Backpackers Guide to Nazca – Peru

The Best of Peru

Nazca is a city on the Southern Coast of Peru, known best for the Nazca lines, a collection of enormous markings in the desert of Peru. Tourists most commonly visit Nazca to fly over the famous Nazca Lines. Other than the Nazca lines, there isn’t a lot to do in Nazca.


Things to do in Nazca Peru


Fly over the Nazca lines


Things to do in Nazca


The main reason to visit Nazca is to fly over the Nazca lines.


They were created between 400 and 650AD by the Nazca culture, and cover an area of nearly 1,000 sq. kilometres. There are about 300 different figures, including animals and plants, made from over 10,000 lines, some of which measure 30 meters wide and stretch more than 9 kilometres.


Due to the size of the lines, they are best viewed by air.


When booking a flight over the Nazca lines, ensure you book with a reputable company and check reviews on trip advisor. Expect to pay around $100 USD.


See the Nazca lines from the observation tower


Viewing the Nazca lines from the observation tower only costs 2 soles instead of $100US, but I wouldn’t recommend going to Nazca just to see the lines from the observation tower.


Local Markets


Nazca’s local markets don’t have a great range of souvenirs and gifts, but they have a fantastic and extremely cheap range of fresh produce. We stocked up on fruit, veggies and bread rolls for 6 soles (about $2.50 US).


Explore Cahuachi Pyramids


Cahuachi is believed to have been a pilgrimage centre where people from all over Peru would meet to exchange ideas, trade goods, and perform ceremonial events.


Archeologists believe the reason that the Nazca lines depict creatures so foreign to the desert was thanks to the meetings that took place in Cahuachi, as people from the coast and the Amazonas could have described these animals to the Nazca people.


Visit Chauchilla Necropolis


You can visit mummies at Chauchilla. This cemetery holds the remains of members of the Nazca culture dating back to 200BC and 500 AD.


Visit the Cantalloc Aqueducts


Located only four kilometres away from the city centre, the Cantalloc Aqueducts are an immaculate example of Nazca hydraulic engineering. The site was built in ancient times, based on a system of stone aqueducts, still functioning and used by local farmers for irrigation today.


Take a sand buggy/sandboarding tour


This is an extremely fun activity, however, if you are heading to Huacachina, I would skip doing this in Nazca.


Slide down the tallest sand dune in the world


Nazca is home to the tallest sand dune in the world. It is so steep that it is impossible for buggies to drive up to the summit, so you must hike up yourself with a sandboard to slide down.


Recommended length of stay in Nazca


I recommend staying in Nazca for a few hours, long enough to take the flight over the lines, then leave.


If you plan on staying you can search for accommodation here.


Getting to Nazca


Nazca is located between Lima and Arequipa, two popular destinations in Peru.


You can get to Nazca from any location in Peru on the Cruz Del Sur bus service. See my guide to getting around Peru safely here. 



Other comments


ONLY VISIT NAZCA IF YOU PLAN ON FLYING OVER THE LINES. I was extremely disappointed by Nazca and my trip to the Nazca observation tower and personally wouldn’t recommend it, but everyone has different interests. Huacachina, on the other hand, was very impressive, check out my guide to Huacachina here.


Get travel insurance for your trip to Nazca


I recommend World Nomads.  If you are still unsure if you should buy travel insurance or not, read this. 



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