Discover Peru’s culinary scene from Lima to Cuzco

Peruvian food and topography go hand in hand. Using what pachamama (mother earth) gave them, the Peruvians have developed a cuisine that combines local and international flavours. And undoubtedly it is the geography of Peru that makes its culinary culture so distinct. With the coast providing an abundance of fresh seafood, the Andean highland supplying a variety of potatoes and the Amazon rainforest delivering delicious seasonal fruits, it's unsurprising that Peru is one of the world's emerging foodie hotspots.

Start
Lima, Peru
Finish
Cuzco, Peru
Countries
Peru
Themes
Food
Code
GGZP
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
171kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • It's delicious, diverse and hands-on. You’ll learn the secrets of ceviche, make your own pisco sour, take a cooking class in a treehouse lodge and eat empanadas straight from the wood-fired ‘horno’
  • In the last decade, Peru has undergone a culinary renaissance, so this is one of our hottest food destinations
  • Discover the breadth of Peruvian cuisine in all its rich and colourful history, from the rustic ‘pachamanca’ tradition to Lima’s world-class urban street food scene
  • No trip to Peru is complete without seeing Machu Picchu, so you’ll spend a day exploring this magical metropolis of the Incas

Itinerary

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Peru. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. Afterwards you'll get out and discover the South American foodie hotspot that is Lima. An afternoon walking tour in the heart of the colonial district kicks things off. You'll see San Martin plaza, visit the nearby San Francisco Monastery and catacombs, then stop past Lima's Central Market. Here you will discover the building blocks of Peruvian cuisine, including mouth-watering fruits, vegetables, meat and fish sourced from all over the country. This walk is a great taste of Lima's excellent downtown street food scene. Savour a variety of bite-size treats, including 'anticuchos' (grilled beef hearts) and 'papas' (potatoes), 'masamorra' (purple corn), 'arroz con leche' (sweet rice with milk) and 'picarones' (Peruvian doughnuts). Finish up in Lima's main square with the option of dinner downtown or heading back to Miraflores.
Pay a morning visit to the wonderful Chorillos seafood market where you'll select the catch of the day. Then make a beeline to a local market restaurant for a masterclass in the preparation of Peruvian ceviche (citrus-cured fish) and cicharron (fried fish). Feast on your market-fresh fish as a late brunch. In the afternoon, perhaps take a turn around Miraflores, visiting Parque del Amor (Love's Park) which has superb views across Lima's beaches. You might also want to visit the excellent National Museum of Anthropology, Archaeology and History of Peru. Alternatively, catch a taxi to the Gold Museum or the Larco Museum. The latter is renowned for its ancient pottery collection. In the early evening, join a walking tour through the bustling beachside district of Barranco, where the streets are lined with traditional casonas (colonial-style houses). This place is home to some of Peru's best nightlife, and you'll pop into a bar that specialises in the national spirit of Peru – pisco. Enjoy a guided tasting with a passionate pisco aficionado, followed by a demonstration of how to make Peru's most famous cocktail, the pisco sour. Of course you get to drink it afterwards – salud! Grab a bite to eat in Barranco or return to Miraflores. There's also the option of a touring a pisco distillery outside of Lima this afternoon, time permitting. Ask your leader at the welcome meeting if you are interested in this activity.

Notes: Remember to agree on a fare with the driver before starting any taxi journey, as taxis do not have meters. Miraflores to downtown costs around 15–20 soles.

ITINERARY VARIATION:
Please note that the 04 September 2016 departure for this trip will take place during Mistura which is the largest food festival in Latin America. This departure we will include entrance to the Festival as well as two tastings of traditional foods (including ceviche). There are also chef demonstrations and other activities at the Festival which your leader will be able to help you enjoy.

