Nazca would be a dusty little desert town of little interest
were it not for the strange presence of massive, mysterious
drawings - the famous Nazca Lines. This part of Peru's southern
coastal region has a constant mild, sunny climate. The reliably
clear weather permits fantastic conditions for flying, which is the
best - and really the only way - to fully appreciate the dimensions
of the lines. From the air, the huge geometric shapes can be seen,
etched across the desert.
Discovered in 1927, they are the legacy of the Nazca people (200
BC-900 AD), a civilization about whom little is known. The lines
form vast drawings of mammals, insects and deities, covering a 50
square kilometre expanse of desert floor. The hummingbird, the
spider, the condor and the monkey are among the more than thirty
figures that were created by the positioning of dark, sun burnt
Just 1 hour south of Paracas is Ica, home to some of the largest
sand dunes in the world. A good fun and exhausting day can be spent
hiking the mountainous orange dunes (there are no lifts).
Sand-boarding is relatively easy to pick up and is best approached
as a light-hearted day of messing around. The hard work of climbing
up is rewarded with thrilling sand-boarding on the way down. The
technique (such as it is) involves a simple 'point-and-shoot'
approach - expect lots of spills and sand everywhere.
A little less active, although certainly no less fun, is the
Pisco Route. Pisco is the infamous local drink, and the tour
involves a visit to Hoja Redonda Hacienda in Chincha to see how
Pisco is made, a tour of the vineyards, and of course copious
amounts of sampling (someone has to do it!).