The Nazca Lines are a must for many when booking a Peru tour. These gigantic geoglyphs line the Nazca Desert, a high arid plateau that stretches 53 miles between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana in Peru. The lines attract thousands of visitors each year and Escaped to Latin America normally take clients down the coast to the city of Ica for an overflight from there. However if people are real history or archaeology buffs we can arrange for them to visit Nazca itself to see the aqueducts and pre-Inca ruins in the area near the lines.
The lines were created by the Nazca culture between 300 BC and 700 AD. There are hundreds of individual figures, ranging in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, and lizards. As well as the individual figures there are also large cleared areas. Theories as to why the lines were created vary but the most popular is that they represent an astronomical calendar. This theory was backed by Maria Reiche who spent much of her life studying the lines and is responsible for much of their fame.
Other theories include running tracks and meeting areas for the straight lines and cleared spaces as well as theories relating to water and of course UFO´s! The geoglyphs themselves are thought to represent different groups within the Nazca culture. The Nazca Lines cannot be recognized as coherent figures except from the air. Since it is presumed the Nazca people could never have seen their work from this vantage point, there has been much speculation on the builders’ abilities and motivations. One theory is that shamans having taken hallucinogenic substances could “fly” above the lines whilst in a trance. Another theory is that the Nazca Culture developed hot air balloons and so could fly over the lines.
How were the Nazca Lines made?
The actual construction of the lines is simple. The desert here is rich in iron and with the heat the top few inches become oxidized and are red in color. The builders simply cleared away this top layer to reveal a lighter colored earth below. The lines have remained largely intact thanks to the dry climate. From ground level this is not really noticeable but climb the viewing tower of take a small plane flight and all becomes clear.
Viewing the Nazca Lines on your Peru tour
If you wish to see the lines you will first see an interesting educational video and receive updated information about the Nazca lines from a qualified guide before being transferred to a specially designed light aeroplane for your flight. Flights can be taken from Nazca itself or from the town of Ica. The overflights are now required to have 2 pilots on board for your safety and a last note to fly in the morning if you suffer from air sickness as the air is much calmer.