What put Nazca on the map are the Nazca
lines, which are a lot like
drawings you might have made in the sand with a stick, except they’re up to
100s of meters long, and about 2,000 years old. Nazca’s annual rainfall is 4mm,
so it doesn’t take much to make something that lasts a long time. Up close the
lines look like you could have done something like that with a few friends in
an afternoon, or over the course of a few days at the most. It’s a strange mix
of impressive and underwhelming.
We first saw the lines from a tower along the main road, where the bus gave us
a bit of time to stop. It was actually raining, which is most unusual. The next
day we saw them from the air. I’m glad that we knew to take motion sickness
medicine beforehand, because in order to show us the lines the airplane spent a
lot of the time banking, climbing, and descending. We were mostly struck by how
many lines there were, criss-crossing each other and running in whichever
direction. The artful figures are actually the old ones, and the majority of
lines are simply straight lines or rectangles, with the occasional trapezoid
Our favorite site in Nazca was the underground aqueduct. Since it’s underground
you can’t see much of the aqueduct itself, but you can see the holes that were
dug 1,700 years ago to allow access to the aqueduct in the dry season, when it
needs to be cleaned. The aqueduct itself isn’t very long, but it concentrates
water that flows underground from the mountains 250km away into a small canal
where it can easily be accessed.
We also saw some Nazca ruins and an old cemetary site. Most of what there was
to see of the ruins was restored, and erosion hadn’t left much in the cemetary
besides scattered bones. Erosion in this part of the world consists of water
(negligible), wind (some), and grave robbers (significant).
We enjoyed our few nights in Nazca, just being in a small fairly quiet town. I
continued to struggle with some gastrointestinal issues. I’ve occasionally used
Loperamide to keep things under control, and made sure to do so before getting
on the night bus to Arequipa. Arequipa is a big city which should have good
medical care. We’re staying there until I get this issue worked out (haha!)
because I’m getting sick and tired of it.