Monday, December 11

Travel Destinations: Ica, Peru

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The colonial town of Ica is an exciting destination to choose in Peru for the many attractions located just outside the town and the many bogedas you can visit. Bogedas are wineries and in this town you can sample many different varieties of wines. Pisco, which is the white-grape brandy that is the national drink of the country, is produced here in large quantities.

Ica is surrounded by sand dunes and is an oasis in the midst of a desert. Palm trees line the dunes adding to the spectacular scenery. In the town, many colonial houses and buildings remain giving you a glimpse into its colorful history. Churches and museums have exhibits of archaeological finds on display that provide an insight into the culture of the Paracas, Nasca, Wari and Ica cultures that have inhabited this land.

Buses travel regularly between Lima and Ica, a drive of about four hours. The town itself is quite spread out meaning that it will be hard to see all of the sights on foot. However, there are taxis to take you wherever you want to go and the fares are fairly cheap. Accommodations are also readily available, running the gamut from expensive to budget. Fine dining opportunities are limited, but there are plenty of places where you can grab a snack or taste the traditional cuisine of the region.

If you want to really get to know Ica, you should visit some of the museums in the town. Ancient stones of odd proportions are on display in the private, unmarked collection of the Museo Cabrera. Here you will find more than 10,000 stones, some of which have remarkable engravings showing scenes of life from the ancient cultures. It is a small museum that will only take about 15 minutes of your time, but it is an unforgettable experience.

The Regional Museum of Ica is one of the best small museums in Peru. Here you can see a fascinating collection of textiles dating back to the Paracas people, mummies, ceramics from the Masca period and exhibits of colonial and republican art. The collections and well-organized and provide a great look into the history and archaeology of the region and the country as a whole.

There are several noteworthy colonial churches and mansions in Ica. For example, you can marvel at the intricate artwork of the carved altar in the Church of Saint Jerome and the stained glass windows of the Church of Saint Francis.

The bogedas are by far the most popular tourist attractions in the town. Throughout Ica and into the surrounding countryside there are about 85 wineries. Although the tours are really nothing out of the ordinary, the taste of Pisco will truly be the highlight of your visit. The tours are in Spanish and there are package deals that include the round trip from Lima and two night accommodations as well as tours of the town and visits to various bogedas.

Enjoy outdoor fun in Ica at Laguna de Huacachina, which is truly a desert oasis. There is a boardwalk around the lagoon as well as outdoor cafes and restaurants. In addition to swimming in the water, you can enjoy sandboarding on the sand dunes or even have a lazy day paddleboating on the lagoon.

When you decide to make Peru your next vacation destination, check out what Ica has to offer. You will be surprised at the fun and unforgettable experiences you can have in this town.

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