Reserva Nacional de Paracas
There’s a saying we’ve had since hitting the road: “Home is where you can pop the top.”
After a week spent top-down and cooped up on the streets of Lima, Reserva Nacional de Paracas was exactly what we needed to stretch our limbs and hunchbacks out. Just when we think we couldn’t love wild camping any more, switching to city life is an apt reminder of how strong that love is. We rolled into the reserve just as the shadows were getting their longest and an enormous, scattering flock of flamingoes welcomed us.
As we passed the tourist town of Paracas and approached the reserve entrance, we started to see open road, desert scape and dunes. The attendant greeted us and gave us our passes after we paid the S/ 20.00 per person. The price for admission allowed us three glorious days of camping. We had heard of others managing to avoid paying by entering and exiting after office hours. We wanted plenty of daylight to explore before finding a spot to camp, so we were there too early to test that out. Plus, what’s the harm in contributing to the preservation efforts of such immense beauty?
We saw one main area where tour buses and shuttles dropped people off on day trips: Playa Roja. The attendant may suggest camping at this spot but pretty much anywhere on the peninsula was fair game (except one area that was clearly blocked off). We were looking to get away from other people so we did a little bit of driving away from the main drag. The good news is that you don’t have to go very far at all. Most of the time we had our choice camping spot all to ourselves and hardly saw anyone else around. It was a more than welcomed change after the whirlwind of a city that is Lima!
Rolling hills of golden sand dunes led the way to enormous cliffs overlooking the ocean and multiple roads diverging from the main one to who-knows-where made us super giddy. There was such a large variety of landscape in such a small area. You could find totally different scenery in every direction. Yellow sand would turn into orange dust which turned into purple and maroon sand which then ended at a rocky slope, down to sapphire blue water.
The days passed with ease and evenings were spent cooking dinner at sunset while listening to the ocean and sea lions roaring. Reserva Nacional de Paracas is a special, magical place and we couldn’t have had a better source of energy to recharge our batteries with.