6-8 October 2001
After visiting Pisco, I headed further south, first to Huacachina and then to Nazca.
Huacachina, about 50 miles
inland, is a tiny resort village surrounding a small lagoon that is encircled by huge sand dunes.
The Nazca area
sits at about 1,800 feet above sea level in the arid coastal mountains. It is the site of the ancient Nazca culture and the
world-famous Nazca lines. These lines are huge geometric designs drawn on the desert floor and are only visible from the air.
They were made by removing the darker sun-baked stones from the surface and piling them up on either side of the Lines, exposing
the lighter-colored soil below. It is thought that they were created by the Paracas and the Nazca cultures from around 900
BC to 600 AD. Nobody knows for sure the purpose of the Lines. Many theories exist, including an astronomical calendar for
agricultural purposes, ritual walkways linking sites of ceremonial significance, extraterrestrial landing sites and more.
I took a flight over the Lines and got a great view.
About 18 miles from the town of Nazca is the Cemetery of Chauchilla.
Scattered across the desert floor are fragments of bones, ceramics and cloth. In many tombs can be seen well preserved mummies
dating from 1000 to 1300 AD.