Nazca’s Got Nothing on Chile

Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Read the full disclosure policy here.

Day 359: Huarango, Chile

So here’s the thing, I didn’t go see the Nazca lines in Peru and I never had any intention to go.

When I couchsurfed in Chiclayo my hosts warned me to be careful of which plane I took. Apparently they go down – often. They’re old planes, out of date, not well maintained.

I had seen the photos, did I need to risk my life by going up in some old tin can?

Not a chance.

I had no regrets and had long forgot about Nazca but on my way back from the Salar de Llamar Coca took a detour and told me we were going to Cerro Pintados to see the geoglyphs.


I had no idea since I wasn’t really sure what they were even though she explained they were like hieroglyphs but on the mountain. I can be dense sometimes so I had no expectations.

But I had already learned to trust Coca, she knew the best sites in Chile.

But as we turned a corner I was amazed at what had been unveiled.

The mountains were covered with symbols and drawings of people, llamas, symbols. This outdoor mural has been around from a few hundred years AD and somehow survived.

Today it’s part of a national park and amazingly only $1 to visit. I noticed a lot of signs asking people not to climb the hills which I thought was strange, wasn’t that obvious.

Cerro Pintado Chile

And then I saw some jackass on the hill.

Why? Why? Why?!!!

You can’t get good photos up close. Why do you have to be a jackass? Why is your guide allowing this to happen?

So I took my photos, met back up with Coca and told the park ranger what happened. He took off on his motorcycle to chase down the pajero.

I hate to be a snitch but the guy deserved it.


Join the Conversation

  1. Oneika the Traveller says:

    Wow, these pics are fantastic! I need to go to Chile!

    What type of camera are you using?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I use a Canon 40D although you could get the same shots with any other camera.

  2. Good for you! Things like that really irritate me…

    The symbols look amazing though!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The symbols were really cool but no one really knows why they are on the mountain.

  3. I’ve never seen anything like this, very cool! Good for you for telling the park ranger, that “just one guy” probably happens several times a day and is destroying it for everyone else.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      When someone says “This is over 1500 years old” I think it’s pretty clear you shouldn’t be on it.

  4. Turkey's For Life says:

    I absolutely hate it when people just take off and do their own thing, regardless of what the signs say, asking you not to do something. Good for you, telling the ranger!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      This is why in North America we have roped everything off, people don’t read signs or have much common sense.

  5. Katherina says:

    That’s irritating. I HATE it when people do that… and I would have done the same.
    The place looks stunning!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah it was pretty great and I couldn’t believe entrance was only $1 in expensive Chile

  6. Ayngelina, park policewoman. Love it. I know it should feel wrong to snitch, but sometimes it’s so right.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I hate to snitch too, but not this time.

  7. Haha, well done. Some rules ask to be broken, but this one has a good reason!

    Do you know a bit more about the symbols? Who made them? What’s the meaning… (I know, I’m a nerd, but I love history, I guess I like to dream away)

    I don’t know if you already left Salta, but there is the MAAM museum, it’s the place they exhibit the children (one of the three, they rotate)
    they found conserved in a volcano at the hight of almost 7000 mts

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Eugenie you are my personal travel agent. I am still here and ate outside the MAAM but haven’t gone in yet, I’ll see if they are open during siesta today.

      Any tips for Cordoba?

      1. Haha, I’m glad I can help πŸ™‚

        I don’t know Cordoba very well. I’ve only spent a couple of days in the city.
        I like the fact that it’s more spacious than the northern cities.

        People from here like to go to Cordoba city to shop, and they like to spent holidays at the lakes (Villa Carlos Paz is very famous)

        I visited a town called Villa General Belgrano. It’s supposed to be a german city (they also have a beer festival). But I didn’t like it, it seemed very fake to me…

        I did enjoy driving to the mountains: it has some nice scenery because of blue lakes).

