Nazca Peru would not make most Peru vacation itineraries if it were not for the mysterious Nazca Lines found here. Chances are that you have seen aerial pictures of the Lines of Nazca, either on television or in a magazine, and if that is the case, then you have likely been intrigued by them. Nazca Peru is found just around 275 miles south of Lima, and if you want to explore the impressive surrounding desert, you will find that the town offers a pretty good selection of budget accommodations, as well as a few higher-end choices. The Hotel Cantayo Spa and Resort is arguably your best bet for an upscale experience, and it boasts what just might be the town’s best restaurant. You can get to Nazca Peru from Lima by way of the bus to Arequipa. The trip lasts around 6-7 hours, and it gives you a good chance to read up on the Nazca Lines and enjoy the desert scenery.
As is the case with most, if not all tourists who visit Nazca, the Nazca civilization and the Lines of Nazca they created are the reasons for the trip. If you would like to boost your overall understanding of the Nazca civilization and learn about some of the artifacts that were uncovered in area excavations, you can duck into the Museo Antonini for an hour or more. Like most Peru museums, the Museo Antonini costs very little for admission, and it is certainly worth at least a bit of your time. The Nazca civilization flourished in the Nazca region roughly from 300 BC until 800 AD. Among their most impressive feats were the system of underground aqueducts that they built. These aqueducts are still in working order, and some of them are even still being used by farmers to irrigate the pampas (plains). The Acueductos de Cantalloc are among the best to check out, some of them proving to be quite beautiful. They are about 2-3 miles outside of town, and if you do not visit them with a tour group, then you can take a taxi there and back for around $5.
Being that the Nazca civilization was based near the coast, they surely depended on the sea. Much of the Nazca pottery that has been found depicts scenes of everyday life, with some examples portraying severed heads. The pottery of the Nazca civilization is considered by some scholars to be the finest and most sophisticated of all the pre-Columbian Peruvian cultures. It is their artistry that best defines the Nazca cultures, and there is no better example than the Lines of Nazca. It is generally not understood as to exactly how and why the Nazca cultures built the Nazca Lines, which are found in an area that encompasses about 200 square miles. Even though they were created over 1,000 years ago, thanks to the Nazca desert’s incredibly dry and relatively non-windy climate, we can still witness them clearly to this day. Of course, you have to fly over them to do so, which has led some to think that whoever created the Nazca Lines must have been able to fly. Some theories purport that the Lines of Nazca were some sort of astronomical calendar, while others believe they could have been “walking temples”. Regardless of their purpose, or how they were made, they are simply amazing.
As stated, the only way to truly appreciate the Nazca Lines is to fly over them. Among the designs, you will notice plant and animal figures, a myriad of geoglyphs, and hundreds of lines. Some of the figures are quite large, measuring some 1,000 feet across. You can find tour agents in town that sell seats aboard Cessna airplanes that fly over the Nazca Lines, but be sure to check out more than one if you don’t have firsthand recommendations from somebody you trust. The flights go for around $50, but if you are afraid of flying, then you might look into a tour to the observation tower. Though you can only see a few figures from here, it is better than nothing. Buses bound for Nazca Peru, apart from those that arrive from Lima, can be found in Ica, Cusco and Arequipa. From Ica, it is about a 2-3 hour trip. Coming from Arequipa will take you around 9 hours, while the ride from Cusco is approximately 14 hours long.