We want to show you the side B of this section of Peruvian coast located between the famed capital and the dreamed southern Andes, sometimes shadowed and other times highlighted by them -maybe the biggest paradox. The side A, perhaps already rusty and overused, needs to be free of the conventional touristic affluence. Here you will find new options.
…Initially we booked only the Cusco trip with them a good while prior to our trip. They gave us lots of suggestions and molded the trip to our liking (we have young kids)… Pamela was especially attentive to our wishes and was always promptly ready to answer to our questions, as well as very flexible.
Then closer to the travel we also booked our Lima, Ica and Nazca trips with her. Again very professional and worked with us to change everything multiple times.
We had a great time – everything was organized on time and was without a flaw. Our guides were awesome – Yrma in Sacred Valley and Walter in Machu Picchu were amazing. They were both very patient with our kids and took time to make sure the kids enjoyed everything. Other guides were also great. The highlight was Pedro (the driver) on our trip to Paracas National Park. My kids wanted to stay back and even suggested living with Ms Pamela and Ms Yrma – a testament to how nice they were to the kids.
We booked private tours mostly and we had no problems regarding tickets, schedules, guides and transportation – everything worked just fine and Respons made our stay in Peru memorable…
Thank you to Pamela and the Responsible team!
Paracas and Nazca are iconic tour destinations, but unfortunately that does not mean they count on enough governmental support, neither can be considered developed or on the way to becoming something close to sustainable sites. Much escapes from sight in this vast region where the sand and saltpeter in combination with the winds reach every spot and crevice, and where the sun devours everything else, even the monuments left behind by great civilizations of the past.
But fortunately there are many individual efforts that are facing the challenges with pride and passion while protecting what they own, and at the same time, sharing it with all who want to know those treasures. As it is said: “what is unknown is unwanted”.
There are many reasons for travelers to come to this region, and their profiles are all different, because there are plenty of options and for all kind of interests.
The most practical thing is to arrive from the capital, and after dealing with that much concrete and traffic to get to Paracas, it is simply the beginning of relaxing. If what you are looking for is a beautiful beach and a delicious seafood dish this place is the right one.
Average annual temperature 73°F to 61°F
Average humidity 80%
Height 87 ft
Hot season from January to March
UV radiation 5-6 (mid to high)
Travel time from Lima (bus) 3 to 4 h
If bicycling is your thing, then Paracas will give you kilometers of roads for placid pedaling and the chance to stop every time and everywhere you want to appreciate details that you would miss otherwise. That said, please take in consideration that the best hours to do this are early in the morning or late in the afternoon, and even if at some point you might think you can get disoriented, be sure that there is no way to get lost.
Contemplate the infinite cliffs and adventure into the ocean aboard safari boats at the time you will be able to see one of the first mysteries that you will find along the way: El Candelabro (The Chandelier).
A bit more inland where the sands give truce and the crops make their way, especially the cotton, you will have the chance to share lunch at a family house in the tiny town of Bernales of only ten by ten blocks of extension. The next step will be to visit Mario Vera and to fall in love with the desert dunes the same way he did. For that, he will take you on fun buggy rides towards the oasis formed by the Morón Lagoon. Do not miss the chance to climb the rickety observation tower and to help out any unwary visitors that stuck their vehicles in the sand.
Now let us inform you that you are at Ica’s province of Pisco. Does it sound familiar to you? Well, in that case, it would be a shame not to visit an authentic wine cellar as well as one of the emblematic liqueur. However, if your next activity is to fly over the Nazca Lines, then try not to impress your fellow travelers with your tasting skills and take an unopened bottle with you to enjoy any other time.
There is still a lot to do and to decide, fortunately, you can get on the plane at different airports and depending on that you could expand your options of discovering some other small wonders spread along the desert. One of them is the labyrinthic “Solar Clock” the one that can be reached by car and after climbing some steps to get to a vantage point over a small hill, you will be able to contemplate the contoured design. This is a geoglyph also vindicated to the Nazca culture but situated at the Palpa flatlands.
Later on, you will feel the urge to freshen up, and luckily thanks to the Mother Nature’s generosity, the nearby spring of La Máquina is around the corner. And now, what about the hunger? Well, how about a picnic!
Continue to Nazca, the most renowned city in the area for various reasons, you’ll see.
Average annual temperature 78°F to 72°F
Average humidity 57%
Height 2096 ft
Hot season from February to March
UV radiation 6 (high)
Travel time from Lima (bus) 7-9 h
Not only the mythical lines precede it in fame and glory but also many other fantastic vestiges of different cultures, that during centuries, were replacing each other while leaving almost unerasable evidence of their existence at the time of giving us almost indecipherable clues.
If you still haven’t gotten into the plane in Pisco or Ica, this is the moment. The main difference between the different take-off sites is basically distance and for instance, more flying time will give you chances to see other stuff like other valleys of the region. However, you will pay attention to almost the same 13 to 15 geoglyphs. Flying times are as following: from Pisco 01:40 h, from Ica 01:15 – 01:30, from Nasca 30-40 min.
Once you’ve landed and hopefully well oriented, you just have to decide in what direction to go. To the East, at Cantalloc, you will have the chance of witnessing the mind-blowing spiral pits that form part of the ancient infrastructure of underground aqueducts. Wonders of paleo-engineering. Also in the same area you can visit the “El telar y las agujas” geoglyph.
To the West is Cahuachi, perhaps the most magnificent adobe complex of pyramids of Peru. The dimensions of the main structure and the extension of the occupied territory will drop your jaw. So, if curiosity awakes, do not miss the chance of visiting the Museo Antonini in the city, as that is the repository of the rescued pieces from the excavations at the archaeological site.
Now keep going towards where the sun sets and you will be rewarded by finding yourself at one of the most untouched and wildlife-thriving sites of the whole coast. San Fernando is a place where the unthinkable happens.
How is that? You might ask. The answer is given by a phenomenon in which the Andes comes closer to the coast making it easier the movement of animals from highlands to the sea while in the search of more favorable conditions either permanently or seasonally.
So, maybe the oddest and more renowned is the Condor, the one that can be watched at the cliffs were they use to rest; then is the Andean Fox frequently observed next to the reserve headquarters where they are accustomed to human presence; and finally but also rarely observed, is the most elusive and shy of all the South-American camelids, the Guanaco.
Staying at Wasipunko will guarantee a strategic starting point for all the expeditions (and to experience a real Pachamanca!). Olivia and her children will orientate you and will even guide you to the nearby cemetery, for example. Chauchilla is a so-called necropolis where elaborate burials, now exposed, reveal mummified bodies and their immaculate white bones. Then, you can just keep on going towards a typical country house where fruiting cactuses are cultivated.
You could keep going south, and to escape Ica for a moment, to enter the coastal section of the Arequipa department, where a small museum safeguards extraordinary fossils of varied giant marine animals now extinct, the ones that made less-informed people think they belonged to dinosaurs.
The last and biggest escapade would be the one heading to Cuzco. First, you can stop at one of the biggest dunes of the world, Cerro Blanco, a sand mole that provides lots of adrenaline while sliding down the slope on a board, or serotonin if you prefer just to contemplate the views. Next ahead is the National Reserve Pampa Galeras, a natural place where the largest population of vicuñas (the softer and fluffier of the South-American camelids) thrive. This reserve protects archaeological remnants like rupestrian paintings (of vicuñas of course!) as well as many other natural features.
After this virtual tour over the Paracas-Nazca area, we really hope you take it into consideration. Just let your travel designer know about your site visiting preferences and together you can build a completely customized itinerary so you don’t miss out on the hidden treasures of the southern coastal desert and Peru.