It’s delicious, diverse and hands-on. You’ll learn the secrets of ceviche, make your own pisco sour, learn a few Andean cooking tips with a foodie in Cusco and eat empanadas straight from the wood-fired ‘horno’. Pay a visit to a cacao farm and get involved in the whole process from planting to the final product. Enjoy a farm-cooked dinner & stay overnight on the family’s plantation.. Indulge in an optional tour and tasting at one of the Sacred Valley’s first craft breweries. Whet your whistle with a pint of the fruity local IPA, the citrus tinged American pale ale, the caramel malts of the Ayrampo Roja red ale or the hearty chocolate notes of the imperial porter.. 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
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.
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Peru. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where this meeting will take place. Afterwards you'll get out and discover the South American foodie hotspot that is Lima. On an afternoon walking tour in the heart of the colonial district 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 also 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 vibrant Chorrillos seafood market, then head to the home of a wonderful cook who will demonstrate the art of preparing mouth-watering ceviche, causa limeña and more. Settle in for lunch around the kitchen table, enjoying these classic staples of Peruvian cuisine and getting a unique insight into local life.
In the afternoon, perhaps wander around Miraflores and head towards 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. 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. Choose to grab a bite to eat in Barranco or return to Miraflores.
Before departing Lima, journey to a pisco distillery outside of the city for an insight into the production of this iconic Peruvian spirit and a tasting at the source. Head to the airport and fly to Cusco (flight approximately 1 hour), arriving mid afternoon. Stroll down the cobblestone streets and discover the town's interesting combination of Spanish and Inca cultures. 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. The evening is free for your own food adventures. You leader will have plenty of suggestions!
Today is your chance to get hands-on in the kitchen. Take a stroll around San Pedro market. Due to Cusco'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 picante (hot chilli), to name a few products grown in the area. Learn about Andean ingredients, then join a passionate local cook to prepare some classic Peruvian dishes which you will enjoy over lunch.
Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo
Leaving Cusco, travel by private bus through the Sacred Valley. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, this beautiful and fertile valley has long been the lifeblood of the high Andes. Maize crops grow all the way from the riverbank, covering the terraces carved high into the valley walls. Along the way, stop in at Maras, one of the largest salt mines in the region, and Moray – a large complex of ruins with beautiful terraces that form a massive amphitheatre. It’s believed that these terraces were an agricultural experiment of the Incas to improve their crop production.
Call in on the Chichubamba community in Urubamba. See the fruit and vegetables they grow, be shown methods for extracting honey and learn about corn beer preparation on a chicheria visit before sitting down to a traditional lunch in a local home.
Our final food stop today is a tour and tasting at one of the Sacred Valley's first craft breweries. Whet your whistle with a pint of the fruity local IPA, the citrus tinged American pale ale, the caramel malts of the Ayrampo Roja red ale or the hearty chocolate notes of the imperial porter.
Arrive in Ollantaytambo, a stunning archaeological site that marks the start of the classic Inca Trail trek. The town itself has been built over an ancient Inca city, which is a beautiful example of Inca urban planning. Take a guided tour of these Inca ruins etched into the cliffs, keeping an eye out for the legendary Temple of the Sun (composed of enormous carved blocks, stone water fountains, Incan stairs and terraces, all surrounded by the misty mountains). This evening is free for your own food adventures.
Take a scenic drive over the Abra Malaga pass, taking in views of Veronica Mountain (the third highest in Cusco) along the way. Continue along the winding road into a mystical land of cloud and thick rainforest as you steer into Huayopata. Lunch is included on arrival into Huayopata. The drive roughly stretches for 2-3 hours without stops, travelling at a slow pace which allows you to absorb the natural beauty of the area.
Your first stop takes you to a local cacao plantation. Here, you’ll get a hands-on chance to experience the cacao production cycle – from bean to bar.
Cacao cultivation has been an important part of Central and South American history for centuries. Peruvian cacao often offers notes of cinnamon, dried fruits, floral hints and more subtleties. Decide for yourself, as you taste this coveted food at its source.
After an insightful day of learning about life on the plantation, continue towards a nearby coffee farm where you’ll spend the night. Treat yourself to a dinner made from locally sourced produce before spending the evening in your simple, yet comfortable accommodation, soaking in the surrounding countryside.
Today offers a hands-on insight into the production of one of the world’s favourite drinks – coffee. Wake up and start the day with one of the freshest Peruvian blends you’ll ever drink before taking a guided exploration of the coffee farm.
Peruvian beans make for an excellent drop, bringing together a mellow acidity with a caramel sweetness and sometimes a nutty undertone. The sweet, medium bodied taste has made this strain a huge hit worldwide, and there’s no better place to sample these flavours than here. Experience the production cycle from crop to cup.
After an insightful morning on the plantation, farewell your hosts and drive back to Ollantaytambo. Stretch your legs before a train ride through the winding Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes. Sitting at the base of Machu Picchu in a picturesque valley, this quaint town takes its name from the numerous hot springs in the area. Settle in to your hotel for a well-earned rest.
Machu Picchu to Ollantaytambo
Rise early for a morning tour of Machu Picchu, one of Peru's real highlights. 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, with the river Urubamba running through the gorge far below. Take in the amazing views and the fascinating history of the site as your local guide takes you through some of the 200 buildings, houses and temples. Then board a train back to Ollantaytambo (approximately 90 minutes).
Stop in at the popular Pisac market, famous for a vast array of local handicrafts. Visit a restaurant and taste delicious empanadas hot and fresh, straight from the horno (a wood-fired oven) .
For lunch, take part in an ancient cooking ritual known as 'pachamanca'. This cooking method, which dates back to the time of the Inca empire, sees meats marinaded in spices then placed in a huatia (earth oven) with a selection of root vegetables, cooked slowly over hot stones.
Your adventure comes to an end back in Cusco, where you may share one last pisco sour overlooking the Plaza de Armas. There's an optional farewell dinner this evening.
After breakfast farewell your Real Food Adventure Leader. Some of your group may be ending their adventure in Cusco too. The remainder of the day is free for you to further explore bustling Cusco.
Notes: You may want to consider purchasing a Boleto Turistico (tourism ticket) It gains access to the many fascinating museums here such as the Contemporary Art Museum, Regional History Museum and Qosqo Native Art Museum (transport & guides not included).
Please speak with your trip leader about this for more details.
Today you will be transferred to Cusco Airport and fly to Puerto Maldonado, (approximately a 1 hour flight). On arrival you will be picked up and transferred to your home for the next 2 nights, your Amazon Lodge. During this section of the trip you will have local multilingual Lodge Guides taking care of you. Their will be no group leader with you for the next couple of days.
As you begin the Amazon section of the trip, please note the Amazon section is not food based and is purely an extension for travelers wishing to visit the Amazon after your food adventure. This next section of the trip focuses on nature and wildlife.
Lodge facilities are twin share, basic but comfortable.
This morning is an early start, with breakfast at around 5–5.30 am. Embark on a jungle trek (around 11km round trip). At times the paths can get quite muddy and some people can find the trek a little exhausting, but the adventure is well worth it! Along the way there will be regular stops and you'll encounter magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat. Keep an eye out for macaws, monkeys, peccaries, jabirus, otters and any number of butterfly species. The guides can also teach you about the medicinal properties and practical uses of the plants. Once you reach Cocococha Lake, you'll take a boat ride in search of giant otters. You’ll break for lunch, returning to the lodge. In the afternoon you will head to a 42-metre viewing tower for spectacular views of the jungle. Later on, there’s the option of venturing out into the jungle on a night walk.