The vast Ica desert offers a wealth of experiences. Let’s begin with the most well-known: boat rides to the Ballestas Islands, a flight over the Nasca Lines, a lakeside afternoon at the Huacachina oasis, sandboarding, or a luxurious picnic in the desert. What do these experiences have in common? Nothing! Every experience in Ica is remarkable and unique. Ica, so close to Lima, a city of eternal sunshine and home to famous vineyards, is waiting for you!
The Nazca Lines are a collection of giant geoglyphs designs or motifs etched into the ground located in the Peruvian coastal plain about 250 miles (400 kilometers) south of Lima, Peru. Created by the ancient Nazca culture in South America, and depicting various plants, animals, and shapes, the 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines can only be fully appreciated when viewed from the air given their massive size. Despite being studied for over 80 years, the geoglyphs which were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 are still a mystery to researchers.
Visiting the Paracas National Reserve. It is a place unlike any other place in the world, a place where the turquoise ocean meets the orange, desolate desert. You can find many tours in the town of Paracas. These tours are usually the ones that drop you off at the viewpoints, give you 20 minutes, then you get on the bus, and they take you to the other viewpoints. If you are adventurous and reasonably fit, consider renting a bicycle and riding it across the desert.
Ballestas Islands, otherwise known as the “Poor Man’s Galapagos”, are a group of rocky islands located 24 km (15 mi) off the coast of Paracas. Home to many animals such as penguins, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, and many more, the Ballestas Islands are some of the best places to catch a glimpse of the various species of wildlife in South America.
Huacachina oasis is the only desert oasis in South America and definitely one of the top things to do in Peru. Huacachina Lagoon, a pretty and unexpected oasis amid palm trees and dunes on the outskirts of Ica, connected only by one tiny road with the city of Ica, Huacachina feels like you are in the middle of the desert. You are completely surrounded by beautiful sand dunes on all sides. Some of the most popular activities in Huacachina include sandboarding and dune buggies. Tours for both can be found throughout the oasis.