Social Media

Visiting Peru’s Nasca lines independently, how to see ancient drawings in the desert on a budget

When backpacking on a budget you have to decide what is worth spending your money on and what you can miss out on, it can be such a tough decision but if you want your travels to last then you have to plan accordingly. When I was travelling through Peru, during my four months in South America, I knew I wanted to catch a glimpse of the ancient and mysterious Nasca lines, hidden in the sun-scorched desert. I’d always been fascinated with them, as I am with India’s hand-carved temples and the mysterious stone statues of Menorca. So I caught a bus from Lima to the town of Nasca and booked into a hotel for a few nights with a plan to seeing the famous lines without breaking my small budget.

hands nasa lines in peru desert
View of the 'hands' from the lookout tower

The Nazca lines are still deeply shrouded in mystery, no one really knows what they mean, or how they were made, yet over three hundred of these designs or geoglyphs, as they’re known, are spread throughout the Peruvian desert, not too far from the Carretera Panamericana Sur highway, around 447kms south of Lima.

lineas de nazca sign in peru desert
Entering a section of the Nasca lines on the Carretera Panamericana Sur Highway

Researchers have no way of knowing the true meanings behind the designs, but suggestions have hinted that some of the shapes could represent constellations, while others argue they are fertility symbols with lines to aid water flow and bring growth to the land. Whatever the purpose of the shapes and lines, it’s incredible to think they were carved out by hand over 2,500 years ago and have been preserved naturally ever since, and to this day new shapes are still being discovered.

nasa lines sign in peru desert
The site has been protected by Unesco World Heritage since 1994 

From Nasca, most tourists book onto a low flying small aircraft to take them over the desert in the search for the lines, but for me travelling on just £20 a day, I knew this would blow nearly a weeks budget and wasn’t an option. Instead, I jumped on one of the local buses running along the highway for a few Peruvian Soles and got off as we hit the area where the lines began. Not far away from where the bus dropped me was a mirador or look-out point which you can climb up to get a better view of some of the surrounding designs. On the day I visited it was a beautifully clear and bright day and I managed to see the hands (also known as the frog), the tree and the lizard, which were all in close proximity to the mirador.

nasa lines peru shaped like hands in sand
Part of the 'lizard' from the lookout tower
The scale of the lines is absolutely mind-blowing and it's hard to comprehend how the Nasca people could have created them so perfectly. With my mission complete, I took a few photos, hit the highway and waited for a bus to pass in the right direction and take me back to town. You don’t need a lot of money to have cool experiences like seeing the ancient Nasa lines but you do need a sense of adventure and a willingness to wait for the public bus to pass back along in the heat of the midday desert.

Post a Comment


Theme by BD