Nov 21, 2019

Ica & Nazca Travel Information

ICA BRIEF INFORMATION: Ica, an esoteric land, one of a profound religious faith, sand dunes, valleys and sun, is an agricultural zone where you will see cotton fields, butter beans, asparagus, citrus tree orchards and others, interspersed among the extensive desert area, as well as antique vineyards. Some of the most important civilizations of ancient Peru established themselves here like the Paracas and the Nazca, who left a legacy that has endured the passage of time and the violence of the sand

and wind. The Paracas National Reserve is a must stop; this State-protected natural area is, among its beaches and staggering beautiful rock formations, the refuge to fur seals, otters, penguins, dolphins and more than 2 hundred species of birds such as flamingos, waders and guano birds. In the province of Nazca, a little more than one hundred kilometers from Ica, there are the Nazca Lines, one of the greatest archaeological mysteries of the world. UNESCO placed this site on the World Cultural Heritage List in 1994. Formed by a series of lines and gigantic drawings traced upon the sand, the Nazca lines feature figures like a spider, a hummingbird, a monkey, etc. that can only be truly appreciated if flying above them. You can also visit the vineyards of the department, where they produce excellent Piscos and wines, the Huacachina Lake, a beautiful oasis situated among the sand dunes, just a few minutes away from Ica and Chincha, the valley which gave birth to the Afro-Peruvian music.

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Capital: Ica (406 m.a.s.l./1,332 f.a.s.l).
Altitude: Lowest point: 2 m.a.s.l./7 f.a.s.l. (Paracas).
Highest point: 3,796 m.a.s.l./12,454 f.a.s.l. (San Pedro de Huacarpana).

The department of Ica features a varied terrain with extensive plains, deserts and some valleys. The city of Ica has a sunny climate almost all year long with an annual maximum average temperature of 32ºC (89ºF) and a minimum of 9ºC (49ºF).


By land: Lima – Ica: 303 km./188 miles on the Pan-American Highway South (4 hours by car).
By air: There are no regular flights. Air taxi service from Lima is available.


Ica: Kilometer marker 299 of the Pan-American Highway South. Telephone: (056) 25-6230.
Nazca: Kilometer marker 447 of the Pan-American Highway South. Telephone: (056) 52-3665.


  • Chincha: Bus Station, Av. Oscar R. Benavides.
  • Pisco: Bus Station, calle San Francisco, 2nd block.
  • Ica: There is no bus station. However, the majority of bus companies are found at: 1st & 2nd blocks of calle Lambayeque; 1st block of Av. Matias Manzanilla; 1st block of calle J. J. Elias.
  • Nazca: There is no bus station. However, the majority of bus companies are found at: 1st block Av. Los Incas.
    Kilometer marker 445 of the Pan-American Highway South.


  • Chincha: René Toche Groppo Hospital; calle San Idelfonso, Chincha Alta.  Phones: (056) 26-1581 / 26-1474 / 26-1306.  Attention: 24 hours.
  • Pisco: Antonio Skrabonja Antoncich Hospital (Ministry of Health), calle San Francisco 322.  Emergency Phone: (056) 53-2784.  Attention: 24 hours.
  • Ica: Felix Torrealva Gutierrez Hospital; Avenida Cutervo 104.  Emergency Telephone: (056) 23-4798 / 23-4450.  Attention: 24 hours.
  • Nazca: Nasca Assistance Hospital, calle Callao, block 4. Telephone: (056) 52-2586.  Attention: 24 hours.


  • Ica: Ica Sub Region; avenida J. J. Elias, block 5.  Telephone: (056) 23-5421 / 22-4553.


  • Ica: calle Lima, block 1 - Main Square.
  • Huacachina Lake Resort.


  • Ica: avenida San Martin 156. Telephone: (056) 23-3881.  Attention: Mon. – Sat. 8:00 A.M. – 8:30 A.M.
  • Pisco: avenida Federico Uranga 211 - Independencia. Telephone: (056) 22-0208.  Attention: Mon. – Sun. 6:00 A.M. – 9:30 P.M.
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Ica City Tourist Attractions:

City Cathedral, Ica Main Square: Visiting hours: Mon. - Sun. during mass times. The original construction dates from the 18th century, but it was remodeled in 1814. The outside of the church is of neoclassical style, and the inside is Baroque style that prevails as seen in the pulpit and altars.

Adolfo Bermudez Jenkins Regional Museum:
Avenida Ayabaca, block 8. Phones: (056) 23-4383 / 23-2881. Visiting Hours: Mon. – Fri. 8:00 A.M. – 7:00 P.M. Sat. and holidays 9:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Sun. 9:00 A.M. – 1:30 P.M.
It features a collection of pieces from the Paracas, Nazca, Huari, Ica & Inca cultures. There are also Colonial canvases & furniture, and some Republican objects.

Bodega Vista Alegre:
3 km/2 miles northeast of Ica (10 minutes).  Phones: (056) 23-2929 / 23-8735. Visiting hours: Mon. – Fri. 9:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M., Sat. – Sun. 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.  A traditional bodega dedicated to the elaboration of Wine & Pisco, it still maintains characteristics of Colonial practices of grape processing.

Tacama Vineyard:
7 km/4 miles northeast of Ica (45 minutes).  Telephone: (056) 22-8395 / 22-8394.  Visiting hours: Mon. – Sun. 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.
It is dedicated to the elaboration of wine and pisco. It was owned by the Jesuits during the Colonial times, and the mansion & the old stables of the epoch still remain intact.

