The big attraction in the Ica region is the desert lagoon known as Huacachina. It is surrounded by some truly humongous dunes, and there is a real question about how the lagoon even exists. The locals used to believe that a mermaid inhabited the lagoon, and somehow magically maintained it.
Perhaps the magic survives, because I actually ran into some friends from Chile here. A total surprise. We had a great time too.
The reality, I think, is that for work or play in and around Ica, Huacachina is the place to go. There’s a few cafes by the lagoon that seemed alright for working.
Bananas is the first cafe I have included on this site where you have to buzz to get in. It’s a hostel as well, and a restaurant. It’s a big place, with lots of varied seating, and an extensive menu. It’s not as “bananas” as one might think – I didn’t see anyone dancing on the tables or anything. But I personally found it an energizing place to work. If the gate is not open, just buzz to get in. Lots of people go there just to eat or drink. Walk straight through, passing a small room on your left. That room has outlets, but tends to be crowded. Just past it, to the left, is where you order your coffee, or whatever you’re having. Then just get the wifi code and grab a seat somewhere. I believe the hours there are noon to midnight every day.
Desert Nights over on the other side of the lagoon is the only other place in Huancachina that seemed alright. Coconuts, across from Bananas, seemed okay, but the lady who collects your money seemed to have kind of bad vibes. So Desert nights here actually has two lower floors, and the top deck which you can see above. To be sure, it is more of a restobar, but workable, with plenty of seating on the second floor as well, and better vibes.
Huacachina is the main visitor destination. However, there are plenty of budget places to stay in Ica, itself, and they are generally more available. So here’s a few cafes in Ica proper, in case you are staying there, or visiting for the day.
devHouse is the best nomad cafe in the area. They have a real nice place, with food too, and even a fine selection of games. The only thing is they are not really near anything, except perhaps a hostel ot two. Nevertheless, if you want a good place to work, you should definitely be set. The hours are from 3pm to 11pm every day.
There are few cafes around the Ica central plaza, and Lora looked to be the best of them. Hours are 7:30am to 10:30pm every day.
Word to the Wise: Cheap Ice Cream!
If you take a little visit to the central plaza in Ica, there’s a special you shouldn’t miss. You will see lots of people walking around with ice cream, and it certainly goes down nicely in the heat. So there’s a place there that does an amazing ice cream deal — Pizza al Paso, on the south-west corner of the plaza. They have pizza, obviously, but also ice cream for just 2 soles. It’s good ice cream too. Just so you know, if you ask for one serving for 2 soles, you actually get two scoops for that. I also really dug their lucuma ice cream. I don’t always like this flavor, but they seem to do it just perfectly at this place. Escape the heat! Get some ice cream!
Enjoy your visit to Huacachina and Ica!