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On top of the desert: Nazca

Active and Unique
FromUSD$205
Active and Unique
FromUSD$205
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1837

The Cerro Blanco Dune (2078 meters above sea level) is among the largest known in the world. It is over 900 m high on its southern wall and it concentrates a great amount of biodiversity due to the ecological levels it has. During the rainy season (From December to March), vegetation covers appear, some plants bloom and attract insects. The view is very impressive from the top: you can see some sort of natural “amphitheaters” formed by hundreds of small dunes and appreciate the valleys of Nasca and Taruga from above.

The experience of walking through the deserts of Peru is unique, it is the perfect combination of wild nature (with the sublime landscapes of the oasis, dunes, the Pacific coast), history (with the many archaeological remains you can find here) and the culture of the communities (who grow their crops here). You will also get the opportunity to get in contact with the villagers, see their homes and learn about their way of life in this unusual environment. 

Due to these characteristics, we consider this tour ideal for families and groups of friends. It is educational, allows for exchange with the villagers and offers a lot of information about the history of the Peruvians coming from this area of the country. Moreover, it can be done all year round. 

Are you a great fan of the desert and want to be immersed in this habitat for a longer time? In that case, you might like our Magical Desert Tour more. This one takes one day longer, starting in Paracas and taking you all the way to Nazca. 

We also invite you to read our Travel Guide for Paracas, Ica and Nazca. if you want to get more general information on this destination. 

Day by Day

Day 1Nasca - Cerro Blanco

You will start this tour at 8.00 am, departing to Cerro Blanco with your English-speaking guide and assistants or porters. First, you travel 24 km (about 14 miles) by vehicle to reach an altitude of 1.200 meters (3.400 feet) approximately.

Then, you begin your hike along a path of artisanal miners. You will start by ascending about 300 meters (985 feet) on a steep slope, which will take about 2 hours. After that, you ascend another 100 meters (330 feet) on a less steep path until you reach the huge Cerro Blanco dune. Payment will be made before you can climb the final 100 meters (330 feet) to the top of the dune. 

Once you have made it all the way up, the team will set up the camp here. When watching the beautiful sunset this evening, you will be glad to have gone on this day’s hike and will go to bed in your tent more than satisfied. 

Duration of the hike: 5 hours
Elevation gain: 878 meters (2.880 feet) 
Difficulty: medium (high temperatures).

Day 2Cerro Blanco - Falda Grande - Juanillo

On day two, you start very early, to walk over the dune and descend the so-called “Falda Grande” towards the Taruga valley. After a long descent, you enter the valley, where you will possibly be able to see condors flying around.

Coastal valleys, such as the one we will visit, are used as corridors leading from the sea to the mountains. It is also an area where Condors pass through. Hence, you might possibly see some of them flying around when reaching the village. 

You will spend the night at the local family house of Juanillo’s. It´s a quiet and shady place next to the river.

Duration of the hike: 8 hrs
Difficulty: Medium

Day 3Juanillo - Taruga - Pajonal - Nasca.

The last day enables you to get in contact with the people of the area and explore local crops, flora and fauna, as you walk through the Taruga village. 

You will also visit the pre-Columbian aqueducts of Santa Maria, which are remains of the Nazca culture. Heading on, you will descend through different towns along the way.

Your dinner will be a Pachamanca. This is a typical dish prepared in a specific way that you will discover that night! You will participate in its preparation and a ceremonial payment to Mother Earth or Pachamama. 

This tour ends at the Wasipunko Ecolodge in Nazca at around 17.00 pm. 

Distance: 25 km (15 miles)

Small version of transparent round logo of RESPONSible Travel Peru

Why is this experience RESPONSible?

Visiting sites off the beaten path invigorates local rural economies that normally only derive income from agriculture and other minor employment. On the other hand, the Peruvian desert is not necessarily seen as an attraction compared to the Andes or the Amazon. The development of the Cerro Blanco Dune Trekking will allow us to help the creation of a Natural Protected Area and prevent it from being overexploited by preventing motorized vehicles from entering.

Details

Price Includes

  • Day 1
  • Lunch and dinner, and water for the hikes
  • Day 2
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner, and water for the hikes
  • Day 3
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Overnight in Nasca in a rural hotel
  • All days including
  • Private transportationExcept during day 2 when not needed
  • English-speaking guide, assistants or porters
  • Tent for two people and sleeping bags for day 1 and 2

Price Excludes

What to Bring

Frequently Asked Questions

About the tour itself

Is this tour physically demanding?

Yes, as the desert is a challenging environment where you will experience the heat during the day, cold during night, long hikes and ascention of hundreds of meters during day 1. However it has been done with young children acustomed to walk from the age of 8.

What kind of weather should we expect during this route?

The desert is dry year long, with very few exceptions, like from December to March when it can get foggy and rarely experiencing minimal precipitations.

What is the highest point during this route?

The top of the Cerro Blanco dune (2078 m), but don’t worry that you won’t climb the whole slope by foot, only the last 878 m.

What's the accommodation like at the local host families?

The first two nights you will be camping next to human settlements for been able to share time with local people. Each tent will be shared among two passengers.

The last night (3rd) when arriving to Nasca, your accomodation will be Wasipunko Lodge, a rustic but charming family owned, small scale property.

Is this a private excursion or will I share the experience with other travelers?

This is such an off-the-beaten-path tour that chances are that you will be the only people doing it. If by pure coincidence another group book the same date as you, please think that it is for the benefit of the local communities visited.

Do I have to pay any entrance fees?

All admission costs are covered, but if you think tipping some of the people involved in the experience during the visit to the communities, it will be very welcomed.

General questions

For questions about booking a tour, prices, preparation for your trip, health and safety or other themes, please check our Frequently Asked Questions page. If you can’t find your question & answer, email us and we’ll add it!

Reviews
Your Travel Designer
Edmundo Watkins is our partner in developing sustainable experiences in Ica | Responsible Travel Peru

Edmundo Watkin

I was born in Lima but I lived in Nasca since I was 19 years old. Nazca is where my passion for adventure was born, opening new routes hiking through the desert. But above all, I wanted to propose a different, original and responsible tourism with the local population and in balance with the environment. To show the traveler the life of the common people of the coastal valleys and that they can have a real participation in unique experiences in these lands yet to be discovered.

That is what I stand for and what you will experience when taking part in my experiences. Welcome to the desert of Nazca!

The Route