Category Archives: Nasca and Ica

Nasca lines: What you need to know

The Nasca Lines are part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the world (since 1994). These geoglyphs can only be seen when flying over the the Nasca desert in Peru.

The lines were created by the Nasca culture between 500BC and 500AD. The figures include various animal and bird shapes (the dog, whale, monkey, parrot, heron bird and humming bird) as well as some human figures (astronaut, hands).

Although people like Maria Reiche have dedicated their lives to studying the Nasca lines, the main question still remains: Why are they there?
Also you may visit the house and museum of Maria Reiche to know more about the lines and her life studying them.

This place is mysterious and impressive. If you are planning to go to the south of Peru, make Nasca one of your stops.

Here is what you need to know about flying over the Nasca lines:

– If you fly in the morning, there is less wind and the plane moves less.

– Eat very lightly before embarking

– I recommend going with the company: MovilAir They are very professional and the pilots speak very good English.

 

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Paracas Reserve, Islas Ballestas

On the road from Lima to Pisco, we made several stops: one to surf, one to buy these homemade little breads stuffed with black olives and cheese (YUM!), another to eat in a restaurant called EL PILOTO. I order fish with a seafood sauce which was amazing! We left for the town of Pisco, yes that place where the drink comes from, and found our hotel after about 5-7minutes of going around in circles because there are only one-way streets. Pisco is on the coast and on the 29th of June the fisherman celebrate San Pedro y San Pablo. There were shows and festivities in the afternoon, but unfortunately we arrived only later and so we sat on a terrace, had two piscos and bought snacks and watched our show: Al Fondo Hay Sitio, which is a Peruvian show that nearly everyone in the country watches. I am not much of a TV fan, but this show is truly great!
The next day we went to Paracas, which in Quechua means sandstorm because of the constant wind (San Andres) and because it never rains. We woke up early to go visit The Ballestas islands, which some call the Galapagos for the poor. We got on the 8am boat and took a 1h30 tour around the islands. The first stop was a line in the sand called “three crosses” which is an image of a tree that points to the southern cross. Theories are that it is approximately 900 years old and was made as a guide for sailors, but nothing is confirmed. We saw tons of birds, they are all there mainly because of the Humbolt current that brings an abundance of plankton and marine life to the area. In result, the islands are covered of “guano”, in other words marine bird pooh, which is a used as a fertilizer. Among other birds are the grey footed boobie, (same as the blue footed boobie in Galapagos, only difference is the color of their feet!) the guanay (those that pooh the most, hence the most important bird). We also saw a few penguins and sea lions. Interesting facts I did not know about sea lions: They live about 25 years, the male can weight up to 250kilos, the more fat in the neck the older the male sea lion is, the male has about 8-10 females, and when they have babies, normally the male kills the young males, that is why the female must protect the babies.
After our boat adventure we took off for a ride in the natural reserve. We hired a guide to accompany us and he took us to several beaches in the reserve. It was impressive, we could see the different colors of sand and earth due to the diversity of minerals. The reserve is about 300 000 hectares of desert, of which 35% is on land and the other 65% is water. Surprisingly enough, out of the 300 different types of algae in Peru, 50% are found in this reserve. We had a beer and ceviche in Lagunillas, where the water was turquoise blue.

Sand Dunes and an Oasis!

June 29th 2012Image

In the afternoon, we decided to go out to Huacachina near Ica to sleep. We arrived just 6km outside of the big city to this oasis with a laguna, palm trees surrounded by high dunes of sand. I had never seen sand dunes this big, it was impressive! We took a buggie ride further into the desert and it looks like what you see in movies, just sand and sand and sand! The little town itself is very touristy: restaurants, hotels and excursions, not much more. Unfortunately we did not sleep very well that night, there was a club in our hotel and we only found out after dinner. The walls of the room where shaking from the bass in the music that was playing.
The buggie ride we took in the desert was really fun. I normally do not like roller coasters but this was pretty close to one. We were going pretty fast and up and down the dunes! We stopped a few times as well to do some sandboarding!
I could stand a bit when the dune was not too steep, but it was very difficult to go down on the higher dunes. And so the guide would make us lie on our stomachs on the board and slide down head first, like we do with toboggans in the snow! It was really fun, at one point I opened my mouth to scream and realized I couldn’t because sand would go in!
It was such a blast! I recommend it to anyone traveling in Peru, it is a complete different experience. They also hold sandboarding competitions in Huacachina.