Nazca is the capital of the Nazca province, found on the southern coast of the country. A city named after the ancient Nazca culture, this very culture is also accountable for the mysterious Nazca lines, bringing a constant influx of tourists to view these desert drawings. There has been a recent commercial boom in the area and it is becoming one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the south of Peru. You’ll find all the standard services here, including bars, restaurants, hostels, banks, museums, and shops. Below is our Nazca travel guide with information on all the best things to do, places to go and what not to miss.
TAKE A FLIGHT AROUND THE NAZCA LINES – Named a World Heritage Site in 1994, the best way to view these 12 drawings is by air, with the small airport here being primarily used for this purpose. The lines represent figures of animals and plants, among other things. Some of these figures can measure up to 300 meters in length and cover an area of 1000 m². Flights last 30 minutes, and cost at least $80 – the best time to do this is in the morning, as the weather conditions are optimal.
NAZCA LINES VIEWING TOWER – If you don’t want to splash out on the flight, there is a much cheaper option found on the Panamerican highway – the observation platform - costing just 2 soles. You will be able to see a couple of the figures.
VISIT MARIA REICHE MUSEUM – Maria Reich was a German archaeologist who dedicated most of her life to study the famous Nazca Lines. Here you will see her work, including sketches and research, and gain an insight into her life. This museum is 5km from the viewing tower, easily accessible by bus, and entry costs around 5 soles. The information is provided in English and Spanish.
GO TO THE MUSEUM MUNICIPAL OF NAZCA – You can see ceramics and textiles of the pre-Inca Nazca culture. The museum is in the Plaza de Armas of Nazca, and entry costs 5 soles.
*** WHAT NOT TO MISS ***
The main avenue is Bolognesi where most of the restaurants are located. There are local restaurants with traditional Peruvian food and pizzerias. One great place is El Huarango (Arica 602), which has anything from soup to steak to fish! It's a nice cozy restaurant, with a rooftop terrace. Be aware that on Sundays less places are open.
The nights in Nazca are quiet as it is a small place, however there are a few bars located in Lima Avenue, Bolognesi Avenue, and the Plaza de Armas. Try La Casa del Pisco (Av. Bolognesi 296) for a few drinks to wind down the evening.
It is warm, dry and sunny throughout the year, the temperature is 20 degrees almost all year round and during the summer time it is around 30 degrees (from January to March). Due to the warm climate throughout the year, Nazca is known as the Eternal Summer City. It is owing to the very minimal precipitation that the Nazca lines are so well preserved!
The only way to go to Nazca is by bus:
If you’re coming from Lima, it takes 7 hours.
If you’re coming from Arequipa, it takes 10 hours.
Most of the hostels/hotels are in Nazca town around the centre. One place is Nazca Travel One (Pedagogico 181), which has a terrace, free Wi-Fi, and is close to the main square. A nice option is Hotel Nido del Condor (Panamericana Sur Km. 452), which has a pool and is located close to the small airport for Nazca flights.
The airline companies always fly around the Nazca Lines in the morning, this is because it’s very windy in the afternoon and could be dangerous.
If you wish to do the flight, take your camera, sunglasses, and your passport.
If you suffer from motion sickness, then be warned that the plane does many circular motions for optimal viewing.