Culinary Peru & Bolivia with Melissa Guerra

September 18-29, 2018 (12 days, 11 nights)

Join me on this unique and personally planned culinary journey to Peru and Bolivia.  Rich history meets modern indulgence in Peru, a country with a distinguished cuisine. It is a fusion of many cultural influences, incorporating unique and flavorful ingredients stemming from its three distinct geographic regions: the coast, the Andes and the Amazon Jungle. As a result, this country of multi-cultural gastronomy has earned an abundance of accolades over the last decade.

However, Peru will forever be equated with the Inca civilization that flourished in the 15th and early 16th centuries. During the empire’s zenith, the Inca cultivated four times the amount of arable land as Peruvians do today and made remarkable and mysterious accomplishments in architecture, such as Sacsayhuaman and Machu Picchu. That all changed when the Spanish invaded Peru in 1531, and the Inca civilization disappeared without a written trace.

Bolivia may be a little rough around the edges, but our four nights in the country showcase its very best food and culture.  The tour includes an overnight in Uyuni, home of the world’s largest salt flat and its surreal lunar landscapes.  On this remarkable journey, observe the country’s greatest Inca ruins and remnants of its Spanish colonial past, and sample its enviable cuisine.

Culinary Highlights

  • Wander through a typical Peruvian market in Lima
  • Participate in a cooking class followed by three-course lunch
  • Visit Inca ruins for a one-of-a-kind outdoor dining experience
  • Sit down to a traditional country-style lunch at an authentic Peruvian hacienda and watch a Peruvian Paso horse show
  • Dine on unique Amazonian fare at one of Lima’s top restaurants.
  • Taste unique Andean foods at dinner in a casual traditional restaurant in Urumbamba
  • Take part in a unique cooking class at a monastery-like hacienda art museum
  • Enjoy an à la carte lunch at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge restaurant, the only hotel adjacent to Machu Picchu
  • Explore Cusco’s San Pedro Market
  • Sample food cooked in clay pots over wood-fired stoves at lunch in the bohemian district of  San Blas (Cusco)
  • Join fellow travelers for a farewell dinner in Cusco at the MAP Cafe in the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Embark on a panoramic sightseeing tour of colonial Lima
  • Explore the Sacred Valley and the archaeological site of Pisac
  • Take the Vistadome train through the Andes to Aguas Calientes
  • Wander the ruins of Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas”
  • Tour Cusco and the archaeological complex of Sacsayhuaman to observe the incomparable stonework of the Inca
  • Watch a weaving demonstration of Chinchero textiles and a performance by Peruvian Paso horses
  • Learn about the artisanal salt production at the Uyuni Salt Flats

Your Tour Includes

  • 12-day/11-night tour by luxury coach
  • 2 journeys by rail on the VistaDome
  • Internal air within Peru and Bolivia
  • Breakfast daily
  • 9 lunches and 9 dinners
  • 3 nights at the Casa Republica Hotel, Lima
  • 2 nights at Casona de Yucay, Urubamba, Sacred Valley
  • 1 night at El Mapi by Inkaterra, Aguas Calientes
  • 2 nights at JW Marriott Hotel, Cusco
  • 2 nights at ATIX Hotel, LaPaz, Bolivia
  • 1 night at the Luna Salada, Uyuni, Bolivia

Day 1
Arrive at Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport, where your driver and guide are waiting to transfer you and your fellow travelers to your hotel.

Casa Republica, Lima

Day 2
Begin your day with a visit to a typical market and an opportunity to appreciate a wide variety of Peruvian products and produce. Enjoy and taste exotic fruits and gaze at the wide variety of seafood caught off the Peruvian coast of the Pacific, among the world’s richest. After your visit to the market, head to a friendly cooking space and learn to prepare a few of Peru’s flagship dishes: chilcano (Peruvian pisco drink), a quinoa salad, an entree such as Aji de Gallina (spicy creamed chicken) and a traditional dessert like cherimoya mousse (made from an Andean fruit) or alfajor (shortbread). Then, sit down with a glass or wine or beer and enjoy the food you’ve just prepared. You take home an English recipe book, an apron and a culinary souvenir to commemorate your visit. Return to your hotel for an an afternoon at leisure. Tonight’s four-course dinner is at a restaurant that overlooks an impressive pre-Inca archaeological site.

