History of Nazca
At the current territory of Nazca flowered on the 1st century A.D. the Nazca culture. The researches and exploration of places and remains left by this culture indicate that this would be a direct continuation of the Paracas culture. Unlike the Paracas, who developed until perfection the textile art, the Nazca were the masters of pottery, standing out also for the hydraulic engineering present in the aqueduct construction (which is still used nowadays) and the impressive geoglyphs, which are known as the Nazca Lines. Between 700 and 900 A.D. took place the decadence of the Nazca culture, due to natural reasons. In 1901, the German archaeolologist Max Uhle discovered the potter legacy of the Nazca, which dates from 200, 500 and 700 D.C. Subsequently, in 1939, the American Paul Kosok would discover, without plnanning it, the Nazca Lines, while he was overflying the desert where they are.
-Nazca is located at 7 hours from Lima, travelling by bus.
-The climate in Nazca is warm, dry and sunny throughout the year. The minimum temperature is 59 °F (15 °C) and the maximum, specially in summer time can go over 86 °F (30 °C).
-It’s necessary to take your sun cream and sunglasses. Although the climate is nice, the sun can be intense.
Nazca is located at 520 meters above the sea level.
How to get around in Nazca?
You can get around by taxi and shared buses at a low cost. If you travel buying a tour in advance, it’s sure that they will pick you at the hotel to leave you where you have to go.
Risks and cautions
There are no special dangers to stand out, but you must always be cautious if you go out at night to a place that you have no reference at all. When you book a tour, ask the exact description of the services they offer (better if it’s in writing), because it’s recommended to be sure of receiving what you are paying for.
Travelling to Nazca
Nazca is one of the most visited tourist places of Peru. Its millenary and enigmatic Nazca Lines have been declared Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO. For having a good view of the Nazca Lines, it’s necessary to make a little trekking to the summit of the hills that surround them. Overfly the desert by a small plane is also a great option (there are tours that you can take for that purpose). Close to Nazca you can also visit the Cerro Blanco, considered the biggest sand dune of the worlds, with an altitude of more than 2000 meters. If you look for making a calm trekking, go to the aqueduct of Cantalloc, hydraulic and architectural legacy of the Nazca culture.
Getting to Nazca
Plaza Mayor of Nazca
Location: At the center of the city
At night the Plaza Mayour of Nazca dress the night scene of colour and amazing beauty, since there are water illumination games inside a beautiful architectural design.
Iglesia Matriz de Nazca (Santiago Apóstol Church)
Location: crossing of Av. María Reiche and Callao (Plaza de Armas)
Hours: Monday to Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
It’s also known as the Santiago Apóstol Church and presents a special republic construction. It was built after the earthquake of 1940, by locals initiative. Outside the church you can appreciate two towers with bell tower.
Maria Reiche Planetarium
Location: Bolognesi street, at the Hotel Nazca Lines installation
Hours: everyday from 6:00 p.m.
Price: 20 soles
At this planetarium you can appreciate the sky and constellations, besides learning about the relationship between the Nazcas, the geoglyphs and the stars. The normal view lasts between 35 and 40 minutes, with 15 additional minutes for the astronomical observation. There are tours in French, Japanese, English, Spanish and Italian (there are schedules for each one).
Location: 600, Avenida de la Cultura
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Price: 15 soles
One of the most important archaeological museums of the coastal Peruvian south, where you will get to know in an educational way the history of the Nazca culture, as well as seeing its potter, textile and other remains legacy. At this museum there are also the most recent discoveries of the Ceremonial center of Cahuachi.
Location: 3mi (5 km) from the city
Close to the Nazca city you will find the Cantalloc Aqueducts, architectural legacy of the Nazca culture that lasts until today, and besides it served to make fertile the dry lands of the region; it’s a large net of underground canals and reservoirs built in stone that you can’t miss.
Archaeological Site of Paredones
Location: at 0.6 mi (1 km) from the city, going through the highway Nasca - Puquio)
Those archaeological remains are rests of huge size, in a surface of 300 m2 located in the hillside of Los Altos. It was used as an administrative center during the Incan period, compounded of rooms, terraces, and courtyards built on stone and adobe.
Nazca Lines viewpoint
Location: at 12 mi (20 km) to the North of Nazca
This viewpoint is a metallic tower from where you can see the hands, the alligator and the tree figures that are part of the Nazca Lines group.
Location: at 15 mi (25 km) from the city, km 420 of the Panamericana Sur highway
To fully enjoy the lines, you must take a flight in a small plane that leaves from the city (about 40 min. of travel). Remember that it’s forbidden to go by car or by foot through the Pampas de San José (where the lines are located).
Fly over the Nazca Lines:
- Aero Condor Peru
- Aero Ica
- Alas Peruanas
* The companies that provide the tour is varied. At the same Nazca airport you can compare prices.
Hours: Recommended between 7:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.
Price: $50-$85 per person
There are many all inclusive packages that include transportation from your hotel to the airport and a tour, but there is also the simple 30 minutes flight for $50. You'll have a memorable experience and the chance to see perfectly clearly the Nazca Lines. As the small planes go in a circle to allow you to see the full panorama, if you're not used to it you can prevent illness by bringing along some medication.
