The Nazca Lines are a baffling conglomeration of innumerable geometric patterns and artistic drawings of animals stretching across about 50 miles of the arid high plateau known as the Nasca Desert in southern Peru. They are of unknown origin and are estimated to be more than a thousand years old. UNESCO designated it as a World Heritage Site in 1994, according to Wikipedia.
Unless you are driving your own car, there are very few transportation options to get from Lima to where you can see the Nazca Lines. And seeing the Nazca Lines requires that you are in an airplane, as some of the drawings cover the length of six football fields.
Nine of us arrived at the station in Lima for a 7:00 am bus to Paracas, about 80 miles and 3.5 hours south of Lima. The bus was surprisingly modern and comfortable, with wi-fi onboard, and included snacks and tea that were delivered to our seats. We settled in for the long haul along the sandy, windswept coastline that was marked by the occasional set of primitive buildings. It was hard to figure out if the buildings were for people or animals or storage. And it is hard to imagine carving out a living or a social life here.
When we finally arrive, we are put on a smaller bus and whisked away to the airport for our one hour viewing of these famous and mysterious markings.
We had yet to have a suitable lunch. That would wait until after our flight because the weather is unpredictable.
The area is accustomed to thick fog, so timing is everything. To the left you can see a picture I took a couple of weeks later as we flew from Lake Titicaca to Lima over this same area. The fog is completely covering all the lower coastal lands, perhaps 50 miles wide. If you arrive in Paracas for the Nazca Lines flight, you go while the weather is favorable.
And we were about to realize another good reason for not eating lunch first. Our small twin engine 12-seater plane would fly for 30 minutes inland, and then would dip and turn constantly for about 30 minutes in order for people seated on both sides of the plane to view the glyphs.
As thrilling as it was to finally see the
Nazca Lines in person, we were all relieved when the pilot announced there was only one more drawing to see before we would head back across the desert to the airfield. There were a lot of faces on that plane starting to turn green.
In the photo on the right, you will see the Pan American Highway crossing through the Nazca Desert, with an observation tower and a tourist bus – to show the perspective of the size of the drawings. Just below the highway, and to the right and left of the observation tower, you can make out two figures – a tree and a pair of hands. The other geometric patterns are all a part of the lines as well. There were dozens of these figures that we viewed.
During the flight I was thinking back to my vision of my past life standing on a South American coastal cliff, staring at the night sky, waiting for long ago companions to come collect me from this planet. It was easy to think that these drawings just may have been cryptic messages meant to draw the attention of Beings who would have the only perspective enabling them to see them. From high in the sky. But what do they mean, and how were they crafted so precisely and elegantly? It remains a mystery.
Returning to the airfield, we deplane and are thankful to be on solid ground again. Our guide takes us in a bus along this stretch of desolate coastline, until we turn in to the entrance to two hotels. None of us are very hopeful of accommodations out here…until we enter our hotel, La Hacienda Bahia Paracas. Never mind our faulty expectations and presuppositions. You can’t judge a book by the cover, or a hotel by the neighborhood.
We enter a luxurious Spanish style Hacienda that will make us wish we were staying more than just one night. Outfitted with all the amenities, the key feature is that the swimming pool literally comes up to the lounge chairs on your personal deck. Here you can see that from my king size bed area, I can go down two steps to the couch and living area, out the door to the patio, and walk right into the water.
Since our bus to Lima didn’t leave until the following afternoon, our group could spend the morning wading and splashing, and doing some morning tapping, cross crawl, and other mentally and physically stimulating exercises based on the work of Dona Eden. We followed that up with each of us choosing a Tarot card to give us a message we could contemplate as we began the journey back to Lima where we would be joined by more people who would be going with us on the rest of the trip.wo steps to the couch/living area, then out the door to the deck, that allows me to walk right into the pool.
I think this picture of one of our travel companions, Michael, captures the childlike joy we all experienced while splashing around in the pool that morning.
Later that day we take our coach ride back to Lima, into rush hour traffic in this city of 9 million people. We eventually arrive at the airport and the Costa Del Sol Ramada Inn, where we will overnight. In the morning we will unite with the rest of our group who are arriving for our flight to Cuzco and bus ride on into the Sacred Valley.