In the vicinity of Ica, there are many possibilities for adventure. Here are three ways that you can explore this area while living luxuriously.
Get an adrenaline rush on the highest dunes in South America
If you’re an adventurer in Peru, surfing over the sand dunes is something you have to do at least once in your life. Freedom, the wind in your face, and the sensation of letting go is an indescribable feeling that you have to experience for yourself.
Surfing Duna Grande or Cerro Blanco, two of the highest sand dunes in South America (Nasca, Ica Region, south of Lima) is even more exciting. Slopes from the summit are short and gentle, inviting you to try sandboarding. There are some steep slopes of around a thousand meters on which you can reach really high speeds. As well as sandboarding, sand buggies are also available: motorized vehicles that are more comfortable but provide almost the same level of adrenaline. You don’t so much need stamina as a great skill to drive one.
As we have mentioned, you need to be in good physical shape and have sufficient stamina for this adventure, as the expeditions combine walking as well as sandboarding. Although the trek is not very arduous at first, it gets more difficult when you ascend the sandy slopes of the dunes. It will take you about three hours to reach the summit.
For a combination of nature, adventure, and luxury and relaxation: La Hacienda Hotel in Paracas Bay
Paracas looks different today. This bay in the department of Ica, three hours from Lima, has become a destination for pleasure, adventure, and relaxation. La Hacienda Bahia Paracas is a shorefront hotel where sea and swimming pool merge. Yes, you read that right, you can wake up in your small and fully-equipped suite, go out onto the terrace, and take a dip in the infinite blue (and cold) waters.
The hotel’s design reinterprets an old coastal hacienda and offers a combination of elegance and simplicity. Each room is carefully decorated, they have the best hotel beds we have ever tried: soft and comfy. All this is complemented by excellent food that uses local ingredients and fresh seafood, by the Oceano Spa that uses materials from the coast. You can also take private excursions, passing by a museum that contains around 250 pre-Hispanic items.
A trip to this reserve is a dream come true: vast beaches, peace, unending desert and culture. It is Peru’s only maritime protected area and is the home of a unique variety of marine fauna, as well as vestiges of the enigmatic Paracas culture.
Experience diversity by making a stop between the jungles and the Andes
The Andes divide Peru into a desert coastal region dotted with agriculturally rich valleys that reach from the Amazon to the Pacific. The confluence of the Humboldt and El Nino Currents along Peru’s long Pacific Coast makes the Peruvian sea one of the world’s richest in fish and crustacean production.
At the same time, the Andes give birth to many of the Amazon’s most powerful rivers. The rainforest areas of the high jungle, where waters from the Andes rush towards the Amazon, are habitat to many of the world’s bird, animal, insect and plant species. The Manu and Alto Purús National Parks offer unique opportunities to see unspoiled natural habitats.
In Peru the diverse geography means that the country has all kinds of records. For example, Peru has the most varied number of classified life zones: 84 of 117; and of different climates: 28 out of 32. This level of bio and eco-diversity goes hand in hand with cultural diversity and Peru, like the Mediterranean, China and Mesoamerica, was the seat of one of the great world civilizations. Peru also has contributed to world agriculture and breeding with the domestication of potatoes, quinua, Guinea Pigs, Llama and Alpaca.
Throughout Peruvian history, different cultures adapted and developed within the rich biodiversity of the country. Sophisticated coastal cultures such as the Nasca, Moche, and Sicán developed complex canal systems, cities and temples that dominated the desert landscapes.
Diego Oliver is a Peruvian writer and author whose work can be found in the travel magazine Ultimate Journeys. He loves to focus on Peruvian culture both modern and classic, traveling the country, as well as social responsibility.