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The magical desert

Active and Unique Expedition
FromUSD$315
Active and Unique Expedition
FromUSD$315
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1902
  • All year round(Dec-Mar: possibly some rain or fog)
  • Difficulty: Low-Medium2-4 hours per day

This is an extraordinary experience in which the Peruvian Atacama Desert becomes the setting of the story you are going to live. It´s a complete immersion in its incredibly beautiful landscapes like dunes, oases and the ocean, but also an opportunity to meet its people and find out about their daily activities. Not to mention the fascinating ancient remains of mummies, geoglyphs and gigantic lines over the desert plains that you´ll be able to see. 

On different day hikes, you will be taken closer to the desert and its inhabitants. One night of camping adds another unique experience; during which you can enjoy a night under an entire ocean of stars. 

Are you unsure whether this tour might be a bit too long for your taste? In that case, we can offer you our Quick magical desert experience. Or you might want to have a look at the On Top of the Desert Nazca Tour, another four-day experience starting and ending in Nazca.

You can also read our Travel Guide to Paracas, Ica & Nazca at the Southern Coast to get more general information about this destination. 

Day by Day

Day 1Paracas - Camping Oasis Morón

At 10.00 am, we start this tour by picking you up from your hotel or another place of your choice. We will drive in a private vehicle from Paracas to a small community of farming families living at the edge of the desert.Here, we will visit the house of María Shara, who will prepare us a so-called “locro costeño”, a typical and delicious stew from the region. 

Being all strengthened from lunch, you will walk through corn-, cotton- and other crop fields until you reach the dunes of the desert. After another hour of hiking through the sand dunes, you will be able to catch first glimpses of the oasis. Once here, we will pitch our tents and you can go for a swim if you want! Then, we will enjoy dinner and a campfire under the night full of stars. 

Duration of the hike: 2.5 h
Difficulty: medium (high temperatures).
Distance on foot: 3 km

Day 2Oasis Morón – Paracas National Reserve

This morning, a fantastic breakfast awaits you in front of the oasis, After that, you will walk to some reed beds (aquatic vegetation), where the reed is harvested and the art of making baskets and mats is practised. 

Then, you will go to the Paracas National Reserve, where you will hike to a viewpoint with an incredible view of the bay and a colony of sea lions. You will return to the vehicle and continue to Lagunillas, a fisherman’s cove where you will enjoy a variety of seafood dishes.

Going further south, enjoying the beauty of the reserve on the way, you will arrive at Las Salinas de Otuma. From there, you will begin your walk to Mendieta, cross the Laguna Negra or Muerta (“lunar” landscapes) to finally reach the beach.

Once here, you climb the hill to enjoy a well-deserved and incredible sunset over the Pacific Ocean and return to Paracas where you’ll stay in a hotel.

Duration of the hike: 3 h
Difficulty: Low
Distance: 6 Km

Day 3Paracas - Palpa - Nasca

You depart from Paracas again, crossing the desert by car, taking several photo stops. Then, you arrive in Palpa, where you can visit the Nasca geoglyph “Solar Clock”.

From there, you walk to the oasis “El Manantial de la Máquina”, to take a refreshing bath and have a picnic, before continuing to Nasca. On your way there, we will make stops to appreciate the geoglyphs of the ancient settlers that are all over the place. The richness of archaeological sites in the area is incredible. The world´s largest concentration of geoglyphs, which are up to 2000 years old, can be found here. You can see El Felino, La Orca, El Tupu, La Familia and finally, from a viewpoint, you can appreciate some of the most famous drawings of the Nasca Lines. Finally, you arrive at the Lodge for dinner and an overnight stay. 

Day 4Wasipunko – Las Trancas – Chauchilla

On your last day, you start by driving to the town of Las Trancas, in the valley of the same name. There, you will visit some aqueducts. These are 2000 years old (pre-hispanic) water recovery systems capturing groundwater. Remarkably, they are still in operation today.

You continue your walk through the countryside, observing the agricultural activity in various plantations. At some point, you reach the town of Copara, a picturesque village that still preserves the old houses or ranches of the hacienda era. You will have lunch at a local family’s house and then head on to the municipal museum, located in the old hacienda.

Continuing your walk between crops, you will reach the town of La Joya, where you will visit another geoglyph in the desert. Then, you arrive at the cemetery of Chauchilla, which will be briefly appreciated before reaching the village of the same name, where transport awaits you.

We will end this tour by returning to the lodge to visit the nearby vineyards and then having a Pisco tasting. At around 16.00 pm you will arrive in Nazca, the end point of this experience. Again, we can bring you to your hotel or another location that you indicate to us beforehand. 

Duration of hike: 4 hours
Difficulty: Low
Distance: 11 km

Why is this experience RESPONSible?

Visiting off-the-beaten-path destinations invigorates local rural economies that normally only derive income from agriculture and other minor employment. The Peruvian desert is not necessarily seen as a major attraction compared to the Andes or the Amazon, as it is not promoted as much. This tour gives credit to this lesser-known destination and to the families you will visit. 

During the route, you will learn a lot about the importance of the native plants of the desert. There are refill stations on the way, as well. You won’t have to bring any disposable plastic bottles to stay hydrated!

Your participation in this tour will also support reforestation and clean-up projects around Paracas and Nazca.

Read here how the Sustainability Score was elaborated

Details

Price Includes

  • Day 1:
  • Lunch and dinner, water for the hikes
  • Overnight stay in a tent for two persons with sleeping bag
  • Day 2:
  • Breakfast at the campsite
  • Entrance fees
  • Overnight stay with breakfast in Paracas
  • Day 3:
  • Lunch and dinner
  • Overnight stay with breakfast in Nasca
  • Day 4:
  • Lunch
  • Visit to the vineyards and Pisco tasting
  • Included every day:
  • Private transportation
  • English-speaking guide

Price Excludes

What to Bring

Frequently Asked Questions

About the tour itself

Is this tour physically demanding?

A can be a little bit, yes. Even though we will not be hiking many kilometers per fay, it is tough walking through the sand, as you advance a lot slower. It can also get really hot, so be prepared for that!

What kind of weather should we expect during this excursion?

Thanks to the proximity to the sea it gets less hot than in other desert. You can expect p to 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day. During the night, it can cool down a lot, especially in winter. It can rain slightly and be foggy at night an d in the mornings. 

 

Is this a private tour?

Yes, you will be doing it only with the people you booked it with! 

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 am Edmundo, official guide, I was born in Lima but I lived in Nazca 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