A May 2004 trip
to Ica by adaamk
Quote: My Peruvian girlfriend and I took a bus trip from Lima, Peru to the department of Ica, a few hundred kilometers to the south along the coast. We visited the cities of Pisco and Ica, the Islas Ballestas, and flew over the Nazca lines.
Breakfast was served starting at 6am and cost 10 soles.
Other hotels were charging about 40 soles for a double, but were not nearly as nice. I wholeheartedly recommend the Villa Manuelita if you don't need to shave every last penny off your expenses. It is also conveniently located near the main square, where the tourist agencies are, as are a fair number of hotels.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 3, 2004
Hostal Villa Manuelita
Calle San Francisco 227
Attraction | "Animal watching at the Islas Ballestas reserves"
We used the Amigos agency, located on a second floor next to the BWS bank. They charged US$10/35 soles per person for the Islas Ballestas tour, and $8 for the Paracas tour (plus the S/. 5 entrance fee to the park). You could also combine the two (recommended) for a total price of $15 plus the entrance fee. We only went on the first tour, since we were short on time. However, I would recommend taking the full circuit since it doesn't cost much more and is said to be quite impressive. The tour started at 7:15am, and we were picked up from the hotel.
The guide (Manuel) supposedly spoke eight languages, which I found rather hard to believe, but he was certainly able to communicate well in Spanish, English and Hebrew, the last two being the main languages spoken by tourists. He also knew the names of the animals in a variety of languages, including German and Italian. He gave a good description of the islands and was very responsive to questions in all languages. He also offered to take some of the Israeli kids to "the best seafood restaurant in Pisco" after the trip. The tour lasted about two hours.
The islands themselves are lovely. They are the principal spot for guano extraction in Peru, which fueled much of the country’s expansion in the mid-1800s. As a result, the wildlife has been well protected and left undisturbed, except for the guano extraction every ten years. You can watch large populations of seals frolicking and playing on the islands, as well as huge groups of birds, mostly cormorants. In addition, you can see the Candelabro (Candelabra), a huge carving in the rock cliff with all sorts of mysterious stories behind it.
In all, the tour is a requirement for anyone stopping in Pisco.
Islas Ballestas Reserve
Attraction | "Hard liquor at the Bodega Vista Alegre"
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 3, 2004
Bodega Vista Alegre
Attraction | "Overflight of the majestic Nazca lines"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 3, 2004
Nazca Desert in Southern Peru
Lake Huacachina is an oasis in the middle of the Peruvian coastal desert. It is surrounded by huge palm trees and sand dunes, on which you can "sandboard" if you are adventurous. It's a beautiful spot to relax and eat some seafood or drink a beer.
There are a number of touts hawking adventure sports along the shore of the lake, so finding a place to sandboard, hike, or surf shouldn’t be a problem. You can also rent paddleboats. Swimming more than five meters out into the lake is forbidden, but many of the locals seem to bend this rule. Just remember to negotiate, and never pay in advance.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 4, 2004
Lake Huacachina Oasis
New York, NY, New York