The Nazca Lines

Nazca is a small desert town, named for the Nazca civilisation that came after the Paracas culture, and it is a major attraction due to the mysterious presence of the lines and diagrams etched into the surrounding desert floor. It also has some interesting museums and archaeological sites, including the Chauchilla Cemetery, with 12 exposed underground tombs containing skeletons and preserved mummified forms.

The main attraction of the town is an aerial flight over the Nazca Lines that are spread over miles of the vast desert floor. The dimensions of these enormous figures, geometric designs, spirals and perfectly straight lines are so large that the only way to view them is from the air and pilots will point out the outlines of intriguing bird and animal representations such as the hummingbird, monkey, condor, spider, and the unusual cartoon-like character known as the Astronaut. These figures were made by removing sun-darkened stones from the desert floor to expose the lighter coloured stones below, and were created over a thousand years ago. Theories abound regarding the mysterious desert etchings, and questions as to why they were created, how they were designed, and what technology was used, remain unanswered and have puzzled experts for centuries. The Nazca Lines are among the most unforgettable and strangest sights in the country, an extraordinary legacy left by the ancient people of the Nazca culture, and one of the great mysteries of South America.

Address: Nazca is a few miles in from the coast, 280 miles (175km) southeast of Lima

Transport: Ormeno and Civa are the best bus companies with offices in Nazca.