Sand and Sea

Nazca to Camana

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We left Nazca to make a little detour to have a nice view on the Cerro Blanco, the highest sand dune in the world. We are not very tempted by superlatives, but this dune is an astonishing 2800m high, just 50km from the sea. We love sand and dunes and so we were very curios to see it.

We ride into a dry valley which starts right in Nazca. On both sides mountains with soft shapes accompany the valley. Almost no vegetation is found here; just on the bottom of the valley there must be a little bit of water as some plants create a pattern of green once in a while.

Suddenly the peak of the Cerro Blanco appears over the smaller mountains in the foreground. The name is describing it pretty well. With all the brown mountains surrounding us the bright color of the Cerro Blanco sticks out and appears almost white. We find an opening in the mountains and turn off the paved road to get a closer look. Soft sand makes riding a lot of fun and as we approach we finally see the full flank of the mountain. A wall of more than 2300m of sand is piling up in front of us. It is an incredible sight.

We ride further down the bumpy track until it gets too difficult for Christy on her heavy bike.

We go back to the main road and continue until we reach a mountain pass. From here you can approach the summit of the Cerro Blanco. We stop, enjoy the view and play a little bit in the soft sand, but there is no point on continuing uphill with the loaded bikes.

So we turn around to Nazca and keep going south the PanAm.

After a few kilometers we get off it again to follow a sandy dirt road to a cemetery from pre-inca times: Chauchilla. Tomb raiders have dug the ground to find treasures and so the dead had been laying there in the open field for centuries. A few years ago officials have restored some of the graves and put the bodys into their original graves.

Since in the past years people have wandered around the dead and sometimes even posing with them for photos I think restoring the graves has been a great thing to do. It gives some dignity back to this place.

The whole place still is covered in bones, hair, clothing, clay fragments and other parts of the graves. All over are little dips, indicating other graves that have been opened.

We are the only visitors. It is boiling hot in the sun. The place is surrounded by hills in different colors. The place offers a strange morbid beauty and peace.

The deads have been dried in their graves to mummies. The many years in the sun have whitened their bones. So here they sit in their new graves with some rests of their belongings. It is really macabre and strange. But also beautiful and peaceful.

We hit the PanAm at around 1 and we have decided to go till the town of Chala. We expected the road to be sort of boring and to be one of the parts where we would just cover distance.

But we were wrong! It was a fantastic ride with lots of stops to enjoy the constantly changing scenery.

The landscape can be described in one sentence: Desert to the left, black strip of PanAm in the middle, blue sea to the right.

But the diversity was mind-blowing: we passed sections with complete flatness, areas with beautifully shaped rocks, colors of red, green and yellow. At one point the dunes towered a few hundred meters and rose directly from the sea. About have way up the PanAm crosses the dunes flank. We passed deserted sand beaches for kilometers. Sometimes the coast was rocky with the waves wildly shattering on the cliffs. Sometimes the sea was rolling in long surfers paradise waves upon shallow beaches.

The sea was deep blue, forming a perfect contrast with its freshness and vivid nature in comparison to the complete lack of water and lifeless desert on our left.

It was 400km of pure pleasures. From Nazca to Camana with an overnight stop in Chalca.



1 thought on “Sand and Sea

  1. Pingback: Site Content | peaks, pampas, and panniers

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