From Cuzco, we decided to take an overnight bus to Nazca. The “Cruz Del Sur” bus line was the most luxurious charter bus I’ve ever ridden on – leather seats that reclined, dinner & breakfast served on the bus by a stewardess, free Wifi wherever the bus could get a signal, movies on a screen (albeit dubbed in Spanish). I remember thinking how peculiar it was that the bus company screened our bags, checked our carry-ons, made us go through a detector, and even took a picture of us before we got on the bus. We had heard about security incidents on these long term bus tours – to compensate, the bus company monitors the bus for ‘unscheduled’ stops via GPS. I guess for that level of luxury, they have to take precautions. Rachel seemed to sleep fine, but by the time we got off the bus, she was feeling queasy.
Nazca is famous for having ancient geoglyphs – lines drawn in the desert, in the shape of various objects – a condor, a monkey, a tree, random trapezoids. The origin of the lines is unknown, though scholars put the lines at over 1,000 years old. Due to their size (some in excess of 300 feet long), it’s best to see them from a small plane.
The manager of our hotel indicated that the weather had been overcast the day before, so all flights over the Nazca desert had been canceled. It was a clear day, so take a flight today. Feeling queasy, Rachel opted to visit the lines from an observation tower. I took a flight later that day in a four-seater Cessna plane ($85/person). I remember asking if they had parachutes on board in case of some trouble – the pilot just laughed.
The flight seemed to go by so quickly. The pilots would point off in the distance, but the lines were a bit hard to make out. The desert has so many thousands of lines in it – some from tire tracks, but most probably from weather. My best shots:
After the bus ride from Cuzco, I was feeling dizzy so I figured it wouldn’t be a great idea to get on a small plane that would bank from side to side. So instead, I took a local bus (Soyuz) out to the “mirador” or looking tower to see a couple of the lines from the ground – the tree and the hands. I was surprised at how small they seemed but truly fascinated that they were still there and that it hadn’t been blown away or covered or ruined after all these years. The bus experience was also interesting – I told the driver Mirador but he forgot – luckily, he stopped at the observation tower to pick someone up and I was getting up to get out when he started going again – but I was able to tell him to stop and let me down! The bus ticket was 2 soles and the ticket to go up the little tower was another two soles. On the way back, I basically stood around waiting and hailed a bus going back towards Nazca for another 2 soles. After we saw the lines, we went to a Chifa (a Chinese and Peruvian fusion type restaurant – more Chinese though). There’s not much else to do in Nazca – apparently there is an observatory and a couple museums but we skipped those and enjoyed our dinner instead!