Zipping out of town in a dune buggy we were in for a wild ride. Hitting high speeds through the desolate dessert we stopped along the way at culturally significant spots of the ancient Nazca people (1,100 BCE – 740 CE). Our first stop was one of over fifty aqueducts in the area, which our guide, José explained supplied water to an untold number of people during the ten months of the year when all rivers and creeks from the mountains are dry. Creatively developed as a life support system, these take many forms but served the same purpose, to sustain a human population in a harsh desert landscape.
Our next stop was the pyramids, built over 2,000 years ago and carrying a Quechua name meaning “lookout.” They are thought to have been built as ceremony structures to reach higher above, possibly in observation of the heavens above. José again explaining that most of what we know about ancient Nazca culture is through their detailed pottery, joking that pottery pictographs was like the ancient Facebook, documenting the important and mundane happenings of their era.
Then it was on to the mummies, embalmed in a process which preserved them they were then buried in shallow graves in the sand as moisture deeper down would naturally decompose them. An eerie landscape of bones laying about and sticking up out of the sand was made eerier knowing that these were human remains. Made creeper still as some still had hair and remnants of skin on their faces. I couldn’t bring myself to take pictures of the latter.
Or final destination was up and over the dunes for a few fun slides down. Ridding back through the cool evening, headlights cutting through the darkness.
Trip Info: S/.50 | $15.40 for 5 hours, all included
Of course the most famous attraction in Nazca is the lines, if you’re on a budget and want to climb the observation tower instead of a costly fight check out this Nazca Lines tips page.