Paracas National Reserve is a popular nature reserve on the Southern Coast of Peru. Paracas is also a very popular beach resort destination although the beach in the town itself is small and not clean. The town Paracas is also referred as El Chaco.
You can drive to Paracas from Lima witch will take around 4 hours. The other way to get there is by flying. The route is Lima-Pisco with the Airline LC Bucre.
Buses from Cruz del Sur and Oltursa have a busstation in Paracas and connections to Lima and Arequipa (and towns in between). Also there are minibuses to Ica, which are a bit cheaper and provide hotel-to-hotel service. Cheaper bus companies only go to Pisco, from where you can get a taxi to Paracas.
In the town there isn't much to see. The beach is not so nice, the town itself is still recovering from an earthquake (a lot of new hotels and big resorts are being built).
Explore the Península de Paracas with a tour or on your own, for example on rented bike (which will cost around S/. 30 per day). Or take a 2h boat tour to the Ballestas Islands for around S/. 35.
Restaurants are all very expensive for Peruvian standards, but some do have a 'menu del dia' for S/. 7-14 (you have to ask because they will not tell you this and will just show their expensive a-la-carte menu).
Not much choice, mainly fish dishes.
Restaurants also serve drinks, but must charge a lot. Some have 'happy-hours' for mixed drinks, but the prices are very high. You can get cheaper drinks in the two minimarkets near the plaza.
Most options are really expensive, especially when you book them online. Better is to just show up and try to get a discounted price, which shouldn't be much of a problem in the low-season. Expect to pay around US$ 25-30 for a double in a two star hotel close to the beach. Bear in mind that some places shut down in the low season.
- Five Star Double Tree, Lote 30-34 Urb. Santo Domingo.
- Hotel Paracas, Avenida Paracas 173.
- Paracas Backpackers House, Av. Los Libertadores. Check-out: 12:00. Extremely basic place with privates and dorms. Popular with very young crowd, that, in combination with paper-thin walls means it can be quite noisy. Friendly and helpful owners who also speak English. S/. 40 for a double with shared bathroom (unfortunately there are just two hot showers for 20 people), S/. 70 with private bathroom. Free wifi. No breakfast. Note that there are two other hostels in the same street which are also called 'Backpacker'-something and look very similar.
- Zarcillo Paradise Hostel, Av Principal de Ingreso al Chaco 101. Inside the Cruz del Sur bus terminal, new, clean and comfortable, but completely characterless motel-like and right on a busy road quite far from the center. Wifi available, breakfast optional. S/. 50 for a double with private bathroom.
- Santa Maria Hostal, Ignacio Morsesky 126 (other side of the street from Paracas Backpacker House). Looks nice from the outside, but the rooms are nothing special albeit they're clean and with hot showers. Also houses the most well known restaurant of the town. Simple breakfast included. US$30.
There isn't much to worry about in Paracas safety wise because there is not really a town like Mancora. There is no slum population there is only beach houses and beach resorts.