        Are you going to Mendoza? I liked Mendoza better than Cordoba (I don’t know it very well either, and perhaps it isn’t your thing, they offer a lot of outdoor activities)

        1. Ayngelina Author says:

          This is shocking but I think I may only spend two nights in Cordoba which is unheard of for me but I’m thinking Cafeyate for a couple days, Cordoba 2 nights and then to Buenos Aires to meet a friend.

          Definitely going to Mendoza!

          Oh and I went to the MAAM today, a bit pricey but definitely one of the most unique things I’ve seen at a museum. But every time I pressed my face in to look closer at the mummified children I wondered if they would jump out at me. Too many horror movies…

          1. Haha, yes it’s kind of creepy.

            As you’ll notice: Argentina is expensive, nowadays anyway.
            Five years ago most things were half the price they are today (if not more, inflation sucks).
            That’s why some argentineans like to have a crisis now and then.

  8. Well said, people who are not able to respect other countries’ rules are pretty difficult to stand.

  9. KatieAnna says:

    You could think of yourself more as a “historian” than a snitch. You’re just helping Chile keep their history.

  10. I wouldn’t worry about being a snitch in the case because the jerk would have been damaging something that is irreplaceable.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      My only regret was that I didn’t have a photo for the ranger so he had proof and could ban the guide.

    2. Ayngelina Author says:

      I know! I thought the signs everywhere were hilarious but apparently needed.

  11. Pete - Hecktic Travels says:

    Very cool. Never even knew these existed in Chile.

    We did the Nazca lines and in hindsight would not again. As you said many planes go down and in fact 1 day after we did it a plane did indeed go down and 7 people died. It freaked us out a bit, and when we did some research after we found out how often it happens, their safety record there is not very good….

    Good for you for letting the ranger know. I hate it when I see acts like this. I would have done the same.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I was surprised this is such a well known thing among Peruvians but you never hear about it anywhere else.

      I just decided of all the things I do in life, the % chance I would die in the plane was too great.

  12. God, people really are idiots. I’m glad you told someone.

    And again, I have never heard of this place – seriously a well-kept secret! Looks like I need to plan a little trip up north.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      If you do you must stop in and see Coca at El Huarango they have great options there and are working on little hotel rooms where the walls are made of the salt cracked earth, it’s really incredible.

  13. Erin in Costa Rica says:

    Dumbasses who selfishly contribute to the destruction of historic landmarks or nature drive me INSANE. I’m glad you snitched.

    1. Matt | ExpertVagabond says:

      Travel itself “selfishly contributes to the destruction of historic landmarks and nature…”

      Welcome to the club! πŸ˜‰

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        I would disagree with that, in totality I think travel teaches us to respect and protect things that are not our own as we learn to appreciate them in a way we could never do at home.

        1. Matt | ExpertVagabond says:

          I see what you’re saying, but it takes our destruction of the places we visit to teach us this. A pretty expensive lesson…

          If we were really learning to protect the environment as we traveled, we’d stop traveling.

          For example, visiting the Galapagos Islands is sure to teach you the importance of conservation, but your visit along with the other 200,000+ people a year is still ruining them.

          Even if you’re more enlightened about the problem, the next 200,000 people will selfishly want to learn the same lesson you did first hand, helping to speed up the extinction process.

  14. This is AMAZING! I’m so glad you were a snitch!

  15. Looks like a cool place! I would be hesitant to get up in one of those little planes to see the Nazca lines too – glad you found a good alternative. And good for you for tattling! I would have done the same thing.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      No regrets about Nazca whatsoever!

  16. Matt | ExpertVagabond says:

    I have to admit I’m guilty of doing things like this sometimes… within reason.

    If the structure has survived humankind & the elements for 1500 years, my footprints on it for 5 minutes won’t hurt any.

    Rangers, scientists, and even security guards regularly disregard these rules themselves.

    The rules are in place to prevent the masses from wrecking it (or hurting themselves). I count on the fact that most people follow the rules, a few of us breaking them once in a while is nothing in the long run.

    When these sites get destroyed by the natural world in the future due to flooding, earthquakes, etc. no one is going to give a **** that I walked on it once.

