Home of the soaring Andes, dramatic Amazon Jungle and vast Atacama Desert, Peru’s gastronomic flavors are as diverse as its landscapes. Ancient heirloom foods have found their way to modern chefs who have successfully made the country the World’s Leading Culinary Destination every year since 2012. Yet the global fight for food sovereignty is alive as farming communities turn to the organic movement to maintain their traditional methods of agriculture. Join us for 9 to 16 days as we discover the dichotomy of Peru’s food culture.
We have organized this back-to-back programming to complement each other, so you may opt to join us either in Cusco or Lima (Ancient or Modern), or for the entire trip. If you’ve never been to Peru and Machu Picchu is on your bucket list, you won’t want to miss the Cusco section which will bring you to the heart of the Sacred Valley as we meet indigenous farmers and sample delicacies including alpaca, cuy and more quinoa than you’ve ever imagined.
If you’ve been to Machu Picchu and are craving piles of fresh fish ceviche, stuffed avocados and chicharron, join us on the coast as we meet local fishermen out for their daily catch and learn the art of crafting the perfect pisco sour.
We’ll sample authentic street food that will only leave you salivating for more, and dine at a world-famous 5-star restaurant that will blow away everything you thought you knew about food and flavor.
Join us for the whole trip, or pick and choose the option that is best for you!
PART 1: CUSCO - ANCIENT FLAVORS
Days 1 – 2: Introduction to Cusco and the Inca
Acclimatize to the high altitude of this ancient capital of the Inca.
City Tour: A local guide will lead us through the leafy plazas and winding cobblestoned allies as we absorb the architecture, art and social/ political/ economic history of this beautiful colonial city.
Market Tour: Immerse yourself in the sights, flavors, smells and sounds of an Andean market. Drink fresh tropical fruit smoothies on bar stools, sip quinoa soup alongside campesinos and sample any one of the more than 3,000 varieties of potato!
Ancient Grains Energy Bar Workshop: Dip your toes into traditional Andean plant medicine when we make granola bars from ancient grains and spices with powerful healing properties.
Days 3 – 4: Organic Farmstay with Indigenous Farming Family
Meet a farming family whose mission is to bring back the cultural, medicinal, and, most importantly, agricultural heritage of their Incan forefathers.
Farm Tour: The Ccapa Brothers will lead us on a tour of their land while explaining the history of the farm, current projects and future goals. We’ll also learn an introduction to biodynamic and permaculture philosophy and techniques.
Herbal / Homeopathic Medicine Workshop: We will partake in harvesting, processing and distilling a plant into medicinal oil, one of the sources of income for the farm. We will learn how to identify different herbs and plants, their uses in traditional medicine and how different applications can have different effects on the body.
Hike: We will wake before sunrise to hike up the mountain behind the farm to a sacred source of water for the community and a viewpoint of Pisac’s dramatic agricultural terraces and the surrounding Sacred Valley. We will learn a few Incan chants and drink crystal clear water running from the heart of the mountain
Cuy Workshop: Cuy is the traditional Andean guinea pig dish of the sierra and we will learn the whole farm to table process, starting with a live animal!
Day 5 – Chincheros Women’s Weaving Cooperative
Natural Dye Textile Workshop – About an hour outside of Cusco lies the quaint town of Chincheros, known for their beautiful natural dye textiles. We’ll meet with a women’s textile association to learn how the Quechua people are still using traditional native herbs and local plants for natural medicines and dyes. We’ll also enjoy a fresh, authentic Andean meal with the women.
Free Time- Enjoy free time to explore Cusco’s artisan markets, street vendors, innumerable archaeological ruins and quaint cafes and restaurants.
Prep for Machu Picchu – We’ll ensure we have enough time to prepare for the upcoming days’ journey to Machu Picchu.
Days 6 -8 – Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu
Cusqueñan Cooking Class - Start the day with a cooking class from a local chef followed by a lunch made by you!
Journey to Machu Picchu - Explore the majestic city of Machu Picchu and cross it off your bucket list! Stretch your legs as you climb the high, ancient steps to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and the #1 visited place in South America. Awe-inspiring and vertigo-inducing, these 600-year old ruins are hugged by craggy mountains, furious rivers and a wonderfully dramatic landscape. You’ll leave inspired and rejuvenated.
Day 9 – Fly to Lima or Home
If you’ve opted to join us for the coastal portion of the tour, Lima - Modern Flavors, we’ll all fly to Lima together. Alternatively, you will fly home or stick around and enjoy Cusco on your own time.
PART 2: LIMA - MODERN FLAVORS
Day 1– 2: Lima and Pachacutec
Arrivals to Lima and introduction to Peru’s world-renowned national cuisine including dishes such as ceviche, pollo a la brasa, papas rellenas, palta reina, lomo saltado, papas a la huancaina, cuy and anticucho.
Culinary School with a Social Mission: A suburb on the outer fringe of Lima with a population of 150,000, Pachacutec is an emotionally inspiring place with a history full of years of struggle by a population that continues to fight for their basic necessities: water, electricity and proper plumbing. We will visit with one of the founders of the town who still acts as a community organizer and visit the Culinary Institute of Pachacutec, a school founded by world-famous Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio to help break the cycle of poverty by training Pachacutec’s youth. We’ll tour the facility, learn about its social mission and taste some of their innovative creations!
Days 3 – 5 – Ica / Pisco/ Paracas
Pisco Distillery Tour: We’ll visit a Pisco distillery to learn how this grape-based liquor is fermented and finished into the distinctly South American liquor.
Pisco Sour Class: Learn how to craft the perfect pisco sour – starting with the freshest ingredients, and a raw egg!
Pisco City Market Tour: The city of Pisco boasts one of our favorite markets in the world. We’ll eat fresh empanadas, taste various levels of aji, marvel at the beautifully chaotic fruit stands and witness how frogs are used in traditional smoothies!
Paracas Fishing Tour and Ceviche Class: Experience the cleansing spirit of the Pacific Ocean’s waves as you relax in the National Park in the desert – that’s right – see where the desert’s sand dunes meet the Pacific’s crashing waves. This spot also happens to be in the Humboldt Current, one of the best fisheries in the world. We’ll meet local fishermen to hear about the current state of the ocean’s marine life, and learn how to make the most proper ceviche.
Days 6 – 7: Lima
Cooking Class with Coastal Flavors – Learn how the various ajis are used in conjunction with potatoes, avocados, chicken, lime and salt to form a basis of traditional Peruvian dishes.
Central Restaurant - We’ll feast at the No. 5 restaurant in the world according to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, and explore Perus’ bio-diversity through a fantastically creative molecular gastronomy multi-course tasting menu.
Lima City Tour - Explore downtown Lima, home to the historic cathedral, catacombs and central food market. The Lima Cathedral dates back to the 16th Century and is a beautiful mix of Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassic architecture.
Free Time - Enjoy free time to explore Lima’s artisan markets, specialty coffee cafes, and cosmopolitan parks.
Day 8 – Departures Home
We’ll leave out of Jorge Chavez International Airport. Fly home, or continue exploring South America!
"I have learned more than I could ever learn in a lecture hall."
- Katie F., Oregon