Tucan Travel - Nazca, Peru.

Huacachina to Nazca.

Day one.

The drive from Huacachina to Nazca was a short one, however I spent most of the drive debating on whether to take a scenic flight over the Nazca lines. Honestly, although I have heard of the Nazca lines my knowledge on the lines wasn’t the greatest but on the other hand seeing the Nazca lines is an experience unique to Peru, something I might not ever get the chance to do again. So, in the end I ended up jotting my name down on a scrap of paper confirming I would be taken part but even then, I was still debating crossing my name off. Our truck driver Richie highly recommended doing it, he told us we would be going to a lookout to see the lines from the ground and that seeing the lines from the ground is like seeing a tiny piece of a jigsaw puzzle, a puzzle that you cannot fully appreciate unless you see the bigger picture.
He was right, when we pulled up at the lookout I paid the one sol it costs to climb up to the top. Below me you could see lines, but it was extremely hard to work out what you were looking at, what the lines were an image off. I even had to point out the lines for one girl. Climbing back down the stairs I was happy with my decision to do the flight. Soon after we arrived at our campsite for the night, I cannot recall the name but it was a nice little hotel where we camped on the grounds complete with swimming pools, a bar and a wi-fi room. Once there we were given the obligatory demonstration of setting up the tent, which was easy, due to the heat though being inside the tent was intolerable! At lunch time, we were told the news we were no longer going to Arequipa, instead we would be staying an extra night in Nazca and arriving a day early in Cusco. This was due to an earthquake causing a landside on the road we would need to take into Arequipa, this was incredibly disappointing for me and many others since a lot of us wanted to visit Colca Canyon, and we had no idea what we would be doing with our other day in Nazca.

nasca lines

nasca lines

At lunch times those doing the Nazca flight was picked up and drove to the airport, where we were given a safety induction and that was it, we were given no information on the history of the lines, something I was expecting. The flight itself was in a small aircraft and goes over the most well-known Nazca lines, so I took my go pro to take photos of the lines and when I looked back over them I could not see a single Nazca line in any of them. No idea what happened there but I did get a nice little video over on my Instagram of the astronaut. I am not going to lie the thirty-minute flight was horrific, the sun was shining in through the window, the plane was going in all directions. Movement and heat was not a good combination and I honestly thought I was going to throw up. I was terrified, and when he finally told us we were heading back I was so relieved. Turns out everyone felt the same, so we all ended up buying ice creams to settle out stomach.

To be honest with you, after the helicopter ride I wasn’t sure how I felt about seeing the lines. I really felt like I did not appreciate the fact that I got to see the lines.

Day two.

Due to us spending another day in Nazca, our tour guide arranged an optional tour for us with a company called edunas tours. We were picked up in dune buggies (driving around in these are always so much fun but you also get covered in dust…) and taken to various locations. I could not highly recommend this tour enough, our guide was fantastic although I cannot recall her name, she provided us with so much information on the Nazca people that it made me appreciate the fact I did the flight over the lines. Unlike the pilot, she gave us a brief history of the Nazca lines, such as the fact there are hundreds of simple lines and shapes whilst more than seventy of the lines contain images that are animals, she talked about how they were made and why they have lasted so long. She spoke of Maria Reiche a German mathematician and archaeologist who dedicated a large portion of her life to unearthing the lines, a person our guide met when she was a child. Reiche is buried near the lines located near the lookout, and often referred to lines as her children. Today, many people do not understand why the lines were made, some believe they were offerings for gods to bring water to the area, for religious purposes, for art in general whilst our guide believed there may be a connection to aliens. Our guide believes that the Nazca people copied what they saw, hence why the Nazca people would use cranial deformation to elongate heads, why the astronaut line has a large head, because the Nazca people saw these ‘aliens’ and mimicked them. It is why the Nazca lines can only truly be appreciate from the air. There have also be many reports of abnormal skeletons found in Nazca, skeletons with three fingers and toes, short of structure etc. (whether these are a hoax or not I do not know.) Whatever the reason behind the lines, it is interesting hearing so many people’s opinions on why they think the lines are there.
aqueducts nasca

aqueducts nazca
Anyway, the first stop on the tour were the aqueducts. An aqueduct is a watercourse constructed to convey water. The aqueducts serve as a large hydraulic system which carried water underground to areas where water was needed, for example to water crops or to drink. The aqueducts allowed people to have access to water throughout the whole year, some of the aqueducts are still being used today and it is a prime example of the knowledge and intelligence of the Nazca people (or Pre-Nazca as many are still unsure when they were built.)

