Ica is situated near the main highway going north to south on the west coast of Peru. It is a common stop-off between the Nazca Lines and Paracas and is around three hundred kilomters south of Lima just off the Pan-American Highway. Many big bus companies, such as Crus del Sur, drive through Ica, which makes it a good locations to stop for a while and explore the surrounding areas. Although it is often overlooked by people traveling to the Huacachina Lagoon, it is cheaper to stay here and travel to other places.
Due to the warm but dry climate, there is a surprising amount of agriculture in the area for fruits and vegetables such as olives or grapes and especially asparagus. Due to this, it is possible to go on Peruvian wine tours from here and taste the sweet wines and Pisco sour of Peru. Ica is the top producer of wines nationwide.
Despite the expensive food in Huacachina, many people come to Ica from the lagoon area to use the large and well-stocked supermarket. It is reasonably priced and has everything you could need.
Within Ica and the neighborhood of San Isidro is a huge a museum filled with gems and ceramics specialising in pre-Inca history. To get to the Museo Regional de Ica, take a taxi from the city centre. Entrance to the museum is inexpensive and it is open every day of the week. The Iglesia de La Merced was the last cathedral built by the Jesuits before their expulsion and therefore has some historic relevance. However, because of earthquakes, very little remains of the church but the ruins are quite interesting if you have time to kill in Ica. A less dilapidated church can be found in the Plaza de Armas called Santuario de El Señor de Luren. Also in the Plaza, there is a somewhat eccentric museum called Museo Cabrera Piedra, which contains a collection of thousands of carved stones and boulders that graphically depict diverse pre-Columbian themes, from astronomy to surgical techniques and sexual practices.
From Ica you can explore Huacachina to take part in dune-buggying or sandboarding, fly over the Nazca lines, take boat trips to the Ballestas Islands, and Paracas as well as long haul bus journeys to other larger cities. Your Ica hostel should have information on all of these activities.
Hi, I'm Hannah,
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