Ancient Nazca: Much More Than Just Flying Over The Nazca Lines

The plane’s shaking, I’m shaking even more and that’s all I hear before we start to go down! I wake up with a sudden gasp of air and realise I’m securely in the same shitty hostel that I fell asleep in the night before. A 24hr stomach bug is taking its toll and leaving me with sweaty night terrors about flying the Nazca lines in the morning.

 

That’s right, I forked out for the Nazca lines to check out all the fuss. But isn’t that expensive? Hell yeah it was, and I knew it was going to be, but if we don’t check these things out, how else could we write about them? Besides, I was in the area, and I knew that there was a lot more to Nazca than meets the lines.

As well as flying over the expensive lines there are also a number of budget activities that will intrigue your sense of travel (and go easy on your wallet). Two of the better ones include a visit to the pre-Hispanic mummy cemetery of Chauchilla and the ancient fresh spring water Aguaducts de Cantalloc.

 

flying over the nazca lines

 

When I first heard about the Nazca lines in Peru I was drawn to the mystery and intrigue of these age old inscriptions etched into the rocky desert. I’d decided to tackle the lines from the sky, which meant cashing out a little more than I’d planned on a tight budget. Luckily with a few well known haggling techniques I managed a flight for $70USD, which wasn’t too bad compared to prices of up to $100USD, but if you’re on a budget it still hits the account pretty hard.

After being rushed onto the plane by a busy pilot, (not exactly the thing you want with a flimsy looking 4 seated Cessna plane) we were up in the sky and our plane was shaking on route to the lines. After 10 minutes you reach the lines and commence a very short aerial tour. First the right side passengers fly over a dozen lines and shapes, before the pilot does a U-turn and shows the left side passengers the same route.

 

flying over the nazca lines

{ I would’ve put up more lines pictures, but it’s pretty hard to see – can you spot the monkey? }

 

You have a little map to help you make out the vague patterns in the desolate desert, but by the time you’ve made out the shapes you’re already onto the next one. Granted, the bird’s eye approach is the only true way to grasp their enormity, but within 10 minutes you’re done, dusted and flying back to the airport for a total flight time of 30 minutes in the sky.

Is it worth it? In my opinion it’s an individual call, which depends on a number of personal factors. Do you have the money? Is it something you really want to see? Do you have a fascination with pre-Hispanic civilizations? If you didn’t answer ‘yes’ to all three of those questions, I’d probably reconsider paying that much for a half hour activity.

Luckily Nazca isn’t just about the lines, and if you’re on a tight budget you can easily find some cheap activities and sights while visiting. Just outside of town is the pre-Incan cemetery of Chauchilla that contains an impressive display of underground tombs and real life mummies still intact. Encased in the dry desert conditions for centuries, the tombs were first discovered by thieves in the 70s and ransacked, before restoration efforts helped restore the tombs to their former glory. Well worth a trip out there to see the petrified smiles on their faces and long dreadlocked hair that would make the Caribbean jealous.

 

flying over the nazca lines

 

After the afternoons excitement head back into town and pop past the fresh spring water Aguaducts de Cantalloc. They’re an awesome collection of ancient stone wells that spiral down into fresh natural spring water pools. In a country where tap water is a no-no it’s a little scary to be assured that you can literally scope safe drinking water from the ground. But it’s all good, and by that stage it’s a refreshing end to a busy day.

 

flying over the nazca lines

 

After walking back to the center I was well and truly ready for a nap. A day of uncertainty turned into a lot of fun and I was glad I had the opportunity to check out Nazca. Whether you take the lines or not is your call, but if Nazca is on your way remember there’s always a lot more a town has to offer. You just need to be willing to find it.

 

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4 Comments

  • Claudia says:

    Did you get your stomach bug before or after the flight? I ask, because I went to Peru for the first time in 20120 with my friends and one of them felt really sick after the flight – LOL. It was not scary, to be honest. i remember we were all asked about our weight and seated accordingly. The shaking however was so much that my friend felt sick and by the time we landed we all were pretty shaken. At some point I even stopped taking pictures as I could hardly turn my heat to take in the view. I also went to the other sides and the acquedocts. Really interesting!

    • Wow! That sounds pretty scary! I got my stomach bug before the flight, but started having symptoms on the flight to Brazil from the US. What airline was that? Was it regional to South America? That sounds like a scary flight! I’ve never heard of being seated by weight. Haha. I think I would have been sick on that flight as well!

  • Norman says:

    I will be going to Peru in May. And I really wanted to put nazca on my list. But you know what put me off? The flight itself.
    I am normally not scared of flying at all – but sitting in a small little chessna does have me worried. I believe there are even a couple of crashes each year 🙁
    reading your article sort of persuaded me i did the right thing!
    thx for sharing tho!

    • Thanks Norman 🙂 It was a pretty dodgy flight haha. If you’re already not a fan of flying then I’m not sure if i’d recommend it. If you change your mind let us know! Glad you enjoyed the article.

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