Casa Republica, Lima (B, L, D)

Day 3
The day begins with a panoramic tour of Lima’s traditional districts, Miraflores that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and San Isidro, home to the Huaca Huallamarca pyramid. Continue to the city center to visit San Francisco Convent, the catacombs and the old colonial House of Aliaga. Stop at the main square to take photos of the colonial-style cathedral. NOTE: The San Francisco Convent may be closed on holidays. Afterward, head south of the city to Hacienda Los Ficus in Lurin for a welcome pisco sour and traditional country-style lunch featuring a delicious buffet. Make sure you try the creamy tocinillo del cielo tart with granadilla sorbet for dessert. While you are there, watch a performance by magnificent costumed Peruvian Paso horses parading to the sound of coastal marinera music. Return to your hotel after lunch. Dinner tonight is at contemporary AMAZ restaurant, conceived as a way of bringing the culture and raw materials of the Amazon region to the gastronomic world. Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino is your host and offers you a welcome cocktail and the evening will unfold as a unique culinary experience where you will try new and unexpected flavors.

Casa Republica, Lima (B, L, D)

Day 4
Depart at 6:45 am for the airport and your less than two-hour flight to Cusco. On arrival, drive to Urubamba (elevation 9,184 feet), located an hour and a half from Cusco. The afternoon is free to acclimate to the altitude. Dinner tonight is at a traditional and quaint Andean restaurant tucked down a narrow side street in Urubamba.

Casona de Yucay, Sacred Valley (B, D)

Day 5
Meet in the hotel lobby for a full-day tour of the Sacred Valley including the archaeological site of Pisac.  Participate in a cooking class at a beautifully restored hacienda with an almost monastary-like atmosphere that boast an impressive museum of ancient and modern art. Enjoy a lunch of regional specialties you have prepared. Evening at leisure.

Casona de Yucay, Sacred Valley (B, L)

Day 6
Today is a full one starting with a visit to the textile town of Chinchero (elevation 12,464 feet) to enjoy a weaving demonstration. Then visit the natural salt mines of Maras and the agricultural laboratory and astronomical observatory of the beautiful terraces of Moray. The Inca site consists of three large natural depressions in which terraced co-centric circles were constructed. Seeds cultivated at this site were likely sent throughout the Incan empire to improve yield in the harsh conditions of the Andes and were probably one of the benefits offered by the Incas for peaceful incorporation of neighboring tribes into the Incan empire. Lunch will be at the famous Tres Keros restaurant in Urumbamba. Established by renowned Peruvian Chef Ricardo Behar 9 years ago, the food showcases the variety of Peruvian cuisine, taking advantage of the freshest seasonal produce of the area.

Afterward, board the Vistadome train for the scenic ride to Aquas Calientes. Dine tonight at the hotel.

El Mapi by Inkaterra, Aguas Calientes (B, L, D)

Day 7
Depart early this morning to visit the unparalleled citadel of Machu Picchu (elevation 7,710 feet), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore this impressive “Lost City of the Incas” together and then sit down to an à la carte lunch at the restaurant in the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, El Tampu. Optional visit after lunch to the hot springs at Aguas Calientes before boarding the Vistadome train back to Ollyantambo for the onward journey to Cusco. After settling at the hotel in Cusco, dinner will be at a traditional Peruvian picanteria.  In 2015, picanteria was declared part of Peru’s national cultural patrimony. At the restaurant, the traditional Peruvian kitchen will be honored by utilizing age-old recipes and sitting down to a feast together.

JW Marriott Hotel, Cusco (B, L, D)

Day 8
On a city tour of Cusco, visit Koricancha (the Temple of the Sun), the archaeological complex of Sacsayhuaman, and the San Pedro Market where you sample fresh produce, herbs, artisanal bread, and local desserts and chocolates. You may also want to buy souvenirs to take home, perhaps a hand-woven basket? Afterward, return to your hotel before lunch at a restaurant in the bohemian district of San Blas. Invoking a rustic highland ambience, Pachapapa, with its wooden tables and open courtyard, serves well-prepared Peruvian classics cooked over a wood fire or in clay pots.  After lunch, return to your hotel until it is time for dinner. Tonight, you dine on a three-course menu of your choice at a glass-enclosed elegant cafe, located within the courtyard of the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art. This pride of Chef Coque Ossio is known for its novel, exciting twists on traditional Peruvian cuisine.

