- Map of the Ica Region
- Provinces and Districts of Ica
- History of Ica
- Tourist attractions in Ica
- Traditional food
- Weather throughout the department of Ica
- Traditional festivals in the Ica area
Three hundred kilometers south of Lima is the region of Ica, which can be reached by bus or private vehicle, as well as a taxi service in 4 hours and a half from Lima. This area amazes us by the number of beautiful places that we can visit without going too far from the Capital of Peru.
Due to its proximity to the country’s capital, commercial exchange is intense, since Ica has been for Lima a vacation city par excellence. For this reason Ica is well prepared to receive tourism. The region has an international airport in Pisco and two airfields. It also has an important port terminal that serves as the entrance and exit to various regions in the area.
The topography that we find in this region is varied, beautiful beaches, sandy deserts, agricultural areas and its capital (Ica) with the same name, a city with intense urban movement.
Nestled amidst the arid beauty of the Peruvian desert, Ica unveils its mesmerizing secrets, from the ethereal sand dunes of Huacachina, where exhilarating sandboarding and dune buggy adventures await, to the enigmatic Nazca Lines etched into the earth’s surface.
The region’s winemaking tradition, dating back centuries, invites you to explore vineyards that produce Peru’s renowned Pisco, an iconic spirit. Ica’s historical treasures, including the Regional Museum, showcase its rich past, while its vibrant markets and local festivals offer an immersive taste of authentic Peruvian culture.
Whether you’re drawn to the mysteries of the Nazca Lines, the adrenaline of desert sports, or the charm of centuries-old wineries, Ica beckons with a unique blend of natural wonders and cultural marvels that promise an unforgettable Peruvian adventure. Continue reading to learn more about Ica and see photos and videos.
Map of the Ica Region
Let’s see the map of the region of Ica. Remember that the capital of the department is also called Ica.
There are many sectors that make up the bulk of the income per region managed by the region of Ica, for example: agriculture, livestock, hunting and forestry, fishing and aquaculture, oil, gas and mineral extraction, manufacturing, electricity, construction, commerce and tourism.
Provinces and Districts of Ica
The area of Ica is made up of 5 provinces and 43 districts in a territorial area of 21,327 square meters and has a population of close to one million people, including foreigners and locals.
These are the 5 Provinces of the region of Ica
The 43 districts of the Ica region are as follows.
District of La Tinguiña
Los Aquijes District
New Town District
District of San José de Los Molinos
San Juan Bautista District
Yauca del Rosario District
Chincha Alta District
District of Alto Larán
Chincha Baja District
El Carmen District
Grocio Prado District
New Town District
District of San Juan de Yanac
San Pedro de Huacarpana District
Tambo de Mora District
History of Ica
This area is very important in the history of the first civilizations in the region. The Pre-Inca cultures of the Paracas and the Nazca settled in these territories and left here many amazing traces of their history, which even today continue intact despite thousands of years.
The territory of the region of Ica, is the oldest in Peru, here fossils have been discovered that are considered unique in the world.
Tourist attractions in Ica
With its stunning desert landscapes, pristine beaches, ancient archaeological sites and vibrant winemaking tradition, Ica offers a wide variety of places to visit and experiences to enjoy. We are going to see some important places in Ica and the department.
City of Ica, a very interesting place
In the city of Ica, visitors can immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of the region. One of the emblematic places is the Ica Regional Museum, which exhibits archaeological artifacts from pre-Inca cultures and an impressive collection of mummies and textiles from the Paracas culture. Another point of interest is the Ica Cathedral, a neoclassical style church dating from the 18th century and housing important works of religious art.
In addition, tourists or visitors can enjoy Ica’s wine tradition with visits to local wineries, where the famous Peruvian pisco is produced. The Huacachina Dunes, located near the city, offer the opportunity to practice sandboarding and take exciting buggy rides through the impressive desert landscape.
In the Ica region is the famous Nazca desert with its legendary Nazca Lines. These are a group of pre-Columbian geoglyphs that can be seen in the desert sands. They are present in an area of approximately 1,000 square kilometers and is made up of some 300 different figures.
They are composed of more than 10,000 lines, with more than 9 kilometers long. Their production has been linked to stories of worship to the gods and recently a study revealed that they belonged to the aquifer system designed by the Nazca.
It is easier to see these figures from the air or from nearby mountains. Taking into account that at ground level it is not possible to perceive if the figures are correctly drawn or not, it is thought that the construction had to be supervised and directed from a high place.
Many tourists visit this imposing and mysterious site. However, it is not the only place of interest to visit in Ica and throughout the entire department. Let’s see below some of the best-known tourist places in Ica.
Paracas National Park
The Paracas National Park (National Aquifer and Protected Fauna Reserve) is visited by boat and tours the caves formed by the waves, enjoying its coasts and observing fauna such as sea lions and seals that rest in sunny spots on the rocks.
It is one of the areas of Peru with the greatest biodiversity in the world. It is known for its stunning coastal scenery and its rich marine and terrestrial biodiversity. It was created in 1975 with the aim of protecting and conserving wildlife and the unique ecosystems present in the area.
La Mina beach in the Paracas Reserve
La Mina beach in the Paracas Reserve, with its gentle waves, is fantastic for a dip, complemented by diving activities led by professionals and you can also spend the night safely.
