Days: 293 (14 April 2015)
Total distance travelled: 56,902.7 kilometres (35,343.29 miles)
It was within seconds of leaving our bus in the dusty terminal of Nasca, that we’d been propositioned by a gentleman intent on selling us a flight over the Nasca Lines.
Given that it was the reason we were here, we acquiesced, so that’s how we were soon to be found wandering the dusty streets, headed to what we believed was his office.
We were soon headed for a large two story abode, which looked more like (and turned out to be) a hostel rather than a tour office.
No problem, turns out that is also where they operate from, and after looking at our options, we booked a tour with the most expensive service, on the smallest aircraft they had!
Why would we do this?
Well, a couple of reasons.
Our rationale was that there is little point splurging on the flight and only going half arsed (taking a cheaper option), which had a direct effect on the second point.
The smaller, more expensive flight actually flies lower, meaning we’d hopefully be closer to, and have better views of the lines as we circled above.
Being the afternoon, there was a danger with the day by now being quite hot, we’d be buffeted by up-draughts giving us some awful turbulence (just what you want in a small aeroplane), however that was the time we’d arrived, so short of grabbing a bed in town for the night, there was little that could be done about that.
Soon a min-van arrived to ferry us to the airport, where we were told that we needed two more to fill our four seater plane, then we’d be off.
Already hungry, we were itching to go, but the wait certainly did not prove a short one…
I found an overpriced ice-cream vendor, purchases from whom would have to do to tide us over, before eventually, about an hour later, three more people were delivered.
Hmmm, three more people for a four seater aeroplane?
Nevermind, they were okay with it, so after that wait, so were we.
There’s no place to hide on an adventure like this, as everything that will be going aboard the aircraft, especially the people, gets weighed.
Turns out, that after Sarah, I was the second lightest!
Our co-pilot and guide (who resembled Rafael Nadal) gave us a quick briefing, like how he’d be using the aircrafts wings like a clock as our guide (the nose being 12 o’clock) and from there we were off.
We rose quickly, the air a lot calmer than we’d expected, which we hoped would deliver us a stable platform for pictures.
However just discerning the famous patterns amongst the plain below proved the first challenge, the literally thousands of geometric patterns and lines which run in every direction doing their utmost to make spotting the artworks a challenge.
Eventually, with Rafa’s help we did finally spot what we sought, and pretty soon (with his direction), they were being spied with ease.
First up was one of a nautical nature, the Ballena (Whale).
There was a nice touch where they’d bank both to the left and then the right, so that both sides of the aircraft had the chance to view the lines below, the only danger being that the tight arc of the plane might cause those of unstable stomach to empty their lunch into the readily available spew bags (thankfully not something we heard or witnessed).
Being such a short flight, the lines came thick and fast with the Astronauta (Astronaut) next up, followed be the incredibly large, 110 metre high Mona (Monkey) and the much smaller Perro (Dog).
We continued on, past possibly the most famous of all, the Humming Bird and the Condor, but my personal favourite, perhaps because we caught it quite nicely in a photo, was Arana (Spider).
Our circuit took us back and forth across the Pan-American highway which snaked across the desert below, first for a close up look of Alcatraz (the Heron Bird), before right below us we could see the lookout tower where those who don’t splurge, can take in the vague shapes of Arbol (the Tree) and Manos (Hands) from the relatively low heights of a few metres.
We’d read of two English friends who’d experienced it this way, and we weren’t surprised, especially after looking down from above, how they thought it to be a bit of over-hyped bullshit.
It may have cost us a hell of a lot more, but you simply can’t see the Nasca Lines from down on the ground…
The Papagallo (Parrot) was the last glyph on our map, then we settled in for the ride back down to earth, satisfied with our decision to both fly as low as we could (on the smallest aircraft), but also to fly as long as we did, as there are actually options which only take in the first few lines, but cost a lot less.
Just when we thought we were done, Rafa alerted us to one finally glyph on a hillside down below, not gifted with an official name from what I understand (I’m sure it actually does), but what sat most fondly with me?
But now for us, it was time to get into town and get us some lunch (we could have lingered longer to get a Nasca passport stamp and certificate, but we were famished)!
* Our overpriced bus from Ica to Nazca (was with Cruz del Sur) cost us $35.00 Soles per person.
* We booked our flights over the Nasca Lines with Aero Paracas for $110.00 US each for roughly half an hour in the air.