Jorge said to us in Lima, that Nazca was really a town built to cater for the lines; after spending a day here, I can certainly understand that statement.
The town is situated just off the Pan-American Highway, with nothing much more than dust and debris to its name. Our guide would later inform us that agriculture and tourism are the two types of business in Nazca, with the first being possible (long-term), after aqueducts were built by the towns’ ancestors. Prior to that, they had to carry water in, which seems a thankless task in this heat and dry sandy landscape.
Touts are baying for attention as soon as you step off the bus, offering flights, tours, and hotels. After getting my bearings and figuring out where we were on the map, one of the touts helped direct us to the hotel, which was a five minute walk around the corner. I expected to see a hand out for a tip but instead received a warm smile and thank-you.
There seemed to be some confusion that led to trouble booking in and the front desk just kept shaking their head for no reservation. I don’t think they understood what internet reservation meant but finally got the message and took our details. This was the first time it’s been necessary to use some Spanish and stumble our way through a conversation. Wasn’t too bad, but could have been easier if I’d taken classes.
The room was really pleasant and just a few steps from the small pool out in the enclosed lawn. I was quite looking forward to a dip after the flight, but the water was freezing, so I opted to go for a walk instead.
The roads in Nazca are terrible and look like you’re in the middle of Beruit. I think they’re trying to pave some of these roads but it’s a thankless task, with the dry air and dust making everything dirty all the time. Garbage, again, is piled up everywhere and people just don’t seem to care about either supplying or using some kind of disposal. Another introduction I had, was to the crazy amount of stray dogs that are nosing in the rubbish piles for food – literally at least a few on every street. Time to head back to the hotel and get the Chauchilla Cemetery tour.
Access to Chauchilla, takes 30 minutes back down the Pan-American and another 30 minutes on a dirt track to the burial sites. Honestly, I have no idea how some of these cars make it across such terrain but they do. The tour guide was a girl who was very knowledgeable and kept jabbering away for a good 15 minutes about the area, during the ride. The transport, was a beat up car with a young male friend of the guide driving.
The burial sites are really quite splendid and worth the trip out, but the heat and spacing to walk between the graves, may want you cutting the trip to just a few of the more interesting remains. Again, the guide was full of information about the history, culture, and meaning of some of the clothing and hair, so I consider the $20 cost a pretty decent deal.
After getting almost back to our hotel, there was a detour to visit both the pottery and gold museum. While the first was informative (and the second pretty terrible), it was nothing more than a tourist hijack to lure you into buying overpriced crap. I said we didn’t carry money and after a bit of shuffling around and waiting for our ‘guide’, we were driven back to the hotel for the evening.
After being warned in Lima that Nazca is a little dangerous at night, it seemed a good idea to stay in the hotel and try something local cuisine. After looking at the menu, it would have been a better idea to go out, as they had mostly ‘American’ food but at least had Pisco sours to try. The Pisco sours were excellent but the food was pretty dry, bland and hard. Still, it was all we could manage for the evening so after finishing up, it was time for an early night.
One of the things I had forgotten about this kind of layout of hotel, is that you can hear plenty of noise, so it was difficult to get to sleep at first. Finally managed to, only to be woken at 10:30 but the guy who served us and took our cash, asking us when we are going to pay the bill. After explaining it was already paid, he seemed content with the answer and hung up. Sleep for the full night, finally happened around 11pm.