Planet Vagabond

A Bundle of Tips from Around-the-World Backpackers

Nazca Lines

Nazca Lines and Chauchilla Cemetery

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The Nazca Lines

Our main purpose in going to Nazca was to see the mind-boggling geoglyphs created by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650 A.D.   Fernando purposely didn’t serve us breakfast before our 7am flight… He thought it would be better if we waited for his famous papas con queso.   If you’ve got a sensitive stomach, it’s probably a good idea.   Our 30 minute flight soared above the hundreds of figures, including the most famous hummingbird, monkey, orca, and spider.

Chauchilla Cemetery

Just as impressive as the lines is the Chauchilla Cemetery, located 30km south of Nazca.   Discovered in the 1920s, the cemetery contains thousands of amazingly preserved mummies, pottery, and other artifacts.   The cemetery was raided by  huaqueros over the years, and as a result, human bones, alpaca textiles, and pottery are literally scattered all over the place.

Chauchilla Cemetery in Nazca

The mummies are preserved so well due to the incredibly dry climate of the area (it ´s literally in the middle of nowhere in the desert, under fully scorching sun in an area that has a few drops of rain for a maximunm of about 15 days each year) and the mummification process of the Nazca people.   While only twelve tombs are unearthed, hundreds more are buried in the area.   The mummies of men, women and babies from the 9th century A.D. are visible.   Most impressive are the meter-long dreadlocks that some of the shaman sport, and the skin and soft tissue that is visible on the bodies, perfectly preserved as they were hundreds of years ago.

Chauchilla Cemetery Shaman Mummy

Moving On

Do give yourself at least two days to enjoy Nazca.   And when you ´re ready to move on, you ´ll easily be able to catch a bus from Nazca to Cusco in the Cruz del Sur terminal.   A word of warning, though…If you ´re planning on boarding the 14 hour trip to Cuzco, bring your travel-sickness pills.   The entire ride swerves back and forth through the mountains, which made us feel a bit too claustrophobic while listening to the retches of the couple two rows behind us.   Seats on the first floor could alleviate the stomach-churning a bit, perhaps.   It was well worth the pain, though!   Nazca ´s a gem.

Vagabond: Jess

I was always content with my family's definition of vacation: the 6 hour drive north to the old A-frame house on Butternut Lake in northern Wisconsin, where we swam in freezing waters and swatted mosquitoes for a week. I didn't fly in a plane until I was 18. But an image of turquoise waters has always been skimming the surface of reality, wooing me to come play... At Victor's first delightfully perilous introduction that he was "dangerous" and had itchy feet, I knew I had found my man and that adventures were on the horizon... I still love Butternut, too.

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