Nazca Lines Tour – All You Need to Know

Nazca Lines Tour - All You Need to Know

The Nazca Lines in Peru are a conspiracy lovers dream. In the middle of the desert, hundreds of lines are dug into the ground. Some stretch for miles. Others are carved into enormous shapes and patterns, representing figures and animals. After more than 70 years of research, excavation and mapping, no one in the world has been able to prove how or why the Nazca Lines were made.

Nazca Lines Monkey
Nazca Lines Monkey

Could they be astrological? Hold religious significance? Perhaps it’s good old fashioned aliens? One thing is certain. Taking a flight over the Nazca Lines is one of the most incredible travel experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of undertaking. I’m not going to go deep into Nazca Lines conspiracy theories. There’s experts that have researched it at length and can offer a much deeper insight. You’ll have to come to your own conclusion about their origins. What I will do is tell you everything you need to know when planning a Nazca Lines flight.

Aero Nazca Lines Tour
The plane on my Aero Nazca Lines Tour

1. The best time of day to fly over the Nazca Lines

The overwhelming consensus from tour guides, travellers and anyone else who wants to bend your ear is that flights are best early in the morning. This is the least cloudy time of day and will give you the best viewing experience. I booked myself on to the first flight (8:30AM), but guess what? It was cloudy, the sky was grey and it looked like the worst time of day to fly. But fear not…

2. Flights over the Nazca Lines will not take off until the weather clears

Pilots need to ensure the Nazca Lines flights are safe and that the lines are actually visible. If the weather is cloudy first thing, planes won’t take off from Nazca airport. This means the departure time of later flights will be delayed. My 8:30AM flight was the first one scheduled and it departed at 11:00AM. So it’s worth remembering…

3. Don’t book onward travel too early, or at least leave it as late as possible

There would be nothing worse than planning to fly over the Nazca Lines, having your plane delayed, then needing to leave to catch an onward bus to Paracas!

Maria Reiche Airport
Waiting for the clouds to clear at Nazca’ Maria Reiche airport

4. How to choose a Nazca Lines tour and the cost

This will depend on how organised you like to be, your time and your budget. Flights range from $65 – $120 USD! You can book the flight in Nazca town on the main street with the bus station. There are no end of tour agents there. An alternative is to book with your hostel or hotel as they will all be able to book you a tour for a small commission. If you’re planning ahead, then you can book a Nazca Lines tour online. For the more adventurous traveller, you can show up at Nazca airport and see what’s available on the day. Generally, booking ahead online is likely to cost you more. However, it will guarantee you get the flight time you want.

Nazca Lines Spider
Nazca Lines Spider

I wanted to ensure I was on the first flight out, so I did some research, got a feel for the average price (which is around $80) and booked online. Myself, paying $80. Only half an hour later my hostel emailed…and offered me a flight for $65. I could have kicked myself, but I had a tour with the airline I wanted, at the time I wanted. Be happy with the price you pay and just enjoy it. There may well be others on your Nazca flight who paid more or less than you. It doesn’t matter though, you’re probably only going to do this once and if you were happy with what you paid, it’s all good!

Nazca Lines Condor
Nazca Lines Condor

Knowing who offers the best Nazca Lines tour is difficult. For every tour company I’ve read great reviews and also that “the flight was the worst experience of my life”. My research led me to believe that Aero Nazca were going to deliver the goods and their tour went above and beyond.

Pilot speaking
The co-pilot gives the tour a running commentary

Aero Nazca picked me up at my hostel. Their staff were friendly. They got me on the first flight of the day, despite the problems with clouds. The co-pilot spoke perfect English. He took the time for passengers to pose with the plane for photos. He also took photos of us inside the plane during the flight. The narrative during the flight was informative and ensured we knew where to look for the best views of the lines. In addition, I got my Nazca passport stamp, flight certificate and then dropped back at my hostel.

All this sounds like standard stuff for a Nazca Lines tour (and it should be), but that isn’t always the case. So from me, big points go to Aero Nazca.

Nazca Lines Acueducts
The Nazca Lines Acueducts – not all tours fly over this area, make sure yours does

The airlines that do Nazca Lines Tours

If you would like to do some research and look for reviews, these are all the airlines that operate flights:

Additional costs when flying over the Nazca Lines

No tour operator includes the Nazca airport tax in their price. This is S30 Peruvian Sol ($8.50 USD) per person. There’s no getting away from it and you can’t board a plane without paying. Factor that into your budget.

