I started the bus ride from Lima to Ica after telling good bye to Isadora and getting to the Soyuz bus station on Mexico Avenue in the nation’s capital. The PeruBus ride cost astounding 55 Soles (I’m telling you, Peru is expensive). The trip took almost 5 and a half hours to complete. Of that, an hour was spent navigating out of Lima’s congested streets. Whereas the bus departed at 3:30pm, by the time we arrived in Ica it was already almost 9pm. Having to walk the streets of the unknown city with sketchy reputation after dark with the backpack on was not encouraging, but there was no turning back – I was already here.
Despite the late hour, the streets of Ica were full of people. Luckily, the guardian angel was by my side and even though I had absolutely no idea where I’m going or where to even go, of all the options I turned in the overall best direction and headed right toward downtown, where there was no shortage of hostels.
Whereas I normally never book a room in the first hostel I walk into, I didn’t feel like returning back outside after finally walking into one. I ended up speding the night in a hostel where I was charged 50 Soles for a private room with private bathroom.
That seemed hella better than what I was quoted in Lima, but it wasn’t until the following day when I realized I was taken advantage of and was heavily overcharged. Nevertheless, I made the decision to stay in the first hostel I walked into, so I accepted it for what it was.
The following morning I went out to compare prices in other hostels, and found out the going rate for the type of room I got was 30 Soles, with more upscale options in nicer hotels going for 40 Soles. Consequently, after the first night I checked into Posada del Sol Hotel, where a single room costs 40 Soles.
After changing the hotel, I went for a walk. The downtown park was called Parque de Armas, much the same as in Lima. I then realized that virtually every bigger town in Peru names its downtown park Parque de Armas.
The one in Ica was nothing too spectacular, but a number of people in red vests stationed around the park exchange money from US dollars, and wheres that’s precisely what I needed, I took advantage of it and get some changed. The rate was slightly lower than in Lima’s exchange offices, but given the 3% commission money changers charge in Lima, I got more out of the buck in Ica.
While I was at Parque de Armas, a procession with a lot of policemen participating and a brass band passed by. I thought at first this was a funeral, but what they carried was not a casket. Not sure what this was all about.
About 5 blocks from Parque de Armas I found a market where I picked up a bunch of fruit. The whole area was very sketchy and I got warned a number of times by various people to be very careful around there. At the end of the day, perhaps because I was being very careful, I encountered no issues and had nothing stolen.
Fruit I picked up in Ica was much like fruit I bought in Lima – tasteless. They did however have my favorite fruit to which I was introduced in Ecuador – cherimoya – so all in all I was a happy camper.
Ica was also a pleasant change from Lima in that when the morning came, it was bright and sunny. The whole time I was in Lima it was overcast and miserable, so the lovely weather of Ica truly made my day. It was indeed so nice outside, after familiarizing myself with the town proper, I made the decision to go further out to visit what the area has to offer. I did not know what kind of weather I was gonna get in the following days, so taking advantage of beautiful sunshine felt like the right thing to do. And indeed, it was.