Places in Ica you must visit
Ica is one of my favorite regions. If you live in Lima, Ica is the perfect place to travel and escape from the cold weather and the traffic. Ica, being a desert, is a place where it is hot almost all year round, for this reason agriculture prospers in this region, especially grapes, with which different wines are made and also the favorite brandy of Peruvians, Pisco.
Ica is also an excellent place to do adventure sports, such as driving ATV, skiing and sandboarding in the dunes, paragliding, among other activities. An activity that can be done with family or friends is to visit the vineyards. My favorite is Tacama, since it is the oldest vineyard in South America and its wines and Piscos have excellent quality.
Where to stay in Ica?
Like Lima, the city center is no the best place to stay. Most hotels are located in Huacachina and Paracas. These places are an hour apart from each other, but Huacachina is much closer to the city center (10 minutes only). In Huacachina and Paracas it is easy to find tourist offers such as tours, restaurants, souvenirs, etc. Both places are quite tourist friendly and very safe at any time of the day. Both offer this summery and relaxing vibe that characterizes Ica.
My recommendation on where to stay and why:
Stay there if you are looking for a place to do extreme sports and enjoy the desert.
Stay there if you are looking for a place to do water activities and enjoy the beach.
How to move around Ica?
The most common, easiest and cheapest way to get around in Ica is the taxi. In Ica there are some small taxis called “Ticos”, which are the cheapest because they consume little fuel. So if you see one of those, don’t hesitate to take it.
Estimated taxi service prices:
From Ica city to Huacachina
From Hotel Queirolo to Huacachina
From Huacachina to Tacama
From Huacachina or Ica to Paracas
Places you must visit
Huacachina is a small town within the Ica desert. What makes this place interesting is its beautiful oasis surrounded by palm trees, just like in the movies, in addition to its giant dunes around it. Most accommodations have swimming pools and during the nights, many of them offer parties or social activities such as barbecue. If you visit Huacachina you should take a dune buggy ride, something that many people compare to being on a roller coaster.
Polaris tour & sandboarding
Canyon of the losts
The canyon of the lost is one of the new attractions of Ica. This beautiful canyon is located to the south of the region and its walls are the perfect setting to take spectacular photos. This place in the middle of the desert has a huge crack that is 150 meters deep and about 3 kilometers long. Millions of years ago, the Ica desert was the seabed, so in this desert that you can find the bones of animals such as whales and dolphins. This is incredible to see and realize the great change that our planet has undergone.
This is not a simple vineyard, Tacama is the oldest vineyard in South America. In this place, grapes of different varieties are harvested and processed to turn them into wines and pisco of excellent quality. In addition to the manufacture of these products, Tacama is famous for its restaurant, where they offer exquisite Peruvian food. On weekends this vineyard is visited by many families, who come to eat and enjoy the “marinera” show, a typical Peruvian dance that is performed with a Paso horse.
Wine & Pisco tour in Tacama
These islands are located in front of the town of Paracas. The Ballestas Islands are a spectacle of nature. While the ship goes to them, it is possible to see dolphins, humpback whales and even killer whales. When you arrive at the Ballestas Islands you will be able to see the beautiful rock formations that these islands have and their guests, who are mostly guano birds and Humboldt penguins. These birds are very important because their poop is used for agriculture and it costs around 300 USD per ton.
Ballestas islands full day tour
Paracas National Reserve
The Paracas National Reserve is a protected area within the Ica region. The landscapes within this area are so beautiful. In this reserve you can see lagoons, vegetation, desert, dunes, beaches with crystal clear water, beaches with cliffs and even beaches with red and yellow sand. Having said that you will not want to miss out on visiting this place. The animal species that are protected here are mainly birds and sea lions. One of the most popular birds are the flamingos, which come every year from July to September.
Paracas National Reserve tour
The Nazca lines
The Nazca lines are geoglyphs located in the desert of the city of Nazca. These geoglyphs have figures of animals such as the hummingbird and the monkey. These lines are only possible to see from the air, so you must take a flight. The creation of these lines is attributed to the pre-Inca Paracas culture. However, there are many people who affirm that the lines are something supernatural and that they were created by extraterrestrials, since the man of that time could never have made them due to their complexity.
Flight over the Nazca Lines