South of Lima you will find the amazing Dessert Coast of Peru, existing out of some great mystical sights. The mysterious Nazca Lines are probably the most known site, existing out of a series of giant ancient symbols that can only be seen from high up in an airplane. Besides that, there’s also the natural wonder of the floating Galapagos islands, called the Bellesta Islands, and of course the proper oasis of Huacachina with its many sand dunes for sandboarding in this mysterious dry area south of Lima.
The Nazca Lines date back many centuries to the ancient Nazca culture. People from this ancient culture removed rocks from the bottom to uncover the white earth under it, resulting in some amazing and huge symbols resembling animals and other symbols. As the Dessert Coast has quite a dry climate, most of the hundreds of simple and complex designs are still intact over its 80 km width. The Nazca lines can be found around Nazca, from which it is very popular to take a cheap small plane together with some fellow travellers to be astounded by these amazing Geolyphs from above.
Huacachina is a beautiful small travellers town and is known for its surrounding fun dessert dunes, with a gorgeous green oasis located right in the middle. Huacachina is a few minutes outside traders town Ica where the delicious local sweets “tejas” are a must try! As a lot of backpackers stop in this small town, you can find plenty of cheap travel accommodation around. The main reason to go here is to have some fun in the sand dunes, either by sand boarding down on them, or by taking a nice fast ride in one of the powerful sand buggies. You can book these trips easily on almost every corner when you arrive in town.
The natural wonder of the Bellesta Islands, better known as the Peruvian Galapagos, can be visited from Paracas by a 45 minute fast boat ride. Paracas is a beautiful natural reserve which is located only an hour bus ride away from Huacachina (a bit closer to capital Lima). The Galapagos are known for their amazing rock formations and its sanctuary of wild life variety, like penguins, seals, guanay guano birds, and many more…
How to get around
If you are in our Lima hostel you can easily book your trips to the south via our affordable hostel travel agency. Travelling from Lima, you can find Ica around 4.5 hours to the south. The bus fare will cost you around 55 soles (or as cheap as 20 soles for the cheaper bus lines). From Ica you can find your way to Huacachina by taking a 5-10 minute taxi ride.
To get to Nazca, you will take the same route, but this time a bit more southwards. From Lima it will take you around 6.5 hours by bus, costing around 65-70 soles. From Nazca you can also make your way to Cusco (13 – 15 hr. bus ride) to check out our awesome Cusco hostel and Machu Picchu.