A trio of special attractions and an archaeological treasure trove await visitors along the southern Pacific coast of Peru in Ica, Nazca and Paracas. All are now even more comfortably accessible by car from Lima via the paved Pan-American Highway, which follows the desert lowlands all the way to Chile.
The Paracas peninsula, 125 miles from Lima, and the nearby Ballestas Islands make up the most important wildlife sanctuary on the Peruvian coast.
Birds -cormorants, boobies, pelicans, flamingos and penguins (in season)- as well as colonies of sea lions are on view from tour boats cruising to the islands. From the water, visitors also see the "Candelabro", a giant figure in the style of the Nazca drawings etched into the coastal hills. A museum on the peninsula exhibits a small collection of weavings, found wrapped around the mummies of the Paracas necropolis.
Located between Paracas and Nazca, Ica is a lush agricultural oasis surrounded by desert sands. It sits at the center of wine and pisco (brandy) production in Peru, and tours can be arranged to the local wineries, a particularly interesting visit at harvest time (late February until early April). A must in Ica is the Regional Museum, known for its fine examples of regional textiles and pottery from the Paracas, Nazca and Inca cultures.
Some 2,500 years ago, Nazca was the seat of a pre-Inca civilization highly advanced in both astronomy and ceramic art. Today enormous geoglyph figures of animals, birds and geometric figures remain etched in the desert, a testimony to this remarkable culture. The line drawings can only be seen and appreciated from the air, aboard small aircraft. Planes take off from Nazca, as well as Ica and Lima, for aerial viewings. By road, Nazca lies 100 miles south from Ica.
Mauricio- THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!! I know that I speak for both Lata and I when I say we had the most wonderful Peruvian Adventure. I was VERY impressed at how seamless the trip was. You did an amazing job. We are both so very happy with how things turned out. From our arrival in Lima to our departure. The transfers were all perfect and everyone was friendly, and The Orient Express Hotels was outstanding in their service to us. I think that the highlights of the trip were the Orient........ Damion S, USA