Nazca Lines

South Coast

Known by professionals as “geoglyphs,” the Nazca Lines always provoke a strong reaction in visitors to the area. Giant illustrations of plants and animals spread out over 280 square miles (450 km) of desert plateau in Peru’s southern lowlands. No one has yet proposed a compelling explanation for their placement or their location. There are approximately 70 designs—the most famous and frequently photographed of these designs are the monkey, the spider, and the hummingbird. Other illustrations depict fish, killer whales, lizards, and sharks. Some of the designs have dimensions as large as 660 feet (220 m).

Surrounded by shifting dunes, it may seem odd that such ancient designs would have remained intact, since their creation sometime around the 5th century. They owe their preservation to the windless conditions in the desert. The lines aren’t very deep, created by simply removing the reddish upper crust of the terrain. Below the red rocks is a much paler layer of rock, creating a striking contrast.

On your visit, you’ll probably hear the theory that the Nazca Lines served as landing strips for alien space crafts. It’s easily laughed off, but the fact remains that we have yet to discover the designs’ true purpose. Some of the other discoveries in the areas – of altars and clay flutes – have prompted some historians to speculate that it served a religious function.

Maybe you won’t come up with a prize-winning theory, but try to get a good look at the lines anyway. Hike one of the nearby dunes to see the lines from a distance—Cerro Blanco is an enormous dune with a great view of the glyphs. You won’t be able to see the designs in their entirety, but as far as we know, neither did the Nazca. This adds to the mystery – how did the Nazca make such geometrically precise designs, without ever seeing them in full?

Luckily, you won’t have the same disadvantage. It has become popular to see the lines by plane, so you can see all of the designs in about 30 minutes. To get a closer look at the area from the ground, visitors often incorporate sandboarding, biking, and dune buggies into their exploration of the desert surrounding the Nazca Lines.

Nearby Activities

 

Aerodiana Pisco Nazca Total

2-in-1 combo|2 hours

Pisco

New Tour!
Starting At$290
Aerodiana Pisco Nazca Total

There is much more to the Nazca Desert than the Nazca Lines. Nazca and Paracas culture spread throughout the surrounding valleys, and the artifacts they left behind...

New Tour!
Tour Details

Aerodiana Pisco Nazca Total

2-in-1 combo|2 hours

Paracas

5.0 / 5.0
Starting At$290
Aerodiana Pisco Nazca Total

There is much more to the Nazca Desert than the Nazca Lines. Nazca and Paracas culture spread throughout the surrounding valleys, and the artifacts they left behind...

5.0 / 5.0
Tour Details

Aerodiana Nazca Classic Tour

2-in-1 combo|30 minutes

Nazca

4.5 / 5.0
Starting At$152
Aerodiana Nazca Classic Tour

In order to fully appreciate the Nazca Lines, you need to see them from above. On an Aerodiana Classic tour, experienced pilots will fly you over these ancient...

4.5 / 5.0
Tour Details

Nearby Lodging

 

Casa Andina Classic Nasca

Nazca

Air Conditioning

Bar

Cable TV

Free Breakfast

Restaurant

& More

5.0 / 5.0
From$114

Casa Andina Classic Nasca

Casa Andina Classic Nasca is set within the town of Nasca. The hotel has comfy rooms and is a central location in Nasca.

5.0 / 5.0
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Kunan Wasi Hotel

Nazca

Air Conditioning

Cable TV

Free Breakfast

Wireless Internet

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Kunan Wasi Hotel

Nazca’s economy depends largely on a busy tourist trade, a result the local attractions, including the mysterious Nazca Lines. Kunan Wasi Hotel offers a calm, quiet...

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El Majoro

Nazca

Air Conditioning

Bar

Cable TV

Free Breakfast

Restaurant

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From$95

El Majoro

Get a cozy room at El Majoro and embrace the calm of this rustic hotel in Nazca. The Majoro building was built in the late 17th century, and spent most of its life as a...

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Nuevo Cantalloc

Nazca

Air Conditioning

Bar

Cable TV

Free Breakfast

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Nuevo Cantalloc

The Nuevo Cantalloc hotel is designed to look like a charming colonial-era building. Set just a short distance from several famous ancient Nazca and prehistoric sites,...

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