▬ The beach town of Paracas, home to the Paracas National Reserve and the Ballestas Islands also known as Poor Man’s Galapagos, is probably the best place in Peru to visit the Pacific coast.
→ Within just a few square kilometers, you can see enigmatic archaeological sites, jaw-dropping desert scenes, stunning beaches, and an extraordinarily diverse array of avian and marine wildlife. The best part about Paracas is that it’s only about a four hour drive from Lima, making it a super convenient location for a quick trip from the capital, either as a weekend getaway or as a stop on a longer trip of the country.
► Paracas Peninsula and its surrounding area was first settled by the Paracas culture which shares its name in 900 BC. These first-known inhabitants lived as fishermen and farmers, but they were also known to be extremely skilled artisans. Their finely-crafted tools, pottery and woven textiles have survived to this day, many unearthed in the tombs of the nearby Paracas Necropolis, a massive burial site of the Paracas and later Nazca cultures. These two cultures were also well-known for their practice of skull elongation, producing an eerie extraterrestrial-like appearance which has led to all manner of wild speculation and conspiracy theories. Many of these interesting discoveries can be seen at the nearby Juan Navarro Hierro Paracas History Museum.
►Nicknamed The Poor Man’s Galapagos, it’s the most well-known attraction for travelers in Paracas. Given the nickname due to the similarity to the Galapagos at a way better price, these rocky islands off the Pacific coast of Peru are an essential stop for any nature lover. The islands are home to hundreds of species of animals such as the endangered Humboldt penguin, seals, many subtropical birds (the blue-footed booby, guanay, etc), and much more exotic and interesting wildlife.