Ica Main Tourist Attractions

Main Tourist Attractions of Ica

Nazca Lines

They are situated in the South-east of Peru, between Km. 419 and 165 of the South Panamerican Road, at an altitude of 550 m.a.s.l. and exactly 25 km. from the locality of Nazca.

These enigmatic designs are located on a desert plateau, covering an area of more than 1,000 square kilometers, are the enigmatic, gigantic and famous figures traced in the sand, measuring between 30 meters and 2 kilometers in length. In spite of having been traced in pre-Incan times, the passing of time was unable to erase these lines that have a width of 30 to 50 centimeters and an average depth of 30 centimeters.

It is possible to observe animal shapes like the Monkey, Dog, Lizard, Condor, Hummingbird and Spider. There also are designs of plants and human beings, such as the Astronaut or Shaman and the Hand, as well as a number of geometrical designs.

In contrast with Nazca, Palpa’s Lines, discovered afterwards, show older figures, among which there are traces of human shapes, such as the Great Family, the Man with his Hat, huge geometrical designs, like the Solar Clock, the Star, Ceremonial Knife or Tumi and gigantic trapezoidal shapes.

These images on the desert surface are so huge, that the only way one can fully appreciate them, is from an adequate altitude, which can only be achieved by a small plane flying over them.

According to Doctor María Reiche, expert scientific researcher of these lines, they would be an astronomical calendar developed by the ancient Peruvians.

Paracas National Reserve

It is situated in the Province of Pisco and Paracas Peninsula, 261 km. South of Lima, and covers a surface of 335,000 hectares, of which 217,594 are part of the Pacific Ocean, as it is the only Peruvian national reserve which possesses a marine ecosystem and is part of the National System of Natural Areas Protected by the Peruvian State.

The Paracas outcrop is one of the nine most important ones in the world. It possesses a rich marine fauna, like seals, dolphins, marine cats (Endangered species), turtles, more than 200 bird species, among resident and migratory ones, such as pelicans, sea gulls, penguins, flamencos and condors. In its waters and shores, one can observe a great quantity of seals which make the excursion more exciting.

We will also be able to contemplate what is left of the famous “Cathedral”; an imposing rock structure shaped during many centuries, by the erosion of the sea and wind, which, unfortunately, was partially destroyed by the violent 2007 earthquake.

Finally, we will visit Paracas´ Interpretation Hall which will allow us to better understand the importance of conserving the reserve’s biodiversity.

Ballestas Islands

They are situated near the Peruvian coast, in the Pacific Ocean and quite close to the Paracas National Reserve, near Pisco and the Paracas Peninsula. They are formed by a set of small rocky islands, where we will appreciate a beautiful and exuberant marine fauna composed of penguins of Humboldt, seals, a great variety of birds, such as pelicans, gulls, dung birds, like the guanay, piqueros and zarcillos, in huge quantities, offering a wonderful show, as they plunge into the sea, to fish their food.

On the way, we’ll have a chance to observe, on a high coastal cliff, in the Pisco Bay area, the famous Candlestick, also known as the Trident or Three Crosses, which is a design of more than 177 meters in length and 54 meters in width.

Huacachina Lagoon

The small and famous Huacachina Lagoon is located 5 km. from the center of the city, among dunes of fine sand and surrounded with palm trees and huarangos.

Huacachina is an oasis in the desert, formed by the underground water currents that filter from the Andes and unload in the small lagoon, minerals such as carbon, sodium, potassium, iron, aluminum and iodine which give their healing properties to the lagoon’s water and mud.

In the summer, the temperature of its water is between 18?C and 23?C and in the winter, it is of about 15?C. The water has a salty and bitter taste, due to the mineral elements it contains, which produces a laxative effect, if ingested. At present, it is a tourist resort, with full accommodation services, restaurant, snack, dressing rooms, showers, bathrooms and a whole infrastructure, to spend unforgettable moments.

Regional Museum of Ica

It is located in the center of the city and it possesses an important collection of historical, archaeological and anthropological pieces. It has several exhibition halls, with classified objects from the Nazca, Paracas and Incan cultures; mainly ceramics and looms.

In the anthropology hall, there are samples of funerary contexts and illustrations on trepanations, cranial deformations, as well as on other practices of the ancient Peruvians. Meanwhile, another hall is dedicated to the Colonial and Republican time periods, and finally, a scale model of the Nazca Lines is exhibited, to give visitors a general view of the site.

Sanctuary of the Lord of Luren

This Sanctuary is the religious icon of the Iquenian people’s catholic faith. There, one can find the Holy Image of the Lord of Luren, Saint Patron of the city of Ica and a much venerated image to which the local people attribute miraculous events. That image would have arrived in Ica, in 1570, and a chapel was built for it, which was set on fire in 1918, burning the body and part of the face of Christ’s effigy which was restored in cedar wood brought from Nicaragua.

The present church, known as the Sanctuary of the Lord of Luren, the construction of which started in 1919 and was concluded in 1940, was severely impacted and partially destroyed by the violent earthquake, in 2007. However, the Holy Image was not affected by it. Each year, there is a massive pilgrimage to this Sanctuary which will be rebuilt, maintaining its original architecture and features.

Ica’s Vine Plantations and Pisco

By excellence, the Region of Ica is the producing area of the country’s best wines and piscos. The famous Peruvian pisco was born in the valleys around the city of Pisco and it is one of Peru’s flag products which today, are an important part of our tourist offer. In the Valley of Ica, there are over 85 craft-made cellars and some of them are more than 300 years old.

There are well-known and traditional brands of wines and piscos, with export quality, which we’ll be able to visit, to get to know their production process and taste a glass of it, offered by the best hosts of Peruvian wines and piscos: Ocucaje, Tacama, Tabernero, Quebranta, Soldeica and Queirolo, among others.

Los Paredones Archaeological Complex

The Province of Nazca has important tourist attractions, such as the Incan Archaeological Complex called Los Paredones, situated only two kilometers from the center of the city of Nazca, which has finely worked Incan stone enclosures that are the base of old “adobe” (Sun-dried mud bricks) walls which form a set of constructions, houses, squares, a ceremonial center, corridors and adobe walls, trapezoidal windows and terraces, with rounded cut stone walls and given its characteristics, it might have been an Incan administrative center.

Aqueducts of Cantalloc

Four kilometers away or 15 minutes from the city of Nazca, there are the Aqueducts of Cantalloc, built in the time of the Nazca culture, which form a network of irrigation canals and underground aqueducts, with a complex system of filtering galleries and pits down to 12 meters deep. In order to build the aqueducts, the people first dug several pits, at distances of between 20 and 50 meters, ´till they would find the underground water layer.

Then, they would connect these pits with the other underground canals, to finally have the water filter towards the reservoirs. It was a system with which our ancestors had solved the water scarcity problem, in that totally arid area, converting it into a productive valley and showing in that way, great knowledge and genius in hydraulic engineering.

Adventure on buggies and sand boarding on the desert’s dunes

These are two adventure sports in one, which first consist in riding in powerful and fast tubular or sand cars which climb up the desert’s dunes, boosting your adrenaline to its max. These fantastic rides will take you around spectacular places, to the top of the dunes.

Then, you will enjoy the other emotion, with sand boarding, standing on a board and sliding down the slopes of appropriate dunes.

Depending on your skills and on the waxing of the board, you will be able to reach extreme speeds on the way down, without any risks of physical damage, except for probable rolling over in the sand, which is quite fun.

All slides are monitored and supervised by professional instructors who give the participants a previous training. Therefore, you don’t need to be experienced, to take advantage of that great adventure.

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