Ica is the is the capital city of the province that shares its name. Lying on the Pacific coast, it benefits from sunny weather all year round. Personally, I wasn't all that taken with this city. It's really more a place you just have to pass through to get to the Huacachina oasis or the Paracas National Reserve.
Even today, you can still see the damage caused by the major earthquake that occurred here in 2007, which measured magnitude 7.0 on the Richter scale. The city still bears the marks of that event.
When I was travelling through this region of Peru I took the opportunity to visit one of the vineyards. This is something you really must do when you're in this area if you're interested in learning about Peruvian wines and spirits. If you're a wine aficionado like I am however, you may be disappointed. Peruvian wines have not yet really reached the standard of those produced by their Chilean and Argentinian neighbours. In particular, they tend to be sweet. It's nice to have one small glass, but a whole bottle would be hard to stomach.
Ica isn't the most attractive of cities … and the 2008 earthquake didn't help matters, with the government doing only very little to take care of the victims. Despite everything, however, this can be an interesting destination to visit, especially for those who love oddities (there's a witches' village close by) and museums with unusual exhibits. The buildings themselves aren't the most modern, but whether it's the mummies with their deformed skulls or the carved stones of pseudo extraterrestrial origin (according to Doctor Cabrera, who has spent forty years of his life defending this theory), each display cabinet is amazing, to say the very least. In any case, I personally found it all fascinating!
There are numerous "haciendas" or Pisco cellars (Pisco is a type of brandy) located in the area around the city, and these are enjoyable places to visit if you happen to have enough spare time.
The star attraction in the region is undeniably Lake Huacachina: an oasis surrounded by dunes where you can go for dune buggy rides or do a spot of sandboarding. Avoid visiting at weekends: the place gets very noisy.
So, should you or should you not visit Ica? It's your decision. The city can be OK as a place to stop off at when travelling between Paracas National Reserve and Nazca; but in my honest opinion, it's not one of the essential places to see on your trip to Peru.