Browsing: Paracas

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Paracas for Fiestas Patrias
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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El Comercio
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.