People who travel to the small desert town of Nazca, Peru usually stay for only one day – just long enough to take a flight over the mysterious Nazca, Lines… and then they jump on a bus and head out of town. But there’s a whole lot more to do in Nazca than simply flying over these mysterious line drawings.
The following is a list of 7 things I recommend you do while in Nazca, Peru that don’t involve flying over the Nazca Lines.
View The Nazca Lines From The Ground
Okay. Okay. If you insist on seeing the Nazca Lines, but you don’t want to see them from the air, you can always catch a bus or taxi up the Pan-American highway a few kilometers and stop at the Nazca Lines observation tower. The tower, which sits right along the side of the highway isn’t really all that tall, but it allows you to get a close-up look at a few of the nearby figures and massive desert lines.
Stroll Through The Sunday Market
On Sundays the people of Nazca come together on the city’s north-east side for a massive food and clothing sale. Here you can find all kinds of fruits, vegetables, meat, and cheap sunglasses, clothes, and illegal DVDs for sale. Even if you don’t buy anything, the market is large enough that it makes for a fun half-day adventure – even if you do nothing but stroll around and take photos of the people you encounter.
See The Mummies Of Chauchilla Cemetery
30 kms south of Nazca is the Chauchilla Cemetery, where dozens of mummified bodies are on display. While most people think of Egypt as the land of the mummies, Peru has a surprising number of mummified bodies on display… and the Chauchilla Cemetery is one of the best places to see them. While a few of the mummies here are covered and in protective cases, most of the bodies are out in the open, which gives you a super unique way of viewing these ancient corpses.
Walk To The Pardeones Ruins
2 kms south of Nazca are the Pardeones Ruins – a small site where the crumbling remains of an ancient village can be seen. The site itself isn’t all that impressive, and it’s certainly not worth the 10 SOL entrance price, but an excursion to Pardeones makes for a nice walk out of town… and if you arrive there after 5 PM, there’s a good chance the guard will be gone and you can enter the ruins at no cost.
Climb The Mountains Near Buene Fe
The Buene Fe geoglyphs are, like the Nazca Lines, a number of large lines and patterns drawn the dirt near the mountains of Nazca, Peru. You can walk to this site from Nazca (it’s about 5 kms) or you can take a taxi for just a few SOL. While the Buene Fe lines are not all that exciting, the mountains behind Beune Fe are magnificent… and if you time your stay just right, you might be treated to a sunset like the one you see above.
Hit The Dunes On A 4×4 Sandboarding Tour
In the deserts surrounding the tiny town of Nazca are some impressive sand dunes… and if you like motorized adventures, then a 4×4 Sandboarding Tour is right up your alley. On this unique adventure you will ride along in an 8-person dune buggy (the more people on the tour with you, the less you pay). At first, you’ll be driven to the aqueducts of Ocongalla, the Ruins of Cahuachi (an ancient pyramid site), and finally you will visit a place where the bones of hundreds of people are simply scattered in the sand. After that, you’ll head out into the dunes for about an hour’s worth of Sandboarding, before jumping back in the dune buggy and heading home. Watch the video above to learn more.
Rent A Bicycle And Explore The Nearby Deserts
Finally, consider renting a bicycle and exploring some of the nearby areas under your own human power. There aren’t any places in town that specialize in bicycle rentals, but you can usually find a tour company that will gladly round a bicycle up for you. Don’t expect too much from the bike that you rent, but grabbing yourself a bike, getting out of town, and exploring the nearby areas is certainly one fun thing to do when you’re in the tiny desert town of Nazca, Peru.
So there you have it! 7 things to do in Nazca, Peru that don’t involve flying over the mysterious Nazca Lines.
If you’ve ever been to Nazca, Peru, what other things would you add to this list?