The city is located on the Ica River about 300 km (190 mi) to the south of Lima, along the desert coast of southern Peru. Further south along the Pan-American Highway lies the city of Nazca.
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. The elongated skulls from the Paracas and pre-Inca cultures suggest ritual deformation, perhaps to mark an elite class. 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.
A collection of furniture, paintings and artifacts date from the Spanish colonial era.
The Department of Ica encompasses considerable desert, giving it unique opportunities for tourism. The nearby Huacachina oasis is located in the midst of sand dunes. The city of Ica attracts international travelers, as well as resort seekers from Peru. Some young visitors try sandboarding; others travel the dunes in sand buggies.