Nazca Lines

Nazca Lines: Updated guideline

The Nazca Lines, are a set of giant geoglyphs, designs or motifs engraved on the ground; located in the Peruvian coastal desert. About 400 kilometers (250 miles) south of Lima, Peru.

Created by the ancient Nazca civilization, in South America; it has representations of plants, animals, anthropomorphic figures and geometric shapes.

The 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines can be seen one by one, from dunes close to each figure; however it is for reasons of time and visibility, that is better to observe them from the air.

Despite being studied for more than 80 years; geoglyphs, which were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994: remain a mystery to researchers.

Nazca Lines: Updated guideline. Nazca Lines.

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1. What Are the Nazca Lines?

There are three basic types of Nazca lines: straight lines, geometric designs, and pictorial representations. There are more than 810 straight lines on the coastal plain, some of which are 48 km long; Plus, there are over 300 geometric designs, including basic shapes: like triangles, rectangles, and trapezoids, as well as spirals, arrows, zigzags, and wavy lines.

The Nazca Lines are perhaps best known for the representations of a set of 70 animals and plants, some of which are up to 370 meters long; some of which include a spider, hummingbird, cactus plant, monkey, whale, llama, duck, flower, tree, lizard, and dog.

The Nazca people also created other shapes, such as a humanoid figure (nicknamed “The Astronaut”), hands, and some unidentifiable representations. In 2011, a Japanese team discovered a new geoglyph that appears to depict a decapitation scene; approximately 4.2 meters long and 3.1 meters wide, is much smaller than other Nazca figures, and is not easily seen from overflights.

In 2016, the same team found another geoglyph, this time one representing a 30-meter-long mythical creature that has many legs and stained markings and is sticking out its tongue. In 2018, Peruvian archaeologists announced that they had discovered more than 50 new geoglyphs in the region; using drone technology to map the landmarks in unprecedented detail.

2. How to get to Nazca from Lima?

Nazca lines is one of the most popular destinations in Peru, however before to overflight the lines, you must get to Nazca town; which is the closest town to the most famous Nazca lines excursion.

There are several places from where you can travel to Nazca (only terrestrial transport).

Between the safest bus companies l took and I can recommend to you, are:

 

Nazca Lines: Updated guideline.
How to get from Lima to Nazca.

I list all the options from where you can come from:

  • If you would like to go by bus from Lima to Nazca. The buses leave all day around, from 4:00 am to 8:00 pm. according which bus company you use; the trip lasts around 7 hours..
  • If you want to go by bus, from Ayacucho to Nazca. The buses leave between 8 pm. and 10 pm. and the trip lasts around 9 hours, (about bus companies, consult a travel agency or go directly to the main bus station of the city).
  • If you would like to go by bus from Arequipa to Nazca. The buses leave between 6 pm. and 10 pm. and the trip lasts around 9 hours and 30 minutes. 
  • If you would like to go by bus from Tacna to Nazca. The buses leave between 4 pm. and 8 pm. and the trip lasts around 12 hours.
  • If you would like to go by bus from Moquegua to Nazca. The buses leave between 6 pm. and 10 pm. and the trip lasts around 10 hours.

  • If you would like to go by bus from Cusco to Nazca. The buses leave between 4 pm. and 8 pm. and the trip lasts around 16 hours and 30 minutes.
  • If you would like to go by bus from Puno to Nazca. The buses leave between 4 pm. and 8 pm. and the trip lasts around 16 Hours.

Important note:

We do not have a commercial partnership, with any of the bus companies mentioned in this guideline; we are not responsible for any misunderstanding or problem with said companies. The recommendations I make, are based on my personal experience.

3. Where to sleep in Nazca?

Wherever you come from, the base point to get to the most famous Nazca lines excursion, is the town of Nazca; which is also the starting point for various excursions in the Ica department.

In Nazca town, you will find from not really cheap hostels; to much more comfortable hotels from 1 to 3 star.

One of the most important things, if not the most important of the trips, is the lodging. Normally this represents 50% or more of your expense and can make your stay unforgettable, in a good or bad way.

To book a hotel, always keep the following in mind:

  • Location.
  • Access to public transport.
  • Cleaning.
  • Breakfast.
  • Free WIFI.
  • Room size.
  • Treatment of staff.
  • Quality of service.
  • Read reviews from other travelers.
Nazca Lines: Updated guideline.
Where to sleep in Nazca

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4. What to do in Nazca?

Nazca is a city located in the south of the Peruvian territory; is known worldwide for its enigmatic Nazca lines. It is true that almost 100% of tourists who visit this deserted place; are due to the famous and enigmatic lines. Without a doubt there are other complementary tourist attractions, to do in Nazca.

4.1 Flight over the Nazca Lines.

Currently there are about 150 geoglyphs in the Nazca desert. The classic excursion to observe the Nazca lines; has a duration of 35 minutes of overflight observing 13 of the most emblematic figures. The cost of this excursion is between 85 and 100 US dollars (group overflights).

The excursion includes: a bilingual pilot, a flight certificate and transfers from the bus station. Overflights are available from 8 am. to noon for climate inconveniences. In the city of Nazca it is possible to find travel agencies that offer private and group overflights.

Nazca Lines: Updated guideline. Nazca Lines.

4.2 Flights over the Nazca and Palpa Lines.

This excursion will make you fly for an hour; over the 13 most emblematic figures of Nazca and the 8 new surprising figures of Palpa.
You can do the excursion privately and in a group. The price of this group excursion, is 170 US dollars and a minimum of 4 people is required.

Nazca Lines: Updated guideline, Palpa Lines.

4.3 The pyramids of Cahuachi.

Very close to the Nazca Lines, is located the largest mud city in the world; the ceremonial and pilgrimage center of Cahuachi. A city of many pyramids built more than 1500 years ago.

The Cahuachi pyramids is half an hour from the city of Nazca. The price of this excursion is 30 US dollars, and includes transfers from your accommodation in Nazca; transportation, professional bilingual guide, and all necessary entrance tickets. You can do the tour at the time you want, and it only requires two people to open a group.

Nazca Lines: Updated guideline. Pyramids of Cahuachi.
Pyramids of Cahuachi

4.4 The aqueducts of Cantalloc.

The Cantalloc aqueducts are a work of art, built in the middle of the desert; to guarantee a constant flow of water for crops in the arid pampas of Nazca.

This excursion has a duration of 2 hours, it only requires two people to open a group; and the price is around 20 US dollars.

Nazca Lines: Updated guideline. Aqueducts of Cantalloc.

4.5 The necropolis of Chauchilla.

Thanks to the arid climate of the Peruvian desert, within this necropolis there are endless mummies in a very good state of preservation; and in original tombs of more than 1000 years old.
The tour has an approximate cost of 30 USD; lasts two hours and only requires two people to open a group.

Important Note: There are many attractions that you can combine with the famous Nazca Lines; check all deals with the travel agencies in Nazca or through the web sites.

Nazca Lines: Updated guideline. The Necropolis of Chauchilla.

5. Important safety tips.

It is not difficult to get to Nazca, and although the place is safe; it is always good to be careful.

  • Be very careful, many taxis in Nazca are known to take people to hotels they deal with.
  • Nazca is a small town, however there are BCP, Continental, Cajero Global Net and Nazca Money Exchange ATMs.
  • Bring sunscreen from 50 DEET or more, and apply it at least every one hour and half; Nazca is always hot and radiation in Peru is even higher than in Australia.
  • Bring sunglasses, sun hat and camera or phone to take pictures.

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