Would you like to have an exciting one-day bicycle trip in Peru and check out riding by bike in the desert? Nothing simpler! Go to Paracas, around 3-4 hours by bus from Lima, rent a bike and visit Paracas National Reserve! (Reserva Nacional De Paracas). Excellent adventure guaranteed!
Peru is a perfect place to ride by bike. Even the most demanding travellers will find ideal routes for them. Definitely Paracas Natioal Reserve is a good choice if you love desert scenery, a lot of sun and also beaches. During one day bicycle trip you will have all of that in one.
When to go?
The best time to visit Paracas is between December and April. Then you will have a very nice, cloudless weather. February is extremely hot, so if it is possible avoid bicycle trips during this month unless you enjoy a very dry, hot weather.
How to get there?
If you are in Lima then first you need to get to Pisco. The journey takes about 3-4 hours. Pisco is situated around 20 km from Paracas. To get there you must either take from Pisco a taxi for 20 soles, or colectivo for 3 soles. Travel time is less than half an hour.
I recommend you to leave Lima at 6 am or even earlier. Thanks to that you will arrive to Paracas fast enough to visit some interesting places around during the day, like for example Ballestas Islands (the last boat to this attraction leaves from Paracas at midday – more details about it in the further part of the article). The bicycle tour is better organized the next day. Bus ticket from Lima to Pisco costs around 15 soles.
Where to rent the bike?
After arriving to Paracas, you only need to find a bike. A very simple matter, because almost every travel agency here provides bicycles for rent. The price for renting a bike for full day varies between 25-45 sole. So before making the choice, first always check some places. Doing so you can save money and pick the most modern bikes. Do not forget to bargain – we had the bikes for 25 soles per day! If you already found a dream bike, all that remains is just to hit the road!
Let me give you a very good advice!
The best option is to rent a bike in the evening for the next day and start the trip very early in the morning. I highly recommend you start the tour around 6 am. The sun here is very strong and after 9 am it becomes really hot. If you will start early, the driest part of the tour (desert without shade) you will get through without suffering because of the sun in more fresh and ideal time. Maybe if you are close to the beach it is not a big issue, but when you will ride by bike into the desert, the time you cross plays a big role.
Details about the route of the bicycle tour in Paracas National Reserve
The good question: from which side of Paracas to start the tour?
Some people recommended us to do a circle from Paracas through Lagunillas and Playa Roja – Red Beach, through Yumaque to La Catedral (The Cathedral) and then come back to Paracas. But when we checked the map we realized that it is not the best idea, and that it is more comfortable to go in the opposite direction. So first we rode towards La Catedral (the Cathedral), than to Yumaque and then to Lagunillas – to Playa Roja and from Playa Roja we had only around 7 km to come back to Paracas.
Why does this make a difference?
Well, the whole part from Paracas to La Catedral and then to Yumaque and Lagunillas is empty, without any shops, restaurants. This part is generally desert, with you and maybe some other tourists. In Yumaque you will have possibility to take a bath, the beach is really nice. The next opportunity will be in Lagunillas. If you will be lucky maybe you will meet the man with ice cream. It happened for us – a miracle. In the middle of nowhere, after 1.5 hours of riding from Paracas towards La Catedral we met a young man who was pushing uphill the bicycle full of ice creams. We bought a lot of ice creams from this guy, talked with him for a while and everyone happily went in the own directions.
By the way the ice cream company Cerca de ti (close to you) is doing a great job. Their ice creams are really always close to you – even in the desert!
Only in Lagunillas you can eat something delicious. So I recommend you to eat good breakfast in the morning, and arrive to Lagunillas (as the last stop during your tour) for the lunch. You will enjoy much more. From Lagunillas to Paracas is around 30-40 minutes.
In Lagunillas you can enjoy really nice beaches – like for example Playa Roja.
What to do in Paracas besides biking?
During the day you can take a boat to the Ballestas Islands. You will have a chance to admire wild birds and mammals, including sea lions, fur seals, and Humboldt penguins in their natural environment.
Good choice for animal lovers and bird watchers.
This boat trip takes around 2-2,5 hours. In my opinion it is worth to buy it. The price is around 40 soles + entrance ticket to National Park. Just remember that the last boat leaves the port at noon.
Besides this you can eat delicious ceviche or jalea in the restaurant close to the beach, and take a nice walk in the beach and enjoy the beautiful sunset. In the meanwhile make a visit in some travel agencies and rent a bike for the next day.