Nazca and its enigmatic lines

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November 24th 2009
Saved: June 29th 2010
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Nazca is home to the most oustanding group of geoglyphs in the world-- the Nazca lines! These ancient designs are etched into an otherworldly moon-like landscape and stretch for miles on end. They form images of animals, plants, and geometric shapes. But why are they there?? Well, their origins and meaning have baffled archaeologists for years and now there are as many interpretations as there are lines! But the bottom line (no pun intended) is that nobody knows who made them or why. Nevertheless, they inspire fantasic explanations: offerings to ancient gods, celestial calendar, beacon for aliens, effigies of deities, patterns of constellations, tracks for athletes, astrological maps, roads, art, etc. Unfortunately, we didn't observe any space ships while in Nazca. Strange people, yes. Aliens, no. Our photos, as always, are completely unedited. Which means that it's hard to see the figures, but we can assure you that they're very visible when you're there!

One of the more interesting theories we heard was that most figures are composed of a single line that doesn't cross itself, so people would walk the path of the figure as part of a ritual maze and absorb the energy of the drawing. But it seems to us that the lines were probably made during a drought by the ancient civilization living here as offerings to god(s) in the hopes of getting rain. Or, actually, that they were made much more recently for publicity. Who knows. Who cares. It's awesome!

Their creation is quite simple: the top layer of desert rock is removed to reveal the lighter shade of sand underneath, and the extreme desert conditions (no wind, no rain) preserve them well. So, despite all the attention, there's nothing mysterious about how they were made. In fact, the designs have been replicated using primitive tools. But that doesn't lessen the beauty of this huge sketch-pad in the desert. After marveling at their beauty and pondering their significance, we found ourselves back in dustbowl Nazca and ready for more adventures!

Note to travelers: We recommend staying at El Mirador (40s/$13.33 a night) because it had clean rooms and a nice location. We booked our Nazca line tour at El Mirador for 300s ($100) in a private 3 person plane. This price was expertly negotiated down from 270s ($90) per person by Laure. But even with this discount, we felt deceived because the tour agency had given us brochures from another flight company and told us to look up the company in our guide books. We didn't find out that we had booked with a completely different airline until we were at the airport!! He also didn't mention that there was a 20s ($6.67) per person airport tax. And the tour agency guy also told us that his father was the driver and had been doing it for 30 years with no accidents. He neglected to mention that he wasn't talking about the driver of the plane, but rather, the driver of the taxi that takes you from the hotel to the airport and back. GRRRRR. We think it would have been better to take a taxi in the morning directly to the airport and book the trip there.

ld! recommended!

Additional photos below
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Comments only available on published blogs

23rd February 2010

Nice blog! You've removed some of the mystery for me..
24th February 2010

Great Blog!
I'm going to write in english...easier for everybody to understand us! I love you blog entries...have been following you for a while. I've been something like 12 times to Lima, but never made it to's on the program this july though! Love your blog, really nice. Pierre-Alexandre...a Bangkok pour le moment...

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