We missed the chance to fly over the Nazca Lines on our first trip to Peru as we just couldn't make it fit with our trip plan. On our second trip to Peru, we made it a point to fly over the lines during the first part of our trip. This is one of those excursions that is not well explained anywhere and could be miserable if done without proper expectations.
So there are basically 3 ways to visit the Nazca Lines via air. As we started from Lima, I will explain the researched options from Lima:
1. Cheapest- Take a bus or pay for a tour which takes you on a bus from Lima to Nazca and then fly over the lines from Nazca, The bus ride is about 6 hours each way and can be much longer if there is an accident on the Inter-America Highway. A number of tour operators offer this as a day trip! That sounded miserable to us. The cost is anywhere from $350 a person to $200 a person. You can make this cheaper by just buying your own bus ticket and then working a deal to fly from the Nazca airport. Another consideration of this option is that you will most likely be flying in a smaller Cessna and if you get air sick or motion sick, this will be the most unpleasant flying experience.
To make this option less painful, a number of people spend the night in Nazca, visit some sights or go off-roading and then go back to Lima at the end of the next day.
2. Car or Bus to Pisco and fly to Nazca- This is the route we ended up taking for a number of reasons. We booked through Great Nazca Tours(On TA) and they picked us up from our hotel in Miraflores, Lima. We drove in a private car to the Pisco airport- about 2 hours 45 mins each way. We then flew on Aerodiana from the brand new Pisco airport. Aerodiana flies Cessna Sky Caravans which seat 12 people(everyone has a window seat) and they fly much smoother than a smaller Cessna. The flight from Pisco to the Nazca Lines was about 40 mins and we spent about 30 mins flying over the lines themselves. We then flew 40 mins back to the Pisco airport.
-This option was fairly expensive but made the trip doable as a day trip
- We paid $480 a person, but you could make this cheaper by taking a bus to Pisco and booking directly with Aerodiana(easier said than done from the US).
-Although the Cessna Sky Caravans(see attached picture)fly smoother, you may get air sick as the pilots make very sharp banking turns so that everyone can see and get pictures of all of the lines. I was ok, but my wife was queasy. You will have a fairly intense 20 minutes of sharp turns so that both sides of the airplane get the pictures they want.
I have included the maps provided by Aerodiana so you know what you will see ahead of time.
3. The most expensive option- You could hire a plane from Lima and fly to the lines. We looked into this, but the price would have been around $2000 a person and involved contracting directly with a pilot and a plane. A few tour companies claim they offer this service, but I did not have anyone get back to me and quote me a price.
Hopefully this helps as it took me some time to figure out the best option for us.
The Nazca Lines were as impressive as we thought they would be. Not so sure I would think the same thing spending 12 hours on a bus in one day and getting air sick to see them!
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