The coastal desert region of Ica is home to huge sand dunes and tranquil oases, the mysterious Nazca Lines, ancient pyramids and cemeteries, fertile valleys where Peruvian piscos and wines are made, oases, afro-Peruvian music, and unrelenting sun. SETICA, Ica’s Semana Turistica (Tourist Week) enthusiastically celebrates the attractions, culture, and cuisine of the region’s eponymous capital city. This year, festivities will take place during the final week of November. Although the Miss Turismo Ica competition takes place earlier and in fact just took place this Saturday, the biggest events will fall on that week. They include the Open International Sandboarding Contest at Huacachina Oasis, Marinera dance contests and Peruvian Paso horse shows. Parades highlight Ica’s folkloric dress, traditional dances, and live music, while wine and art competitions showcase other aspects of local culture.
Ica celebrates its tourism week each November with free tours, contests, food fairs, and more. Although the city hasn’t published this year’s program yet, it seems like the perfect time to explain the city’s culture and attractions for all those who’d like to explore the desert coast of Peru. Dance to the rhythms of Afro-Peruvian criollo music, sample the piscos and wines of the bodegas, watch diving Humboldt penguins, sandboard down some of the world’s largest dunes, visit a real desert oasis, and see the Cahuachi pyramids in an unforgettable journey.
Paracas National Reserve is alluring for travelers not just for the famous penguin and sea lion colonies on its islands, but for the pristine virginity of the coastal landscape. The reserve comprises both land and sea, but whether you opt to visit to the Ballestas Islands or to explore the land part of Paracas reserve, or both, your excursion will begin at the palm-studded Chaco Port.
Several miles outside of the city of Ica in southwestern Peru sits Huacachina Oasis, a little desert town of just 115 people, a town which can be basically described as a lake surrounded by palm trees, themselves surrounded by giant sand dunes. It is a popular stop for travelers en route from Ica to Nazca, mainly because it provides the opportunity to enjoy hair-raising dune buggy rides and sandboarding.
Making a list of things you can’t do in Peru would be much easier than making one for the plethora of things you can do. Peru boasts diverse roster of tourist attractions, blessed as it is with a varying landscape of astounding beauty, the ruins of various ancient civilizations, and a lively culture. In just a week, you can go from a desert oasis to the world’s deepest canyon, follow it up with visit to the Andes, and then zip down into the lush Amazon Rainforest. Here, we’ve compiled our recommended activity for each type of traveler, from the beach bum to the adventure lover, from the history buff to the eco-traveler.