Browsing: Ica

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Members of the Ballumbrosio family perform zapoteo, a tap dance, from their living room in El Carmen, Peru. (All photos by Kate Bradley)

By Kate Bradley

Afternoon. The air is hazy with dust and the warm, slightly oppressive rays of the mid-spring Peruvian sun. The plaza is still and strangely quiet, its loud, cheerful colors in startling contrast to the silence. The only sound on the mostly-deserted dirt streets is the occasional shout or laughter from the impromptu football game nearby. We leave the hotel — the only such establishment in the tiny, earthquake-battered hamlet of El Carmen — and begin the three-block journey to the house of the world-famous masters of Afro-Peruvian music and dance: the Ballumbrosios.

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The stories differ about the origin of the Virgin de Yauca, a religious icon in Peru’s southern desert. (Photos by Pello Echevarria Sanz)

By Pello Uribe Echevarria
Special to

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, my two Peruvian companions and I hopped on an old Canadian school bus from the fifties. Our destination: the procession in honour of the Virgin of Yauca, in the desert province in Ica, five hours southwest of Lima by bus.

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A natural oasis in Peru’s desert region in Ica. (All photos by Carsten Korch)  See more photos.

By Carsten Korch

Of the dreams I’ve had about real life experiences, now big wave surfing with my car has been fulfilled. Powering to the crest of a 120-foot dune at full throttle to avoid tumbling back, then balancing the car on the lip of a giant sandy wave to see the horizon – an ocean of other oversized waves of sand – this is where decisions are made.

Where do we head next? A GPS arrow is pointing the way and saying another 20 kilometers. Do we follow the arrow, or route around for an easier path? Is there an easier path?

I was with a professional off-road driver searching for natural oases in Peru’s southern desert.

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Deborah Charnes was recently in Peru and quenched her thirst for archaeology with a lesser-known site in Peru: Tambo Colorado, located in the southern coastal region of Ica.

Tambo Colorado. From an altar at sunset, you can see over the Peruvian desert to the Pacific Ocean 22 miles away. (Photos by Deborah Charnes)

By Deborah Charnes

Caveat 1: I was an anthropology student.

Caveat 2: I have gotten dirty at “digs” in North and South America. I climbed up and down the pyramids at Teotihuacán many times in my life. Mitla and Monte Alban will always be special to me. I’ve traipsed up foggy Huayna and Machu Pichu.

Caveat 3: I don’t get tired of seeing more dirt and more ruins.

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Dancing to the rhythm of the cajón in Chincha, Peru in the house of the Ballumbrosios, an influential musical family. (Photo: Emily Wabitsch/El Comercio)

By Marisol Grau, El Comercio
Adapted from Spanish by Diana Schwalb

The night is black. At the head of the celebration are the Ballumbrosio brothers. Rythm, movement and tradition is everywhere. Today in El Carmen, it’s yunsa night.

So, while I enjoy this carnival celebration, I invite you to retrace my steps in a destination that, because of its proximity, needs to be dusted off, or at least, rediscovered. Welcome to Chincha…welcome back.

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Essay and Photos by Rodney L. Dodig

Huacachina: Sand boarding, the Desert and an Oasis, PeruI stood on the crest of a sand dune looking towards the setting sun. A hearty wind stirred up an extremely fine mist of sand which scrubbed my skin and invaded every crease of my clothing. The heat from the sand and sun evaporated every drop of perspiration as it formed. Climbing to the top of this 230 meter dune was an exercise routine in itself. The sand is very fine and for every step I took up the dune I lost a half step sliding back.

The climb was well worth it though; as I looked across a sea of sand, the dunes looked like enormous waves on an angry ocean. I felt a little like Lawrence of Arabia and experienced the awe he must have felt at such a sight. Turning and looking down at the tiny oasis of Huacachina put everything into perspective for me. A small spring fed lake surrounded by hostels, restaurants and palm trees made a startling contrast to the barren appearance of the desert surrounding it.