Looking for a unique place to get away for your Peru travel? Ica, Peru has everything you could want in a travel destination. As the capital of the Ica Region, this city is brimming with history. Along with incredible food, architecture, and museums, the hallmark of this area is perhaps the Huacachina desert oasis. While the oasis itself is beautiful in its own right, this area is becoming increasingly popular for its wine and Pisco production.
In fact, it was the Spanish colonisers who planted their first vines in the mid-1500s in Peru. At first, they were grown in Cusco but it was found to be easier to plant in lower lands towards the coast. Thanks to Ica’s sand dunes, watered by the mountain rivers running through, makes it a fantastic spot (and a miracle!) for wine production in Peru.
Pisco is a type of brandy that’s actually made multiple appearances on US cocktail menus in recent years. As far as the spirit’s taste, it has a unique combination of flavors that have rendered it nearly indescribable. However, if you enjoy tequila or more earthy notes in your drink, definitely give this original Peruvian spirit a chance.
Sandboarding in Huacachina
Adventurous travelers will find that visiting the sand dunes of Huacachina makes for an unforgettable travel experience for both adults and kids. Visitors can take tours guided by a professional dune buggy driver or go sandboarding solo. This part of southern Peru typically has amazing weather year-round, which makes planning your trip a bit easier. If you’re hoping to visit the sand dunes, it’s advised that you plan your trip later in the day (after 4 or 5 pm) to avoid some of the more intense heat waves of the early afternoon.
The city center of Ica is worthy of a day trip, but many parts of the city have not entirely recovered from the disastrous earthquake of 2007. The once magnificent Catedral de Ica is now closed to tourists due to damages, but its baroque aesthetic continues captures the beauty of the 19th century. This is also true for the Santuario del Senor de Luren, another religious sanctuary that is still awaiting restoration after the earthquake.
However, even in the aftermath of a natural disaster, the region’s religious festivals are still a huge part of the culture. If possible, visit Ica during Easter Week in the spring or the Lord of Luren festival in the fall. These celebrations bring new life to the city each year. How’s this for unique Peru travel?
Getting there: Lima-Ica: 303 Km along the Panamericana Sur highway. It takes four hours by car and five hours by bus.