Why travel to Nazca
Situated along the southern coastal valleys of Peru, about six hours from Lima, is the quaint, colonial-style town of Nazca. Home to an impressive pre-Inca underground aqueduct system and the mysterious Nazca Lines, this rapidly-growing township is a must-see for travel to Peru.
Nazca’s extraordinary geo-glyphs are the main attraction. The lines are thought to have been created by three different waves of pre-Inca cultures: the Paracas people (900-200 BC), the Nazca civilization (200 BC - AD 600), and the Huari (AD 630). These immense representations of animal, human, and geometric shapes are spread across more than 200 square miles between the Nazca and Ingenio Rivers.
The incredible stylized drawings have been the subject of countless studies and several theories abound as to their purpose and method of construction. Whatever their origin, the collection of shapes can be appreciated with a flight over the Nazca Lines, enabling you to see what the creators probably never did.
What to do in Nazca
To see the lines without hopping on a plane, drive 12 miles (20 km) north of Nazca on the Pan-American Highway and climb the Mirador, an observation tower perched on a hillside. This tower overlooks the famous geoglyphs of the hands, the lizard, and the tree.
However, you will get a better view and a more unique experience with a Nazca fly over. You can book a flight either from Nazca or from Pisco if you are based in Paracas.
The equally astounding Aqueducts of Cantalloc are also just a short drive away. These ancient feats of engineering were built to systematically provide water to the desert for agricultural purposes. Built over 2,000 years ago, 30 of these underground channels still function today and are a testament to pre-Inca hydrological ingenuity. You can also visit the Chauchilla cemetery, dating back to 1,000 AD, where mummies rest in open tombs in the ground.
Not far from Nazca, the ceremonial city of Cahuachi covers a 15-square-mile area dotted with huge pyramids, temples, and platforms. Cahuachi was built by the Nazca people, and the tops of its pyramids offer partial views of the Nazca Lines.
Aside from these phenomenal attractions, quiet but charming Nazca city also boasts a few attractions, namely the Museo Arqueologico Antonini and the Maria Reich Planetarium, where visitors can learn about the theories and legends behind these mysterious etchings.
When to visit Nazca
The climate in Nazca is one of the driest in the world with barely two inches of rainfall per year. The first thing to remember before setting out on a tour of Nazca is to bring a water bottle.
It is best to take a flight over the Nazca Lines early in the morning, between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., or in the mid-afternoon around 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., when there is less air turbulence.
Finally we made it to Macchu Picchu. One word, 'breathtaking'', describes the scene. The clouds that had hovered over us in the early morning gradually parted revealing the beautiful site and the ancient ruins were crystal clear. After arriving at Macchu Picchu we were able to take our time and stroll though the ruins.
Ita & Dave (Toronto, Canada)
Our last full day finally took us to Machu Picchu. Even the train ride to Aguas Calientes was quite enthralling with the river at its highest. Machu Picchu is, to say the least, an amazing place. It leaves one in awe of the magnitude of the Incas and how they managed nature. We should take some lessons from them.
Derek & Yvonne (Toronto, Canada)
The two days I spent traveling via the Vista Dome train and hiking the last portion of the Inca Trial to arrive at the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu were absolutely magical! Along the trail we arrived at Winaywayna (Forever Young), the last urban center before reaching the Sun Gate and the sacred city of Machu Picchu. This site was simply stunning and made the pending arrival at Inti Punku (Sun Gate) even more exciting.
Michelle (CA, USA)
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Top Pick Nazca Hotel
Hotel Cantayo Spa & Resort 5*
Carretera Panamericana Sur, desvio Puquio kms 3-4
Conveniently situated near the ancient Cantalloc Aqueduct, the mysterious Nazca Lines, and the breathtaking Cerro Blanco, Hotel Cantayo Spa & Resort is a true desert oasis and perfect base for Nazca tours. Breathtaking mountain views, a large swimming pool, luxurious spa, widespread gardens, and spacious rooms featuring Balinese and Tibetan décor are among the main facilities at this top Nazca hotel, where guests enjoy a rustic but tranquil atmosphere. The hotel's restaurant, one of the finest in Nazca, serves many indigenous and organic fruits cultivated on the lovely grounds, including table grapes, mangos, avocados, black figs, pomegranates, apples, pears, and exotic local varieties such as guanabanas, cherimoya, and lucuma.
Restaurant Room Service Internet Parking Laundry Service Spa Baby SitterSwimming Pool
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Hotel Majoro 4*
Carretera Panamericana Sur Km 452, Majoro, Nazca
This rustic old hacienda features simple but comfortable rooms surrounding a lovely courtyards and tranquil gardens full of bougainvillea. In 2005, the owners lovingly restored this former convent and Spanish villa, keeping intact the 17th century architectural elements and elegant historic charm, while adding modern features and a whole range of 4-star hotel amenities. The common areas are warm and inviting with large couches and romantic lighting, and all guest rooms are spacious and immaculate.
Restaurant Swimming Pool
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Casa Andina Classic Nazca 3*
Jiron Bolognesi 367, Nazca
Situated in the heart of downtown Nazca, this 3-star Casa Andina Classic Nazca Hotel offers friendly service, tastefully decorated guest rooms, delicious breakfasts, and a fabulous patio and swimming pool. Rated as one of the top hotels in Nazca based on customer reports, the conveniently-located, chic hotel is sure to please.
Restaurant Room Service Internet Laundry Service Swimming Pool
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