The Nazca Lines & Ballestas Islands
About 400 Km south of Lima, on a high, arid plateau, lie the mysterious Nazca Lines. They are thought to have been created by the Nazca people about 2,000 years ago. There are more than 85 motifs etched into the ground that have survived in excellent condition due to the absence of rainfall; this is the driest place on Earth. Some motifs clearly depict animals such as monkeys, butterflies and the iconic hummingbird; others are of more abstract design or represent plants and flowers. All of them are so large that they are best viewed from a light aircraft.
The itinerary can be added to other activities within Peru.
We will collect you from your hotel in Lima and drive south, along the Pacific Highway to the small village of Nazca (4½ hrs). Overnight in a good hotel.
Drive to the Nazca Lines and take a flight over the 75 Km² site.
What were they for?
The purpose of the lines remains uncertain: the Nazca left no written records, so the interpretation of the lines is open to conjecture. One of the leading theories is that the lines and patterns represent constellations, but precise detail is scant.
Another theory suggests they are some sort of map and may relate to the pilgrimage destination of the nearby adobe pyramids at Cahuachi, which date from the same period. And yet a third theory suggests that the lines were built to conduct seasonal water from the Andes onto the arid plains. Water is vital for life, yet virtually absent from this environment. Maybe they played a role in local water rituals?
One idea is that they are linked to the heavens with some of the lines representing constellations in the night sky. Another idea is that the lines play a role in pilgrimage, with one walking across them to reach a sacred place such as Cahuachi and its adobe pyramids. Yet another idea is that the lines are connected with water, something vital to life yet hard to get in the desert, and may have played a part in water-based rituals.
About 85 Km NW of Nazca, on the Pacific shore, is the town of Pisco and its adjacent port, Paracas. A short distance off shore are the Ballestas Islands which are now a marine national park. The islands are uninhabited and home to a huge population of sea lions along with penguins, boobies and pelicans (to mention a few). To continue the theme of the Nazca Lines, as you leave the harbour, on your left-hand side, carved into the peninsular is the mysterious “Candelabra” which is one of the most enigmatic of all the Nazca Lines.
Return to the mainland and drive back to Lima.
£480 per person based on 2 persons travelling, twin share accommodation.
Single supplement £45
Included in the price
Private vehicle from Lima to Paracas to Nazca to Lima.
1 night hotel in Nazca
Over-flight of the Nazca lines.
Entrances tickets to Islas Ballestas and Nazca Lines
Boat to the Ballestas Islands.
(No meals are included.)