    As for this specific site, I’d have to do more research before I made a decision to climb it or not.

    But if I get caught, I’m fully ready to accept the consequences.

    Just my opinion. πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I don’t know if jeopardizing or destroying things can be justified just because other people are doing it as well.

      But everyone has to live with their own actions and if you are comfortable with it, then it’s your choice. Just don’t head to the same sites I’m at.

      1. Matt | ExpertVagabond says:

        Deal. πŸ™‚

  17. Debbie Beardsley says:

    Kudos to your for turning that person in! I am continually amazed at how many people ignore signs and barricades to do whatever they feel like.

    Chile looks like a very interesting place.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Chile has been really wonderful so far, I highly recommend it.

      And if you go a stop in to see Coca at El Huarango is a must.

  18. Cornelius Aesop says:

    I saw some designs when I went to Paracas in Peru but never made it to Nazca either. And I lol’d a lil when you told on the guy.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      If I knew what language he was speaking I would have lit into him.

  19. Mark Robertson says:

    I feel like this is the place to say it (though I may say it again): a unified theory of the world is not going to come from physics or biology.

    It is going to come from the impulse of humanity to tell their story…and the way all stories seem to merge and cleave–despite their variant diversity.

    They just, for example, found a “homosexual caveman” in a cave in the Czech republic.

    Okay…maybe Bio/Physics will unify their theories of the universe, but I think storytelling reaches deeper into the human soul of universal earth

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think the more we share of ourselves, the less difference we really see.

  20. What? You are afraid of going up in a tin can? Ok, I don’t really blame you, and you can’t do anything wrong in my eyes anyway given that yoiu hate hiking too. But, you never told me if you own Manolos?????

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Never owned a pair, maybe now is the time?

  21. Lauren @ The Mad To Live says:

    Some people…are just jackasses. When I was in China at an aquarium there was a BIG FAT SIGN that said “Do Not Touch The Turtles!”.
    yet every single chinese person there was grabbing the turtles feet and stretching their heads out and splashing them etc… I almost started to cry I had to leave.
    And don’t even get me started on the Beijing zoo.

    I looked at one of the people and said, “What the Fuck is wrong with you?!” haha..even though they didn’t understand me.

    I don’t mind being a jackass to a jackass lol

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah I wanted to yell at the guy but I wasn’t sure exactly where he was from.

  22. You know, there is always someone willing to ruin it for the rest of us. And that is exactly what would have happened if you didn’t tell. You did the right thing by protecting something that future generations will be able to enjoy as well.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah I just wonder why people have to be such douches, there is always one person…

  23. Mikeachim says:

    And that, Ayngelina, is why I never go travelling without my trusty ex-Russian military RPG Launcher with added laser sights and heat-seeking rocket warheads.

    That way, you *never* have to bother any park rangers. It’s the kind, respectful thing to do – take out the trash on your own.

    I’d even use the word “ethical”.

  24. Do you have more photos? Those r so amazing, and love those symbol on the mountain. I want to see more πŸ˜›

  25. Islandvacations says:

    Truly, I am awe-struck with the mountain hieroglyphs. The fact that it had survived for centuries is really thought-provoking! Thanks very much for this post Ayngelina, I really love it!

  26. Jozef @ Where Now says:

    Haha we past right through Nazca too. I don’t think there is much to do in Nazca itself, plus like you I have seen the lines in pics countless times!

    It is really interesting though, the lines are only still visible because the sand they are on is petrified! Know one knows how they did it!

  27. I’d never heard of the Pintados Geoglyphs before! (Has anyone outside of Chile?)

    According to Wikipedia there are over 350 figures up there. I’m stunned that we don’t know more about them – or that they haven’t been in a documentary claiming alien visitation yet…

  28. Wow, that outdoor mural looks unbelievable.

    Kudos for snitching on that guy. I hate it when travelers disrespect a place.

