You can visit the Nazca lines without taking a flight. Whether or not its worth it is up for debate.
Chances are you know about the mystery of the Nazca Lines. Now you’ll be tossing up whether to visit. If you’re travelling anywhere between Lima and Arequipa, you will pass the Nazca lines but not even realise unless you stop.
To get the most out of a trip to the Nazca lines you need two things. First, an imagination that will ponder and explore the origins and reasons behind the impressive drawings. Second, the funds to get a birds eye view from a plane.
If you’re a budget backpacker you are likely not to have the funds for a flight over the Nazca Lines. The next best option is to be dropped at Mirador de las Lineas de Nazca en route to the town of Nazca. Some say if you don’t take a flight you may as well skip the Nazca Lines. Its true that you can’t see a lot and only get a few minutes atop of a rusty lookout but if you’re passing, what’s the harm in stopping? The 2 soles entry is hardly going to break the bank and you’ll at least see something that has puzzled many for so long.
If you are willing to drop US$100+ on a flight over the Nazca lines, we recommend booking when you arrive in Nazca. You want to ensure you have good weather and a reputable company (plane crashes have not been uncommon in the past!). Consider your budget, make a decision and add the Nazca Lines to your journey between Lima and Arequipa.
Getting there from Huacachina:
• Return to the main bus terminal of Ica.
• A bus from Huacachina to the Mirador for the Nazca Lines takes 2 hours 15 minutes (10 soles per person).
• Ask the bus boy or bus driver to stop at Mirador de Nazca and depart here.
• Theft is an issue on the buses if you are not cautious. We were told by the bus boy several times not to put our day bag in the overhead locker or on the floor. Keep them on your lap. Our large luggage was safe in the storage below the bus.
Getting there from Nazca Lines to Nazca Town and Arequipa:
• Once you’ve finished at the lines, flag down the next bus. We only needed to wait 15 minutes. 3 soles per person, 15 minutes to Nazca town.
• Buses arrive on Calle Lima. In Nazca there is a really nice town square if you need to kill some time. The square is within 4 blocks of the bus station and there are many restaurants between the two.
• From Nazca there are multiple bus companies providing multiple daily services to Arequipa. You won’t need to wait long for a bus but you might be best to stay in Nazca for a couple of hours and leave late at night so you arrive in Arequipa during daylight hours. The trip from Nazca to Arequipa takes 13 and a half hours with the cheapest bus costing 50 soles with Civa (although we wouldn’t recommend this company).