Just a 3.5 hour car ride from the famous city of Lima you will find yourself in Ica, Peru. It is located in the South of Peru. Ica is known for the Huacachina oasis located in the middle of the desert. Due to my tight schedule I spent around 24 hours discovering the beautiful district of Ica. I left Lima on a Friday morning and returned the next morning. I went in February and the weather was perfect. There also weren’t a lot of tourist around this time.
What to do in Ica?
1. Go sand surfing & dune bugging in Huacachina
The price for sandboarding & dune bugging can vary from 10$ to 30$ per person, but it depends on how good you can bargain and if you want a private or group tour. I did not book anything ahead of time. We arrived to Huacachina at around 3pm and walked around to different tour agencies until we found a reasonable price for this excursion. I think we arrived at the perfect time, because we got to enjoy the beautiful sunset at around 7:30pm. The ride can get wild and bumpy, but it was a lot of fun.
*** Tip: To avoid sand getting in your mouth and eyes make sure you have a pair of sunglasses and something to cover your mouth.
2. Wine tasting
Ica is known to be the largest producer of pisco (a famous Peruvian drink) and wine in Peru. You can arrange a tour ahead of time or just book a tour in person the same day. Doing some research on google I ended up visiting the oldest winery in South America, Tacama. The tour was around 5$ per person. Even though I am not a wine drinker, I ended buying bottles of wines to use as presents in the future. If you have time, you can also enjoy a nice lunch with them.
Ica is known for their carapulcra and pisco. You cannot leave Ica without trying both. Carapulcra is steamed dried potatoes stewed with pork and chicken. Pisco is a spirit made from grapes. Other dishes you must try, but can be found almost anywhere are lomo saltado, arrow chaufa, ceviche and papa a la huancaina. If you are driving to Ica, you will see many small restaurants where you can stop and enjoy authentic Peruvian food.
***Tip: Always drink bottled water. During this trip I ordered a fruit juice (Jugo de maracuya) and ended up being sick, because the water they used was from the sink. It was delicious though! lol.
How to get there?
After arriving in Lima you have two options. You can either rent a car or take the bus. If you are in a tight schedule I would suggest renting a car (3.5 hour ride). The bus from Lima to Ica can cost you around 10$ (5 hour ride). Once you arrive to Ica, you can take a taxi for a couple dollars from Ica to Huacachina (10 minute ride).
Where to stay?
I do recommend staying in Huacachina 1 night unless you arrive really early and leave late. You can stay at a hostel or book something through airbnb like I did. I ended up paying around 15$ for one night.