Bodega Ocucaje:
Avenida Principal, km. 34 / 21 miles southwest of Ica (45 minutes).  Phones: (056) 40-8011 / 40-8012. Fax: (056) 40-8018.  Visiting hours: Mon. – Fri. 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. and 2:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M. Sat. 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.
The bodega (distillery) demonstrates long-used traditional techniques of the department for the production of pisco and wine.

Traditional Wine Producing Bodegas:
In these bodegas, they elaborate pisco in the traditional way, using distillers made during the Colonial times. In the Ica Valley, there are more than 85 traditional bodegas, the most famous being Lazo, Catador, Sotelo, Alvarez, Mendoza & Acuache.

Huacachina Lake:
5 km/3 miles southwest of Ica (5 minutes). It is a traditional relaxation spot for the people of Ica. The lake looks like an oasis in the middle of a desert, forming a splendid landscape of dunes, palm trees & acacias. Some people believe the waters to have medicinal properties.

Pisco – Paracas Tourist Attractions:

The desert and the sea come together in a spectacular fashion in Paracas, in the department of Ica, just a few hours south from Lima. The cliffs that fringe the beaches are teeming with life: millions of birds that live here year-round deposit the world-famous Peruvian islands organic fertilizer, the all-natural "Guano de las Islas", and thousands of others that fly south from the Northern Hemisphere and from further south, ranging from guano birds to Humboldt penguins.

Boats set out from the port to tour the Ballestas Islands, giving visitors a chance to gaze at the sea lion colonies. By car, one can reach the port of Punta Pejerrey, from where one can look out across the hillside at the candlestick-like figure of the "Candelabro", carved into the sand with a similar technique to the Nazca Lines, although possibly of a different origin: theories range from pirates marking a treasure hiding place to soldiers fighting for Latin American independence from Spain.

Back on the traditional circuit, the road leads to the on-site museum and the complex of the burial grounds of the Paracas culture (700 B.C.), whose weaving skills have been admired the world over. A trail leads down to a protected bay, the natural habitat of flamingos, the scarlet-and-white birds that inspired the colors of the Peruvian flag. They are not to be disturbed. Further south lie the striking natural rock formations of the Cathedral and Mendieta. At sunset, the Paracas coast spins through a range of colors, the signal for nostalgic visitors to return to the city.
Tambo Colorado Archaeological complex at Kilometer marker 45 of the Libertadores Highway. It is a very well-preserved Inca urban center, possibly built during the time of the Inca Pachacutec as a lodge for soldiers and high-level authorities.

Paracas National Reserve:

250km/155 miles south of Lima (3 hours by car). The reserve's 335,000 hectares is a refuge for fur seals, Humboldt penguins, flamingos (parihuanas), and many other birds. You can visit many different natural and archaeological attractions in the reserve. One of them is the "El Candelabro" (The Candelabra), a geoglyph of more than 120 meters/394 feet long, better appreciated from the ocean.

Ballestas Islands:
They are located outside the reserve area. They constitute the habitat of a great variety of birds and sea lions, which you can approach by motor boat. This excursion is one of the most regular ones from Paracas.

Nazca Tourist Attractions:

Antonini Didactic Museum:
Avenida La Cultura 600.  Phone (056) 52-3444, Fax (056) 52-3100.  Visiting hours: Mon. – Sun. 9:00 am. – 7:00 pm.  A collection of archaeological pieces of the different stages of the Nazca culture as well as trophy heads, musical instruments like pan flutes, textiles, mummies, etc. are exhibited in this little museum.  These discoveries are the result of the excavations done in "Cahuachi", the largest mud ceremonial center in the world.  The museum also provides the chance to see the Bisambra canal, which shows the magnificent hydraulic engineering work of the Nazcas, still in use today.

Nazca Lines:
Pampas of San Jose: 25 km./16 miles from Nazca (15 minutes). Kilometer marker 149 of the Pan-American Highway South. It is a vast network of lines and drawings of animals & plants credited to the Nazca culture covering an area of approximately 350 km2/135 miles2. Some of the best drawn figures are the hummingbird, the dog, the monkey and the long-tailed mockingbird. The German scientist Maria Reiche, naturalized Peruvian devoted 50 years of her life to study and research the area and came to the conclusion that it was an astronomical calendar. From a 12-meter/39 feet lookout, you can partially observe the shapes of the hand and the tree. However, in order to appreciate the drawings fully, it is recommended to fly over the area in a small airplane. The Nazca Lines were placed on the World Cultural Heritage List in 1994.

Kilometer marker 1 of the Nazca-Puquio Highway (5 minutes from Nazca). It is an archaeological site that probably was an Inca administrative center. Formed by numerous rooms, terraces & patios, its buildings have stone foundations and adobe walls.

Cantalloc Aqueducts:
4 km/2 miles from Nazca (15 minutes). It is an aqueduct built by the Nazca Culture which still works today. Flagstones and acacia trunks were used to build it and they have resisted the march of time.

Cahuachi Ceremonial Center:
30 km/19 miles western of Nazca (30 minutes). This complex of truncated adobe pyramids built by the Nazcas features a patio and a wide terrace with covered rooms. On top of the main temples, huge rooms with dozens of columns were found. The majority of these pyramids were abandoned during the fifth and sixth centuries A.D.




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