The arid plains surrounding the small town of Nazca are detailed with South America’s most enigmatic sight, the extraordinary Nazca Lines.

Etched into more than 80km (50 miles) of rocky desert, and only properly appreciated from the air, the Nazca Lines are made up of more than 800 lines, 300 figures and 70 animal and plant outlines.

Creatures drawn here include monkeys measuring 90m (300 feet), lizards, spiders representing fertility, and an astronaut lookalike. Birds like the hummingbird, condor and flamingo represent summer and winter, and point exactly to where the sun rises and sets. The largest drawings measure 200m (660 feet) across.

There are a number of theories behind the lines and their construction - who made them, why and how? - but no one knows for sure, and they were only rediscovered in 1939.

One theory dates them to between 400 and 600 AD, believing that they were mapped as an astronomical calendar by early mathematicians. Fertility cults, marathon races, hallucinogenic dreamscapes and extraterrestrial landing sites are just a few of the other hypotheses behind their creation.

If you can’t jump into a Cessna to view the Nazca Lines from the air, visit the observation tower 20km (12 miles) north of the town of Nazca to get an overview of the lines.

Practical Info

Nazca lies just inland from the coast in the Nazca Desert, around 440km (275 miles) south of Lima. The best way to view the lines is from the air aboard an early-morning Nazca Lines Air Tour.

Tours & Tickets

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Nazca Lines Air Tour and Ballestas Islands Full-Day Trip from Lima

4.5 star rating: Recommended 33 Reviews

Leaving Lima behind, you'll depart on a full-day tour to the Ballestas Islands and Nazca Lines. Visit the famous Ballestas Islands where you'll have the ...  Read more

Location: Lima, Peru
Duration: 16 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $599.99

Nazca Lines Air Tour with Transport from Lima

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 4 Reviews

See the mysterious and awe-inspiring Nazca Lines from the air on this tour from Lima. After the drive down the Peruvian coast from Lima to Paracas, take off ...  Read more

Location: Lima, Peru
Duration: 11 hours (approx.)

From USD $463.99

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