The Nazca Lines are well worth an overflight - but there are a myriad of ways to get ripped off - so watch out!
The planes fly when they have six tourists to fill them, and there is a constant turnover of tourists at the airport, so don't believe any hotel or agent who pressures you into booking a flight right this second "because they only have one space left".
Also all the flights are identical, and some agents will try and sell you a superior service for more money, but there is nothing in it.
The best thing to do is ignore all the touts and offers and go to the airport fiirst thing in the morning - you can get a flight for about $36 this way of you bargain. First thing in the morning is best time to fly.
Also, many agents and touts will Try to tag on a tour to the cemeteries for an extra amount of $, but I didn't really enjoy them - they were plundered long ago and they have been put back together in a really amateurish way and it is really a cheap tourist trap after the lines.
To fly over the Nazca lines is something absolutely beautifull... This experience take you in a 20 min flight over the lines, which nobody knows the origin...You fly with a piper, so..take good care!!!
During the flight the pilot showes you the whole 12 Nazca lines complex, giving you also some explainations, and ...of course...he/she's expecting a tip at the end!
This is something you have not to miss!
It is better to book this excursion by your own directly with areocondor, which would costs you somehting around 70/80USD (an agency often ask you 100 box!)
To see Nazca lines from air, you can either go directly to the Airport Maria Reiche to buy a ride from numerous companies there....or contact your local tour agent for drop off & pickup
airport tax is 20 soles as of feb 2010
About USD $50 to $55 a ride
It is another must see acitivity...Every travel agent or indipendent agent is able to organize for you a visit to CHauchilla, altought it is very raccomanded to go there with an archeologhical guide. the site is an open sky cimitery with a beautifull landscape but you should take care cuz the evcerage temp is about 35/40C!
An archeol. guide will cost you something like 6/8USD for two people.
There are the lines of Nasca you should see and besides there is the cemetary of Nasca you should visit.
You can book a taxi in Nasca to do a round trip to visit both of it. Finally there is a little museum about the lines of Nasca, history and ideas. It´s quite small but bvery interesting. You also a bit about the great work of Maria Reiche.
An overview of the lines you could see here by plane.
Alegría Tours, Jr. Lima 168 (tel. 034/832-440); Nanasca Tours, Lima 160 (tel. 034/522-917); Nasca Travel, Lima 438 (tel. 034/522-085); and Nasca Trails, Jr. Bolognesi 299 (tel. 034/522-858).
The only real way to actually really get to see the Nazca lines is to fly over them. A 75 minute experience in a small plane will take you up over each of the different designs which are etched into the earth below. The pilot will also perform a series of acrobatics both to get you the best view and for a bit of a thrill, so it is recommended not to take the trip on a full stomache. The amount of lines along the desert floor and the intricacy of the designs will amaze you. It is really incredible to imagine how they got there and continue to stay for our viewing pleasure. The flight costs US$50pp (plus an additional airport tax of 15sols).
This is the other main attraction of Nazca desert: the ancient burial ground of the Chauchilla. Very well preserved by the dry desert air for a couple of thousand years, these warriors are found buried sitting down with their faces to the east ready to rise and step into the afterworld.
They are in their two or three room graves together with their servants (who obviously have been murdered since their skulls are broken). Also food and valuables were buried with them to help them in the afterlife, but everything has been robbed ages ago.
Patches of clay were put on the eyes, ears and mouths of the skulls so that they could not identify or tell in the afterworld who did them wrong.
These workers are used to work for entire weeks trying to find precious minerals in conditions that are absolutely so bad. Once in a couple of weeks, they come back to Nazca and start to rework the minerals they found...and they has to work it manually, or better say, with their feet!
It was a pretty impressed experience share a beer with them, when there were something like 40C!
This Spider is proximately 86m long. This spider can be only found in Amazon jungle with the actual size smaller than 6mm.
Nobody know how anrtien Inkas managed to draw this without using the microscope.
