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Arrive in Lima
Welcome to Peru! Begin your Peru culinary adventure as you land in Lima—the heartbeat of Peru’s thriving gastronomic scene. After checking into tonight’s accommodations and a brief trip orientation, feel free to begin your exploration of Lima’s many wonders.
Peruvian Cooking Class, Explore Lima
Begin your day with your first cooking class in authentic Peruvian cuisine. Renowned Chef Yurac invites you into his home and shares with you the secretes behind preparing traditional Peruvian dishes. Prepare a complete meal from scratch surrounded by scenic views of Lima in this cultural exploration you can truly take home with you in a recipe.
Eat your fill before setting off on an afternoon tour of colonial Lima. Explore the Main Square, a city center housing the Municipal Hall, “Desamparados” Train Station, Cathedral and the Government Palace. As you wander the historic streets, wonder at the unique blend of Incan cultural references and Spanish colonial influences evident in lavish mansions and Moorish style balconies. You also visit the iconic Church of San Francisco, which houses a convent, cloisters, catacombs and art museum.
Relax with a fresh, authentic Peruvian dinner before returning to your hotel for bed.
This morning takes you to Cusco, which was once the heart of the Incan empire. Spend your day exploring Cusco’s rich and varied past and enticing present with a city tour. Visit Cusco’s ancient Main Square, known to the Inca’s as the Warrior’s Square or Huacaypata, as well as the El Triunfo Cathedral, whose grand choir cloisters, pulpit and engraved altars sit atop the site of the Incan Temple of Suntur Wasi (or House of God). The Church and Convent of Santo Domingo—sitting atop the Temple of the Sun, or Koricancha—also speaks to the confluence of Spanish colonial and Incan heritage so prevalent within Cusco.
As the afternoon draws on, discover the Incan ruins just outside of Cusco. Explore the immense ruins of Sacsayhuamán, a fortress comprised of 3 large platforms, as well as the Incan baths of Tambomachay, where the ancient peoples worshipped the element of water. You also visit Kenko, a worship site renowned for its immense puma-shaped stone block and animal engravings, and the terraced military fortress of Puca Pucará. Another delicious dinner awaits you upon your return to Cusco.
San Pedro Local Market and Culinary Lesson
Get a taste of the local life this morning with a visit to Cusco’s San Pedro Market. Nearby to the Plaza de Armas, the market’s a wonder for your senses: bight colors, fresh produce and spices, and vendors selling savory dishes will make your mouth water and mind buzz.
Immerse yourself in the local scene as you purchase your own ingredients and learn about the variety of local products. Then, our chef shows you how to prepare 3 classic Peruvian dishes from scratch—with plenty of stories, instruction and tasting along the way!
After you’ve filled up on tasty dishes you’ve made yourself, spend the rest of the day exploring Cusco on your own. Seek out unexpected cultural encounters and try out one of our favorite local restaurants from a provided list to end your night with a culinary experience you’ll remember.
Explore the Sacred Valley
Today’s culinary adventures take a liquid libation bent as you visit a traditional Peruvian workshop known for crafting the ancient drink of “chicha.” Chica, made from fermented corn, was used the the ancient Incas and Peruvians in their rituals. At the authentic “chicheria” whose special recipe has been past down for generations, learn about the drink’s cultural significance and witness how the ceremonial drink is prepared.
Next, make your way to Chinchero, where you can visit another church constructed on the ruins of Inca palaces and temples. Here, you can also visit one of its authentic dye and fabric workshops, where the distinctive Peruvian textiles are crafted.
Your afternoon continues with a visit to Moray, famous for its circular terraces and salt mines. Pass through stunning Andean vistas en route and stretch your legs with a brief stop at Qorimarca, where you can look upon the Andes’ eastern mountain range. You also pass by the Piuray lagoon, where you can learn more about the region’s geology and rich culture ranging from crafts and traditions to agriculture and education.
