Emily and I chose to go with “Perú Hop” for our transportation between Lima and Cuzco. Our main stops along the way are Paracas, Huacachina, and Arequipa. The Perú Hop service is pretty convenient since they pick you up at your hostel, so no taking a taxi to a bus station or arriving 30 minutes before your departure. You also don’t have to worry about buying bus tickets along the way, and printing them out if you buy them online (a frustrating requirement of Cruz del Sur). And to top it off, the bus makes some extra site-seeing stops along the way in places like Nasca.
For our first stop, Paracas, we stayed at Paracas Backpackers House.
Paracas is a small beach town where the main tourist draws are the Ballestas Islands (sometimes referred to as the “poor man’s Galapagos”) and the National Reserve, both very beautiful and worth a visit. The wildlife we saw reminded us of our boat tour in the Beagle Channel, but it was so much cheaper.
Paracas Backpackers House has the second best rating on Hostelworld, second only to Kokopelli, and we think it deserves that rating.
The beds were comfortable, they kept the place clean, and always had soap by the bathroom sink. The showers always seemed to have hot water. We liked the shaded seating areas, and particularly the patio with hammocks and chairs, shaded by a small pavilion and a large, hanging tarp. The WiFi was decent most of the time, and better than we expected for such a small, remote town. While there were no towels in our four-person dorm, a bar of soap and a towel were provided to each guest in the private rooms. The kitchen is small, and you could cook in it if you wanted. We just used the fridge and also microwaved some leftovers for lunch one day. The location is good, just a couple blocks from the ocean.
On the negative side, there wasn’t much air circulation in our ground-level dorm room which meant it got uncomfortably warm at night, and unbearably hot in the middle of the day. Also, there were two pet cats which is never a pleasant surprise for us since Emily and I are both allergic. Thankfully, we didn’t experience any notable allergy symptoms while there.
The staff was kind but quiet, though they did warm up to us some by our last morning there (we stayed two nights). While we waited for our bus, we had a nice conversation with an Italian man who is working at the hostel for a couple of months.
All in all, it was a good stay and we would recommend Paracas Backpackers House if Kokopelli is all booked up. We will write about that hostel in a later post.
*Also, for vegetarians I recommend the restaurant by the pier, Punta Paracas. A lot of times Peruvian servers don’t understand the whole vegetarian thing, but when I ordered the vegetable thai rice, the server clarified that I was okay with egg in the dish. I do eat eggs, but the server’s awareness that I might be vegan–that impressed me. They have a number of vegetarian dishes on the menu.