Our group took a flight with this small aircraft, kind of air taxi service if you like, to see the mysterious lines. It was great and the only way to really get an idea of the vastness of the line figures. But there is a downside to it: if you have a weak stomach, you should consider carefully about it. I felt quite nauseatic after the flight because the plane curved this way and that way upon each figure. But it was well worth it!
A little ways out of the town itself is this cemetary wich apparently contains thousands of graves, though only a few are visible to see.
Though they've been looted by grave robbers for anything of value that was burried with them, the peoples remains are quite well preserved. Some even have hair left, while others have elongated skulls (kinda like chinese footbinding, they squeezed the head for it to grow up and not out).
Besides the Nazca Desert Lines in Nazca, you may like to swing by the Cemeterio de Chauchilla. Grave-robbers had previously unearthed buried mummies and stolen all the good stuffs like jewellery and precious stones, etc.... The skulls, hair, teeth, thigh bones, etc... are all strewn all over the ground which you can spot easily.
In some of these graves, the authorities have simply dressed some skeletons and placed them there more for tidying up the place, then for authentic representation of the burial, i.e. these poses were not how the dead were buried in.
Note the hair of some of these skeletons. Long and plaited, you can definitely spot a Bob Marley.
You can easily combine a tour of the flight acros the Nazca Lines with a visit here.
The Nazca Lines are a series of lines and geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert, a high arid plateau that stretches more than 80 kilometers.
They were created by the Nazca culture between 200 BC and AD 700. There are many very straight lines and hundreds of stylized figures, like an owl, hummingbird, spider, monkey, fish, whale, llama and lizard.
The Nazca lines were made by merely kicking off the top layer of sand to reveal sand of a slightly different colour below. Yep, that's it! So, it is always possible to kick the sand back, thereby destroying the lines and figures!! The reason the lines remained for nearly 2000 years is because of the extremely dry, arid and windless nature of the region here. Also, future cultures probably were clueless to the existence of the lines.
Just look at the poor lizard, its body was unfortunately cut into 2 by the Pan-American Highway because at the time of building the highway, no one knew about the lines.
The Nazca lines can only be appreciated from the air. So, since the Nazca people could not have seen their work (always presumably they have no means of flight 2000 years ago), the purpose of building these lines and HOW they were built remain as unsolved mysteries even after decades of analysis.
To enjoy the Nazca Lines, you have to take a flight. This light aircraft turns and spins around to show you the lines and it is a seriously giddy ride. You take pictures through the glass window and I guarantee you will knock your head on the window constantly as the aircraft flips and dips.
Do not take any food before the flight. As long as you have 1 guy in the aircraft who vomits, then, everyone will follow suit and none of you will see anything at all, just the bottom of the paper bag with er... stuff.
Competition is very high. The tour companies come and find you, so just arrive in Nazca and you will be the most popular guy in town. I think most of the prices and services are the same.
Let's get right to it, las lineas de Nasca are the main reason to visit the city. And what is the best way to see the drawings: flying of course! This is quite an adventure. Like i said in the Nazca intro, ask around town at the various travel agencies for the best price. I'd like to recommend NC Travel, it was $55 per person. The cheapest I found and they picked you and dropped you off at your hotel. Another great thing for those that can't speak spanish very well, they speak english at NC travel. Once you are picked up they take you to Hotel Nido del Condor, you'll watch a 45 minute video about the history and study of the Nasca Lines. This video is only in spanish. From here you are shuttled to the airport. Check in and then pay the 20 soles for the use of the airport. Again yes i think to pay to "use" the airport is a big scam, but you have to pay or you can board your plane tour.
Beware: Don't eat before the plane tour, if you might have a weak stomach. The pilots are great, they do a wonderful manuvour where they turn almost sideways to allow better viewing. Doing this side turn twice at each drawing, allowing for the left and right sides to view, can really begin to turn the stomach!