Desert, Coastline, Paracas, Peru

Nazca & Southern Coast

Nazca is no ordinary dusty oasis town. Tucked away on the southern coast of Peru and overlooked by the enormous Cerro Blanco sand dune, this sleepy town was hastily awoken in 1939 due to the discovery of mysterious drawings etched into the nearby rocky desert plains.

Spider, Nazca Lines, Nazca, Peru

A little more about Nazca and Southern Coast

The otherwise barren Pampa de San José bears a vast tapestry of intricate geoglyphs spread over an area of approximately 500 sq kilometres, depicting not only parallels but also geometric drawings and figures thought to have been constructed by the Nazca (pre-Inca) culture in 400BC. Among the principal figures are a monkey (90m), pelican (135m), condor (135m), spider (42m), and lizard (180m). Best seen from the air, these huge, unique designs are still the subject of much speculation. Various theories have arisen as to the origin of these figures. The most accepted view is that of Dr. Maria Reiche, a German mathematician who studied the lines for more than 50 years, sustaining that the figures serve as an astronomic calendar.

Humboldt Penguins, Ballestas islands, Peru
Humboldt Penguins, Ballestas islands, Peru

Head north and to the Pacific Coast and the Paracas Peninsula, a marine reserve and starting point for trips out to the Ballestas Islands, where you can mingle with penguins, watch seals and sea lions frolicking in the surf and dolphins swimming in the bay. Watch out also for one of the world’s largest concentration of guano-producing birds resident on the islands.


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Sand boarding, Peru

Dune Sandboarding

Speed down the huge dunes in the desert oasis that lies outside of Huacachina atop a sand board.

Candelabrum, Ballestas, Nazca, Peru

View the Candelabra of the Andes

Marvel at this mysterious, candlestick-shaped prehistoric geoglyph that is etched on a sandy hillside and associated with the Nazca Lines.

Suggested read: blog

Hummingbird, Nazca Lines, Peru

Fly over the Nazca Lines

Experience the Nazca Lines, the pre-Columbian geoglyphs that are etched into desert sands, from the air to marvel at one of humanity’s greatest mysteries.

Desert Dunes, Ica, Peru

Ride a Dune Buggy

For a true adrenaline rush, head out from the desert oasis of Huacachina on a dune buggy adventure.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Rachael Tallents

Adventure, discovery and my curiosity for people and the natural world is what drives my love of travelling.  I am grateful for my parents’ desire to explore, and from an early age my eyes were open to diverse landscapes, cultures, and underwater worlds.

For the last 16 years, I have worked for a leading luxury tour operator designing incredible journeys for discerning clients and travelled to some magical places. I am excited to have joined Steppes Travel, and to be working for a company with such strong ethical and sustainable values.

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Paul Bird

Reaching the sun gate and marvelling over Machu Picchu unveiled one of the most impressive landscapes that Paul has seen in his global travels.

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Roxy Dukes

If your passion is the outdoors and you are looking to delve into South American culture, Roxy recommends one of the lodge-to-lodge hiking programmes to explore the Sacred Valley and beyond. Hopping between the quiet mountain towns, meet the locals that live off the grid and immerse yourself in the welcoming spirit of Peru.

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