JW Marriott Hotel, Cusco (B, L, D)

Day 9
This morning we depart for LaPaz, Bolivia. On arrival, transfer to the hotel followed by lunch at Mercat Aptapi restaurant.  After lunch, enjoy a city tour of LaPaz, which will include visits to a “witch doctor market”, the colonial San Franciso Church and the Plaza Murillo.  After the tour, free time to explore the charming, cobble-stoned Jaen Street, the last colonial street in LaPaz and home to shops, restaurants and museums. Finally, the tour ends with a fascinating visit to Moon Valley for an amazing display of rock erosion.  Return to LaPaz for dinner at the Jardin de Asia restaurant.

ATIX Hotel, LaPaz (B, L, D)

Day 10
Today we take an early-morning flight from LaPaz to Uyuni. En route to the Uyuni Salt Flat, the world’s largest salt desert with an expanse of more than 7,400 square miles, visit the cemetery of trains for some playful (or even artistic photos) on the ruins of 19th and 20th century trains.  At Colchani, learn about the artisinal salt extraction process from local producers and then stop at Incahuasi Island in the center of the salt flat, a hilly and rocky outcrop of land and former island, now an oasis with a unique and isolated ecosystem where giant cacti (up to 30 ft tall!) thrive. Experience a once-in-a-lifetime picnic in the middle of the salt flat. After lunch, travel on to Pucara Ayque at the base of a volcano to explore the pre-Columbian ruins and mummies found there.  Then witness an amazing sunset on the salt flat before driving on to the Palacio del Sal hotel, constructed entirely of salt and is on the bucket list of intrepid travelers worldwide. Dinner at the hotel.

Luna Salada, Uyuni (B, L, D)

Day 11
Today, take an internal flight back to LaPaz and on to a tour of the National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore.  Housed in the 18th century Maruis de Villa Verde Palace, it is a surprisingly modern museum showcasing Bolivia’s unique independent culture. The museum exhibits pre-Hispanic relics, colonial and contemporary festival masks, feathered costumes, weapons and coins of Bolivia.  One of the highlights of the museum is their textile collection which goes back 3,000 years.  Enjoy lunch at Ali Pacha and then leisure time in the afternoon.  The farewell dinner will be at the hotel’s restaurant, preceded by a wine tasting of Bolovian wines.

ATIX Hotel, LaPaz  (B, L, D)

Day 12
Depart early today for your journey home. (B)

Please note:  Prices are based on rates of exchange, airfare & fuel (where applicable), tariffs, taxes and other costs as of the tour publication date. Global Gourmands and its tour operator reserve the right to correct errors and to increase program prices to cover increased costs, tariffs, and taxes received after prices are published and to reflect currency fluctuations.

Also, much of the tour will take place at high altitude. People with sickle cell anemia should not ascend to high altitudes because they can have a sickle crisis at elevations as low as 1,500 m (4,900 ft). Splenic infarction syndrome is also more common at altitude. AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) is also a risk and can be serious. Please check with your doctor before traveling.

Alcoholic beverages are only included during lunch on Day 2 and Dinner on Day 11. Guests are welcome to purchase drinks at their own expense.

INCHICAPI SOUP

This inchicapi soup is a tasty, creamy soup originating in the Amazonic area.  It’s commonly served as an appetizer.  Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
1 cup toasted peanuts
9 oz cornflour
2 peeled, minced garlic cloves
1 small onion
1/2  cup cilantro
1 lb cooked yucca (manioc or cassava may also be used)
salt & pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Brown onions and chicken and then cook in a large pot in 12 cups of water.  Blend peanuts, cornflour, cilantro leaves, garlic and onion with 1/2 cup of cooking broth.  Add the blended mixture to the chicken and bring to a boil.  Stir occasionally and add more water if needed. When soup is almost ready, add the diced, cooked yucca and mix

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Once in a lifetime hosted culinary journey with Melissa Guerra.

Prices start at $5,240 per person, sharing. Single room occupancy starts at $5,940.  Maximum group size is 13 .    

Flights within Peru & Bolivia are included. Round trip airfare from the US is not included.


 

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