Guide to Ica
Ica is home to a plethroa of vineyards and pisco-producing haciendas. Pisco is a white grape brandy and the country’s much-loved national spirit. Hacienda Tacama and Hacienda Caravedo are two top facilities that welcome visitors, where historic wine and pisco-producing traditions blend with contemporary production methods.
Things to do in Ica
As a famous grape-growing region, the most popular thing to do in Ica is spend time sampling the local tipple with guided tours of the best vineyards. Aracari arranges visits to both Hacienda Tacama and Hacienda Caravedo where you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the entire process – from grape-growing through to distillation and, of course, sampling.
Hacienda Tacama is a sprawling bright-pink Hacienda, which lays claim to being the oldest winery in South America. A tour of the Hacienda allows you to learn about and sample some of Peru’s best wines and pisco. Rich in local history, at the centre of Hacienda Tacama is a chapel and bell tower, the latter built in 1815. This can be climbed for fabulous views and Aracari can arrange a glass of bubbly at the top! Hacienda Tacama is also a working production facility, using the latest modern technology. A guided tour explains the process from grape-growing to distillation. Sampling can then be done in the modern lab or in the cellar, reserved for VIP guests. Hacienda Tacama has a restaurant and can offer pop-up picnics in the vineyards. Visitors can also enjoy a tradtional paso horse show in the grounds – a special Peruvian breed of horse known for its gait. The first owner of the vineyard was an equestrian fan and brought over Arabian horses from Spain. Over the years they were bred with local Peruvian Paso horses to create the unique Tacama breed.
At Hacienda Caravedo, every bottle of Pisco is made with eight pounds of only the finest, estate-grown, single expression grapes. A tour of the distillery includes experiencing a gravity-fed distillation to gently extract the flavor of the grapes, a wooden usillo to press the grapes, and a state-of-the-art facility using small batch copper pot stills dedicated to environmental stewardship. Hacienda Caravedo also has five exclusive bungalows beside an inviting pool, each with a private terrace and a kitchenette.
Coastal Paracas is only around an hour’s drive from Ica and the launchpad for boat trips to the Ballesta islands and guided tours of the Paracas National Reserve.
Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera founded the city in 1563, and it now serves as the capital of the department of Ica. At just 420 meters (1,377 feet) above sea level, Ica is about 305 kilometers (about 190 miles) south of Lima on the Pan-American Highway and 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) inland from the coastal city of Pisco. There are attractive colonial churches, excellent museums and several annual festivals. In Ica you should try the many flavors of tejas, a delicious local candy made of manjar blanco, or dulce de leche. The Ica River irrigates 3,000 square kilometers (1,158 square miles) of land; the waters of the Coclococha and Orococha lakes are channeled from the eastern side of the Andes. The desert surrounding Ica is known for its iconic sand dunes and an oasis famous for its grapes, which bolster its thriving pisco and wine industry. Many of the distilleries and wineries offer tours to visitors.