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Extending over an area of about 190 square miles (500 square km), the Nazca Lines are an incredible sight to behold.
These geoglyphs are located about 250 miles (400 km) south of Lima, Peru. The lines were made between 500 BC and 500 AD by removing a layer of rocks and dirt to expose the light-colored sand underneath. They have been preserved for thousands of years thanks to the dry desert climate.
You’ve likely seen the images of the spider, hummingbird, or monkey, but there are over 800 straight lines, 300 geometric figures, and 70 biomorphs (animal and plant designs) with still more being discovered by drones.
There are many reasons for you to check them out on your visit to Peru, but here are the top four reasons to put the Nazca Lines on your itinerary.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, the Nazca Lines are unparalleled in their extent, magnitude, quantity, size, diversity, and ancient tradition by any other geoglyphs in the world.
If you visit this spot, you will undoubtedly find yourself in awe at the sheer grandeur of these creations. Some of the lines are hundreds of yards long, and one of the longest straight lines is about 12 miles (20 km) long. The combined length of all the lines totals to over 800 miles (1,300 km).
Can you imagine the effort it must have taken these ancient peoples to create such magnificent pieces of art? We can only wonder at how many people must have worked on them and how long it took them to create each figure. Why wouldn’t you want to see these creations in person and up close?
Though there is much speculation about why the Nazca Lines were created, no one knows their purpose for certain. Theories range from ancient people using them as astronomical calendars to creating them as landing strips for alien spacecraft.
Recent research suggests that they are related to rituals and water. Some scientists believe that they were offerings to the gods for rain. Other researchers propose that they lines may have pointed to nearby water sources. As one of the driest deserts on earth, rain and water would be very important to the ancient people who lived there.
There is no shortage of theories surrounding these mysterious lines. You may just have to travel to them yourself to uncover what you believe. Who knows, maybe seeing them will spark something in you, and you may even come up with your own theory behind these geoglyphs.
If you love to travel, but don’t love crowds, the Nazca Lines are the perfect destination for you.
Over 1.5 million people visit Muchu Picchu ever year, which averages to about 2,500 per day, and in 2019 Lima had 2.76 million tourists visit. The Nazca Lines, however, receive far fewer visitors, making them a great less-crowded destination in Peru.
If you’re well-traveled, chances are you’ve been to magnificent places—that were ruined by the horde of people around you. In those areas, if you want a picture with no one in it, you have to have good timing and a lot of patience, and even then, you might still get the odd photobomber in the background of your otherwise perfect picture.
At the Nazca Lines, you’ll be able to truly enjoy the wonderous sights without fighting a giant crowd to get a good look at them.
Each plane holds about 10 to 12 people, and every person gets a window seat—another way you don’t have to fight off crowds to see the lines. The plane ride can last 30 minutes to an hour, and many say it is the best way to see the lines in all their glory.
These rides can be bumpy and turbulent due to the wind around the desert, and the pilots may dive or turn the plane so that people on both sides can have great views of the lines. However, this means that the ride can be quite thrilling. If you love daring adventures, you’ll feel right at home on this ride.
However, if you are not so keen on the idea of experiencing that, you can prepare with nausea medication or use the bags in the plane should the nausea become too much. Another option is viewing the lines from the observation tower. The plane ride provides the best views; however, the observation tower is still a great—and cheaper—option. You’ll be able to see the lines up close, which can give you a better sense for how grand the feat of making them was.