Upon arrival in Moray, enjoy a guided tour of the ancient archeological site before exploring the nearby colonial town of Maras, known for the baroque motifs and heraldic shields decorating front doors’ lintels of houses throughout the town. Continue on to the salt mines, where you relax with a tasty snack before exploring the vast array of wells where the Incas used a complex system of evaporation to harvest salt.
Return to the Sacred Valley where you discover some more tempting Peruvian dishes with dinner on your own. We have plenty of favorite local restaurants to recommend.
Explore Machu Picchu
This morning, set off by train for Machu Picchu—a World Heritage Site and possibly Peru’s greatest draw. Hidden from seeking eyes for centuries, Machu Picchu retains its mysterious aura today. Explore the citadel, nestled between the mountains and sprawling jungle, and find yourself tangled with the Inca’s tangible presence here.
If you wish, you may also hike up the Inca Bridge and witness Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu from a new perspective. The Inca Bridge trail scales the western cliffs to Machu Picchu—a snaking, narrow path thought of as the “secret entrance” to the citadel.
Return to your hotel in Aguas Calientes by afternoon, where you can relax before rejoining for dinner.
Hike to Sun Gate & Huayna Picchu
After a hearty breakfast, set out for the lush mountains once more. The first trek of the day takes you to “Inti Punku,” or the Sun Gate, where some say the best views of Machu Picchu can be found. Our hike then takes you up the mountainside via a stone staircase to the peak of Huayna Picchu. While challenging, the hike is more than rewarding with its incredible views, and you even climb through a tunnel when nearing the top.
This afternoon, rest your legs with a return train to Cusco. Spend the evening as you will, navigating your own culinary and cultural adventures through the historic town.
Note: If the trail to Huayna Picchu is unavailable, we substitute in a climb up Montaña Machu Picchu. Located to the southwest of Machu Picchu, this mountain trek also offers incredible views of the Incan citadel, surrounding mountain scenery and the snaking Urubamba River below. Once you reach Montaña Machu Picchu’s summit, look out for where Incan priests were said to have performed ancient rituals greeting the Salkantay Apu.
Return to Lima, Fly Home
Wake early to meet your flight to Lima, where you’ll connect with your returns flight home.
Dates & Rates
Daily departures available. Please inquire for specific details.
Price above is per person based on 2 guests traveling.
Please note, there will be an additional supplement for any trip falling on or over a Peru Bank Holiday. The list of Holiday's includes: New Year, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Day, Labour Day, St. Peter and St. Paul Day, Independence Day, Santa Rosa de Lima, Battle of Angamos, All Saints Day, Immaculate Conception and Christmas.
- Orientation presentation
- Tours as specified in the itinerary
- Transfers in private
- Entrance fees
- English-speaking guide
- First Class Train to/from Machu Picchu
- Meals as specified & Accommodation
- Services not specified in the program
- Any flights
- Insurance coverage of personal loss, injury, illness or damages incurred during your trip
- Personal laundry, dry cleaner, telephone charges
- Room service and mini Bar
- Tips and items of a discretionary nature
FAQ & More
Weather in Peru varies by region, for the coast (Lima, Ica, Nazca, Mancora, Trujillo) the best time to visit are the months of November to March when it is summer on the coast. In February in particular you have events like Carnaval, a very fun time of year on the coast. You can visit coastal cities during the winter (June to August) but Lima will be fairly overcast and cold as well as some other coastal cities.
For Andean cities such as Cusco, Ayacucho, Huaraz, Puno and Cajamarca the best time to visit is during their dry season which runs from May to September. During this time you can expect warm days and chilly nights and very little rain.
The Amazon Jungles of Peru have two season and they both can be equally rewarding. If seeing lots of birds and mammals (and enjoying a slightly cooler temperature) is your thing, then the December to May might be your best choice. (Remember: Despite being the "rainy" season, the Amazon only gets about 10% more rain than falls in the low water season). If jungle hikes, exotic migratory on their way through Amazonia, still having the chance to see monkeys and other mammals, and going on great fishing expeditions top your list, you might be happier choosing the warmer, low water season (June - November).
