The desert and especially the artificial oasis of Huacachina are a major tourist attraction. Since Peru has so much natural beauty to offer, I don't get why everybody is going to an artificial oasis - but after all, I did, too. You can hike through the sand or - much easier - slide it down on a board. Sand jeeps drive you in wild circles up and down the dunes. Around the artificial lagoon, there are cozy restaurants and bars - hanging out one or two days out here can be very relaxing.

Reward for an exhausting hike uphill on the powdery sand of the oasis Huacachina. In the backdrop the city of Ica.

hiking huacachina
Hiking the dunes of Huacachina looks far easier than it actually is.

Ica is most certainly not the greatest place in all Peru, but it's average Peruvian, and travelling, I like average. There are some nice spots in Ica like e. g. the buildings and restaurants around the Plaza de Armas or the Avenida San Martin. Not to be missed is the Museo Regional de Ica Adolfo Bermúdez Jenkins where you get introduced to all aspects of the ancient cultures and supplied with background info on the Nazca lines. If you go to see the Nazca lines, you won't really need it, but I didn't, so this was a good alternative.

There are three reasons why I skipped this infamous phenomenon:
1. Flying over the territory costs a lot.
2. They fly you round and round in loops so that everybody gets a good look for the lot they payed.
3. There is an unattractive alternative: A bus drops you off at a place where there is a ladder installation 12 m /  ft high. I'm suffering from acrophobia, so I'm definitely not climbing on ladder constructions the height of a four storey house.
So no Nazca lines for me.

But in the backyard of the Museo Regional, they have a mockup of the lines and you are standing on a concrete bridge and look down at them from maybe 3 meters - Hola, Nazca!
The museum is one of the most interesting things to see in Ica. Otherwise it's also nice to just walk around a bit, having a snack and a drink overlooking the Plaza de Armas instead of constantly being overwhelmed and awing.

Downtown Ica at rush hour. The vehicles are small - but there are lots of them. And they drive like crazy!

At night, I took the overnight bus from Ica straight to Arequipa.

Waiting for the night bus to Arequipa.

Do you want to read about all the other beautiful places I've visited in Peru? 
Then go to the main post and take your pick!

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