The Paracas National Reserve (335,000 ha) is located along the Pacific Coast in southern Peru (13°5'S, 76°5'W), about 160 miles south of the capital city, Lima. The Paracas Reserve represents one of the best examples of Pacific subtropical coastal desert on the South American continent. The Reserve includes relicts of the coastal desert plant communities (lomas).
Six especies of lizards occur in Paracas, including three species of lava lizards (Microlophus spp.), the enigmatic and highly criptic Ctenoblepharys adspersa, and two geckos (Phyllodactylus spp.)
Paracas is one of the most biologically productive marine areas in the world, serving as a home for nearly 300 fish species,
over 200 migratory bird species (60 of which migrate between Peru and the United States), and marine mammals and reptiles. The Reserve also provides food for human populations in local communities and numerous coastal cities, providing about 60% of the seafood consumed by the people of Lima.
Historically, the arid coasts near Paracas gave rise to
numerous precolombian cultures, including the migthy Paracas, and their villages built up a life of unexpected richness in the arid dunes.