Latin America Travel & Tour Information
Nazca Lines Travel Information
The famous Nazca Lines, an enourmous astronomy calendar made up of lines and shapes only seen from above, were discovered in 1939 by Paul Kosok while flying around the area. At first, he thought they represented an irrigation system, but these mysterious drawings turned out to be one of the greatest enigmas of archeology.
These lines in the dessert are scattered over a 520 kmē surface area, and consist of several straight lines, sometimes 250 m long, geometrical shapes (geogliphs) and animal and plant designs. On this vast red pampa (flatland), these drawings were made by taking the dark rocks away and thus exposing narrow white canals in the soil. Estimates date them between the years 900 B.C and 600 A.D, and they are thought to have had the influence of the Paracas culture.
Several theories have been conjured up in this respect, one of them entails them being a message for the gods or the aliens, or simply a map to the 'huacas' or sacred sites. The most widely accepted hypothesis comes from the German mathematician Maria Reiche, who stated that the lines are an astronomy calendar for agricultural guidance.
There is an observation tower from where you can partially see some of the shapes and lines, but it is far more exciting to fly over the area to admire them in full glory. Flights go in the mornings and afternoons and take about 30 minutes. It is possible to book it from Lima or Arequipa, but it is just as easy to get them in Nazca.
The Nazca Lines lie around 20km north of the Nazca town. Although this is a one-horse town, Nazca posseses good tourist infrastructure and several other attractions such as the 'Maria Reiche' Museum, the house where the German mathematician lived and devoted years of her life to the mystery of the lines. Another interesting thing to do is to visit Chauchilla cemetery, 30 km away from Nazca, with 1000-year old mummies and skeletons of the Nazca people.