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Ica Wineries - Cultural Tour Ica - Peru

In the countryside around Ica, 85 traditional wineries woo visitors with sensational food, charming atmosphere and, more importantly, the opportunity to taste locally produced wines and piscos. In the evenings, the ambiance changes to down-to-earth cantinas (taverns), with locals coming to drink the night away.

Some of the bodegas are small, artisan affairs and others, large operations. The best time to visit is January-March, during vendimia (harvest season). This is also when cachina, a very young wine, is available. Outside of harvest season, the scene is quieter; you might have trouble finding a wine guide. You may, however, have the opportunity to share a glass or two with the bodega’s owner.

Visits to the wineries entail a jaunt through the facilities to learn how pisco is made and to try samples. Most tours are in Spanish only. The best way to get to these countryside wine retreats is to take an organized tour with a travel agency in Ica or Huacachina. You can also get to them on your own. However you chose to go, be sure to pick up a bottle to take home with you.

Sixty bodegas are in the Subtanjalla district north of Ica city. The nearest one to town is Vista Alegre, three kilometers (1.8 mi) northwest). Founded in 1857 by the Picasso brothers, this winery produces Cabernet, Sauvignon, Pinot Blanc, Malbec, Tempranillo, Merlot and other wines, as well as piscos. To visit Vista Alegre, take a mototaxi ($0.80 one way). There is an entrance fee. Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Camino a Tingüina, Km 2.5. Tel.: 232-919, URL:

About 16 kilometers (10 mi) north of Ica is a place where you can spend an entire day exploring several bodegas and even a wine museum, all within walking distance of each other. To get to this part of town from Ica, take a “San Juan/Tres Esquinas” colectivo taxi from the second block of Calle Callao ($1). Tell the driver to let you off at the turn off for El Catador.

At Kilometer 294.2 of the Panamericana Sur, a side road cuts through the vineyards. About a kilometer down the way is the turn off for El Catador, a winery founded in 1856. This bodega not only produces piscos (including a delicious crema de pisco), but also pure-fruit jams. Entrance is free. Daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Panamericana Sur 294.2, Fundo Tres Esquinas 102, Distrito de Subtanjalla. Tel: 403-295/956-622-629, E-mail: Free). Three other small bodegas are also on this side road.

On the other side of the main turn-off from the highway, another road heads to Museo Lazo, a museum full of all sorts of curious objects. Since 1809, this bodega has produced wines and piscos. The house guide speaks English, French and Portuguese. Camino Reyes 150, Salas. Tel: 403-430, URL:

Eight kilometers (5 mi) further down the highway turn-off is Tacama, one of Peru’s finest wineries. This bodega employs French wine experts to help with grape selection and other wine-related consultations. The result is several outstanding dry wines. The winery itself is an interesting mix of century-old hacienda with modern viniculture technology. Tours are bilingual. Daily 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., closed December 25-January 1. Av Camino Real s/n, La Tinguiña. Tel: 228-395, URL:

South of Ica, in the Los Aguijes neighborhood, are another two dozen artisan bodegas. The most famous is Lovera, which since its founding in 1867 has won a number of awards. Besides the standard piscos, Lovera also produces fruit-flavored cream piscos. A taxi there costs $2.25 one way. Daily 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Panamericana Sur, Km 308, Garganto k-1, Los Aguijea. Tel: 215-452, Cel: 956-391-164, URL:

Ica, Peru

Cultural Tour

Relative price: Budget

Travel Skills: None

18 Jun 2012

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