Relaxing on the Peruvian beaches of Paracas

After running around Cusco and region for just over a week, it was time to do some relaxing. We’d also been at altitude for a while now, so we were looking forward to some warmer weather! We are slowly making our way up to the north of Peru, so to us Paracas seemed like the perfect spot for some beach time. Paracas only gets about 20 mm of rain every year, and with an average temperature of 25 °C in april, we were sold.

How to get there

From Cusco, we took a nightbus to Paracas, which cost 100 soles per person and took about 20 hours. It’s long, but we’ve gotten used to the long busrides so we don’t mind it really. Saves a night in a hotel as well. If you want to, you could break up the trip with a stop in Ayacucho or Nazca.

Keep your eye on the map, though! The driver had forgotten about us, and he didn’t stop at the ‘parada‘ for Paracas. Luis jumped up and started knocking on the door of the driver, while yelling we needed to get out for Paracas, which made him stop. Not ideal, for sure, but at least we didn’t find out while we were all the way in Lima.

Playa Paracas

On day 1 we took it nice and easy and just went to the beach that was right in town. The beach wasn’t super clean and the water was also quite murky, but that wasn’t surprising considering all the boats that were in the water right in front of us.

Paracas beach

Reserva Nacional de Paracas

The Paracas reserve is on a peninsula, right next to the town. There are many tours you can do to discover it, but it’s also possible to (mostly) go by yourself. You will need to take a taxi, and have one waiting for you at the end of the day (at a time of your choosing). This taxi has a more or less fixed price of 80 soles, this includes the return ride as well.

We had the taxi drop us off at Playa de las Minas, and we got picked up at Playa Roja. In between those places, we walked. From Playa de las Minas and Playa El Raspón (they are next to eachother), we walked to Lagunillas for lunch and the mirador, and from there we walked to Playa Roja.

Besides your transport, you also pay a fee to enter the reserve. To visit both the peninsula and the Islas Ballestas (see more below), you pay 17 soles per person.

Playa de las Minas

We started the day strong, Playa de las Minas was the nicest beach that day. The water is blue and clear, the sand is mostly clean as well, and you can rent chairs and umbrellas. There’s not a lot of people selling snacks and drinks, so bring some things if you’re planning to stay the full day.

Playa de las Minas, Paracas

Paracas is a bird paradise, so while you’re sitting on the beach you can admire all the birds flying around and diving in to the water to catch fish. It’s really quite cool! There are also lots of pelicans.

Playa El Raspón

Just to the side of Playa de las Minas is a smaller beach called Playa El Raspón. You have to walk down some stairs to get to the beach. It’s pretty narrow and not as clean as Playa de las Minas, so we only stayed to look around.


From Playa de las Minas it’s about a 30 minute walk to Lagunillas. You walk on the road, but there shouldn’t be a lot of traffic during the week. In the weekend this might be different.

Lagunillas has a couple of restaurants that mostly serve seafood, but I managed to find a vegetarian (rice, salad, avocado and egg) option as well. If you do eat seafood, I reckon this would be a great place to get some.

Lagunillas mirador, Paracas

After we had lunch, we walked up to the mirador and enjoyed the view here for a bit. There are lots of pelicans and other sea birds around again.

Playa Roja

As far as we could see, you can not actually get on to Playa Roja, but there is a mirador from where you can see the whole beach. The view is impressive, with the red sand stretching all the way to the other side.

Playa Roja, Paracas

Islas Ballestas

Another popular tour in Paracas is the boat to the Islas Ballestas, a group of small islands where you’ll be able to see sea lions and, again, lots of sea birds. On the way they’ll pass a geoglyph (similar to the Nazca lines), called the Candelabro.

The boats are very nice and they can go quite fast. Because of this, you can also get quite wet, lol. When we went, it really depended on which side of the boat you were, but I got soaked. Thankfully I had my camera in a drybag, but many people were not expecting to get as wet as they did, so something to keep in mind if you’re going on this tour.

We passed a colony of sealions, and spotted a few of them sunbathing on the rocks of the islands. Overall, it was nice, but as we’d seen our fair share of sealions already in Argentina and Chile, we probably could have skipped this tour.

Paracas is a great place to relax for a couple of days, while also seeing the national park, on the way to, or coming from Lima.

Traveller 'in heart and kidneys' (as we would say in Dutch), currently on the road with no end in sight. Started in Brazil, making our way through South and Central America.

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