Welcome to Ica
Just when you thought the landscape was dry enough for Martians, out jumps Ica, Peru’s agricultural ‘miracle in the desert’ that churns out bumper-crop after bumper-crop of asparagus, cotton and fruits, as well as laying claim to being the nation’s leading (and best) wine producer. Ica, like Pisco, sustained significant earthquake damage in 2007 – the graceful cathedral and two other churches sustained signifiance damage and are undergoing lengthy repairs. Most people who make it this far bed down in infinitely more attractive Huacachina 4km to the west, but Ica has reasons to be cheerful too: the south coast’s best museum (outside Arequipa) resides here, plus – arguably – the finest winery in Peru. If Nazca seems too much of a circus, it’s also possible to organize Nazca Line excursions from Ica – the desert etchings lie 1½ hours to the south.