The Paracas National Reserve is located in Ica, Peru and consists of the Paracas Peninsula, coastal areas and tropical desert extending to the south slightly past Punta Caimán, a total of 335,000 ha (217,594 ha are marine waters and 117,406 are part of the mainland). It includes Bahía de la Independencia (Independence Bay) and miles of coastal waters. Its main purpose is to preserve the marine ecosystem and protect the historical cultural heritage related to ancient indigenous peoples, mostly of the Paracas culture.
The reserve is home to many species of wildlife, particularly birds (see Paracas Birds, which are largely concentrated at the water's edge. Near the entrance inside the reserve is the Muséo Sitio de Julio C. Tello. Named for the archeologist who made major discoveries about the ancient Paracas culture, it features artifacts and interpretation, as well as information about the flora and fauna of this unique region.
Ica and surrounding areas are the traditional source of Pisco brandy. Ica is the site of the Museo Regional de Ica, a regional museum with exhibits ranging from prehistoric artifacts to the Spanish colonial era. On display are pre-Columbian funerary bundles and mummies, whose elongated skulls from the Paracas and pre-Inca cultures suggest ritual deformation, perhaps a mark of the elite. Some skulls also bear evidence of trepanning, a kind of early brain surgery to relieve internal pressure or remove damaged skull matter suffered in battle. There are also furniture, paintings and artifacts from the Spanish colonial era.
Ica's location in the desert provides unique opportunities for tourism, such as the nearby Huacachina oasis, located in the midst of sand dunes. It attracts international travelers, as well as resort seekers from Peru. Some young visitors try sandboarding; others travel the dunes in sand buggies.
Nazca (/ˈnɑːskɑː, -kə/; sometimes spelled Nasca) is a city and system of valleys on the southern coast of Peru. It is also the name of the largest existing town in the Nazca Province. The name is derived from the Nazca culture that flourished in the area between 100 BC and 800 AD. This culture was responsible for the Nazca Lines and the ceremonial city of Cahuachi; they also constructed an impressive system of underground aqueducts, named Puquios, that still function today.
The Nazca culture is famous for its desert line drawings. On the ground level, they cannot be discerned, but from a higher elevation, they can be seen forming coherent nature drawings, usually of animals. Nazca Lines are geometric shapes comprising kilometers of lines and large drawings of animal figures (some as big as a football field), built on the desert floor. (Source: Wikipedia)