The Southern Coast Places

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Nazca

Getting Here and Around

Be prepared: Nazca is all about tours and it may seem like everyone in town is trying to sell you one at once. The minute you poke your nose outside the bus door you'll be swamped with offers for flights over the lines, hotels, and trips to the Chauchilla cemetery. Be wise about any offers made to you by touts at the bus station—if it's cheap, there's probably a good reason why. That said, a tour with a reputable agency is a great way to catch all of Nazca's major sites. Recommended agencies include Alegria Tours and Nasca Trails.

All buses arrive and depart from the óvalo (roundabout). To see the lines from ground level, taxis will make the 30-minute run out to the mirador for around S/50, or do it the local way and catch any northbound bus along the Panamericana for just S/3. Flights over the Lines are best in early morning, before the sun gets too high and winds make flying uncomfortable. Standard flights last around 30 minutes and cost between $120 USD and $160 USD, depending on the season. You'll also have to pay an airport tax of S/10 (watch out for cheeky operators who will try and tell you that the tax is $10 USD; it's not!). You can buy flight tickets from travel agencies and many hotels in town, or directly from the airline offices near the airport. Buying tickets in advance will save you time. Tickets are available on the spot at the airport, but as planes won't take off until all seats are filled you may spend most of your morning hanging around the dusty Panamerica Sur watching while others take off and land.

Flights for the Lines

Nazca Lines flights depart from the small Aeropuerto Nazca, cost S/315 for a 40-minute flight plus lunch, a tour of Nazca's archaeological museum, and a trip to the mirador. Note that these flights are often overbooked year-round; arrive early to check in for your flight, as many are full and there's a chance you'll get bumped if you're late. Nazca Airlines and upstarts Aero Palpa, Aero Paracas, and Taxi Aereo all offer services. As these latter lines are small operations with varying office hours, check at the airport for schedules. Most sightseeing flights depart from Nazca, although Aero Paracas also originates in Lima and Pisco.

Safety records for many of the airlines are spotty at best. In 2010 seven tourists were killed when their Nazca Airlines flight crashed into the desert. Airlines change owners and names frequently, so it's hard to know exactly who you are flying with. Check with PromPeru in Lima before booking a flight.

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