Tuesday, December 12

Travel Destinations: Nasca, Peru

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Located in the San Jose Desert of Peru, Nasca is a small town where you may think there is very little to interest tourists. Nothing could be further from the truth as it is the site of the very famous Nasca Lines. These are huge carvings of animals and geometric lines that were carved into the sands of the pampas by an ancient people known as the Nascas. The lines have confounded scientists in both the creative ingenuity involved in their creation and the reasons for making them. The best way to see these lines is to take a helicopter tour so that you can really appreciate their immenseness.

Nasca does have several museums that you can visit. However, it is best to use this town as your base of operations from which you can explore notable sites located a short distance away. Accommodations range from inexpensive to budget prices and the hotels all have restaurants that serve international and local cuisine.

The well-preserved aqueducts of Acueductos de Cantalloc are located only 4 km. from Nasca. They show the skill of the Nasca people in creating irrigation systems to bring water to their fields through surface air vents forming spirals of water currents. The ruins of a local Inca trade center is also close to this site, but  the ruins are in a poor state.

Visit the Museum of Maria Reiche, a German lady who devoted her life to studying the Nasca Lines. This museum is the simple room where she carried out her work and pays tribute to everything she did to bring the lines to the attention of the world.

An extensive valley of tombs is located about 30 km. south of Nasca at the Cementerios de Chauchilla. This is more than just a graveyard as thousands of graves have been discovered at this archaeological site. Only 12 of these tombs are open to tourists, but even this small number paints an exquisite picture of the life of the ancient peoples that inhabited this valley. One of the tombs contains the remains of children, while another has only adults. One of the amazing discoveries was that of tombs with thatched roofs. In addition to the tombs, there are fragments of textiles and feathers scattered throughout the valley.

The Museo Antonini is a private archaeological museum displaying artifacts from the Nasca culture. Here you can see trophy heads, ceramics, mummies and musical instruments.

Make Nasca an educational as well as a relaxing vacation where you get to experience the rich cultural heritage of Peru.


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