  29. Those look so cool. What a great experience. I can’t believe that guy was on the hill!

  30. Hi Ayngelina
    Once again some great pictures you have taken. $1 is pretty cheap I would say. I totally understand that you told the park ranger about the jackass climbing the hills. I would have done the same. Some people just don’t have any respect for anything.

  31. That guy was a jerk- I would have done the same thing! Now I want to research more about this area!

  32. Nomadic Chick says:

    Good for you snitching on the idiot. Gawd, reminds me of going to Lodhi Gardens and seeing graffiti on Mohammed Shah’s tomb.

    You just defaced a dead guy’s house. A-hole.

    Those patterns are amazing! What a find!

  33. i’ve seen programs about those symbols on the hills. totally awesome! i would love to see them in person some day.


  34. Anis Salvesen says:

    It must have been amazing to see the geoglyphs in real life! And you totally did the right thing, telling on the guy on the hill! There is always that one person that needs a sign for what the rest of us immediately understand.

    In the ocean-side town of Santa Cruz on the Central Coast of California, there are signs along the cliffs that indicate people should not hop over the fences and venture out to the where the cliffs jut out into the ocean before dropping off. It seems totally obvious to not hop fences where there are signs showing people being washed away by waves, yet every year there is at least one fatality from people disregarding the signs. In this case, it was even more dumb, since the guy was potentially damaging a historic wonder, so he totally deserved to be chased down!

  35. I love petroglyphs, I’d have loved to see those geoglyphs up close. But not THAT up close; I can’t believe that selfish clown did that!

  36. Bluegreen Krik says:

    Haha you ratted him out! Good job how stupid you can get a very descent photo up close anyway. Planes go down often thats a sign of me not going up in the first place, smart decision.

  37. Christy @ Technosyncratic says:

    Uhm, planes frequently going down sounds remarkably terrifying! I know I’m a total wimp when it comes to flying, but that just seems awful.

    Great pics, though. πŸ™‚

  38. Stephanie says:

    Please tell us how you always end up finding some helpful and friendly local to show you all the cool sites. Also, are you conversing with Coca only in Spanish?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      So Coca says she only speak Spanish but when I get stuck on a word I can use English and she understands.

      Marco lived in Canada so he speaks great English.

      They are the parents (well Coca is his step-mom) of a co-worker in Toronto I really like.

      A year ago I would have never contacted stranger but now I seem to reach out to anyone I can. It really makes all the different.

      But seriously, anyone heading to Chile needs to go to El Huarango, Chile and Marco will change how you feel about traveling.

  39. Disgusted by the jackass. People sometimes lose their minds when they go abroad. Too bad I was not able to make it to Nazca but glad I did not miss out.

  40. Reminds me of when I see people feeding animals in national parks with signs everywhere telling them not to and why. It really irritates me. It’s why a coeti stole my lunch at Iguazu. I wish people would realise that the parks don’t make these rules for fun.

    But it looks incredible! Would love to make it there someday.

  41. Yeah, I always look at signs and I know they have been put their for a reason. In the Red Light District in Amsterdam I remember many signs of house owners asking people not to pee on their door. You would think this is common decency, but it happens enough to warrent putting up a sign.

  42. Wow, amazing those hieroglyphs have survived that long, especially when people climb the hills. Good for you, Ayngelina!

  43. Jilianne @ Cotswolds Cottages says:

    Those hieroglyphs looks amazing, never knew there was a place like this on Chile. Great find Ayn, thanks πŸ™‚

  44. Leslie (Downtown Traveler) says:

    This reminds me of Uluru/Ayer’s Rock in Australia’s Outback. There’s a large sign asking people not to climb the rock, because it’s a sacred site for aborigines, and there’s a chain across the path, yet hundreds of people walk around the chain and scale it every day!

  45. Get em girl! I hate people who do things like that! You’re ruining it for everyone else!!!!

  46. Lorna - the roamantics says:

    so gorgeous! but not for long if asses like that keep it up. good for you (and us) for snitching. sometimes we need to be conservation police πŸ˜‰

  47. Those geoglyphs look so freaking cool!! Oh, I am that person that yells at people who try to touch the art, etc. Art conservation classes pounded it into my head.

