NAZCA

Nazca is a city located in the desert within the Region of Ica around 450km south of Lima at an altitude of 520m. It has an agreeable climate with average temperatures around 23ºC.

The most famous tourist attraction is the Nazca Lines, which are located on the desert plains between Nazca and Pallpa. These lines form figures of enormous animals, plants and geometric shapes that can only be appreciated from above. There is a lookout tower next to the Pan-American Highway from which a few of the lines can be seen but to view the full area and to distinguish the forms with clarity it is best to take one of the many flights which overfly the lines. It is not proven neither exactly when the lines were drawn (though they are prehispanic) nor why. There are many theories and it is worth visiting the museum on the outskirts of Nazca which exhibits the findings of the famous German archaeologist, Marie Reiche, who dedicated her life to investigating this amazing site.

But there is much more to see close to Nazca. There is an extraordinary underground irrigation system which was constructed centuries ago which operates still. These canals can be visited at several points around Nazca – the best known within the city itself is at a place called Cantalloc. It is even possible to crawl through the tunnels constructed to distribute the water.

The Nazca Civilization formed the most important Empire along the Southern coasts of Peru between 200 BC until 600 AD. It is likely that this Civilization was responsible for etching the desert lines mentioned above. It is also well known for its polychrome ceramics which have figures of people, animals and plants etc. High quality textiles were also woven. About 30Km from Nazca the ancient cemetery of Chauchilla can be visited. Here well preserved mummies along with ceramics and weavings can be seen within the burial chambers.

The San Fernando Bay is about 70Km south east of Nazca on the pacific coast. Here abundant coastal and aquatic fauna can be observed. There is a large population of sea lions. There are also Humboldt penguins and sea otters. These marine mammals can be seen along parts of the Peruvian and Chilean coasts. They eat a variety of fish and are considered vulnerable to extinction. Guanacos can be observed on the sand dunes.