4 Reasons Why Everyone Should Visit Ica, Peru

Sydnie Schell is a student at the University of Kentucky and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA in Lima, Peru.

Ica, Peru, Schell, Photo 1
Standing in the Middle of the Atacama Desert
  1. The Atacama Desert is incredible.

If you hate rain, the Atacama Desert is for you. Running from Southern Peru into Chile, the Atacama is the driest non-polar desert in the world. Evidence even suggests that the Atacama may not have had any significant rainfall from 1570 to 1971. This desert is so other-worldly that it has even been compared to Mars. In fact it’s been used as a location for filming Mars scenes in television shows and movies.

Ica, Peru, Schell, Photo 2
Todo es desierto- Everything is desert
  1. Sand boarding is probably the most fun you’ll ever have.

Peru is known for having huge sand dunes. With some reaching up to 2 kilometers, it is the perfect location for riding sand buggies and sand boarding. Just imagine you’re riding an insane roller coaster in the world’s largest sandbox, and that is the closest comparison you’ll have to jostling around in a sand buggy. After riding up to some of the steepest sand dunes in South America, flying with intense speed via sand boarding is the most adrenaline-pumping way to get back down.

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Sand Buggy Roller Coaster Rides
Sand boarding in the Atacama Desert
  1. Las Islas Ballestas

Located in Paracas, Las Islas Ballestas are a group of small islands composed of stunning rock formations. The islands are part of a National Reserve and serve as an important sanctuary for marine fauna like the tendril, blue-footed booby, and guano birds. Every seven years the government collects all of the valuable bird droppings to use in fertilizer. The islands are also home to the mysterious candelabro, a large-scale geoglyph thought to represent a Mesoamerican world tree or a trident. Some suggest it was a sign to sailors, as it is large enough to be seen 12 miles out at sea.

Ica, Peru, Schell, Photo 5
Exploring Las Islas Ballestas
  1. The Variety of Plant and Wildlife

Among the hundreds of species you can find on Las Islas Ballestas are Sea Lions and Humboldt Penguins. Look how cute they are! Enough said.

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A Sea Lion in Paracas
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Humboldt Penguins in Las Islas Ballestas

Want to discover more of Peru? Check out “Mistura: A Taste of Peru“!