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Ica Information

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Home >> Peru Cities >> Ica Travel Information



Ica Location:
Central Coast, 406 meters above sea level (1,332 feet)

Distances to Ica:
Today Forecast:
From Lima 325 Km (202 miles)
From Paracas 75 Km (46.6 miles)
From Nazca 135 Km (84 miles)
From Arequipa 701 Km (435.7 miles)
267,540 inhabitants

About Ica
Ica is known as an area of sand, sea, oases and valleys, the cradle of Peru's Creole culture, saints and medicine men, where the best pisco brandy is distilled and where religious fervor is strong in the worship of the Señor de Luren or the Yauca shrine. The sandy wastes of this area gave rise to major pre-Colombian civilizations, leaving traces that have survived the ravages of time and wind erosion.
The desert of Ica was inhabited by great pre- Inca civilizations as Chincha, Nazca and Paracas Culture.

Ica is the name of the department, and has 4 provinces: Ica, Pisco, Nazca, Chincha and Palpa. Ica city was founded in 1536 by the Spaniard Jerónimo de Cabrera. He gave Ica the name of "Villa de Valverde". The city was in the middle of a fertile valley. Before its foundation, the Spaniards planted grapes brought from Canary Islands (Spain).

Ica was the first city in "Nueva Castilla" (Peru in the Viceroyalty times) where wine and grape liquor were produced, and from this point they were exported to all the Spanish colonies in America. They used the port of Pisco to embark the grape liquor, giving origin to the name of one of the most famous liquors prepared in Peru, Pisco.

The road from Lima to Ica provides the traveler with a variety of attractions. First stop along the way is Chincha, a balmy valley that combines festivals and tradition and which is the heart of a culture forged by the descendants of African slaves brought to work the cotton plantations. The next point is the Paracas National Reserve, the only protected area in Peru that includes a marine eco-system. From the pier at Paracas one can take boat rides out to the Ballestas islands, where one can spot sea lions, Humboldt penguins, flamingos and sea birds.

Nowadays the Ica city continues being a very pleasant one, among sand deserts and huarangos (variety of tree) and with a wonderful weather. Ica is recommended as an initial point before visiting the Nazca Lines and the Paracas National Reserve.

Visiting Ica
Huacachina Oasis
This beautiful oasis is located at 5 Km from Ica city, place in the desert with a small lagoon and is surrounded by sand dunes, palms and huarangos (carob tree) and beautiful houses around the shore. By the ends of the XIX century Huacachina was practically uninhabited, until the Italian Angela Perotti rediscovered the medical properties of water and sand of the lagoon, specially for the cure of skin and rheumatism illnesses. You may find comfortable hotels and cheap lodges, restaurants and discos that will make your trip enjoyable, ideal place for relax or for the desert adventures. Buggies and sandboarding has become popular on the sand dunes near Huacachina, an ideal area to take to the steep sandy slopes of the desert.

Museo Regional de Ica
Location: Calle Lima 4th block
It has a big collection of archaeological pieces from the regional cultures Nazca, Paracas and Inca. Out stand funeral mummies and looms from Paracas, skulls with presence of surgery and deformed skulls, this remains show the high technology in surgery reached by the ancient Peruvian civilizations. It also has collections from the colony, independence and republican times.

Wine and Pisco Cellars
Ica is very famous because of its pisco (grape liquor) and wine; a good alternative for your trip could be a visit to the wine cellars of La Caravedo, Vista Alegre, Tacama, Ocucaje and the artisan ones. In these places you will be able to learn all the process of the pisco and the wine

Iglesia de Luren
This religious sanctuary contains the venerated image of "Señor de Luren", the one that was redeem from a shipwreck in 1570 in front of the coasts of Ica, coming from Spain. Señor de Luren patron of Ica, congregates each year thousands of pilgrims during the Holy Week and the third Monday of October in traditional processions. Devote people attribute miracles to the Lord. The catholic devotion in Ica also has expressions of pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Yauca, where the image of the Virgin of Yauca is venerated. Also venerated the "Beatita de Humay" and the "Melchorita" in the towns of Humay and Grocio Prado.

Famous town located at 4 km of Ica, it is well known because of the witches that cure illnesses from popular believes. If you visit Cachiche do not forget to see the statue of a witch laid on a Huarango tree. This circuit features the best of Peru's Afro-Peruvian culture, where one can savor distilled aguardiente and fermented grape musts which are typical of the area. There are also interesting pre-Hispanic archaeological sites in the area.

La Vendimia (The Wine Festival)
This festival in March (summer), is a celebration of the abundance of grapes and wine in the region of Ica (a four-hour drive south of Lima), where persevering efforts in local vineyards have spread greenery across vast tracts of once bone-dry desert. The Wine Festival (Festival de la Vendimia) involves fairs, competitions, processions of floats, musical festivals and parties where guests dance the Afro-Peruvian festejo. One of the major attractions of the event is the Queen of the Wine Festival beauty pageant. Accompanied by her hand-maidens, the beauty queen treads grapes in a vat in the time-honored tradition to extract the juice that will eventually be fermented. Apart from the delicious local sweets known as tejas, made from pecans or candied fruits, filled with caramel and covered with sugar icing, those attending the event can try pisco, the aromatic and tasty grape brandy that originated in this part of southern Peru four centuries ago.

Chincha is synonymous of rejoicing and as such as is the cradle of Peru's Afro-Peruvian culture. Its inhabitants, who are good-humored and hospitable folk, have kept alive their traditions and customs over generations, performing their music and dances over the course of centuries. The people of Chincha, with guitar, cajón and quijada percussion instruments in hand, will welcome visitors with open arms and make them feel at home. Located just 194 km south of Lima, in the department of Ica, Chincha and its environs provide a place to rest and fun-filled days. One ideal place for a visit is the Hacienda San José plantation, a seventeenth - century manor which hides behind its stout walls a history of Dominicans and Jesuits, Spanish noblemen and African slaves. The plantation house lies in the district of El Carmen, 15 km from the city, and even today has conserved its superb gateways, sweeping chambers and labyrinthine passageways than run beneath it, and through which slaves were smuggled, according to legend. The district also prides itself for organizing the finest celebrations in honor of the Virgin of Carmen in December.




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