Overview

The Paracas Nature Reserve on a rocky desert peninsula and the guano-rich Ballestas Islands just off the Pacific coast, a short drive from Lima, are often visited en route to the Nazca Lines and Arequipa, but for wildlife lovers they are a real treat in their own right. Sealions, Humboldt penguins, pelicans, terns, cormorants and flamingoes thrive here, and the marine life is equally prolific, with dolphins, sharks and whales.

Between Paracas and Nazca, the town of Ica is the centre of Peru's pisco industry and viticulture. It sits in a fertile valley close to towering sand dunes, 50km from the sea. There's an interesting museum but the main reason for a visit is to discover the bodegas, or wineries, one or two if which offer delightful accommodation. A few km from the town is an oasis with a palm-fringed lagoon at the summer resort Huacachina.

The Nazca Lines, huge geometric designs and figures etched into a bleak, barren plain inland from the coast (3.5-4 hrs’ drive from Paracas and 7 from Lima), were carved around 2,000 years ago, possibly as an astronomical calendar. Close to Paracas is the port Pisco, from which you can take a light aircraft flight over the Nazca Lines.

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Where to go when - our guide to Paracas, Ica and Nazca

Nazca

The weather in Paracas, Ica and Nazca is wide and varied

The cold Pacific current keeps the rain away and a misty sun is out here most of the year round, and temperatures are mild. The wildlife is abundant all year round; flamingoes are present July to November.

View our Paracas, Ica and Nazca weather guide

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    Sophie Barber - Travel Expert

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.

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    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

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    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

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    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

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    A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.

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