Other Nazca Attractions

Cantalloc Aqueducts

Very close to the city, these aqueducts date from the time of the Nazca Culture (200 A.D.-700 A.D.). There are 46 aqueducts of which 32 are still in use. They were constructed of stones, flagstones and huarango trunks, which have resisted the passage of centuries. On the site you can see the wells dug in the form of a spiral enabling better quality of water to be obtained. Close to it is the spectacular Hacienda Cantayo Hotel and Resort.

Cahuachi Ceremonial Center

An ancient huge pyramid unearthed from the sands of the Cahuachi desert in Peru has been revealed to be part of a vast pre-Colombian ceremonial centre of great archaeological importance. The pyramid is part of the Cahuachi site south of the Nazca lines, and has been recently opened for visitors. The rest of the area is still in exploration and excavation. It consists of truncated adobe pyramids and was built by the Nazca people (370 B.C.-550 A.D.). You can see an open patio on one side and a wide terrace with roofed enclosures; on the tops of the larger temples, such as the Great Temple, large rooms were found with dozens of columns. The majority of these pyramids were abandoned during the 5th and 6th centuries A.D.

Cahuachi was a major ceremonial center of the Nazca culture and overlooked some of the Nazca lines from 1 CE to about 500 CE. Italian archaeologist Giuseppe Orefici has been excavating the site for the past few decades, bringing a team down every year. The site contains over 40 mounds topped with adobe structures. It has also been studied by Helaine Silverman, who has written a book on Cahuachi. It has been recently opened for visitors The permanent population was quite small, but it was apparently a pilgrimage center that grew greatly in population for major ceremonial events. These events probably involved the Nazca lines and the giant sand dune of Nazca. Support for the pilgrimage theory comes from archaeological evidence of sparse population at Cahuachi and from the Nazca lines themselves which show creatures such as orca and monkeys which were not present in the Nazca region. Of course, trade or travel may explain the images. Due to the dry climate the finds are quite rich and include even such ephemeral material as clothing.

Chauchilla Cemetery

In the amazing Chauchilla Cemetery, bodies from the ancient Nasca people were preserved by natural mummification in the arid climate. This site shows mummies, ceramics, colorful textiles and other objects, practically untouched. Chauchilla is about 30 km from Nasca city.

Museo Antonini

This didactic and very interesting museum in Nazca shows a large collection of objects belonging to the Nazca culture and merits spend a vist. It is administrated directly by the ”Centro Italiano Studi e Ricerche Precolombiane. The Museum preserves and analyses the archaeological evidence resulting from the researching activity of the “ Nasca Project ” in the ceremonial centre of Cahuachi and other main sites of the Rio Nasca Valley, since 1982. All the materials, therefore, belong within a certain context which is scientifically documented, and which provides each object proper cultural association. The Museum complex extends over an internal surface of 750 square meters and also includes an open air archaeological park of 1.600 square meters, in which it is possible to admire the “Bisambra Aqueduct”, a vestige of the talent of the ancient inhabitants in the hydraulic engineering field. The archaeological park shows some burial reconstructions of actual size, with imitations of the tombs and the relative funerary equipments. It also shows some reproductions of the rock micro paintings from Huayahua and a reliable small-scale model of the “Pampa of Nasca” geoglyphs. The Museum is organized around the different factors which affected the development of the communities which settled down in the Nasca Valley and in the neighbouring territories. Among the most important factors were the natural resources, which the man of the Basin of the Rio Grande of Nasca learned to exploit. Another was the planning which informed the utilization and transformation of the physical space available, with economic, political and religious goals.

The first room of the Museum introduces the section dedicated to the environment, and describes the main archaeological sites in the area, Pueblo Viejo, Cahuachi, Estaqueria, Paredones, including the aqueducts, or filtering galleries. The displayed materials include samples of agricultural plants, discovered during the archaeological excavation, in addition to some examples of pottery jars, which belong to different periods – both chronological and cultural – of the sites which have been investigated.

From this point onward, the Museum examines all the aspects of the Nasca society. The collected materials allow to recreate, with a high level of approximation, several details of the everyday life, the economy and the polical and religious organization of the Nascas.

Museo Maria Reiche

Researcher’s desert house turned into a Museum: An interesting quick tour, if you happen to stop there as your cross the desert. It gets you into the mood to see the lines, and every little bit of knowledge you have will make your flight over the lines more interesting. Otherwise it’s like you’re flying over some scratchings in the desert. Maria is buried in the museum, with a Graceland-like burial marker, providing the opportunity for great graveside photos. Among the more interesting things are the original sketches and photos of the lines, which are quite a bit more clear than they currently appear from the sky.

Pampa Galeras

Reachable in a couple of hours from Nazca, the National Reserve of Pampa Galeras at 4000m over sea level was established in 1967. its name was changed by the National Reserve of Pampa Galeras Barbara D’Achille in 1993. The main purpose of this Reserve is to protect the vicuna and promote the development of the population settled there.

This reserve makes up of 6500 hectares which own to the peasant community Lucanas located in the department of Ayacucho, province and district of Lucanas.

The vicuna (Vicugna vicugna) is the most representative in Pampa Galeras and the aim of this reserve is to protect these animals, which were in the verge of extinction. Thanks to this important decision, the population of vicuñas grew from a few hundreds to over 16 thousand in 2006 in the Reserve and nearby areas. Now it is not endangered anymore.

In Pampa Galeras we can also find the Guanaco (Lama guanicoe), still endangered in Peru, which lives free in the pampas.

Punta San Fernando, off the beaten path 4×4 expedition

San Fernando is one of the less visited natural refuges in the Peruvian coast. Travelers will be able to observe quite closely crowds of seals and, if lucky, find herds of guanacos prowling in the only place where they can be found along the Peruvian coast. Hill, desert and ocean ecosystems converge around the peninsula creating a wonderful oasis of life that is home to one of the most important colonies of Humboldt penguins in the country.

However, the main attraction of this place may be the presence of family groups of Andean condors that descend from the high Andes looking for food. After a deserved banquet of marine species these majestic birds sunbathe extending their wings at the islets and cliffs. After breakfast, you go with address to Punta San Fernando. It is journey that is possible to make only in 4×4 vans. This unforgettable adventure will take the fortunate participants to a close contact with the non polluted and wild nature. Once you arrived at the beach, you will have the opportunity to be pretty near to the marine wolves, penguins and the majestic condors who get off the mountains to eat the placenta that leave the marine wolves after the childbirth. Its is one of the few places in Peru where you can see small guanaco herds coming close to the sea. Lunch at the beach included.