Explore Peru’s Southern Coast
Generally Peru can be categorised in three regions: the coast, the highlands and the rainforest. In Cusco you’ll experience the culture and the traditions of the Andean Highlands and will have the opportunity to appreciate the picturesque landscapes while hiking in the majestic mountains. However, we feel that a tour to Peru is not complete without visiting one of the other two regions. Also add a visit to the coast to your Peru Travel Package and experience the diverse customs of this country.
When to visit?
The climate in Peru’s Coast is very distinct to the Andean Highlands. You’ll experience mild temperatures in winter and warm summers in Cerro Azul, one of the driest climates in the world in Ica and Huacachina which already form part of the Atacama Desert, and warm and dry days throughout the whole year in Paracas. Thanks to its warm weather the South Coast of Peru can be visited in all seasons.
What to bring with you?
Take into consideration that on Peru’s Southern Coast you’ll experience very little precipitation and strong sun. So pack sunscreen with a high UV protection, a hat or a cap and summer clothes. However, don’t forget a light jacket or a pullover to cover up at night when the temperatures drop. We’d also recommend to take some insect repellent with you. Don’t forget that in other regions that are included in your Peru Travel Package the weather is much cooler, therefore, pack warm clothes and layers as well.
The little village of El Chaco, better-known under the name of the neighbouring National Park Paracas, is a popular vacation spot for national and international tourists. Its main attractions are the before-named National Park Paracas and the Islas Ballestas, which form part of the reserve.
Tours to the Islas Ballestas normally depart in the morning (08:00, 10:00 and 12:00), last for about two hours and group tours depart in a boat of around 25 people. After a ten-minute boat ride we arrived to our first stop, a hieroglyph, carved into the sand by Pre-Incan cultures, which we observed from the water. Our guide quickly explained us all the possible theories about the mysterious origin of this sign and then we headed off for exploring the Islas Ballestas. Another 10-minute drive and we arrived at the islands where sea gulls were flying over our heads and sea lions were sunbathing at the rocks right in front of us. Eventually one of them jumped into the water to hunt for food and others tried to climb the slippery rocks. After cruising around the islands for 15-minutes we made our way back to the port, our starting point of this tour.
The part of the Paracas National Reserve that is located on land is a must-see and you should definitely add a visit to your Peru Travel Package. There are different options for visiting this scenic park and its wonderful beaches: You can choose between joining a minibus or a quad tour and renting a bike. We decided for the last option and first cycled along the road to the entry of the park where we paid the entrance fee, afterwards we kept left, and we cycled approximately ten kilometres on a bumpy gravel path road until we arrived to our first planned stop, the viewpoint La Catedral. Along the route you can also have a look at ancient can i buy accutane fossils that were discovered in the National Park. After enjoying the view on the magnificent rock formation of La Catedral from the two platforms we continued our tour to the Playa Yumaque and then to the Playa Roja, which was the highlight of our cycling tour. This beach rightly bears its name thanks to its coloured sand and although you’re not allowed to step on the beach you can enjoy the magnificent views from above.
After visiting this beautiful beach we returned to El Chaco, however, you also have the option to continue to Playa La Mina which you’ll reach in about five more kilometres. We cycled back to Paracas by passing by the visitor’s centre which hosts a small exhibition about the flora, fauna and animals living in the national park. Next to the visitors centre you can follow a small path and at the end of this little trail you’ll spot some flamingos in the distance.
How to get there?
Getting from Lima to Paracas is an approximately four-hour bus journey and the companies Oltursa and Cruz del Sur offer direct services.
Ica and Huacachina
Another classic sight is the oasis in Huacachina, which is located next to Ica and a holiday feeling comes up when you’re walking next to the green lake which is surrounded by high sand dunes and by passing by plenty of restaurants offering typical Peruvian food. This pretty town also has many free-time activities on offer, for example you can join a boat tour on the oasis, participate in a dune-buggy tour and watch the sunset in the middle of the desert or simply rent sandboards at one of the stands and ride down the dunes on your own. Travel agencies in town also offer classes and teach you how to sand board or even ski in the sand. To sum up there are plenty activities on offer for all fitness levels, so simply choose your preferred one and add an amazing experience to your Peru Travel Package!
How to get there?
If you’re already in Paracas accommodation providers and travel agencies offer direct buses to the oasis Huacachina. The buses normally depart around 11:00 a.m. and 03:00 p.m. In case you’re departing from Lima, take a bus to Ica and then a taxi to the oasis which is around 20 to 30 minutes in taxi from the city center.
This off-the-beaten track village lies half-way between Paracas and Lima and is known for its vibrant surfing scene and also a popular weekend getaway and holiday destination for people living in Lima thanks to its distance to the capital. Pack your swimsuit, enjoy the time at the vast beach of this little seaside town and watch the sunset on the pier. For dinner you can find restaurants along the boardwalk as well as around the small Plaza the Armas. The more adventurous can take surfing classes and advanced surfers can also rent boards. All in all, this quaint little seaside town is definitely worth a visit for everybody who wants to experience the Peruvian life at the coast and is looking for an adventure off the tourist paths.
How to get there?
We’d recommend you to travel to Cerro Azul in private transportation
Curious about visiting Peru’s South Coast? We’ll create an exceptional Peru Travel Package for you that combines a visit to the Andean Highlands and the Coast.