When traveling to Ica, there are about as many things to do as there are exciting things to see. It is a historic city, not too far from Lima. It has sun and fun, with many different tourist attractions and activities. Day tours offer circuits of two or three stops where you can take in the best Ica has to offer in the least amount of time. However, if you want to enjoy all the sites, you should think about staying for at least a couple of days. There are wine vineyards, distilleries that produce Pisco, canyons and much more to explore. The small science museum Javier Cabrera is an interesting stop. It exposes archeological findings from the civilization that occupied Ica thousands of years ago.
It is a haven for the wildlife that inhabits this rocky area close to the shore. It is where you will find dozens of sea lions, penguins and birds that are native to Peru and others that migrate during different times of the year. The Reserve itself covers 2,175 square kilometers. It has held the status of Wildlife Reserve since 1975. The purpose is to maintain the local ecosystem and to preserve the ancient culture of Paracas. Being that fishing is exploited in the waters of Peru, this decision was vital in ensuring the survival of the most delicate species. Rare animal life such as the pink dolphin is otherwise put at very high risk.
People refer to the central spot of this Reserve as Islas Ballestas. On the way there, you will be able to view the candlestick or trident geoglyph that is on the side of a giant mountain of sand.
Sea Lions in Paracas
Cabezas Largas and Julio C. Tello Museum
While you are in Paracas, you may want to visit the Regional Museum of Ica as well. Named after the archeologist Julio C. Tello who made many significant findings of the Paracas Culture. It houses beautiful artwork, mummified human remains, tool and instruments, textiles and others.
Nearby you can also enjoy a visit to an ancient burial site named Cabezas Largas. Swiss archeologist Frédéric Engel discovered six tombs containing bodies wrapped in animal skins in 1960. Julio C. Tello gave the name of this site due to the discovery of elongated human craniums.
In Ica you will find beautiful dunes up to 15 meters in height where you can enjoy sandboarding. You arrive there via Buggies. It feels similar to a roller coaster ride if you ask me. An adrenaline rush for sure, this is something you will want to do with friends and not small children.
PIcnic in Ica desert at night
Huacachina is an oasis in the middle of the desert. Palm trees and vegetation surround this lagoon. It is near the plaza of restaurants and lodges of this area of Ica. There is a resort nearby where you can swim in the pool and relax taking in the sun and the occasional cocktail. The area near La Huacachina is a great place to eat traditional food, such as “Sopa Seca” or “Carapulcra.”
Well-known is the town of Cachiche because of lore dating back to the Spanish Inquisition. At that time, many women were persecuted for their pagan beliefs. Legend has it that one witch - Julia Hernandez Pecho Viuda de Diaz - cured a boy of his stammering when he was six years old. Tour guides are available to tell you the stories and guide you through the sites.