Peru Travel Series: Nazca Lines

After an exhilarating experience in the 3,000 meter-altitude of Cusco, my friend, Irene and I have flown into Lima. We parted ways, and I continued to Paracas, a good 3-hour drive from the capital. Paracas is a good base for the weekend; from here, you can explore the mysterious Nazca Lines, visit the national reserve and enjoy its beautiful resorts. 

“I have always been fascinated with the Nazca Lines ever since I heard about it. Who would have thought of creating gigantic figures in the middle of the desert? Is it really a way to communicate with the extraterrestrials? Who made it?”

Cindy Wong

I stayed in Hotel Paracas, a Luxury Collection on my first night and then transferred to La Hacienda Bahia Paracas after. These are good four-star hotels located on the coast. Other great hotels to consider are the Doubletree by Hilton and Aranwa.  

Upon arrival in the early evening, I managed to explore my beautiful room in Hotel Paracas. It was too big for one person but very comfortable. The hotel has its own port which makes easy access for the boats to Ballestas Island, an important nature reserve in the area. Being under the Marriott brand, it has comprehensive facilities from a fancy Italian restaurant to a fascinating spa. You would never go wrong with this hotel!

Later on, I have learned that people from the cities would go to Paracas for a getaway especially during the weekend. I noticed anyway, that although it is located in the coastal area, the beaches are not really a thing here so it is important to find a good hotel with nice pools.

The next day, I have taken the small plane Aerodiana to see the Nazca lines. I was reminded by my guide, Margarita not to drink juice nor eat too much because the plane movement is going to be so bad, she’s sure my stomach will turn upside down. 

Aerodiana is known to be the most reliable airline for seeing the Nazca Lines. It is very much recommended to take the morning flight, afternoon tends to get very windy. The flight takes almost three hours, 45 minutes from Paracas to Nazca and then around 30 minutes to see the lines.

Flying from Paracas is a better option, than driving to Nazca and taking the flight from there. The airport facilities are newer and better in Paracas that reliable airlines choose to fly from here. Besides, there is no good accommodation in the Nazca.

There are a lot of lines to tick off from the Nasca Lines list, however, I have not been able to finish it as my stomach started churning until I couldn’t handle my vomit anymore. 

It is important to remember to take motion sickness medicine before taking this flight because the small plane will sway a lot from left to right ensuring that all the passengers get the views.  

When I had a better look again, I found the lines very impressive and somehow, magical indeed. It is believed to be made by the Nazca people who came during the pre-Inca period. If the Inca people are known for the Machu Picchu, the Nazcas are known for their intriguing and exotic designs. But who knows, maybe the aliens made these lines for us? 

Another interesting fact: The Nazca Lines was researched and studied by Maria Reiche, a German mathematician. In the beginning, everyone thought she’s crazy, but later on, she discovered that these are not just normal lines, but each design has its purpose. 

It was created between 500 BC and 500 AD, but how did it survive the harsh weather over the centuries? Here’s an explanation according to Wikipedia: 

On the ground, most of the lines are formed by a shallow trench with a depth between 10 and 15 cm (4 and 6 in). Such trenches were made by removing the reddish-brown iron oxide-coated pebbles that cover the surface of the Nazca Desert. When this gravel is removed, the light-colored clay earth which is exposed in the bottom of the trench produces lines [that] contrast sharply in color and tone with the surrounding land surface. This sublayer 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.

I was really happy to have completed the flight as they handed me a certificate of completion (or maybe survival). Congratulations! (and finally!) My day finishes with a bowl of hot and hearty chicken soup for lunch warming my cold stomach.  

Originally published on the travel blog 14 Feb. 2016

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