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: Central Coast

Area: 21,305 km2

Minimum: 2 m.a.s.l. (Paracas).
Maximum: 3,796 m.a.s.l. (San Pedro de Huacarpana)

The department of Ica is located in south Coast of Perú, south east of Lima. It limits to the north with Lima, to the south with Arequipa, to the east with Huancavelica and Ayacucho, and to the west with the Pacific Ocean. The weather is warm and dry all year round, with a maximum of 30ºC (86ºF), and a minimum of 8ºC (32ºF).

Ica has an extension of 21,251 km² (8,200 sq ml) and a population of almost 550 thousand people.

The capital is Ica, surrounded by beautiful valleys, famous for their vineyards and the excellent quality of wine production. Other important cities in Ica are Chincha, Pisco, Nazca, and Palpa.

Ica is an area of great historic past. The first settlers date from 10,000 years ago, from which the Wari, Nazca, Ica and Paracas cultures developed, the latter being the most important.

The Paracas culture developed from the seventh through the second century BC. It is distinguished by its matchless textile skills, Trephinations, and the art of mummifying their dead.

The Nazca culture, on the contrary, well-known for its artistic pottery, in which colorful designs and representations excel over the form, the same as their famous lines and figures that have undergone implausible interpretations. This culture expanded from the second century BC through the seventh century AD. They have left us their wonderful aqueducts that made good use of underground water, of rivers and rain, showing a great knowledge of hydraulic engineering.

In the fifteenth century, during the Inca empire, Pachacutec incorporated the territories of Ica, Nazca and the Chincha valley.

Years later, in 1563, with the arrival of the Spanish, Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera founded the Villa de Valverde del Valle de Ica. Since then, the area became an important vineyard and cotton center.

During the independence war, General José de San Martín landed in Paracas and fixed his headquarters in Pisco, to start the fight for the independence of Perú.

Ica is also known by its varied and exquisite cuisine. To Chincha belong dishes, such as, carapulcra (dried potatoes, peanuts and pork meat), and sopa seca or dry soup, a variation of the former dish.

From Ica come the beans and chupe de pallares verdes , based on a milk soup, fish, Chinese shrimp, and, of course, green beans.Among the most known desserts and sweets are, the tejas , frijol colado, alcayote.Visitors should try the different varieties of wine and pisco (white grape brandy) and during the due season, cachina.

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