Peru is one of those countries where you can travel an hour and be immersed in a completely different culture and environment. As part of our tour in Peru a few years, we chose the optional flight across the Nazca lines. The Nazca lines are large geoglyphs in the middle of the Nazca Desert of Peru. These large geoglyphs are ancient pictures that are etched into the mountains and span across tens of kilometres. This is why the best way to see the Nazca lines is by light aircraft.
There are many stories as to why these lines appear in the mountains. Our tour guide told us that it is believed that the lines were created by the people of an ancient civilisation, called the Nazca. These people were believed to be so far advanced that they built irrigation systems underneath the mountains to ensure that their crops would survive in the harsh environment of the desert. Many of these irrigation systems have been passed on to future generations that are still using them today.
So why do the Nazca Lines exist in such perfect precision? There are pictures of trees, geometric shapes, monkeys, hands, alligators and even one that looks similar to an astronaut. These people would have existed thousands of generations before an astronaut ever landed on the moon and before the invention of shovels. I wonder what tools they used and how long it took. Our tour guide did speculate that one line would take at least a decade to create… the ancient Nazca must have been patient people!
The Nazca lines is an archaeologist’s dream… and also a wonder land for a girl who loves learning about ancient civilizations! So off we went in the light aircraft small enough to fit 6 people. As we walked to the landing strip, we saw all the planes take off and start to do spins in the sky. We were so excited that we were practically dancing on the runway. There’s nothing like being in South America to make you feel like dancing!
Rick was at the front with the pilot, where he had a great view of the switches and buttons that the pilot used to fly the plane. Rick was telling me later that he was amazed at how the pilot seemed to use most of these while managing to yell out interesting things about each geoglyph. While Rick was at the front, we were sitting at the back and pretending to be pilots for a few seconds… well until the light aircraft made my stomach feel light!
I felt like I was sitting in a toy plane being thrashed about by the wind so I admire the job of a pilot who had to manoeuvre the plane! He did a few spins and turns so that we could see every geoglyph that appeared on the archaeological map. Here are a few of my favourites photos thanks to Rick’s ability to take photos while the plane was doing spins!
The flight across the Nazca lines lasted about 40 minutes and I think 40 minutes was definitely enough to see everything. The pilot was so excited to tell us about each geoglyph that even as we were starting our descent, we kept holding up the map of all the things that we’ve just seen.
So would I do this again? Absolutely, but I don’t think I would have had a snack beforehand. For me, I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride for 40 minutes, but I do love theme parks and do enjoy a good thrill!
Are you fascinated by ancient civilizations? if so, which one fascinates you the most and why?
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