru, we often recall the ancient Incan legacy. Few of us realize that Peru is also testimony to a 50 million-year-old evolving habitat. Nor do we realize that UNESCO identified Paracas as a world heritage site due to its unique ecosystems which protect more than 200 species of birds, sea lions, turtles, dolphins and whales.→
|Rein Petersen, kite surf instructor for Perukite, carves through the ocean in Paracas, Peru. (Nathan Paluck photo)|
By Nathan Paluck
“Oh yeah, we’re at 20 knots.” The wind made Rein Petersen’s bleached hair stand up more than usual and scattered sand on a Pacific Ocean beach in Peru.
Petersen unrolled a red practice kite for two kite surfing novices and showed them how to fly it in the 25 m.p.h. breeze.
Skimming across the water was a muscle-bound kite surfer, his two feet in a small board and two hands controlling the upside-down U-shaped kite that pulled him. Beginners practiced flying kites from land and some, with varying degrees of success, propelled themselves upright onto the water.→
Adapted from Spanish by Diana Schwalb
In the past couple of months, Paracas has become an interesting tourist stronghold with the arrival of important international hotels that offer multiple luxurious rooms and a delicious menu.
|Try 4×4 adventure rides in the Paracas desert. (Photo: Jorge Esquiroz)|
Tourists all over the world and event-organizing companies have found an attractive refuge in the center of the desert bay.
However, the bay presents a major problem. Although one can practice water sports, it is not apt for swimming. And the typical winds of the area don’t make it a good place to just lie down on the shore and sun bathe. So, an alternative recreational activity had to be sought for the guests. The options are very original.
Continue reading about exotic desert vacation options.→
For El Comercio
Massive resilient boulders that stand through the years, the power of the waves, the roughness of the wind, the solitude of the ocean give silent shelter to one of the greatest live treasures of Peru.
The Ballestas islands, Chincha, San Gallán and Isla Blanca are part of the marine fauna that firmly stand in front of the shores of Ica in the district of Paracas.
Nautical tourism concentrates around the fishing creek El Chaco where the port, which carries the same name, is the starting point that takes tourists to the marine universe that the Paracas Bay has to offer.
Generally, local agencies like Paracas Overland or Huacachina Tours offer expeditions to the Ballestas Islands. The approximate price per person is of s/.30.00 in the first case and US$25 in the second one that includes transportation and shipping to a private dock.
Jose Rosales Vargas – El Comercio
Translation: Vanessa Castro Chesterton – Living in Peru
The vast Ica desert demonstrates the perfect trilogy within its ecosystem along the extent of its 260 km span which unites the beauty of the sea and coast, fossilized remains and a rich cultural backdrop. It probably constitutes the only place in the country where culture and ecotourism in its different expressions manage to coexist harmoniously meriting its appraisal and conservation.
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