The Peruvian desert – Ica & Huacachina

The extremely varied landscapes in Peru give the opportunity to visit almost all kinds of climates. We were already in the mountains and now the desert... Nazca is part of the Peruvian desert (read our last article about Nazca here) but it was time to leave Nazca and explore other places more close to the coast now.

Ica Regional Museum

We left Nazca and we stopped in the city of Ica, the capital of the region with the same name, founded in 1563 by the Spanish. In 2007 researchers found evidences that support that there was life here about 30 million years ago. Prehistoric indigenous civilizations also lived here, including the Paracas and the Ica cultures. Most of the archeological artifacts from these cultures are currently displayed  at the Ica Regional Museum. And that was the main (and only!) reason to stop in this dirty chaotic city.

Huge dunes in Huacachina

The Ica Regional Museum is a modern building just outside the city center. This museum contains a wide range of beautiful ceramics, textiles and fascinating mummies and skulls. The Ica Regional Museum is dedicated to the two key pre-Inca cultures on the Peruvian southern cost: Paracas and Nazca. The first well known for its textiles and the second for its ceramics.

Huacachina oasis

Close to Ica (5 km) we found Huacachina, a very very small village built around a small oasis and surrounded by huge sand dunes. Nestled in one of the driest locations on the planet, Huacachina has a bit of everything: hotels, shops, restaurants, trees and beach. The village has a permanent population of 100 people but it is very touristic, specially for people looking for rides on sand dunes, like sandboarding or taking a dune buggy.

We were not looking for these kind of activities so we just had a relaxed lunch before leaving to Paracas, 75km (1 hour drive) north of Huacachina.

Huacachina - wildlife

Practical information

  • Main costs: Ica Regional Museum (15 Soles/person)
  • After or before visiting Huacachina and Ica, don't forget to visit the "neighbor" Paracas (only 1 hour driving)
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