Fly over the Nasca Lines

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Flag of Peru  ,
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

With Inca ruins, jungles, beaches, deserts and plenty of wildlife, Peru is quickly becoming an international tourist destination. Numerous hostels, restaurants, buses and tour companies cater to this growing industry.  And because they are a third world country, your dollar still goes a long ways.  

After you have visited the magnificent Machu Picchu, be sure to put some time aside to take a boat tour of Ballestas Islands, ride a sand dune buggy and go dune boarding at Hauchachina and fly over the Nasca Lines.

Ballestas Islands
    Composed mainly of rock covering an area of 0.12 square kilometers, the Ballestas Islands are a marine wildlife sanctuary.

Marine species such as the guanay bird, the blue-footed booby, the tendril, Humboldt penguins and a variety of seals and sea lions are common to the area.

Hauchachina

              Featured on the back of Peru's 50 Nuevo Sol note, this resort town built around a small natural lake in the desert is a popular getaway for families from Ica and Lima.  It is increasingly becoming a popular attraction for international tourists who come to surf on the hundred foot high sand dunes or blast over them on a dune buggy.  Landowners living near the oasis have drilled wells which lowered the water levels in the lagoon forcing the city to artificially pump water in to preserve its beauty.


Nasca Lines
Created by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650 AD, the hundreds of individual figures, made by removing the reddish pebbles and uncovering the whitish ground, range in complexity of design.  Over 70 designs are of animals, birds, fish and humans while others are lines and geometric shapes.  They were drawn in an area covering nearly 500 square kilometers with the largest figures spanning nearly 270 meters.  The dry, windless climate of the Nasca Desert ensures that the lines remain well preserved.

The lines were discovered in the 1930’s by people traveling over the area by plane and ever since, anthropologists have tried to uncover why they were made.  Since flight had not been invented at that time and the shapes can only be viewed by air it remains a mystery. 

Archaeologist Johan Reinhard published an article in 1985 theorizing that the lines were part of a religious practice of the Nasca people who worshipped mountains and other water sources critical to life in the desert.  He felt the symbols representing animals and objects were meant to invoke the Gods’ aid in supplying water and the lines were sacred paths leading to places were these deities could be worshipped. 

There used to be a plethora of companies offering flights over the lines but after a number of crashes this has changed.  Poor safety standards were blamed for the incidents so the government stepped in and regulated the industry closing down some of the worst offenders.  With fewer companies offering flights, it is recommended to book flights in advance


Check out my Nasca Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBGjJd4mbsc&feature=channel_video_title

Check out my sandboarding Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZlqxNTqbP8&feature=relmfu

Check out my dune buggy video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZlqxNTqbP8&feature=channel_video_title



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