The Huacachina lagoon is located in Ica, in the department with the same name, south of Lima, capital of Peru.
One of its best-known activities is the production of Pisco, a distilled spirit made from grapes with designation of origin from the valley of Pisco, located in this region since the 16th century.
We can also find in Ica, one of the oases of the Peruvian coast: the Huacachina, which is located 5 km from the city and is easily accessible by car. The lagoon emerges due to the upwelling of underground water currents.
The Paracas National Reserve is in Ica, to the north. It preserves a wide diversity of marine species and birds. To the south we can find the famous Nazca lines, enigmatic geoglyphs that date to Nazca culture times.
The confluence between the sea and the desert make the Paracas National Reserve, a coastal paradise in which nest more than 200 species of endemic, resident, and migratory birds of the Humboldt Current, such as the tendril (inca tern).
There are 216 bird species in the Reserve, 7 of which are endemic of the Humboldt current.
While birdwatching is possible throughout the year, we recommended that you visit between January and March to watch the migratory Northern birds.
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There are remains that suggest that there were nomadic settlements from 7,000 BC that were hunters, collectors, fishermen and farmers.
The Nazca and Paracas cultures were established in Ica. These cultures reached an extraordinary textile development. The Nazca developed an excellent hydraulic engineering, they built aqueducts that allowed them to build terraces and farm them.
After the Spanish conquest, Nicolás de Rivera (Francisco Pizarro’s right-hand man) had to face several rebellions from the Chincha, Pisco and Nazca chiefs until they were subdued and pacified. Rivera built in his domains homesites, farms, a hospital and a church (first precedent of the Señor de Luren church).
On June 17th, 1563, Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera, a Spanish captain, founded the Villa de Valverde de Ica. After several earthquakes, the city is relocated to its current location at the request of the Conde de Nieva viceroy.
In the 16th century, the first vine stocks were brought from the Canary Islands and the wine industry developed significantly, especially the pisco industry, during the first years of the Viceroyalty of Peru.
Ica is prominently coastal. It is in the center western part of Peru and shares border with Lima at the north, with Arequipa at the south, with Huancavelica and Ayacucho at the east and with the Pacific Ocean at the west. It has an area of 21,327.83 km² and a population of 836,586 inhabitants. The zone’s geography varies between the coastal deserts and the San Juan and Grande rivers’ valleys. There are two oases in the middle of the desert, the Huacachina and the Morón lagoon.
You can walk through the historic center and carry out some activities such as visiting some of the vineyards. These visits include wine and pisco tasting. The Huacachina is one of the main attractions and it is located 20 minutes from the city by car. If you are looking for adventure, you can ride buggies, sandboard or simply climb the highest dune to enjoy the sunset.
The activities in Ica are regularly combined with the Paracas, Ballestas islands and Nazca lines activities.
The main festivity in Ica is the Vendimia (harvest) that has been celebrated the first fortnight of March since 1965. Its main goal is to promote the wine-related activities in the zone.
The Vendimia is an activity that consists of the process of harvesting the grapes to use their juice to prepare the emblematic drinks of Ica: wine and mainly pisco. The celebrations last a week and there are parades, handicraft fairs, Peruvian Paso horse and dance shows as well as wine and pisco sale and tasting.
The most representative typical dishes from Ica are:
Ica is known for its sweets:
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