I will risk to say that probably almost every human being with free access to information, have had at least a glimpse of the Nazca lines (geoglyphs) during its lifetime. Most won’t know where they are located, what size they are, or who made them, so we have to tell them that the lines are certainly fantastic remnants of an ancient culture that are worth knowing. But it is not all.
To fly over the varied geoglyphs adding the Cahuachi complex and the Cantalloc aqueducts is a great option to have the best possible view of these Nazca highlights.
Cahuachi is an archeological complex of adobe pyramids so big, that it is said is the largest of its kind -worldwide. It is believed its function was ceremonial and that pilgrims attended to pay tribute. The complex is still under excavation and what is visible now it is just a tiny section of what it used to be.
(Photo: Naline Roodbeen)
Catalloc is another evidence of the advanced knowledge of the Nazca culture, although it is also a small part of a much bigger work of hydro engineering that it is mostly underground, this section is not only visible from the surface but also beautifully conceived and still functional after thousands of years. Totally recommended!
But even if the general perception about Nazca it is apparently only about archaeology and enjoyable exclusively from the air, the alternatives are actually quite different and will require you to be very present at the sites. Sites that will introduce the scenic beauty of nature and wildlife, as well as the way of living of the people of the coast.
How about climbing a dune that will put you at 2078 meters above sea level? A sand mound of no less no more than 900 m high that will give you an incomparable view and will tempt you to slide on it down on a board. Cerro Blanco is accessible by the road that leads to Ayacucho and Pampas Galeras, 20 Km from Nazca city.
In the other direction, heading south, the Panamerican highway will leads you to San Fernando and Marcona. These coastal locations are blessed with abundance of natural resources that invite animals of different kinds to thrive all year round.
However there is a main difference you will note immediately. The former is a natural protected area, where you will hardly interact with other people, while the latter is a blooming town that decided to make of responsible tourism a sustainable form of living, despite its historically lucrative mining industry.
At Marcona’s main square you might note its odd monument is an Andean Condor -so far from its habitat you might think? But this inspiration came from San Fernando, where condors placidly inhabit the coast, as well as andean foxes and eventually huanacos -the rarest of the andean camelids.
Of course sea lions, sea birds and related are kings in San Fernando under the protection of the government. Here the landscape is so dramatic that it is an attraction itself. Marcona also has a bit of that treasure chest among its borders, it is called Punta San Juan and it is also under governmental protection and an alternative if you prefer to be closer to human settlements while still enjoying the richness of the sea at this latitude.
Now you know it, if Nazca was attractive when only knowing about the lines, now it is irresistible. Do not take longer and write us at english @ responsibletravelperu.com or even better if you fill out our brief questionnaire to have more input that our travel designers will use to start planning, along with you, your 100% tailor-made itinerary.