Although they told us how long the trip would take, 6 hours there and 6 hours back with bathroom breaks; we somehow glossed over the huge chunk of time and said OK. This is a long drive and I do not recommend the one day option regardless of the Tour Company you use, as it can be a bit exhausting. There is enough to see and do in Nasca to make at least an overnight stay worth your while.
The drive there is interesting, passing through several vistas from desert dunes to verdant valleys with crops growing as far as the eye can see. The roads seemed to be well maintained with only a very rare rough spot. You will pass through tunnels dug into the mountains and cross several rivers on your way also. It was interesting to pass by many large vineyards also and see several famous Peruvian wineries like Tacama. You pass through the towns of Paracas, Ica and Palpa, to mention a few, which have archaeological sites of their own that are worth visiting.
Arriving in Nasca, we were taken directly to the airport for our flight over the plains. The airport itself is small, with only personal sized craft able to land or take off. The largest plane I saw on the tarmac might have held 10 passengers. There are several companies offering flights, all of which seemed to have nice well maintained planes. First we had to sign in at the desk of our selected company and then pay the ever present airport tax. While waiting for our turn on the plane, we were shown a Discovery Channel Special on the Nasca lines, the cemetery, the aqueducts and city. It was interesting and I learned some facts about the area that I had not heard before.
Soon enough we were boarding the small five passenger Cesna and taking off for our tour of the lines. Our fly over included the Trapezoids, the Astronaut, The Monkey, the Dog, the Condor, the Spider, the Frigate Bird, the Spider, the Humming Bird, Alcatraz, the Parrot, the Tree, the Hands and the Baby Condor as well as seeing some spectacular desert scenery. I think I disjointed my neck trying to get photos of it all.
The flight took about 35 to 40 minutes from take off to landing. The pilot would tip the plane and circle each design over the left and right wings of the plane giving passengers on both sides plenty of opportunity to see and photograph the geoglyphs. This can be a disconcerting affair for some people, especially those prone to motion sickness. If you are one of these people I highly recommend that you take some medication for it before going up in the air.
There are multiple theories as to why the Nasca built these lines; I leave it to the reader to research those reasons as there are many from aliens with spacecraft to the lines serving a religious purposes. Researchers have demonstrated that the construction of even the most complicated geoglyph could have been accomplished by 4 or 5 people in less than a week.
As for those who think that aliens lent a hand, I think more credit needs to be given to the ancient peoples of the world for their levels of intelligence and ingenuity. Today we are still discovering how some of the marvels of the ancient world were accomplished.
Whatever your plans are when you travel to Peru, I encourage you to make observing these fantastic geoglyphs and the city and aqueducts of the Nasca part of your itinerary. The rich archaeological history of Peru will make you quickly realize that one visit to this country is simply not enough.
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