Peru is a place where you can really see these things. In fact you can easily do it if you allow yourself 3 days when visiting Peru.
The Nazca Lines
Aliens were thought by Eric von Daniken to have used the Nazca plain in Peru as and a landing field. In his 1968 book Chariots of the Gods? Von Daniken said that the lines were built following instructions from extraterrestrial beings, to be used as airfields for their spaceships. As a result of this proposal, so many people have visited the area to see the Nazca lines that they are actually endangered of slowly being destroyed. Also, squatters are living in the Nazca lines and this is also causing deterioration in the lines.
The Nazca lines are actually figures carved into the earth that can only be seen from an airplane, or high in the nearby hills. The lines were discovered by the Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe, who spotted them when hiking through the foothills in 1927. He discussed them at a conference in Lima in 1939.
Photos of some of the figures (Courtesy of Google) drawn by the Nazca lines are shown below.
There is just too much information on the Nazca lines to present it here. Links for more information on the Nazca lines are presented at the end of the post. We will just be discussing the logistics of getting to and from the Nazca area in this posting.
Paracas and Islas Ballestas
Your trip to Nazca would be incomplete without visiting Paracas (no, this is not Caracas). It is a small town on the Pacific Ocean where you can take a tour of the Islas Ballestas (Ballestas Islands in English) just off the coast. This area is this is the nesting ground for all kinds of birds, penguins, and seals. A short 2 to 3 hour boat trip from Paracas will let you see these interesting islands.
Getting to the Nazca Lines and Islas Ballestas
The remaining part of this post will discuss how to visit both the Nazca Lines and Islas Ballestas in a single trip. In fact it is very easy, and only requires three days. Lima is the starting and ending point for most people. The price range for the 3 days including food, transportation and hotels varies between $450 and $800 depending on the type of service you want. On the low side you will be with a group on a bus from Lima. On the high side you will have a private driver that will pick you up in Lima, and return you to Lima. At this time, there is no scheduled airline service to either Paracas or Nazca from Lima.
The map below is the best way to show you where Nazca and Paracas are located. There are four maps below. Map 1 shows the locations of Lima, Paracas, and Nazca. Map 2 shows the location of Paracas and the Islas Ballestas. It takes about 3 hours to get to Paracas by bus. Map 3 shows the location of Nazca. It takes about 5 and ½ hours to drive from Lima. To see the Nazca Lines you will fly in a chartered plane to see them from the air. Map 4 shows the area of the Nazca Lines which are just to the west of Nazca. A flight over the Nazca Lines with a knowledgeable pilot will last from one to two hours. Seeing the Nazca Lines will take one day of your three-day trip.
My experience visiting the Nazca Lines, Paracas, and Islas Ballestas
I visited both Nazca and Paracas / Islas Ballestas is discussed below along with some pictures of the trip. The visit was from 29 Nov 2000 to 01 Dec 2000. From what I can see, most things are still the same today, except that there are more and better hotels to stay at. Also, I rented a car that I would suggest that most people should not do. Why? Because I was accompanied by a Peruvian friend. If you are not a local, or do not have a local friend to go with you, I would suggest that you not do this. Peru is one of the craziest places to drive that I have even seen, and should you get into an auto accident in Peru, you will not be allowed to leave the country until all legal issues of the accident have been resolved. Also, if there are any criminal issues related to the accident, you will have to deal with a totally different legal system you know nothing about.
Nazca and Nazca Lines Portion of my trip
We left Lima on 29 Nov, and drove as far as Ica, Peru. We stayed in Ica at the Nazca Lines Hotel. This was a very nice hotel, and the breakfast was very good. On 30 Nov., we drove on to Nazca, and took a charted flight over the Nazca Lines. I did not take any pictures of the figures in the Nazca Lines area because you would need a camera with a telephoto lens to get good pictures. We then drove to Paracas and stayed in a hotel on the beach there. I do not remember the hotel’s name. On Sat, 1 Dec, we took a tour out to the Islas Ballestas to see all the nesting birds, penquins, and the multitudes of seals.
Below are some photos of the Nazca Lines Hotel in Ica, Peru, and the flight we took for the fly over of the Nazca Lines.
Nazca and the Nazca Lines area is in one of the hottest and driest deserts of the world. There is some agriculture in the Nazca area due to a river running into the valley from the Andes Mountains. Otherwise it is all desert around the immediate Nazca and Nazca Lines Area.
Paracas and Islas Ballestas part of my trip
I forget the name of the Paracas hotel we stayed. I do remember that the grounds were very nice, and this would be a place were you could spend a relaxing vacation just lying by the pool. However, we did not have time to do that. We drove to Paracas on 30 Nov. after flying over the Nazca Lines.
We went out to see the Islas Ballestas on 1 December after having breakfast. On the way out to the islands you pass by a mysterious candelabra inscribed on a hill by the Incas. The candelabra has been there for hundreds of years, and is said to point directly at Cuzco, Peru, the capital of the Inca empire.
Arriving at the Islas Ballestas, the large number of birds that you see, and the seal located on the rocks is just amazing. How some of these seals can climb up the rocks would be interesting to see.
Below are some pictures of the hotel in Paracas, getting on the boats to visit Islas Ballestas, the mysterious indian candelabra that you see going to the islands, and the great numbers of birds, penquins, and seals.
There are many caves in the Islas Ballestas, and the tour boats will take you through these caves.
After completing the visit to the Islas Ballestas, we returned by card to Lima. The return ride took about three hours.
How did I get to Peru on this trip?
I flew on LAN Airlines to Lima, Peru nonstop from Los Angeles. The trip took around 8 hours. LAN flies to most countries in South American, and operates LAN Peru, LAN Argentina, and LAN Chile. LAN partners with American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. You can earn frequent flyer miles on both American and Alaska when you fly on LAN. I found the service on LAN to be very good, and the flights landed on time for my arrival in Lima, and on my return flight to Los Angeles. LAN flies from the US nonstop from San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami.
Links for information:
More information on the Nazca Lines, Paracas, and the Islas Ballestas are provided below. The list below is in no way a complete list, but it will get you started. Remember, there are all kinds of tours from Lima to see both the Nazca Lines, Paracas, and Islas Ballestas.
Nazca Lines, Mysterious Indian Candelabra etched on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Islas Balestas, Peru – 29 Nov to 01 Dec 2000
Nazca Lines Information:
Tours of the Nazca Lines: https://www.peruadventurestours.com/en/ica/nasca_lines_overflight.html
Getting to the Nazca Lines Area:
Nazca and Paracas tour: