Ica is the second most visited region in Peru, known for its diverse natural wonders, tourist attractions, and adventure sports. Ica comprehends a significant part of the Pacific coast in Peru, as well as the magnificent Peruvian desert. Don’t miss this chance and learn everything about what to do in Ica, what to see, and more!
The department of Ica is located South from Lima, along the pacific coast. In this region you’ll find different tourist attractions that you simply can’t miss! Click on any of the links below to be redirected to a specific section of the blog or keep scrolling to see the whole page.
Are you ready for this adventure? Keep reading and find out everything you need to know about these dream-like destinations!
Paracas is located 4 hours away from Lima, in this location you’ll be able to experience part of the enormous Peruvian desert merging with the sea. Paracas is a small beach town, known for being home to the Ballestas Islands and the Paracas National Reserve, making it the perfect getaway location not-so-far from Lima!
Paracas is recognized for its tropical-like weather since it has predominant warm temperatures and it’s mostly sunny with clear skies throughout the year. Therefore, for many local and foreign tourists, this is the perfect destination to escape from Lima’s stress and crowded streets. To put you in context, here we have listed the main activities you can do in Paracas:
The Ballestas Islands are often referred to as the Peruvian Galapagos because of its diverse wildlife that comprehends humboldt penguins, sea lions, and exotic birds such as the red footed guanay cormorants. The Ballestas Islands are a group of three islands and different rock formations, located 30 minutes away from the town of Paracas.
This beautiful location was declared a protected area in order to preserve its wildlife. Therefore, it is not possible to swim with the animals or walk on the islands, but you can easily visit them on a boat tour.
Usually, most of the Ballestas Islands Boat Tours last 2 hours and you can watch the different animals from up close. On the way to this group of islands, you’ll be able to appreciate one of the unsolved mysteries within this land, which is “El Candelabro”, a carving often related to the Nazca Lines, located in the Paracas peninsula; this enigmatic geoglyph is estimated to be 2,500 years old, and it is 180 meters long.
Paracas National Reserve
The Paracas National Reserve is a protected natural area that expands over 3,350 km² and it’s home to over 400 species of flora and fauna. In 1975 was declared a National Reserve to preserve the diverse species of flora and fauna that live there. Without a doubt, this is one of the main popular tourist attractions in Ica that you simply can’t miss.
You can visit the Paracas National Reserve on a guided tour where you’ll be able to visit the Red Beach, the famous rock formation called “The Cathedral”, as well as potentially watch the sunset from this outstanding natural wonder, and more! Some tour operators offer activities such as the Quad Bike Tour to the Paracas National Reserve. Don’t miss the opportunity of visiting the place where the Peruvian desert meets the sea, an spectacle that will surely blow your mind!
This remote location has captured the attention of many local and foreign travelers for being the only natural oasis in South America! Huacachina is located in the city of Ica, about 5.5 hours away from Lima. This beautiful oasis in the middle of the desert has become everyone’s favorite attraction while traveling through Peru since it is perfectly isolated but still accessible from the capital of Peru.
The weather in the Huacachina oasis is always warm, locals often call it “The Land of the Endless Summer”. Here, you’ll be able to do activities such as the Dune Buggy and Sandboarding tour, visit the famous Pisco Vineyards, party at night and enjoy the relaxing scenery this desert oasis has for you.
Dune Buggy and Sandboarding
This is the most in-demand activity you can find in Huacachina where you’ll drive around the sand dunes as if you were in a roller coaster, and after that, grab a board and slide through several dunes while the sun sets behind the enormous Peruvian desert, a visually striking spectacle you definitely can’t miss!
Although you could book this activity upon arrival, we highly recommend taking the necessary time to compare prices and quality since not all tour operators are reliable. We encourage you to visit FindLocalTrips.com, a platform that helps you compare prices and tour operators in Peru and South America!
The city of Ica is located 15 minutes away from the Huacachina oasis, this city is famous for having the best and oldest vineyards in South America. Allow yourself to experience even more of the Peruvian gastronomic culture, and learn everything about Pisco, the national drink of Peru.
Pisco is a distilled liquor made of a variety of grapes, elaborated since the XVI century. We highly recommend Peru Hop for traveling across the country and experiencing the Pisco Vineyard activity on the way. Some of the Pisco Vineyards offer Pisco and Wine tasting, besides they explain everything about the distillery process, an activity that you definitely can’t miss while visiting this region!
In this desert oasis, you’ll find different party hostels to light up the night during your stay in this magical destination. One of the most popular hostels is the Wild Rover Hostel in Huacachina, an accommodation option from the famous irish hostel chain.
As aforementioned, Huacachina is the perfect destination to disconnect from the rest of the world, make new friends, practice some adventure sports, and for most travelers, this is the starting point for a wonderful adventure through Peru.
For most travelers, this is the most intriguing town of Peru since this was home to the ancient Nazca culture, a community that disappeared leaving behind one of the biggest mysteries found in South America, the Nazca Lines.
The small town of Nazca is located 1.5 hours away from Huacachina and it comprehends a lot of history and ancient culture yet to be discovered and understood. Below you’ll find a list of the main things to do in Nazca that you simply can’t miss:
The Nazca Lines
These are a group of geoglyphs found in the Nazca pampa. Although it’s real purpose still remains a mystery, it is believed that most of these ancient figures and lines carved into the ground played an important role in religious ceremonies.
According to previous researches, there are over 1,700 Nazca Lines, but most of them are hidden in plain sight. A recent investigation made during the past decade by the Yamagata University from Japan resulted in the discovery of 143 new Nazca Lines thanks to the use of IA technology, fieldwork, and satellite images.
Unquestionably, the Nazca lines are the highlight of this small region. At the moment, there are only two ways to see these ancient geoglyphs, whether it is by taking the Flight Over the Nazca Lines or visiting the Viewing Tower, which is located in the Panamericana Sur highway, 30 minutes away from the city of Nazca. Learn everything about the Nazca Lines while you’re here.
The Cantalloc Aqueducts
The ancient Nazca culture is not only recognized for its enormous geoglyphs but also for its hydraulic engineering since more than 40 aqueducts were found in this region, which only 32 of them are currently functioning. The Cantalloc Aqueducts are a group of 35 channels named “Puquios” characterized by their spiral shape. These aqueducts are located 4 kilometers away from the city of Nazca.
Casa Museo Maria Reiche
Maria Reiche was a german-born peruvian mathematician and scientist who made the Nazca Lines her life work, she was committed to the understanding and preservation of these geoglyphs for a great part of her life. The Nazca Lines were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 thanks to her hard work.
This museum used to be her home since the beginning of her investigation until she died in 1998. Here you’ll find an exhibition of her work along with maps, plans, photos, archaeological material and a didactic model of their designs. It is located in the 421.3 kilometer of the Panamericana Sur highway about 30 minutes away from Nazca.
If you wish more information about Nazca, in this website you’ll find everything you need to know about this city and its surroundings, as well as a list of all the things to do in this mysterious region. Undoubtedly, Ica comprehends many places and tourist attractions which is why you shouldn’t leave it behind during your trip through Peru.