It is important to keep in mind that being part of a national reserve, the rules and regulations must be followed to preserve and protect the environment. Activities permitted at La Mina Beach generally include swimming and enjoying the beach, but be sure to check local regulations before visiting.
El Silencio Beach, El Chaco Beach and Lagunillas Beach in Paracas
Playa El Silencio, Playa El Chaco and Playa Lagunillas will be unforgettable places for any visitor and their family.
Chaco Beach is one of the closest beaches to the port of Paracas and the pier from where the boats leave for the Ballestas Islands. Playa El Chaco is a busy and lively place, surrounded by restaurants, shops and tourist activities. From here, boat trips for bird watching and marine life observation can also be arranged.
Regarding Lagunillas beach, add that it is known for its calm waters and relaxed atmosphere. In addition to enjoying the sun and the sea, in Playa Lagunillas you can do activities such as windsurfing and kitesurfing due to its favorable conditions for these sports.
The gastronomy of the region is very well represented with a series of very traditional and well-seasoned dishes. Throughout the region there is a rich gastronomy that combines coastal, Andean and Creole influences. Let’s see some fairly typical dishes that you should try if you visit a city in the Ica region.
The Dry Soup is a dish of noodles with chicken, pork or chicken broth seasoned with spices. Despite its name, it is not a soup in the traditional sense, but rather a kind of noodle cake. The basic preparation of Sopa Seca consists of cooking noodles in chicken or beef broth until all the moisture is absorbed and the noodles are dry. Then, they are mixed with a delicious sauce of ají panca, onion, garlic, tomato and other spices to give it flavor and color. Shredded chicken or beef is sometimes added to the preparation.
It can vary a little depending on the cook or family that prepares it, so it is possible to find some variations in the ingredients. As is obvious, in a restaurant it will never be as delicious as it can be in a private home based on grandmother’s traditional recipe. But I recommend you order it if you see it in a bar on your visit to Ica.
Carapulcra, the oldest dish in Peru, is dried potatoes combined with pork in a delicious sauce of ground peanuts and ají panca. Carapulcra is generally served accompanied by white rice and a piece of bread. It is a dish full of intense flavors and requires somewhat heavy digestion. So maybe it’s not the best idea to ask for it before a long excursion, maybe better at the end 🙂
Chupe de Pallares
El Chupe de Pallares, a mixed dish with fish that is very popular because it is substantial and nutritious. The preparation of the “Chupe de Pallares with fish” involves using the same basic ingredients of the traditional chupe, such as pallares, potato, yellow chili, onion, garlic and spices. However, instead of beef or pork, fresh fish is incorporated, which can be sea bass, sole or another variety of local fish.
In the Ica area, due to its geographical location, it is usually more common to suck fish pallares and not meat. It is a popular option for those who want to enjoy the combination of marine and Andean ingredients.
The famous Tejas are from Ica, they are delicious jams from colonial times, a kind of nougat and a sweet sandwich, a delicacy from Ica, specifically, they are small sweet sandwiches that have a rectangular shape and are mainly made of honey of chancaca, nuts and other ingredients.
Pisco, the best-known drink in Peru
Did you know that the Province of Pisco is in the Ica region? This province gives its name to an alcoholic beverage extracted from grapes that is world famous and winner of international competitions for being a delicious and light drink with a flavor similar to cognac and brandy, but transparent.
And in case you don’t know, there is no Peruvian who does not defend that “Pisco is Peruvian”. This is a dispute that Peruvians and Chileans have engraved in their blood.
Many typical dishes have Pisco as an ingredient and the best cocktails of Peruvian gastronomy contain it, among them the famous Pisco Sauer, of which there are many versions according to each person’s taste.
Así se ve el pisco sour
Weather throughout the department of Ica
Its weather is warmer than that of Lima, although they are part of the same coast, with temperatures ranging in summer between 30 and 22 degrees Celsius, and in winter between 17 and 8 degrees Celsius. It is very dry since it is an area with desert characteristics.
Traditional festivals in the Ica area
My favorite festival in the region of Ica is the one celebrated on the first days of December, where the Ica Craft Fairs are held throughout the region. The celebrations are held with views of the vineyards and wine tastings are held, typical regional dishes are cooked like the ones I mentioned before and visits are made to wineries or wineries, Pisco tastings, typical traditional dances, tasting of typical regional dishes and games and attractions for the whole family.
However, there are many other popular festivals in the department. I’m going to tell you about some of them.
Harvest Festival: It is one of the most important festivities in Ica and is celebrated in March or April. During this festival, the grape harvest and the production of wine and pisco, which are emblematic products of the region, are commemorated. Parades, beauty contests and wine and pisco tastings are held.
Holy Week: As in all of Peru, Holy Week is an important religious holiday in Ica. Processions and religious activities are held in the different locations of the department.
Ica Anniversary: The city of Ica celebrates its anniversary on June 17 with various cultural, sporting and festive events.
Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul
Feast of Saints Peter and Saint Paul: This festival takes place on June 29 and is a religious celebration in honor of the patron saints. Includes processions and traditional activities.
Virgin of Chapi
Virgin of Chapi: The Virgin of Chapi is the patron saint of the region and is celebrated with a great pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Chapi in the month of May.
Festival of the Virgin of Carmen
Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen: It is celebrated on July 16 in different locations in Ica, especially in Chincha, where it is a very important festivity.
Saint John festivity
Fiesta de San Juan: It is celebrated in the district of San Juan Bautista on June 24 with religious and festive activities.