Not yet truly open to the public, Cahuachi is where the ancient Nazca civilization called home. Most people who visit Nazca come to see the impressive Nazca Lines carved into the desert floors but Cahuachi is a lesser known destination that is certainly worth the drive.
I came across Cahuachi by talking with some locals in Nazca who told me about this city that is currently being restored about an hour’s drive into the desert. The complex is full of more than 30 pyramids with temples and other structures popping out of the desert sand to complement these structures. It was a religious center and while it spans a huge area, only a couple of structures are truly visible. The rest are still swept up under the desert sands disguising themselves as large sand dunes.
How to Get to Cahuachi
There are some tours and drivers that can be reserved in Nazca along either of the main streets or through hostels but my advice is to take a taxi. The rate will likely be cheaper and you have the freedom to explore even though the site is not actually open to tourists just yet. If you’re with a tour guide, chances are they’ll ask you not to enter the complex but only view it from a distance. Make sure to negotiate the rate up front with your taxi driver and be clear that you will need them to wait and drive you back. You will not be able to get another ride from Cahuachi back into Nazca.
The Cemetary Near Cahuachi
Leaving the large temples and dunes of Cahuachi we passed a cemetery, I use that word loosely. It is really more of a burial ground that has over time been unearthed by shifting sands and probably meddling hands. Bones, clothing, and even hair are strewn across the desert as you walk through the mounds that contain bodies that entered these tombs two thousand years ago.
I was absolutely shocked that there is no control or protection of the area and that it is not even marked on the road. The only way you’ll see it is from the piles of bones others have laid together on the side of the desert road.