From the mysterious Nasca Lines and the marine
preserve of Islas Ballestas to the wineries of Ica and the museums
filled with ancient pottery and fossils, the department of Ica has
become a favorite among tourists.
Ica Basic Facts
Area or Surface: 21,328 km².
Main Resources: cotton, grapevine, pallares, kidney beans,
Population: 600,000 inhabitants. The capital is Ica and has
Number of Provinces and Districts: 5 provinces and 43
Date of Department Foundation: January 30th, 1866.
Typical Food: carapulcra, chupe de pallares, turtle soup,
frejol colado, tejas.
Ethnic Groups: Negroid (El Carmen district, Chincha).
Fauna: sea wolves, guano birds, condors, flamingos.
Ica is an important region historically to Peru. The fossil remains
found in this zone, corresponding to the tertiary age, confirm the
antiquity of the zone. The bony remains of the "Man of Paracas", the
second horticulturist of Peru (6,870 B.C.) were found in the Santo
Domingo Pampa. The people of this era lived in straw huts, fished,
farmed and exchanged goods.
Between 1925-7 in the Paracas Peninsula, Julio C. Tello discovered
the great cemeteries known as Necrópolis. They were from a Pre-Columbian
culture. The ancient Paracas bodies were found mummified with fine
colorful clothing that was full of symbols.
Years later in Cahuachi the Nazca culture was developed. The
ceramics created during this time are considered to be the best in
Pre-Columbian American. The painters that depicted these pictures on
pots' surfaces were considered to be masters of their time and craft.
And we can't forget the world famous "Nazca Lines", which are
figures of animals and objects imprinted in the desert surface. To
this day no one is sure how they got there.
The Inca Empire's domination of Ica's territory began at the time of
Inca Pachacutec. During the conquest, Nicolás de Rivera el Viejo
arrived to Ica looking for a proper place to found a new city. The
Ica Valley's Villa de Valverde was founded on September 30, 1563 by
the Spanish captain Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera. Many years later, San
Martín with its expedition team landed in Pisco, thus beginning the
Peru's independence from Spain. Colonel Mariano Ignacio Prado
created the Department of Ica in 1866.
There are good beaches, diverse marine wildlife, interesting museums
and excellent hotel services to be found in Ica. One of the
highlights is the Paracas National Reserve, where live a number of
animal colonies such as sea lions and coastal birds reside. The
"Nazca Lines" are a must see for any tourist. These 32 drawings of
marine and terrestrial animals, human and geometric figures cover an
area of more than 350 km. The city of Ica is well known because of
the wineries surrounding the city. Tourists can take day tours of
the different wineries and their production facilities and of course,
sample the finishing product.