That was a place I have always wanted to see. Reading about it in Erich von Däniken’s books was so mind boggling. Of course, those theories are crazy but they are fun crazy. The whole plain is covered in mysterious lines that are either super straight and part of more complicated geometrical symbols or they are shaped like animals.
Däniken’s theory proposes alien life involvement. The lines on the plateau are supposed to be some kind of a communicator with them. And it does make you wonder how the Nazca people were able to do all the lines – so many and at such a huge scale – without the ability to see them from above. Hence come the aliens.
There is also a theory that suggests that they were able to build balloons and this is how they were able to coordinate the creation of the lines from a greater height. However, it has been tried with the resources they had at the time and it didn’t quite work out.
What has been researched and seems to be the closest to the truth is that the lines were made by people regularly walking on them time after time. In a way they are paths. In weird shapes admittedly. And it still doesn’t explain the incredible accuracy.
Getting to Nazca is not complicated although it is in the middle of almost nowhere and off the beaten track. I took an about 7h bus ride from Lima at night, got there in the morning and left again in the afternoon. The coach was very comfortable. Food was served, movies were shown and on the way back we even played bus bingo.
In Nazca itself you get to the airfield and you get on a tiny plane that takes you over the plain. The pilots are experienced and know that you want to take amazing photos so they would tilt the plane a little bit for both side so everybody could get a nice shot. Of course, most of the tours are standardized so you will see certain lines and not the others. I guess it might be possible to book a private tour that will take you everywhere – sadly I didn’t have the right financing.
You can also visit a little museum while you’re there, some plantations – the guides will tell you all about the plants that grow on that desert. If my memory serves me right there is a special parasite that grows on a type of a cactus there and in a crushed form it’s used for colouring in the cosmetic industry. People also retrieve gold there, however doing it on a smaller scale means a lot of them still use mercury to separate the metal. That’s info from 2009, so I’m hoping things have changed.
In any case, if you’re in Peru the Nazca lines are something to see. It’s a one of a kind phenomenon and it will leave a lasting impression. You might even want to read some Däniken afterwards. Just for fun.