Desafio Inca 2018: Ica’s top attractions en route

The third edition of Dakar Series: Desafio Inca takes place in Ica, whose geography, beautiful landscapes, and gastronomy attract more and more visitors.

Ica is blessed with stunning dunes, beaches, valleys, a millenary cultural heritage, a vast delicious gastronomy, and welcoming locals.
As is known, the Dakar Series event is an opportunity for competitors to test themselves in the imposing dunes of the Ica Desert and get ready to take on the Dakar Rally that will be contested entirely in Peru in January 2019.
The following is a list of the most emblematic attractions near the competition’s route.
Ica Dunes
The imposing dunes of Ica Desert in Peru stretch the coast of the Pacific Ocean located to the west of the Andes mountains.
The dunes provide an ideal natural setting that is well suited for off-road rallies.
The place is a great spot to go paragliding, go sandboarding, run the Marathon Des Sables, and take dune buggy rides.
Paracas National Reserve
The area is known for its natural beauty, as well as diverse animal and plant life.
Established as a natural protected area by Peru’s Government on September 25, 1975, the Paracas National Reserve has a total area of 335,000 ha.
It is important because it contains representative samples of Peru’s marine-coastal ecosystems. Likewise, it is a major source of income for thousands of locals.
Julio C. Tello Museum
Located at the entrance to Paracas National Reserve, Julio C. Tello Site Museum showcases 120 pieces —including ceramics, textiles, and utensils— representing Paracas culture from its initial periods thru 200 A.D.
The compound features a dark room to screen videos featuring introductory graphic content and a Temporary Exhibition Room.
Nazca Lines
Situated in the arid Peruvian coastal plain, some 400 km south of Lima, the geoglyphs of Nazca cover about 450 km2.
They include more than 800 straight lines, 300 geometric figures, as well as 70 plant, animal, and anthropomorphic designs.
While some researchers believe the glyphs were part of an astronomical observatory, others believe they acted as a calendar.
German researcher Maria Reiche dedicated her life to studying and protecting these famous lines.
Huacachina Oasis
The magnificent oasis town of Huacachina offers a range of activities like extreme sports.
Most visitors are drawn by sandboarding, which involves riding across or down a dune while standing with both feet strapped to a board.
Riders board down dunes wearing helmets for their protection, although there are some who eschew them and even use a board without bindings.
Located about 3km away from downtown Ica, the oasis offers a surreal setting to take buggy rides on sand dunes.
It must be noted some dunes in Peru reach up to 2 km. In fact, Cerro Blanco in Nazca is believed to be the highest sand dune in the world.
The region features a varied and delicious cuisine, which is influenced by Andean, Creole, and African styles.
Ica’s traditional recipes are made of beans and ajies (Peruvian hot peppers). Carapulcra is the region’s flagship dish.
Other delicacies include different styles of ceviche, jalea, parihuela, chilcano, among others.
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