Pampas Galeras National Reserve
Location: at 60 miles (90 km) to the east of Nazca
It’s a natural reserve, also known as Reserva Bárbara D’Achile. There you can practice ecotourism, observing the nature of the Andean plain and the native llama’s family as the “vicuña and the guanaco” (at this place the 70% of the wolrd’s population of vicuñas live). You may also visit the Museo de Sitio de Pampa Galeras that counts on an interesting collection of stuffed animals.
- Alegría Tours
- Nazca Flights
At these two agencies you can get completely unique adventure tours, where doing sandboarding, going on buggys, make trekking, bycicle’s routes, among other exciting activities.
Typical dishes of Nazca
El bufo (o charapana)
The plate is prepared with mutton head, insides, pork slices, maize, pumpkin, and other spices. It’s a powerful plate, as to recover the energies after an strong emotions day.
There are other dishes of the local gastronomy as “patita con maní”, “chicharrón de cerdo” (a dish based on pork) and “tripulina” (made of bull testicles).
You should taste the typical desserts as the “dulce de camote” (sweet potato), “mazamorra de uva” (milky maize pudding of grapes) or “dulce de higo” (fig sweet), temptations of sweet coastal flavor.
Restaurants of Nazca
Location: 160, Lima street
Hours: from 7.00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Price: between 10 to 34 soles
This restaurant is open since more than 60 years ago, offering an assorted menu of typical Peruvian dishes, specially in sea food, of fresh fishes and shellfish that give a tropical flavor to their menu. They have unlimited wi-fi and a drink menu.
Location: 450, Tacna
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m.
Price: 6 soles
It’s a family restaurant of home atmosphere with outdoors table and view over the Plaza de Armas, ideal for a pleasant meal or snack, before or at lunch time.
Location: 112, Av. María Reiche
Hours: 8.00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Price: 10 soles
It’s another family and inviting atmosphere. The attention is very nice, specially due to the kindness of the owner, Don Hono, who will make you feel home. There are varied plates, but they are more specialized in typical food of the coastal region. You will find from a succulent “lomo saltado” (rice with a sliced steak of meat with chips) to a tasty and juicy “arroz con pato” (rice with duck), just exquisite.
Vía La Encantada Restaurant
Location: 282, Jr. Bolognesi
Hours: no info available
It offers a large variety of plates of Peruvian and international cooking and the best atmosphere. The service is among the best and the liquor menu stands out; you will find the finest wines, alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks. If you go to this exclusive restaurant we recommend you to ask “lomo a la pimienta” (cow’s back seasones with pepper), one of their specialties.
Location:108, José María Mejía
Price: 15 soles and up
Small Dutch-owned hostel offering safe rooms with hot water. You can have a 6 soles breakfast too.
Location: 438, Lima street
Price: 35 soles and up
A small, simple, but cozy hotel with clean rooms and the basic services, surrounding a patio.
Location: 578, Callao street
Price: between 44 and 64 soles
At this 2.5 stars hotel you will find simple rooms and not luxury, but an excellent and close attention. The owner picks you up from the station and it’s a expert in achieving the cheapest with quality tours for his guests.
Location: 367 Francisco Bolognesi
Price: 272 soles, breakfast included, and up
Between the station and the main square, the Casa Andina hotel is part of an important hotel chain in Peru, so you'll have all the necessary comforts, as wi-fi, buffet breakfasts, pool and an internet center. The personalized attention is guaranteed.
Location: 166, Lima street
Price: $45 to $70
An exclusive hotel, well known for its service and comforts. There is a luxurious pool, inside a nice garden with reclining chairs to sunbathe.
Hotel Nazca House
Location: 308, Avda. María Reiche
Price: between 107 and 134 soles (breakfast included)
At this little but comfortable hotel you will feel home, since the owners give a close attention, taking care to the comfort and satisfaction of their guests. The breakfasts ath the hotel are really good because they are prepared with care and affection; the rooms are very cleaned and the hotel is well located. As an extra, you have free wi-fi.
Tourism Week of Nazca
(May, 3rd to 15th)
The central day of the celebration is May 15th, but the previous days there are several activities as parades, pisco competitions, handicrafts competitions, among others. People remember also María Reiche, author and studious of the Lines preservation.
Patron Festival of Guadalupe Virgin
(August the 29th to September the 10th)
It’s one of the most important religious festivals. At this festival the saint image of the Guadalupe Virgin goes out on procession from the Iglesia Matriz; She is the patron of Nazca, which is surrounded of legends and wonders that worth to know them.
Having a drink in Nazca
La Casa del Pisco García
Location: 298, Boulevard Bolognesi
There is a bohemian atmosphere at this little bar, so it’s ideal to have a drink with friends in this intimate environment, with good music and a large variety of alcoholic drinks to start putting your best foot forward at night.
Going out in Nazca
All the bohemian and nightlife of Nazca is concentrated in the streets Lima and Bolognesi. We recommend you to go for a stroll around there (always being cautious). You’ll find for sure a party atmosphere at any nightclub or bar that offer unforgettable nights to the visitors.
If you take a bus from Lima, the terrestrial transportation companies that cover this route are Oltursa, Tepsa, Wari Palomino Excluciva, Movil Tours and Civa. The bus tickets cost from 42 to 175 soles, with buses that leave on the schedule from 3:45 a.m. to 9:20 p.m. from several terminals. The travel takes about 7 hours.