Nazca (Nasca) Lines & Paracas tour extension Just a few hours drive south of Lima through part of the world’s driest coastal desert are incredible destinations to explore - where scenic views and wonders abound! These sights should not be missed on a visit to Peru and extended itineraries are available. Our 3 day tour is based out of Paracas, which saves you the 6 hours, or more, drive (each way to Nazca) - convenient for the Ballestas Islands boat tour and still allows visit to Ica, only an hour away.
First is Paracas, a unique peninsula that is a nature preserve, with beautiful bays and beaches and remains of the pre-Inca cultures. Amazing for birdwatchers and hikers, the Paracas National Reserve is considered one of the richest and most uncommon ecosystems in the world and is a UNESCO “Natural World Heritage Site”. The preserve harbors turtles, dolphins, whales, sea lions, seals, iguanas, a wide variety of birdlife including Rhea (South American ostrich), Humboldt penguins, flamingos, condors, and many other species both common and rare. Just offshore are the Ballestas Islands, often called the “Little Galapagos Islands” as you will see similar marine and terrestrial wildlife.
South of Paracas, the mainland contains the enigmatic and world famous Nazca Lines. This series of geoglyphs located in the high arid plateau of the Nasca Desert, are spread over a 50 mile area and must be seen from the air to grasp the complexity and scale. Believed to have been created between 500 BC and 700 AD, there are hundreds of individual figures, ranging in from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks or orcas, llamas, and lizards”.
Between Pisco and Nasca, is the colonial town of Ica. Founded in 1563, it is known for its unusual oasis and vineyards which still grow grapes for wine and pisco brandy. The town also has an outstanding Regional Archaeology Museum, with collections of pre-Inca and Inca artifacts including well preserved funeral mummies, intricate weavings, and colorful ceramics.
Private, 3 Day Itinerary: Includes Paracas, Ballestas Islands, Ica, and the Nazca Lines NOTE: Unlike most “pre-packaged Nazca Lines tours”, this is operated with private guide service and transportation throughout, allowing for custom stops as desired along the way.
Morning departure (around 9am) from Lima with private guide and transportation to Paracas Bay, about 156 miles south and about 3 hours drive time. The scenery is one of the urban sprawl of Lima, Pacific beaches, sand dunes, and desert broken by fertile valleys under agriculture with busy towns. Along the way, a nice stop is the El Batan restaurant in Chincha for some of their delicious empanadas or desserts. At the town of Pisco, you will receive an introduction to the world famous Nazca Lines and board the small plane for an overflight of the Nazca and Palpa Lines and Geoglyphs (approximately hour and half flight). Afterwards is a tour of the National Reserve of Paracas, one of the most interesting and richest ecosystems in the world. The desert peninsula and waters of Paracas hold a great diversity of fish, birds, and marine mammals. Birdwatching is excellent in the Reserve for condors and flamingos, the colorful National Bird. Be sure ride through the dunes and have some fresh seafood at Lagunillas beach, one of the most serene and beautiful locations of the Reserve. The Paracas and Pisco area is famous for great food made from fresh seafood including the most typical dish, the traditional Peruvian ceviche, and, of course the national drink, “Pisco Sour”. Overnights are seaside in Paracas at the lovely DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Resort (optional hotels include the Hacienda Bahia (www.hoteleslahacienda.com), or the Hotel Paracas Libertador (www.libertador.com.pe). (B)
After an early breakfast, you board a passenger boat at around 8AM* to tour the Ballestas Islands, also known as the “poor man’s Galapagos Island”. (*This first boat tour of the day allows for calmer waters and superior wildlife viewing.) These spectacular islands, eroded into many caves and arches, provide shelter for thousands of seabirds (over 150 species) and hundreds of sea-lions. On the tour you will view the famous Candelabra hillside figure, sea-lion colonies, and the abundant birdlife (penguins, booby, albatross, alcatraz, pelican, cormorant, terns, gulls, etc.), and maybe a condor or even a whale! After the boat tour, your private guide drives you south to the town of Ica less than an hour away. There you will tour of the Regional Archaeology Museum to study the different artifacts found in this region from the Pre-Inca cultures of Paracas, Nazca, Wari, and Ocucaje. Also included is a visit to the unique Huacachina Oasis, the largest such geological feature on the Peruvian coast and a good place for lunch. On the return to Paracas, you visit a vineyard to learn the process of making Peruvian wines and Pisco, a white grape brandy. In the late afternoon, you return to Paracas for the overnight. (B)
After breakfast, the morning is free to relax and enjoy the hotel’s amenities. Later, with private guide and transportation on the return to Lima, you have several options for stops along the way north, such as visiting haciendas and archaeological ruins. Included on the return is a visit to the impressive archaeological site of Pachacamac.
Nearby the ruins, if time permits, a great place for a meal is La Casa De Don Cucho. (www.cuchosazonperuana.com). Late afternoon return to your Lima hotel, or transfer the airport for flights out. (B)
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