Paracas is the only marine reserve in Peru. Most of it is occupied by water spaces. Created in 1975, Paracas is famous for its unique fauna and above all significant colonies of sea lions. Numerous species of birds live here, including condors and black ostriches on the verge of extinction. In addition to the protection of animals, the reserve has another task – the preservation of the remnants of the ancient parakas culture, which existed in this area in the first millennium BC. Nowadays, a unique underground necropolis with forty mummies, which are now stored in the Ica Museum, was discovered here.
The Paracas National Reserve is located 261 km south of Lima, 75 km from Ica and 22 km from the city of Pisco. This coastal ecological system, spread over an area of 335 thousand hectares, consists of deserts, beaches, islands, coastal cliffs and is washed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Paracas was the center of pre-Inca culture, famous for its textiles, products of local artisans, experience of medicine men in medicine.
On the territory of the Paracas reserve, some of the most ancient human remains were found (6500 BC). Particular attention deserves the ancient flute, which is considered the first musical instrument from Peru.
A trip on a big boat to the Balestas Islands, where fur seals and lions, penguins, pelicans and other representatives of the wildlife of the Pacific Ocean live, will take about three hours and will not leave indifferent even the most sophisticated tourist. Please note that the excursions usually begin until 11:00, then the water surface is hazy, and the excursions are not conducted.
The trip itself is very pleasant and informative, especially for lovers of animals and birds. Huge colonies of booby and cormorants nest on the islands. Their droppings – “guano” – have been used to fertilize the soil since ancient times.
During this trip from the sea you can see the famous mystical drawing of a giant trident or, as it is also called, a “candelabra” on a sand dune, and during sunset you can admire the pink flamingos in the Paracas Bay. Do not forget that during this excursion it is very easy to burn in the sun, so be sure to use a protective tanning cream and hats.
Curious tourists are attracted by the ruins of the ancient aqueduct Cantayoc, which is 5 km east of Nazca. Curious are the excavations of the ancient cemetery of Kahuachi, which is 17 km north of Nazca and, of course, the ruins of the Inca settlement of Tambo Colorado in the valley around the city of Pisco.
In addition, in the city of Ike it is good to catch a noisy festivity, on which wine flows like water, traditional for local wineries. You should definitely try the national drink Pisco, a strong alcoholic drink from Peruvian grapes. From local dishes you need to try Sopa seca (Sopa seca), noodle soup, beef and poultry meat, Carapulcra, sun-dried potatoes mixed with pork, pepper, achiote (spice, giving red color) and ground mani nuts, Guiso de pallares verdes, green beans stewed in a spicy sauce, and Tejas, locally made chocolates filled with nuts, boiled condensed milk, prunes, bananas, strawberries, chirimoi.
Take a break from the bustle of the city can be in Huakachina, an oasis 5 kilometers from the city of Ica.
How to get there
The easiest way to the city of Iku is to fly from Lima, which takes 1 hour. It can be reached via the Pan-American Highway from Lima in 3 hours; from Iki – 4 hours; from Nazca – 6 hours.