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Ica – what to do besides visiting Huacachina lagoon

On the way to Machu Picchu lies a city Ica. What to do there besides visiting the famous Huacachina lagoon is no-brainer and we could easily spend here a whole week, exploring Atacama desert. Also, did you know that here lies one of the oldest wineries in Peru called Tacama? Ica surely has a lot to offer to every nature and wine lover.
Ica – what to do besides visiting Huacachina lagoon

Where is Ica?

The city of Ica lies 5 hour bus ride from Lima. It lies in the region of Atacama dessert and it is a popular destination of Limenos, as well as other tourists who come here to admire beauties of Huacachina oasis and Paracas natural reservation. From Lima, it is quite easy to get here, as several companies run frequent buses, the same buses you can then use to continue your way to Machu Picchu.

Huacachina lagoon – no. 1 reason to come to Ica

Yes, the true is that Huacachina lagoon is definitely the biggest reason people are coming to Ica. What to do here is quite easy to say – you can go for a walk to the desert, have a drink in one of the many bars and restaurants or enjoy a wild ride on dune buggies or sandboards – the most popular activity here. While the oasis is quite beautiful and photogenic, its glory of past years is now faded into some sort of still wannabe cool and unfortunately, as is often in Peru, trash can be found everywhere – on the streets, in the water and even in the desert.

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We came here on Friday evening, hoping to have few drinks and find some sort of party. If nothing else, we were hoping for scattered groups of backpackers drinking beer by the pond. To our surprise, this place becomes a ghost town in the evening. Well, we still enjoyed some pisco sours on one of the rooftop bars while watching the sunset over sand dunes... 

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Tour to the oldest winery Tacama, Ica and to other wineries in Peru

I don't consider myself a wine connoisseur, but being from the wine region of South Moravia, I always like to visit wineries when traveling through wine regions. And Ica region claims to have the first winery in South America as well as the best wineries in Peru.

Thanks to the sunny climate of this region, wines here are naturally sweeter, and we could try that for ourselves first in a small Picasso family winery (entrance admission of 5 sole, 3 samples). We also went to a Pisco Tour (free of admission), where we learned a bit more about how pisco is made and tried 9 different samples there. Yes, we were quite drunk after that so I highly do not recommend driving here but hiring a taxi driver instead.

One of the many wineries in Peru to which you definitely have to pay a visit is Tacama. Ica has of course much more wineries than this one worth visiting, though here you can besides tasting the delicious wine also lay our eye on beautiful colonial architecture. Tacama claims to be the first winery in South America (entrance admission of 10 sole, 3 samples).

Plan your trip to Peru with the best guides:

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Tour to the desert and Canyon de Los Perdidos

Our hosts born and raised in Ica offer besides accomodation also amazing tours to the Atacama desert, so when Luis offered us this tour, we didn‘t think about it twice and said yes. Our 3 hours drive started on Sunday morning and because Luis spent hours in the desert as a young boy, he was showing us all the interesting places, we otherwise wouldn‘t have any chance to find. Including some amazing huge fossils!

When we have arrived at the Canon de Los Perdidos, I couldn't believe my eyes – I have never seen anything so beautiful and magnificent in my life. The fact that besides us there was absolutely nobody else was just a little addition to otherwise perfect day trip. If you are planing your trip to Peru, I highly recomnd you to book the tour to Canyon de Los perdidos with them, you can do so on their website Waranqu. Don't forget to mention Czick on the Road durng your reservation, to get 10% off of accomodation as well as all tours.

Read more about my experience from the tour to Canyon de Los Perdidos.

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Tour to the Paracas National Reserve

The original plan was to make a one day trip to Paracas from Ica, as it is an only 1h drive, but when our friend Mauricio said he is coming to camp there with his Chinese friend Dina, it was more than clear we want to be there as well.

The first day we took a boat trip to Islas Ballestas. A small catamaran first took us along the coastline to see the Candelabra – ancient geoglyph of unknown meaning, then to the islands, 25 km away from the coast, where we could admire sea lions colonies and loads of birds – oh men the smell of the bird poop was terrible. We have also spent one night and one day in the Paracas National Reserve, with beautiful views of the ocean and flamingoes‘ lagunes.

If you want to know more about our trip to Paracas, you can read it in a separate article here >>

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Palpa and Nazca lines

Flight over Palpa and Nazca lines is another nice one day trip from Ica and there are several companies offering the flight tours. But as Primoz is not a big fan of flying, and I didn‘t see much of a point of looking at the drawings from above while paying quite a lot of money for the flight (usually around 100 USD), we have only seen a few of the lines while driving south on Panamericana Sur. We both still don't believe, these geoglyphs are thousands of years old, probably some 19th-century hippies got bored in the desert or were practicing for their painting lessons :-D

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