Peru Travel: Visiting the South Coast of Peru
Peru has so much to offer all of its visitors- the extreme biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest , The majestic Andes mountains, Cusco- the capital of the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu- one of the New 7 W...
Peru has so much to offer all of its visitors- the extreme biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest , The majestic Andes mountains, Cusco- the capital of the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu- one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, some of the world’s deepest canyons, an entire coastline of incredible beaches and ocean vistas... The list in endless! If you want to travel some of the desert coastal areas south of Lima, you should definitely check out the highlights of Ica and the famous Oasis of Huacachina before visiting Nazca!
Ica, the capital of the Ica Region was founded in 1563 by the Spanish conquistador Geronimo Luis de Cabrera. This colonial city has a chill vibe and a wonderful warm dry climate giving you a sense of calm and relaxation when you arrive. The planes of the Ocucaje desert surround the city where you will find Huacachina, a famous vacationing oasis. Ica has a great Regional Museum with pre-Columbian mummies with elongated heads perhaps from trepanning, or the creation of burr holes in the skull.
Ica is a very important agricultural region of Peru. Cotton, asparagus, grapes and olives are produced for exportation in this ‘land of the sun.’ Part of the grape production goes to one of the greatest drawls of Ica: Pisco! You can spend days visiting local bodegas (distilleries) where they produce local Pisco, an alcoholic drink made from the same grapes of Brandy. Each bodega will show you their production and storage areas and then offer a few sips of each before you head into there onsite bar or bar / restaurant to share a few drinks with friends and locals. The main square is a nice place to stroll if you want to relax for a while as well.
Although the August 15, 2007 earthquake severely affected the city, Ica has made a large effort to ensure that tourism continues without a hitch. This said, you will certainly see some of the remnants of the earthquake when traveling to and from, and even around the city. Few of the church towers have been reconstructed, but it also gives the city a charm molded by a sense of perseverance and a sincere authenticity that is not always present in major tourist destinations.
You can either stay overnight in the city or head out to stay in Huacachina, an oasis a few miles outside of the city. The oasis is situated in the center of enormous sand dunes and is a main attraction for most tourists. Here you can participate in a variety of outdoor activities such as sand boarding, dune bashing in a buggy and boating on the lake. If you just want to relax, there are cafes lining the sides of the lake and plenty of sand to tan on. Those that are interested can take guided tours into the desert where hundreds of whale fossils have been found- many tourist even stumble upon new fossils while exploring the area.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This guide to Ica and Huacachina during Peru vacations was written by a Peru travel expert at Peru For Less, specialists in high value, fully customizable tours and packages.