On top of the Nazca desert

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Build a Custom Tour

Looking for something a little different? At Impactful Travel, we specialize in crafting custom itineraries tailored to your unique travel desires and ethical values.

Build Your Trip

  • 4 Days, 3 Nights
  • Starting pointNazca
  • BookingsAt least 72h in advance
  • Difficulty: medium-high5-8 hour hikes per day
  • Availability: All yearDec-Mar: possibly rain or fog
  • Group Size: 1 - 10 for bigger groups, please enquire
  • Sustainability Score: 63
  • Private Tour
  • Price range: $ 280 - 510Single Traveler: $ 660

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. 

If you are a great fan of the desert, you might also like our Magical Desert Tour.  This tour starts in Paracas and takes you all the way to Nazca. Its shorter version called Quick Magical desert experience starts and ends in Paracas and takes 2 days. 

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 - Camping

You will start this tour at 8.00 am (pick-up at your hotel, terminal or other place of preference), 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. Being on top of the Nazca desert will make you feel an adventurer!

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 - Camping

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 looking for food. Hence, you might possibly see some of them flying around when reaching the village. 

In the evening, we will meet up with our porters and install the camp to spend the night in the Taruga valley. 

Duration of the hike: 8 hrs
Difficulty: Medium

Day 3Taruga - Pajonal - Wasipunko Lodge

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. 

At around 17.00 pm, you will arrive at the Wasipunko Ecolodge in Nazca. After 2 days of hiking and camping, you deserve this last night in the lodge. Enjoy it! 

Distance: 25 km (15 miles)

Day 4 Wasipunko Lodge - Nazca

After having had a good rest at the Lodge, your tour will end here the next morning.

Please note that the transfer to Nazca is not included in the tour. 

Why is this experience Impactful?

Visiting sites off the beaten path 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. 

Cerro Blanco is not yet a protected area at the moment, but we would like it to become one. To achieve that goal we use sustainable tourism, among other tools, and hope to prevent the place from being overexploited and badly organized in the future. 

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


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 On top of the Nazca desert

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 climb hundreds of meters during day 1. However it has been done with young children accustomed to walk from the age of 8. Being on top of the Nazca desert will make you feel a real adventurer!

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 highest point is 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 a private tour, you will be only with the people that you booked it with. 

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!

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