  48. Good on ya, Angelina. Not sure why there is such a lack of understanding about how everyone thinks “oh, it’s just me, it will be ok.” Yes, you and 10,000 other ‘me’s.

  49. Pingback: Weekly Travel Blog Links β€” LandingStanding
  50. Totally deserved it. Totally. I HATE when people don’t respect boundaries, although I won’t say I haven’t been tempted!

    When we were at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland there was a barricade and a sign that said “do not enter” and I watched as a family simply hopped over the wall and went on their way. It’s one thing that the barrier was low and clearly (based on the worn path) it was safe as long as you were smart about it but still… it’s just respect in my eyes.

    1. Yup, Annie. Saw a similar thing at Pompeii. Chain across a closed-off area and two North American females coming out sheepishly, smiling at us: “We were bad.” *giggle*

      I glared and put the chain back in place. It wasn’t there to keep you from your dream vacation, schmucks, it was there to reduce the traffic and therefore preserve the site and/or keep 2000+ year old stones from falling on your *expletive* heads.

      Nowadays, I think I’d have a little more to say than just a glare.

      1. Yea, Lorenzo said it was the same at Uluru. The Aboriginal tribes have asked people not to climb on the rock since they consider it sacred.

        He thought fair enough, it’s big enough to get some great pics away from it anyway. He was totally discouraged to see tourists climbing all over it when he was there! Sometimes there is just so little concern for history and tradition!

        1. Ayngelina Author says:

          Oh the Uluru issue really makes me mad. You go to see an aboriginal site and then completely disregard their wishes – completely disgusting.

    2. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’m tempted when it’s just a safety issue, especially since we are so protective in North America to a point that we are crazy, but not when it’s an ancient or historical site.

  51. Wasn’t so long ago at a glacier down south that two tourists wandered past the roped off area up to an ice face which fell and crushed them.

    Perhaps the symbols are just an ancient people’s art gallery?
    But the best part is – they leave us today wondering why.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      A girl at my hostel just told me that people die at Yel.lowstone as well. Apparently not realizing that boiling water jetting up through a hole will kill you

  52. Good for telling that ranger about that jackass climbing the hills. Seen that as well in NZ, was this really old tree with a fence around it, and this guy just climbs over it to get a better look. The marks and symbols on the those hills look great though, I really love to see them myself one day.

  53. Oh man, I went up and saw the Nazca Lines. It was cool but only for a split second. After you see one you’re like ok whatever. But that wasn’t all. I got so terribly sick in that plane! I know I get motion sick but that plane was dipping and turning and swaying and all I could think about was how I was trying terribly hard to keep from throwing up my guts. It wasn’t fun. You didn’t miss out on much. But at least I didn’t crash in an old plane! I hadn’t heard of that one!

    Oh and way to go on telling on that guy! Uggh I hate when people ruin it for others.

  54. DTravelsRound says:

    So cool!! I’ve never seen anything like that. Amazing!
    As for the jerk breaking the rules — I would have done the exact same thing you did. I can’t stand it when people think they are exempt from following the rules. Drives me bonkers — especially at places like that.

  55. How disrespectful! Ergh. Some people love to take liberties.

    Have to say, you’re looking very very brown in that first picture. (Not that surprising though I’m sure. πŸ˜› )

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The sun in Northern Chile is so hot, definitely bring lots of sunscreen.

  56. Justin Hamlin says:

    Very interesting, I must say, somewhat reminds me of crop circles, in a way, but still very cool

  57. Wow – amazing! And never heard of it before. Good on you for dobbing on him – he deserved it!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah I couldn’t just let it go, it bothered me so much.

  58. Very cool! Didn’t spend enough time in Chile, kinda wishing I did now

Comments are closed.

Β© Copyright 2021. Bacon Is Magic. All rights reserved