Nazca Airport Tax
You get issued with this ticket to show the Nazca airport tax has been paid

If you weigh over 91kg you’ll also need to factor that into your budget. People over 91kg have to pay for two seats. If you are wanting to slim down, there’s no better incentive than a flight over the Nazca Lines!

5. How long do flights over the Nazca Lines last?

The flight lasts 30 minutes. It’s a short time, so relax and make the most of it. Which is why it’s worth saying…

Don’t worry about taking dozens of photos

You’ll be viewing each ‘line’ for only a few moments. Experience it with your eyes. Don’t worry about trying to get a blurry distant shot. Of course, take some photos, but don’t live this short lived experience through a lens.

Nazca Lines Map
Nazca Lines Map

6. Is it safe to fly over the Nazca Lines?

There was a time in the mid noughties when planes were literally dropping out the sky. There was no regulation on flight operators and many people paid the price with their lives. In 2014 the Peruvian government tightened this up. A whopping 69% of airplanes failed their tests and something needed to be done. Regulation is now in place and so yes, you should be safe. Of course, the planes are tiny eight seat tin boxes. Yet if they’re well maintained (as they now have to be), there should be no greater risk than any other small airplane flight.

Nazca Lines Flight
The views are incredible

7. Where is the best place to sit on the plane for a flight over the Nazca Lines?

It doesn’t matter where you sit. In fact, the airline will allocate you a seat. This is because they have to balance the weight of the passengers. During your flight, the co-pilot will direct you where to look. The right hand side of the plane gets the first view and then the plane turns around so the left side of the plane can see. With all that twisting and turning…

Flight Nazca Lines Tour
Happy guy!

8. Will the Nazca Lines flight cause motion sickness?

If you get motion sickness on buses (you may have already taken a hair raising bus through the Andes in Peru), then yes, the Nazca Lines flight will likely make you feel sick. There are sudden jolts and moments where the plane is almost on its side. The plane does have sick bags and scented cotton wool, which should help with motion sickness. If flying really isn’t for you…

9. Is there another way to see the Nazca Lines?

Yes there is. If your budget or time is tight, there is a Nazca Lines observation tower around 20 minutes north of Nazca. It sits at the side of the Pan American Highway (Pan American Sur) and costs just S4 Peruvian Sol ($1.50 USD) to climb. However, this experience is unlikely to take your breath away. The observation tower isn’t high enough to give an over head view. You end up looking at two shapes from a strange side angle. Whilst not bad, it won’t leave you in awe and doesn’t offer anything near the experience of a flight. Still, it’s better to see the Nazca Lines from the observation tower than to not see them at all.

Nazca Lines Tree and Hands
This is how the Tree and Hand look from the flight
Nazca Lines Observation Tower
This is how the Tree and Hand look from the Nazca Lines Observation Tower

10. How many Nazca Lines are there?

Noone really knows the answer, but there’s an estimated 800 straight lines, in addition to the hundreds of shapes.

Nazca Lines Astronaut
Nazca Lines Astronaut (my personal favourite)

11. Who Made the Nazca Lines?

It is likely to have been the Nazca people.

12. How the Nazca Lines were made

The rocks in the desert have been eroded and oxidised over time. Digging 15 inches down from the surface reveals lighter coloured sand and this is what we see from the air. As the desert experiences little to no rain, the Nazca Lines have survived intact for hundreds of years.

Nazca Lines Dog
Nazca Lines Dog

Essential Items for Your Trip to Nazca

It’s always useful to have a guide that helps you plan your travels. The Lonely Planet Guide to Peru is ideal. Also available on Kindle.

The Rough Guide to South America on a Budget is also an exceptional travel planner and useful if you’re exploring more of the continent. Also available on Kindle.

I have taken one of these across the world. This power strip is essential for international travel. It charges multiple items at once and takes any kind of international plug. Perfect if you’re in a hostel dorm with limited plug sockets or have a lot of tech to charge.

You’ll need sun cream to fight against Peru’s scorching sun. I recommend an eco friendly reef sun cream. This means if you also use it to go swimming, you won’t be harming the underwater environment and animals. You won’t get burned either!

Save the environment and stay hydrated with a bottle that filters your water. This is ideal for travelling overseas where people don’t have the luxury of potable tap water. It will mean you don’t get sick or use a lot of non-recyclable plastic.

Get the best value accommodation in Peru here:


Nazca Lines Tour - All You Need to Know

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