Nasca: Is It Worth It?

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line mapOur time in Peru started with adventure: a few days in Cusco and then the Inca Trail.  After that, we were able to spend a few wonderful (and relaxing) days in Arequipa. But after Arequipa our vacation got a bit whirlwind: we’d take an overnight bus to Ica, where we’d hop on a plane to see the Nasca Lines, then we’d get a private van transfer to Huacachina, where we’d spend around 24 hours, and then a trip to Paracas to see the Bolestas Islands followed by yet another overnight bus to Lima.

Being a baby when it comes to heights and water, I wasn’t looking forward to most of this part of the trip, but as always LeeAnne talked me into it (or, rather, planned it and I just went along).  We arrived in Ica early and made our van transport from the bus station to the small airport stop at a tiny cafe so we could grab breakfast and a coffee. After that, we made it to the airport, where we checked in, went through “security,” stashed our packs, and were weighed for the flight.

After all the formalities were out of the way, we took a seat in the airport while a documentary about the lines played over and over on the airport televisions.  The story of the lines, at first, is fascinating: the Nasca people, it is believed, made these huge drawings in the area by removing the top layer of red soil and revealing a white layer beneath it.  The area that the lines cover – 450 square kilometers – is massive. The drawings themselves are huge.

valley

The are in which the lines are drawn is also fortuitous: with almost no wind and being in one of the driest deserts on earth, they have been preserved almost completely naturally since they were drawn.  How lucky is that? But when you dig further into the mystery of why they are there, you come up with a resounding shrug of the shoulders and a “dunno.” While this may make the mystery even more enticing for some, I had a similar reaction: a shrug of the shoulders.

packed in

After sitting in the airport a while, it was finally our turn to take the flight.  We shared the small  plane with three other sight-seers, a pilot, and a co-pilot. The crew did a great job, once we were in the air, of making sure we saw all the highlights – the monkey, the condor, the spider, the hummingbird, etc.  We flew around, tipping the plane to either side so both seats could get a good view, and then headed back to the airport. The flight was about 30 minutes, and being such a small plane with no cabin pressure, LeeAnne’s altitude sickness started to creep up while we were in flight.  If that is a problem for you, beware.

condor
If you look closely, you can see the condor

After all was said and done, the lines were interesting, but nothing to jump up and down about.  If it hadn’t been a reasonable stop on the way from one point to another, I wouldn’t have been sad to miss them.  They are another box I can check off on my travels, but really haven’t been anything more than that. And for $100 per person, I would say your money was best spent elsewhere.  Unless you really want to see some lines drawn in the sand.

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