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Paracas: Sailing Through the desert

To see one of Peru's most beautiful areas, head south along its dune-studded shores via the Pan American Highway. Start at Chincha, 192 kilometers south of Lima, and the neighboring village El Carmen, both known for prize-winning African-Peruvian music and dance.

To reach the sea lions and flamingoes of Paracas, pass through the city of Pisco, also along the highway as it veers inland. Turn right at Km. 231 and head west toward the coast again. The San Andres Pier, fish meal plants, birds and beach strollers are scenic, but the abundant wildlife of Paracas Bay is unforgettable.
Once you reach Paracas, head to the Ballestas Islands by launch from El Chaco, which is what many groups of tourists do each morning. Visit the tranquil beaches of Lagunillas and La Mina to the south; or take a boat to La Catedral, rock formations over the stunning blue-green waters of Paracas. If those options aren't enough, walk along the beaches of Mendieta, Playon and Laguna Grande, the southernmost village in this vast region that stretches all the way south to Puerto San Juan de Marcona, at Km. 483.

Farther south on the highway is the sun-drenched city of Ica at Km. 300. Five kilometers from its main square is Lake Huacachina, a shady oasis. There, a small casino and discotheque, hotel and cafes overlook the lake.

The last stop is Nazca at Km. 442, where you can experience the thrill of flying over the immense, mysterious Nazca Lines, unchanged for more than 1,000 years. Since Nazca is a six-hour drive from Lima, some visitors opt to fly over them from the city of Ica. All ask the same questions: Just how did those designs get there? Who put them there and why.

Visit Paracas, Ica and Nazca

Travel throughout South America with

Volume I/Issue 6, Page 46
Updated, 2003

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