How to visit the Nazca Lines
The best way to take in the enigmatic lines is from the air with a short scenic flight. Flights depart from one of the three nearby airports: Nazca, Ica and Pisco. The flight is taken without a guide, though the pilot points out the key formations below with basic commentary, allowing for clear sightings regardless which side of the plane you sit.
The flight lasts approximately 30 minutes in duration to view the lines, plus the additional flight time to reach the lines from one of the respective three airports. Which airport you take the scenic flight from depends on whether you plan to see the Nazca lines as part of a half day trip from Lima or as part of a longer visit to Peru’s Southern Coast.
It is possible to visit the Nazca lines from Lima, either by driving or by taking a private flight. The nearby coastal town of Paracas is the most popular base for visits to the Nazca lines, given it is home to a range of other attractions that can be easily combined with a flight over the Nazca lines. This includes the Ballesta Islands, Paracas National Reserve and vineyards of Ica.
How to Get to Nazca
The Nazca lines are best seen from the air. This is possible with just a half day or day trip from Lima – but only if you first fly by private charter from Lima to reach Nazca. Nazca is the closest airport to the Nazca lines. Arriving in Nazca you must then change planes for the short, scenic flight, before returning via private charter flight from Nazca to Lima. Private charters also can be arranged to Pisco and Nazca airports from/to other destinations in Peru. Please contact us for more information on private charter Peru options. Read more on our post Nazca Lines tour from Lima.
LATAM also offers limited commercial flights from Cusco to Pisco. Pisco is also close to the Nazca lines and is one of the three alternative airports you can take a scenic flight over the Nazca lines.
The Nazca lines can also be reached as an extension from Lima by road, as part of one or two night stay on the Southern Coast to take in the nearby sites of Paracas and Ica. Paracas is home to the Paracas National Reserve, Ballesta Islands, sandbuggying and coastal five star hotels. Ica is known for its wine and pisco-producing vineyards. When visiting this area as part of your tailormade itinerary, flights are typically taken from Pisco as this is the closest airport to Paracas, where the best hotels of the region are found. Pisco airport is just a 20 minute drive from Paracas. The total return flight time from Pisco to Pisco, including the scenic flight over the lines, is approximately one hour and forty minutes.
Why Visit the Nazca Lines
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, the lines are rich in history and believed to be constructed by people of the Nazca culture. They consist of several hundred individual figures including geometric shapes, zoomorphic designs such as birds, monkeys, and fish, as well as anthropomorphic and plant-like figures. Over the years, archaeologists, ethnologists, and anthropologists have studied and suggested many theories about the function of the lines, but the most common one identifies them as having some sort of astronomical function.
When to Go
Peru’s south coast is a year round destination. It is hotter with more sunshine from December to April though generally there is sunshine all year round.