A Guide to Visiting Nazca City, Peru
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Nazca City is different from any other place I have been to in Peru.
Nazca is a city situated on Peru’s south coast, and it is the largest city in the Nazca Province. It contains a significant part of Nazca culture, dating back to 100BC and 800 AD. It was discovered and colonized by the Spanish in 1591, and used to have an abundance of wine and pisco production during the colonial times.
Nowadays, Nazca has all the basic tourist infrastructure such as banks, shops, restaurants, taxis, and long-distance buses. It has a real local flavor, ancient culture, and history that is different from anywhere else in Peru.
Here, this guide shows you most things you need to know about visiting Nazca, including the weather, how to get around, places to visit and things to do, and other travel tips.
Overview of Nazca City
I visited Nazca City solely for a visit to famous Nazca Lines. I first thought this city is just a common Peruvian city, with no tall buildings, and the locals are chilling at night while making ends meet during the day. However, over time, the interesting cultural aspects of this city started growing on me and it is the place I wish to return to if I have an opportunity to visit Peru again.
What attracts me most about Nazca City is that this place does not have a large scale as Lima, as well as famous the Arequipa and Cuzco. It is a place so simple where you can walk around easily and it will surprise you in many ways.
Part of it is that I did not research anything before my visit and I only planned to see the Nazca Lines; but as the days went by, I found the city was a gem, run by the hard-working and genuine locals that welcome you and want to have fun with you. Plus, I was attracted by the combination of the mysterious Nazca civilization and Spanish heritage.
Climate in Nazca
The average temperature of Nazca is between 8ºC and 31ºC with foggy winters and hot and dry summers. However, as the city is located in the world’s driest place and with intense sunlight, it can feel as if the place is hotter than it is supposed to be. However, life does not stop because of it.
How to get around Nazca City
Although Nazca is a city, it features a small town feeling. The city and tourist facilities are pretty packed in one area so it is easy to walk around. There is no local public transport and you can take a taxi or walk. I took a taxi from the bus station to my hostel the night I arrived and I walked around the city most of the time.
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Places to visit and things to do in Nazca
There are lots of interesting places worth visiting in Nazca–Antonini Museum and Maria Reiche Planetarium, and then you have outdoor activities that are taking place outside the city of Nazca, which I went to and absolutely enjoyed.
Almost everyone that has visited Peru knows that Huacachina is a famous place for sandboarding, but sandboarding in Nazca is a great alternative for those who want to get some thrill and wonderful experience at the world’s tallest sand dunes at Cerro Blanco.
My sandboarding experience started with a few rounds of exhilarating buggy rides through the sand dunes, and then sitting and skiing down on the board.
Additionally, riding the dune buggy at full speed in the Nazca desert on our way to Cerro Blanco is adrenaline-pumping activity. Our driver bumped our way up and down the dunes, whisking through hundreds of miles in the arid desert plain in a short space as if we were transported to the scene of Mad Max. It was electrifying and, if you visit Nazca City, be sure you do not pass up on this experience.
Centro Magnetico De Orcona
This is another place worth visiting after the Nazca Lines and it is located in a territory that has a strong magnetic force. According to local traditions, this magnetic point was used by Nazcas to cure their diseases and mental illnesses, as well as renew their energy.
Centro Magnetico de Orcona is located between mountains and surrounded by valleys. There is a mountain there and you can walk up to the top to see the graveyard.
I consider myself lucky to be able to go there and wander around the magnetic point the entire afternoon. I walked barefoot for a while, sat, got up and sat again.
When the sun comes down, you will see that the whole area is immersed in soft orange light. Looking down from the valley, you can see the whole city light up from the horizon. As we were the only group there, the calm and serendipity was something I had never experienced before during my trip, which changed the way I saw Nazca and Peru.
The Nazca Lines is a collection of ancient geoglyphs in the Nazca desert that was created between 200 BC and 600 AD. It consists of 12 main figures that resemble patterns of humans, animals, and plants, and you can view the lines on the mountains.
The significance of the Nazca Lines is still an enigma to this day but you can take a flight to see all the figures from the sky or pay $3 to view two main figures from the Mirador. If you decide to visit from the Mirador, make sure to walk up to the mountains nearby, so you can have great views of the infinite stretch of Nazca desert and enjoy the sunset there that will give you a different perspective of the place.
Where to stay: Nanasqa Hostel
During my trip to Nazca City, I stayed at the Nanasqa Hostel. The hostel is situated in a quiet neighborhood and is walking distance to the downtown of Nazca City. I completely enjoyed my stay there—the volunteers were welcoming and the owner of the hostel Roy is hospitable. He booked the sandboarding tour for me and took other guests and me to the Centro Magnetico De Orcona on an afternoon for free. The hostel is a few minutes ride from the Cruz Del Sur bus station and a taxi cost no more than $4 sol.
Have you visited Nazca City before? Share your experience below.