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.
Even if don’t make it to the Sandboarding Contest, Huacachina Oasis (10 minutes southeast of Ica by car) is worth the visit. Active travelers won’t find it difficult to rent sandboarding equipment to try out the huge dunes surrounding the oasis.
Different food fairs show off the region’s seafood dishes, stews, and traditional sweets. Ica’s most traditional dishes are carapulcra, a pork and hen stew with hot chilies and dried potatoes, and moreusa, a Lima bean puree with beef or pork pot-roast. Sweets include chapanas, made from yucca flour and an unrefined dark brown sugar known as chancaca, and tejas, caramels or chocolates filled with dried lime, figs or pecans. You’ll find that the most prominent products at these fairs and competitions are Ica’s iconic wines and piscos (a grape brandy which is also Peru’s national drink). If you miss the pisco fairs, think about visiting Bodega Vista Alegra (10 minutes northeast of Ica by car) to see how the drink is traditionally produced and take part in some tastings.
Unfortunately, the official program of this year’s events hasn’t been published yet, but we’ll get that to you as soon as it’s available! Meanwhile, feel free to contact the experienced specialists of Pirwa Travel Service at email@example.com if you need any assistance with transport, tours, or any other aspect of your trip.