Nazca, Peru: Nazca Lines [Day 27]

Day 27 | Saturday, November 19, 2016

We have traveled about 7 hours South of Lima to Nazca. The reason for this trip is to take a flight over the Nazca lines.

Nazca City & Nazca Culture Information

Nazca is similar to Lima in that the temperature doesn’t fluctuate much throughout the year. Daytime highs range from 77° to 88° F and lows range from 46° to 64° F across the year. It is a very arid region, measuring their annual precipitation in millimeters.

Between 100 B.C. and 750 A.D. the Nazca culture inhabited the area and it is thought that between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D. they constructed a series of geometric shapes, miles of lines, and more than 70 large animal and human figures (some as big as a football field) which today are known as the Nazca Lines. The largest figures are up to 1,200 feet long. There are only theories as to the significance and role the lines played in the Nazca culture. The lines are formed by removing the reddish-brown pebbles from the surface to reveal the light-colored clay beneath forming shallow trenches about 4 to 6 inches deep. This lighter clay contains high amounts of lime which, with the morning mist, hardens to form a protective layer that shields the lines from winds, thereby preventing erosion. The extremely dry, windless, and constant climate of the Nazca region has preserved the lines well.  The area encompassing the lines is nearly 170 square miles. The Nazca Lines were designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. 

Flight Over the Nazca Lines

As is typical our driver is running on Peruvian time and has finally arrived at just after 8:00 am. We hop in the van and on we go to pick-up two additional groups, part of which turns out to be a side deal the driver has made to transport a couple of guys from a hostel to the bus station for a little extra cash. After a harrowing ride swerving in and out of traffic, marked with an unusual amount of tailgating and honking we finally arrived at the airport about 35 minutes late for our flight. This is when it is nice that the transportation is part of the tour because the driver got chewed out and we still got to take our flight. 

After checking in, getting weighed, receiving our flight certificates with maps of the figures we would be flying over and paying the airport tax we were ushered out to the Cessna that would take us over the Nazca Lines. A few photos in front of the plane, we loaded up, put on our headsets, got a brief introduction to our flight and took off. Over each figure we made two passes and banked so that each side of the plane could see the figures. The pilots were great to point out the figures, explain what they were and to make sure that each passenger saw them. Just 30 minutes later and one passenger puking (it wasn’t me!) we were back on the ground. I intentionally ate a very light breakfast (just a little bit of fresh pineapple), I took 4 drops of DigestZen® (an essential oil blend) internally and then put a few drops on the palms of my hands which I occasionally cupped over my nose and mouth to inhale and I escaped without any motion sickness and was able to enjoy the whole flight. 

These photos are best viewed full size and not on a mobile device.

We had a little time on the ground at the airport after our flight to give us an opportunity to grab a snack or drink at the cafe or to purchase some souvenirs from one of a handful of stalls. We then loaded back up in the same van and headed back to our hotel. The driver made sure to offer us a private tour or additional transportation, which we declined since we were headed back to the bus station in just over an hour.

Tour Research & Booking Information

In doing research for this 2 week adventure I stumbled across FindLocalTrips.com which is a great resource for getting an idea of what tours are available in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. You can also book tours directly through them if you would like. I had read several blogs about the Nazca Lines and most people made the recommendation to go early in the morning as you tend to have smoother flights and clearer skies. Given that I tend to battle motion sickness, especially on small aircraft that are banking lots so you can see the ground below you, I wanted to make sure that we got a flight first thing in the morning. So, after consulting TripAdvisor.com I decided to book a flight over the lines through FindLocalTrips.com so that we could go first thing in the morning and head back to Lima on the bus at 12:30 pm. After reading some reviews on TripAdvisor.com it sounded like the going rate for a flight was $80 to $120 (USD) per person. You can also book directly through Aero Nasca, Aero Paracas, Movil Air or you can book through Viator.com.

Flight Over Nazca Lines [$80 USD per person]
Included:
Transportation to/from Airport – pick-up at hotel between 7:50 am – 8:10 am.
English speaking pilots/guides. 
30 minute flight over 12 figures, aqueducts and Nazca ruins.
Flight Certificate with map of figures.

Not Included:
Airport tax to be paid prior to boarding at Nazca airport (25 soles per person).

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