Most tourists head to Nazca with the sole intention of visiting the incredible Nazca Lines, a series of mysterious etchings that have puzzled archaeologists for eons. And while these world-famous geoglyphs are certainly the town’s biggest attraction, there a few other interesting things to do in the region as well. Here are Culture Trip’s picks.
Fly over the lines
The best way to see the lines is from the air, so it’s just as well that a fleet of light aircraft are on hand to the meet demand. Despite only lasting 20 minutes or so, an airborne Nazca tour passes all the best geoglyphs and provides unbeatable views.
Aeropuerto María Reiche Neuman, Panamericana Sur, Perú +51 56 523731
See the lines from a tower
Haven’t got the cash for an airborne excursion? No problem, because the more interesting lines can be viewed from land as well. A series of viewing platforms have been erected around the site to provide budget travelers with a bird’s eye view.
Marvel at the Cantalloc Aqueduct
How did the ancient Nazca manage to survive in one of the driest regions on earth? Through a collection of clever irrigation channels, of course, the most impressive of which is known as Cantalloc. Situated just outside town, this worthwhile archaeological site gives some useful background into early Nazca ingenuity.
Get to know some mummies
A burial site over a thousand years old, the excavated remains of the Chauchilla Cemetery provide an interesting insight into the lives of these ancient, desert-dwelling people. Indiana Jones fans should be aware the site was featured in the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Visit the Cahuachi pyramid
A series of pyramids which protrude through the desert, these little-known ruins are among the most intriguing in the region. Furthermore, it’s fascinating to ponder that some 40 pyramids remain buried under the sand.
Learn the history at the Museo Antonini
As Nazca’s finest museum, this is the best place to go to brush up on your pre-Inca history. Despite feeling a little rough around the edges, the information and artifacts contained within are well worth perusing before hitting up the nearby archeological sites.
Museo Antonini, La Cultura, Nasca, Perú +51 56 523444
Discover the story of Maria Reiche
Those familiar with the work of Maria Reiche, a German mathematician who dedicated her life to the Nazca Lines, ought to pay a visit to the small but informative Casa-Museo Maria Reiche. Her work was undoubtedly important and the 5 PEN (US$1.50) entry fee is certainly not going to break the bank.
Gaze at the stars
Given it rarely rains in these vast barren lands, Nazca is a great spot to do some stargazing as well. This modest planetarium is also dedicated to Maria Reiche and guests can see the room where she lived. Tragically, Reiche passed away from cancer as a result of spending too much time in the sun.
Climb Cerro Blanco
This fun desert adventure sees travelers trekking to the peak of a tall nearby sand dune known locally as Cerro Blanco. It’s a long hard slog, but going back down again is easy enough with a sandboard in hand.
Buy some ceramics
Travelers looking to pick up a souvenir of their time in the region should pay a visit to Ceramicas LASC, a pottery workshop where traditional methods are the norm. After a brief explanation of the production process, the friendly proprietor offers tourists the opportunity to pick up a piece for themselves.