The Nazca Lines: What They Are & How To See Them

April 9, 2018

The Nazca Lines - one of the nazca lines

The Nazca lines are ancient geoglyphs of impressive size ranging from 165 feet to 1200 feet long. These giant markings cover a total area of 170 square miles with many different patterns; animals, plants and geometric shapes. After Machu Picchu, the Nazca lines are probably one of the most famous landmarks that Peru is known for. The Lines pre-date the Incas and their design is both mysterious and complex. The lines are quite stylized and each pattern is drawn without a single broken line.

Since the north American scientist Paul Kosok first documented them in 1939 and made them internationally known, historians and archaeologists have been blown away for near a century. Even to this day, there is no consensus as to how or why the Nazca Lines were created. The site was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

Lots of visitors come year after year to admire the Lines and see the most iconic figures including animals such as the humming bird, monkey and spider which are replicated in modern jewelry and ceramics.

How to see the Nazca Lines?

Head 280 miles south of Lima, passing Chincha, Paracas, and Huacachina, to Nazca town. Once in the area, you will have two options: Viewing Tower and Flyover.

ENTERTAINMENT TIP: If looking for fun at night, or to watch sports during the day, or even a taste of home, visit the Wild Rover Hostels Chain for great food, sports and beer! Entrance to their bars is free even for non-guests

Viewing Tower

The tower is located some minutes before entering the Nazca town. It is 43 feet (13 meters) high and it allows you to have an overview of basically 2 lines; the tree and the hands. Although the photos you can take from the top of the tower will not be as impressive as the ones you see in postcards, you will get a closer and more personal way to appreciate the lines.

Traveler’s tip: If you travel with PeruHop, you are guaranteed to stop at the Viewing Tower and the entry ticket is included, free with a Peru Hop pass. Plus, Peru Hop guides often share some intriguing facts and theories about the Nazca Lines with their passengers.

The Nazca Lines - Aerial view of nazca viewing tower


The vast area of the site and the number of lines can only be truly appreciated from above. This, in fact, is certainly surprising given that they were made in a time when there was no means of aerial flight. There are many tour companies offering flights over the lines, but we recommend Aeronasca. Flights take off from the small Maria Reiche airport in Nazca and typically last around 30-40 minutes.

Traveler’s tip: Escape From Lima offer all inclusive 1 day, 2 day and 3 day trips from Lima with the flight over Nazca Lines included. If you’re not following the classic gringo trail in Peru, this is the best way to see thIs unmissable destination!

a nazca line: the spider

We simply cannot recommend enough paying a visit to the Nazca Lines to experience one of history’s most enduring and impressive mysteries which have also managed to inspire non-scientific people of our time. Movies such as “The Kingdom of the Crystall Skull” starring Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones and books such as “Chariots of the Gods” by Erich Von Daniken have story plotlines which include the Nazca Lines. Lastly, as mentioned before, many people come to Peru for Machu Picchu, but we are convinced that the Nazca Lines will remain etched in your memory.

Did you know - The Lima Walking Tour leaves from the Tourist Information Center at 799 Avenida Jose Larco in Miraflores every day at 10:15 am. Visit our Blog for more information!

Leave A Reply