U.S citizens do not need a visa to visit Peru as long as it's a tourist visit of less than 90 days. You will be given your visa upon arrival in Lima. It's important that you hold on to this visa as many hotels will ask to see this document in order to exempt you from the IGV or Peruvian Sales Tax.
As Visa and Entry Requirements can change without prior notice, we recommend you check the current regulations before your trip to Peru with the nearest Peruvian Consulate or Embassy.
There are no required vaccinations to visit Peru unless you plan to visit remote areas of the Peruvian Amazon, in which case you will need a yellow fever shot and you may want to take malaria medication as well. The Puerto Maldonado and Iquitos areas have not seen cases of either Malaria or Yellow fever in recent times.
Check with your Travel doctor regarding visiting Peru, we strongly recommend you bring medications for bacterial infections (Ciprofloxacin) that can affect your stomach as well as antidiarrheal medication (Immodium). Dramamine is also great for Altitude and motion sickness. For more Health Information for Travelers in Peru visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Altitude sickness, also known as Soroche in Peru, occurs when there is not enough oxygen reaching your brain. This typically occurs at elevations over 10,000ft. Shortness of breath and a pounding heart are the first symptoms as the thin air in high altitude can make you feel light headed and dizzy. As your symptoms progress you can get extremely nauseous and suffer from vomiting and intense headaches if not remedied by either medication or descending in altitude.
Preventing altitude sickness is easy, always allow for an extra day to acclimate when you visit in a location with high altitude. Relax in your hotel and lie down, drink plenty of fluids and avoid strenuous exercise. It can take up to a week to become full acclimated, many travelers don't have that amount of time so in order to acclimate fastest it is best to take it easy, avoid alcohol, cigarettes and heavy foods. If you begin to feel mild symptoms then we recommend you drink some Coca Tea (legal in Peru), even drinking carbonated drinks like Coca Cola help. It's important to realize that you get altitude sickness by not feeding your brain enough oxygen, so make sure you are breathing well, take decongestants if you have a cold or can't breathe well. Prescription medications such as Diamox can also be a great help.
In the higher elevation locations such as Cusco it is possible to purchase oxygen and buy medications in case you are having a real hard time acclimating. Most larger hotels in these areas can also offer extra oxygen to be pumped in your room for an additional charge.
Travel insurance is recommended to protect your trip as well as your belongings and scheduling should any unforeseen events arise. Guests must provide their own travel insurance. If you decide not to purchase travel insurance then you are directly responsible for your own belongings and wellbeing. Our guides will always be around to help you should any situation arise, however when it comes to paying for any medical expenses or additional flights due to airline cancellations, you will be responsible for these.
The weather in Peru varied; it has 28 of the world's 32 different climates. Generally speaking, May through October is the dry season; November through April is the rainy season, and the wettest months are January through April in the highlands. In mountain areas, roads and trek paths may become impassable. Peru's climate, though, is markedly different among its three vastly different regions. The coast is predominantly arid and mild, the Andean region (highlands) is temperate to cold, and the eastern lowlands are tropically warm and humid.
On the desert coast, summer (Dec-Apr) is hot and dry, with temperatures reaching 77°-95°F or more along the north coast. In winter (May-Oct), temperatures are much milder, though with high humidity. Much of the coast, including Lima, is shrouded in a gray mist called garua. Only the extreme northern beaches are warm enough for swimming.
In the highlands from May to October, rain is scarce. Daytime temperatures reach a warm (68°-77°F, and nights are often quite cold (near freezing), especially in June and July. Rainfall is very abundant from December to March, when temperatures are slightly milder 64°-68°F. The wettest months are January and February. Most mornings are dry, but clouds move in during the afternoon and produce heavy downpours.
