Nestled in blazing sunshine just north of Nazca sits Ica. A small city, Ica is absolutely bursting at the seems with life happening at a million miles per hour.
As a tourist, I felt totally at sea as tuk-tuks whizzed past me and taxi after taxi pulled over to ask if I needed a ride.
Ica’s charm lies in its vineyards, and in the fact that it is less touristed than many other towns in Peru. Here you can really see what life is like for actual Peruanos just getting on with their daily lives.
We also loved its delightfully air-conditioned mall which has proven to be the perfect antidote to the raging heat which fills every day here. It is called El Quinde and is easily found on the map.
When all the sun and noise finally gets to you, Ica reveals it’s trump card. Huacachina.
Huacachina is quite literally the desert oasis you picture in your head surrounded by camels and tents. It’s almost strange not to find any here. We walked its banks for about 45 minutes before settling down to watch people swim and the sun shine.
Overall, I’m very pleased we stayed in Ica rather than at the Oasis itself. There are many more cheap food options for travellers in town, and the Oasis can be accessed easily by taxi from town for between 5-10 soles.
It was a beautifully calm and relaxing place I cannot recommend highly enough. Travellers flock from all over South America to experience the calm and gentle vibe this place has. I can totally see why.
Just make sure you bring a book.
While in Ica we stayed at Hotel Kallma. We found it a simple and relaxing place to stay which suited us down to the ground. It’s in a handy location to get to both the Mall and Huacachina.
Did we make the right decision not to stay by the Oasis?