This activity will replace the Chorrillos Market visit and ceviche brunch.
Take a morning flight to Cuzco (approximately 1 hour). Stroll down the cobblestone streets and discover the town's interesting combination of Spanish and Inca cultures. You will find coca leaf tea all over the city – this will help you adjust to the altitude (3,450 metres). Enjoy a guided orientation walk in the afternoon. You'll discover the wonderful San Pedro market. Due to Cuzco's location, at the eastern edge of the Andes, there's ready access to locally grown avocados, potatoes (thousands of different types), quinoa and aji piccante (hot chilli), to name a few. There are also several impressive Inca ruins within the city to explore. The most easily accessible is Coricancha, which was the Inca empire's richest temple. For those keen to expand their newfound pisco knowledge, a visit to the Museo del Pisco is a must. More bar than museum (opening hours stretch into the early morning), the cocktails on offer go well beyond the traditional pisco sour, although the original is made to perfection here.
Today you'll join a workshop that's all about Peru's most beloved agricultural products – the cocao bean. This is your chance to learn the interesting history of this increasingly popular (and potent!) Andean export. Go on a journey from bean to bar, starting with the harvest, fermentation and drying of the cacao beans all the way through to the preparation and setting process. Finish it off with a much-awaited tasting. The chocolate is delectable.
Travel by private bus through the Sacred Valley (approximately 2 hours) on the outskirts of Cuzco. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, this beautiful and fertile valley has been the lifeblood of the high Andes for ages. Maize crops grow all the way from the riverbank, covering the terraces carved high into the valley walls. Stop past the popular Pisac market which is famous for a vast array of local handicrafts. Visit a local restaurant that has a wonderful wood-fired horno (oven) and enjoy a demonstration on empanada-making. Taste your delicious empanadas hot and fresh, straight from the oven. Then head to Chichubamba and meet with members of the local community, learning more about the lifestyle of people in the Sacred Valley and the fruit and vegetables they grow. Sit down to a lunch of the local specialty, “cuy” (guinea pig), prepared in a traditional manner. Arrive in Ollantaytambo in the early evening.
Embark on a guided visit to the Incan ruins in Ollantaytambo this morning. Located in the Urubamba Valley, the city of Ollantaytambo is a stunning archeological site and the starting point of the classic Inca Trail trek. The town has been built over an ancient Inca city, which is a beautiful example of Inca urban planning. Highlights include the Temple of the Sun (composed of enormous carved blocks, stone water fountains, Incan stairs and terraces, all surrounded by the misty mountains). Next you'll travel by train through the winding Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes (approximately 90 minutes). Sitting at the base of Machu Picchu in a picturesque valley, Aguas Calientes takes its name from the numerous hot springs in the area. Take a late-afternoon cooking class at Rupa Wasi Tree House, one of the most innovative restaurants in Aguas Calientes. There are some fantastic views from up here. Visit the local market to collect ingredients, then learn to cook a range of regional dishes. Then sit down to feast on the fruits of your labour.
Rise early for a morning tour of Machu Picchu, one of Peru's real highlights. It's one of those magical places, and catching your first glimpse of the lost city of the Incas through the early morning mist is definitely a memorable moment. The ruins of this ancient (and, until 1911, secret) metropolis are beautifully located, hidden high in the Andes and surrounded by lush cloud forest, with the river Urambamba running through the gorge far below. Take in not only the amazing views but the fascinating history of the site as you local guide takes you through some of the 200 buildings, houses and temples. Board a train back to Ollantaytambo (approximately 90 minutes).

Notes: Due to internal safety policy, Intrepid leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking any tours of Wayna Picchu.
Return to Cuzco via Maras, one of the largest salt mines in the region, and Moray, a large complex of ruins with beautiful terraces that form a huge amphitheatre. It is believed that the terraces were an Incan centre of agricultural experimentation for improving farming techniques and crops. For your final Peruvian feast, take part in an ancient cooking ritual known as 'pachamanca'. This cooking method dates back to the time of the Inca empire and is still popular today. A variety of meats are marinated in spices then placed in a huatia (earth oven), often with a selection of root vegetables. Buried in the ground and covered with hot stones, the meat and vegetables are left to cook slowly in the earth. This is your chance to feast like the Incas. Your adventure comes to an end back in Cuzco, where you can share one last pisco sour overlooking the Plaza de Armas. There's an optional farewell dinner this evening.
Your adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
Transport
Bus, Plane, Private minibus, Private vehicle, Taxi, Train
Accommodation
Hotel (8 nights)
Included activities
  • Lima - Colonial District City & Food Walk
  • Catacombs - Lima
  • Lima - Barranco Walk and Pisco Tasting
  • Lima - Cevicheria Cooking Class and Lunch
  • Orientation Walk - Cuzco
  • Chocolate Museum Experience - Cuzco
  • Pisac Market & Empanada Making - Sacred Valley
  • Chichubamba Community Lunch - Sacred Valley
  • Cooking Class - Rupa Wasi Tree House
  • Archaelogical Site Visit - Ollantaytambo
  • Machu Picchu entrance and Guided Tour
  • Salt Mines Visit - Maras
  • Pachamanca Experience & Lunch - Sacred Valley
  • Incan Archaelogical Site - Moray

Dates

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Important notes

PASSPORT DETAILS:
Domestic airlines require passengers' full passport details to issue their tickets. It is then very important that you provide this information at the time of booking.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Real Food Adventure - Peru trips score an average of 4.8 out of 5 based on 15 reviews in the last year.

Real Food Adventure - Peru , June 2016

Real Food Adventure - Peru , June 2016