Nazca is a launchpad to one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in South America. The town is a stone’s throw from the Nazca Lines, an ancient set of sand etchings carved by a pre-Inca civilisation as early as AD 450. In the lively town centre, you’ll find an excellent selection of hotels, cafes and restaurants.
Things to do in Nazca
Sprawled across an area of more than 500 square kilometres, the Nazca Lines continue to mystify archaeologists. The UNESCO World Heritage Site features more than 800 straight lines etched into the desert, as well as hundreds of geoglyphs and dozens of animals and plants. Scenic flights are the best way to view the Nazca Lines and comprehend the sheer size and scale of the drawings.
Find out more about the mysterious lines at the excellent Nazca Planetarium. Evening lectures are run by local experts and cover how the lines were made, as well as theories on why they were etched into the desert.
An easy day trip from Nazca, Chauchilla Cemetery is filled with human bones, skulls and mummified remains. The archaeological site dates back to AD 1000 and features a series of sunken tombs carved into the rocks. Trips to nearby Reserva Nacional Punta de San Juan get you up close with penguins, sea lions and other marine life.
Nazca is well set up for travellers and has plenty of cafes and restaurants to enjoy. Sample local Peruvian delicacies such as “lomo saltado” beef stir-fry, “aji de gallina” chicken stew and ceviche made with freshly caught fish.
Getting around Nazca
Nazca is compact and easy to get around on foot. Long-distance buses connect Nazca with nearby towns and cities and Lima is a 6.5-hour drive north. Guided tours are the best way to visit surrounding sites and attractions.