Cacti are very popular here, often growing fruit which can be sold, many of these Cacti are infected intentionally with a parasite called Cochineal, some of you may have heard of this insect as it produces the natural dye carmine. Why? Because carmine is worth more than what the fruit of the Cacti produce, it is commonly used in cosmetics such as lipsticks. Sadly, this does involve the parasite being squished, which our guide did to show us the colour produced which was the brightest of reds.
cemetery nazca

Cahuachi nazca
The next stop we visited a burial ground, like many of the Nazca sites over the years they have been subjected to graverobbers with many sites being dug up and torn apart. This burial site had the same inflicted upon, whilst other artefacts were removed and placed in museums, what is left is remnants of scattered skeletons, fabric and hair. The bones that have remained are extremely white due to being bleached by the sun. It did feel a little strange walking over this site where the chances of treading on breaking a human bone was very high. The burial site is located not far from Cahuachi, the next stop on a tour. Cahuachi was a ceremonial centre, the site wasn’t used for long term living but used for religion or pilgrimage and a burial site. It was fascinating to look around, and I was provided with so much information it was overwhelming to take it all in. When I visit sites like these I like to try and imagine what life would have been like, sometimes it’s hard to even imagine what it would be like. We were shown sites where food and water would have been stored/gathered (from holes in the ground) if you look at the ground you more than likely may see tiny bits of pottery that have been broken and scattered around somewhere along the way. The Cahuachi site is currently still be excavated so whose knows what else they may find!

We arrived back at camp just in time for lunch which was a brunch made up of scrambled egg, cheese scones, French toast, bacon and much more. Don’t let anyone ever put you off camping because of the food! A few of us decided to get together and book a tour to Chauchilla cemetery, this was a place we were meant to visit in the morning before driving to Arequipa and a few of us really wanted to go, for myself it was one of the things on the itinerary that really appealed to me and something I marked immediately as wanting to do.
Chauchilla cemetery

Chauchilla cemetery
The Chauchilla cemetery contains mummified remains and archaeological sites. The bodies that are located at the site have been so well preserved due to the dry climate, the bodies being clothed in embroidered cotton, then painted in resin before being placed in mud brick tombs. Again, we had a fantastic guide called Juan Tohalino who has his own hostel called Nasca Trails, also speaking four languages Spanish, English, German and French! What I loved about being in Nazca was meeting so many people so proud and interested in their heritage and in the history of their country. Again, this site has been targeted by grave robbers but so many tombs have been restored and there are many more still buried. 

After the cemetery, the tour also included a ceramic and textile workshop, none of us knew what to expect and thought maybe we might be making something.  Instead we ended up in a little rustic building where textile and ceramics are made and given a demonstration of each. We were shown beautiful dyed wool and told how they get the colours, once upon a time baby urine used to be used to make green dye. Then shown many stones used in their ceramic work.

Although I was disappointed about not going to Arequipa, I had such an amazing extra day in Nazca and it was so interesting to be able to learn more about the history of Peru. 
  1. wow ! what a trip! I loved reading the story behind all the burial etc. your pictures are beautiful.

  2. Oh wow! Everything looks just gorgeous :-) sounds like you had an amazing time!

  3. Sounds like you had an amazing trip! Your photos are fantastic and you seemed to have packed a lot in on your visit. Will say that the cemetery probably wouldn't be on my must-visit list as I find the fact they are out in the open quite creepy!!

    The Life of Dee

  4. Wow.....what a fantastic trip and experienced you had. I love these pictures, there are really amazing pictures and I enjoyed so much.

    Kintan XO,

  5. I absolutely love all of your photos! The photo out of the aeroplane window looks really cool. Now I really want to visit here, my list of places to go to is just getting longer and longer haha. The burial ground looks really spooky but interesting at the same time.

    Alice www.accordingtoalicex.com

  6. That's amazing! This reminded me of how much of the world I've yet to see. Every place has a story and this one is fascinating! Thanks for sharing!

  7. What an adventure! I would love to have the opportunity to go on these tours and see culture and history like this

    Sondra xx

  8. Looks like it was a pretty amazing trip. Sorry you didn't get to appreciate everything you saw in the air via helicopter. I love all the pictures. Just have to admit that the burial ground does kind of creep me out.


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