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Paracas is a port blessed with a unique ecosystem, which thrives with a fervent energy all of its own. The bay which is embraced by Paracas' curved coastline is well known for its warm waters, and a uniquely placid temperament, the result of being protected from thrashing waves and wanton currents by the large size of the Paracas Peninsula.
Fortunately for travellers, this has led to a close-knit community which has come to transform Paracas from a beauty spot to a fully-fledged tourist destination. Over the years, it has been home innumerable yachts, catamarans and kite surfers, who all revel in the tranquillity of the water surrounding the town. Even if you're not visiting for the waters, you can be guaranteed a cruise getaway with plenty of delights in store.
The Paracas National Reserve
The southern end of the Paracas Bay stretches into this reserve, which in an amazing testament to the rare beauty of the landscape, features both coastal areas and tropical desert that stretch for miles. The vibrant marine ecosystem and the former settlements of indigenous peoples are all there to be explored, as well as not a few surprises. With just a single hike down the coast, you can get to see huge waves, golden beaches, and even the exact point where the dry sands of the Atacama Desert meet the grassy dunes bordering the world's richest marine ecosystem.
The Ballestas Islands
Just a short boat ride away from Paracas, these quaint islands are home to massive flocks of seabirds and colonies of sea lions, as well as a natural beauty which is well worth the trip. From the moment you set foot onto its sands, you'll be witnessing a diversity of wildlife on par with the Galapagos. The islands are a sanctuary for everything from Humboldt Penguins to Guanay Guano Birds, so nature lovers will be in their element. You might even be serenaded by a choir of sea lions as your boat heads towards the Ballestas archipelago, and they playfully escort your boat.
Paracas History Museum
The unique geology of Paracas has thrown up a wealth of archaeological gems over the years, and this extensively outfitted museum showcases the absolute best. The elongated skulls of primitive settlers, ancient weaponry, and wood carvings are just a few of the amazing pieces you can find when you tour its varnished central gallery.
There aren't really any commercial shopping centres within the town, but you can be sure to find street vendors selling everything from ornate sea shells to hand woven garments crafted from native materials. Make sure to head down to the local markets in the afternoon to find the best produce and curios.
Juan Pablo is a great spot to eat, not least because of its panoramic seafront view. The breakfasts here are cooked to perfection- a great indulgence to make before departing early to the Ballestas Islands. El Chorito is another fine choice, bringing you Italian flavours and exquisitely fresh seafood dishes.
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