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  Peru : Park Guides : Paracas

 

Paracas National Reserve

   
Reserva Nac. Paracas

The Paracas National Reserve was created September 25, 1975 by means of the Supreme Law #1281-75-AG. It is the only naturally protected area which includes marine territories and ecosystems in addition to terrestrial ones. In 1991 it was declared a Regional Reserve for Migratory Birds by The Hemispheric Network for Coastal Birds (today known as  "Wetlands for the Americas"). Meanwhile, in April of 1992, it was added to the list of places of special character for the Convention of Humid Soil of International Importance, especially to the Habitat of Aquatic Birds (RAMSAR Convention). 

This national reserve is located in the Ica region, the Pisco province, and the Paracas district. It spans across a surface area of335,000 hectares, of which 217,594 are marine environments.

This reserve is known for it's great diversity of birds, which consist of migratory, residents, and/or endemics. The community of birds, which is one of the principle tourist attractions, is composed of sea shore birds like the sanderling (Calidris alba), western sandpipers (Calidris mauri), semipalmated sandpiper (Calidris pusilla), the chorlo semipalmado (Charadrius sempalmatus) and the Chilean flamingo  (Phoenicopterus chilensis), among others. These birds eat small organisms that live in the submerged or humid ground of this environment. Also highlighted are the seabirds like the Peruvian booby (Sula variegata), the guanay cormorant (Phalacrocorax bougainvillii), the Peruvian pelican (Pelecanus thagus), the Peruvian tern (Sterna lorata), the inca tern (Larosterna inca), the royal tern (Sterna maxima) and the elegant tern (Sterna elegans) who eat small fish, mollusca and crustaceae (organisms from the sea) which are present at the superficial layer of the sea. The San Gallán and La Vieja islands are located in the reserve, are the only locations of reproduction, and are known in Perú for the Peruvian diving petrel (Pelecanoides garnotii), an endemic bird of the Humbolt current. Another endemic specie of this current is the Humbolt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti), which is also in danger of extinction. Also, it is possible to see the Condor (Vultur gryphus), a specie in a vulnerable situation and the turkey vulture (Cathartes aura), along the edges of the cliffs close to the location where the sea lions lie awaiting  the rotting meat of wolves and other dead animals.

Among the mammals most visible, are the different species of sea lions like the southern sea lion (Otaria byronia) and the South American fur seal (Arctocephalus australis), as well as the marine otter (Lutra felina), which is in danger of extinction.

These animals use isolated beaches or areas which are difficult for humans to access, as locations for reproduction and resting. The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), is a mammal which is solely aquatic and is relatively easy to observe from certain beaches eating or swimming between the waves. On land, the greatest representation of the mammals is the Peruvian desert fox (Pseudalopex sechurae) which occasionally can be seen walking through the desert and close to the beaches. It is also possible to find bats and other mammals which are typical of the hills.

In addition to the aforementioned, one can observe some reptiles characteristic of the desert like the lizard (Microlophus peruvianus) and the gecko (Phyllodactylus angustidigitus).

Some marine turtles frequent the waters of Paracas, mostly during the warm seasons and in the event of something like El Niño, which is when they expand their range of distribution. Among them exists the leatherback seaturtle (Dermochelys coriacea), the black seaturtle (Chelonia agassizzii) and the olive ridley seaturtle (Lepidochelys olivacea). The flora among the shores is represented by halophyte plants, commonly known as salt grass, from the genus  Distichlis spp., Sesuvium spp. and Cressa truxillensis. Likewise, there exist ecosystems in the hills of Cerro Lechuza, Morro Quemado and San Gallán, where you can find species like Oxalis spp., Solanum ferreyrae and Tetragonia pedunculata, among other typical species of this form. In the sea, there is a great diversity of flora represented by seaweed. Among the superior macroscopic seaweed which stands out like "the lettuce of the sea", such as Ulva fasciata and Ulva papenfussii. The majority of the edible seaweed is found within the group of the red seaweed represented by species like  Gigartina chamissoi, G. glomerata and Porphyra columbina, among others. These seaweeds, are used by the handicraft fisherman as food for the fauna of the area.

 

Location
261 km south of Lima
How to Get There
Through the cities of Pisco and Ica
When to Go
Between December and  April
Activities
Mountain-biking , hiking, navigation, photography
Attractions
Archeological remains, flora nad fauna, picturesque views, cultural trip
Climate
Typical of the desert, with temperatures reaching higher than 30° C. Sunny throughout the summer months (Dec. - Mar.) and a winter season when  the temperatures can drop considerably at night (to10° C). Strong winds are common here in the afternoon, they are know locally as paracas
Services
Lodging, tours, transportation
Prices
Adult: daily PEN 5,00 (in USD), for three days PEN 10,00 (in USD)
Child: daily  PEN 1,5 (in USD), for three days PEN 4,00 (in USD)
 


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