Though the Amazon jungle is consistently humid and tropical, with significant rainfall year-round, it, too, experiences two clearly different seasons. During the dry season (May-Oct), temperatures reach 86°-100°F during the day. From November to April, there are frequent rain showers (which last only a few hours at a time), causing the rivers to swell, and temperatures are humid.
Packing for your trip depends on the season and locations you will be visiting. Peru has almost all of the world’s climates nestled between the coast, the Andes and the Jungle. For that reason it is important that you to pack layered clothing, that is bring a piece of clothing for both hot and warm conditions, clothing you can take on and off easily as the climates change. Refer to the provided packing list for details of what to bring on your specific trip.
Peru is generally safe to visit and the security in the major cities is getting better as the economy and tourism grows. That is not to say that there is no crime, like any of the other big cities of the world opportunistic crimes such as pickpocketing and theft are present. Below are some tips to minimize your chance of falling victim to these crimes.
1. Travel in groups and avoid dark streets at night – Basic advice but good. Thieves will target you if you stumble alone into a dark street. Avoid areas that are not well lit, this applies even if you are in a group
2. When using ATM, have a friend with you – They can keep guard from behind when using an ATM and always check that the card entry slot has not been tampered with.
3. Keep belongings out of site in vehicles - When in taxis or other modes of transport put your belongings under your feet or in the back where they cannot be seen.
4. Valuables – Most hotels will have room safes where you can leave your valuables or will have a safe in reception.
5. Blend in - don't carry large bags or luggage with you all the time, leave valuables at your hotel, try and look and act like a local. If you must check your travel guide or map then step into a cafe or restaurant.
6. Wear backpack on front, bring travel purse - Again avoid carrying large bags, if you must carry a backpack wear it on your front. Invest in a travel wallet, where you can have your money and valuables hidden from view.
7. Be Aware - a commonly used phrase in Peru is Mosca or Fly, the saying means to be aware of your surroundings. When leaving a restaurant or nightclub be sure to check that you have not left any personal belongings.
8. Taxis - If possible always have your hotel call a reputable taxi driver for you if you decide to go explore your location further. Always agree on a price before you get into a taxi to avoid confusion later, taxis are seldom more than S/.20 for a local trip. If catching a cab away from your hotel be sure your driver has identification visible, if possible go to the nearest hotel and ask them to call you a cab.
The current Peruvian currency, the Nuevo Sol - whose symbol is S/. Simply called a "Sol" . In Lima and Cuzco (and most other cities), Euros are as acceptable as US dollars for changing into soles.
Electricity in Peru is 220 Volts and 60 Hertz (cycles per second). If you want to use a 110-volt appliance in Peru, you’ll need to buy a power adapter. Most outlets in Peru accept US standard two flat blade male. Some larger Hotels have US 110 volt outlets available.
We recommend you do some reading on Peru's history to make the most of your trip. Travel guides are a great resource, this way you get to know a little more about the locations you are visiting.
We can't stress the importance of learning about the incredible cuisine. Search for recipes online and make a list of dishes to try in Peru. These should include Ceviche, Pachamanca, Anticuchos, Papa a la Huancaina, Causa, Rocotto Relleno among others, there really are too many to name.
Learn a little Spanish. A little Spanish goes a long way in Peru, not only will it help you get better prices in cabs for example but you will be able to barter better on souvenirs and goods. Interacting with Peruvians will be more rewarding as you will learn where the local hot spots are as well as get recommendations for places to see and restaurants to try. Even just learning to say thank you (Gracias) and please (Por Favor) when asking for things will go a long way in how well you are treated by others.
Most importantly we ask that you travel with an open mind. Peruvian culture is very different from the westernized world with different values and customs. You should always be mindful of these and be very patient with people.
Although Peru is going through a great period of economic growth and prosperity it is still a third world nation and the service sector still needs room to better develop. We're sure you'll have a great time in Peru if you visit with no expectations and with an adventurous spirit, a relaxed attitude and curiosity to explore a new culture.