What Are the Nazca Lines?
The Nazca Lines are a series of ancient geoglyphs etched into the desert in southern Peru, not far from the unassuming town of Nasca. The lines cover a huge area and feature a whole range of lines and figures. There are geometric shapes, as well as plants and animals.
Speculation about how the Lines got there is rife, with people suggesting that they are replicas of star constellations to marks left by alien spaceships! Whilst much research has gone into the history of the Lines and where they came from, the truth is that we still don’t know much at all about their origin. They remain, one of the planet’s greatest enigmas!
Related: (links open in a new tab)
How to Choose a Company for a Nazca Lines Flight
It is likely that as soon as you step off your bus in Nasca, you will immediately be hounded by street vendors trying to sell you flights. Avoid buying from anyone on the street and instead, head to a reputable company. Sadly, ground space in Nasca City doesn’t necessarily equate to trustworthiness, so make sure you thoroughly research any company you are considering flying with.
Recommended Companies for a Nasca Lines Flight:
Although lots of tour agencies in and around Nasca offer flights over the Lines, travellers are advised to be very picky when it comes to choosing a company. AeroNasca is the most popular choice for air excursions in Peru and come highly recommended by travellers. A 35-minute flight with them costs around $80USD which includes transfers from Nasca itself. You can book your Nasca Lines flight with them here.
The other company we recommend is Air Majoro. Much like AeroNasca, they also have an excellent safety record and are known for their friendly pilots.
What is Included in the Price of a Nazca Lines Flight?
Most flight prices include transport to and from the flying site as well as your time in the air. Depending on the company you book with, this can be anywhere from around 25 minutes up to around 40. Some flight providers will take you over the Lines and also zip across to the other side of Nasca to show you the aqueducts from the sky as well.
How to Prepare for a Nazca Lines Flight?
Do Not Eat a Big Meal Before Flying
A flight to see the Nasca Lines can be a little rough. To give passengers a good view of the geoglyphs, planes turn sharply and spend a significant amount of time flying at an angle. Trust me when I say that this is sure to make your stomach do a few somersaults! In order to limit the effects of sickness (which is a very real possibility), avoid heavy meals before flying. A piece of fruit should be sufficient for breakfast a couple of hours before you fly.
Purchase Anti-nausea Medication
Not strictly a must but if you suffer from motion sickness, you may feel better knowing you are prepared! Anti-nausea medication can be purchased from any pharmacy.
Fully Charge Your Camera
Of course, you will want to get some photographs of this experience! If you have an action cam like a GoPro or a TomTom, make sure it is charged before leaving for your flight. Be aware that these planes are quite cramped so try to position your camera in such a position that allows you to take advantage of the wide-angle lens and the scenery.
Pack Your Passport
Even though a flight to see the lines is a domestic flight, you will still need to present your passport to the air company before boarding the plane. They will likely take photographs before returning it to you.
Make Sure You Have Enough Cash
The cost of a flight over the Nasca Lines will cost somewhere in the region of $80USD. This can be paid for in soles or US dollars. Be aware that on top of the flight cost, every passenger must also pay a 30-soles air tax per person. This is payable in cash upon arriving at the airport.
Our Experience Flying Over the Nazca Lines With Air Majoro
We were picked up from our accommodation at Nasca Trails B&B around 9 am. Our driver took photos of our passports and then we battled with the morning rush hour to get to the airport. Luckily, it’s only a short ride from the main city and it only took us half an hour to get there, even with the traffic.
Upon arriving, we spoke to the lady who was dealing with our flight reservation. She gave us maps that would outline our route and also provide a visual representation of the Lines that we would be seeing and in which order. We presented our passports again and also needed to be weighed. Flying in an aircraft this small means that weight distribution is an important factor!
After our weight had been taken, we headed over to the desk to pay our airport tax. We were led to our plane and introduced to our flying buddies. The take-off schedule is very strict, so we had to pile into the plane hastily to keep to our departure time. Our small plane had the capacity for eight people in total, six passengers, the pilot and the copilot. Previously, a copilot was never a requirement but after a few nasty accidents involving tourists, stricter regulation was introduced to keep passengers safe.
We pulled on our headsets and awaited instruction. Before I knew it, we had soared into the air and we were flying high above Nasca. Once we were cruising along nicely, the copilot formally introduced himself and asked how we were all feeling. As you would expect, we were all really excited to see the Lines!
He outlined our schedule and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that our flight would end with a trip to see the aqueducts. As the Pan American Highway came into sight, the copilot directed us to the first of the Lines that we would be seeing. Coming in at 65 m in length, the whale came into focus on the desert floor below us.
Although I had been warned about the prospect of motion sickness during a flight over the Lines, I hadn’t been prepared for the swooping sensation I felt in my stomach as we twirled in the air to get a better look. I was definitely glad I had passed on a big breakfast!
As we soared over the other geoglyphs, I understood why everyone says that flying is the best way to truly experience the Nasca Lines. Having visited the viewing tower the day before, I felt that I was able to appreciate the ancient markings in a whole new way after seeing them from the sky.
It is hard to get a full picture of just how magnificent these Lines are unless you are in a plane. As our copilot continued to point out different geoglyphs, including some that weren’t on our map (a nice added extra), all I could think about was the mystery behind the shapes below us.
After the Lines part of our flight was over, we flew over the city of Nasca before taking in the sights of the aqueducts. These were used for irrigation of fields and crops during the times of the Nasca civilisation. They were such an ingenious creation, that they are still in use by local farmers today.
It was then announced that the flight was over and we would be heading back to the airport. We had been in the air for around 35 minutes in total and the time had completely whizzed by. After a surprisingly smooth landing, we departed the plane and took the opportunity to take pictures of our trusty plane which had given us the best possible view of the Lines.
The pilots were brilliant and stood chatting with us and taking photos. One of my highlights was sitting in the pilot’s seat ready for take-off. I know, I’m a big kid! Either way, it wasn’t too long until everyone was getting involved and posing for photos in the cockpit.
Flying the Lines with Air Majoro was without a doubt one of the highlights of my time travelling in Peru. Although I will confess that initially, I hadn’t been fussed about seeing the enigmatic Lines from a plane, I am so glad that I let Tim talk me into giving it a go.
Although the viewing tower is good for backpackers who can’t justify the splurge of a flight, the only way to truly appreciate the scale and sophistication of the Lines is from a window seat. If you can stretch to the cost, do not miss out on the opportunity to marvel at one of the world’s greatest mysteries from the sky.