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Peru Culinary Tours: Discover A Hidden Gem

The birthplace of authentic fusion, Peru is an epicurean dreamscape. Spanish, West African, Chinese, Japanese and Andean influences meld together to create a cuisine as deliciously captivating and complex as the culture. Let your taste buds guide you on one of our Peru culinary tours as you explore Peru’s unrivaled geographic and cultural diversity. Journey with Access Culinary Trips from cosmopolitan Lima to the colonial city of Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and finally mystical Machu Picchu.

Savor insider access to the Lima culinary scene as you learn the secret to the perfect ceviche, sip Peru’s world-class Andean coffee, and sample variations of Pisco, the national spirit. Additional culinary highlights include a tour of the kitchen at one of Peru’s top Chifa (Peruvian-Chinese) restaurants, followed by an exclusive tasting menu. You’ll also dine at one of the world’s top 50 restaurants, where Nikkei cuisine embraces the harmonious balance between Peruvian ingredients and Japanese culinary techniques.

After exploring the worldly coastal city of Lima, venture to Cusco, the vibrant historic capital of the Inca Empire. High in the Andes Mountains, you’ll visit local markets, quinoa farms, and even the Maras salt ponds used since the Inca period. Then experience a private Pachamanca and learn to cook an Andean feast in an oven built from earth and stone.

Discover the legacy of Spanish colonialism and explore Inca ruins. You’ll visit Sacsayhuaman, Ollantaytambo, and Moray, where micro-climates empowered the Incas to conduct agricultural experiments using concentric terraces built into natural depressions. Your Peru culinary tour would not be complete without a journey through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to one of the true wonders of the world, Machu Picchu. Nestled on a ridge surrounded by sacred peaks, Machu Picchu is the perfect way to end this bucket list trip.

 

Top Peru Culinary Tour Experiences:

  • Peruvian cooking classes and demonstrations

  • Visits to colorful, authentic markets

  • Discover the Maras salt mines

  • Discover the Moray ruins, where the Incas conducted agricultural experiments

  • Join local village women in a Pachamanca feast

  • Sample pisco and ceviche

  • Dine at one of the world’s top 10 restaurants

For more information on our Peru culinary tours, please call 1-800-567-9400 or email us today.

Peru is named Top Culinary Destination by the World Travel Awards.

Check out our travel blog post on Fodor’s “Must-See Places” for travel to Peru.

 

Peru Culinary Tours – Itinerary

DAY 1: Peru Culinary Tour Begins

Arrive in Lima. Check into accommodations. Welcome orientation with guide and optional group dinner. Stay in a boutique hotel.

DAY 2: Experience Lima Culinary Scene

Morning visit to Lima’s largest food market, followed by a ceviche class and lunch. Visit a boutique coffee producer and sample traditional desserts. Stay in a boutique hotel.

DAY 3: Explore Downtown Lima & Chinatown

Visit Lima’s colonial center and the oldest house in the Americas. Explore Chinatown. Tour of Chifa restaurant kitchen and tasting menu. Afternoon Pisco tasting. Dinner at a top restaurant. Stay in a boutique hotel.

DAY 4: Cusco 

Fly to Cusco. Relax or explore the city on your own. Welcome dinner of Novoandina cuisine. Stay in a cozy hotel near Plaza de Armas.

DAY 5: Explore Cusco and Cooking Class

Wander Cusco’s colorful San Pedro market. Cusco walking tour. Late afternoon cooking class at a top restaurant. Stay in a cozy hotel near Plaza de Armas.

DAY 6: Village Pachamanca

Stroll through the Sacsayhuaman ruins overlooking Cusco. Enjoy a Pachamanca meal in a small village. Visit Pisac market. Stay in a cozy hotel near Plaza de Armas.

DAY 7: Discover the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Visit Chinchero weaver’s village. Discover Inca agricultural ruins of Moray and salt ponds at Maras. Explore ruins at Ollantaytambo. Train to Aguas Calientes. Overnight in Aguas Calientes hotel.

DAY 8: Revel in the Splendor of Machu Picchu

Explore incredible Machu Picchu. Return by train to Ollantaytambo and then drive to Cusco. Optional farewell dinner. Stay in a cozy hotel near Cusco’s Plaza de Armas.

DAY 9: Peru Tour Ends

Your Peru culinary tour ends today. Fly to Lima and then home, or you may also choose to spend a few extra days on your own exploring Cusco or other areas of Peru.

See detailed itinerary

 
 

QUICK FACTS

9 days
Apr - Jan
Max group size: 12
Prices from $3,990 USD 

HIGHLIGHTS

Dine at some of the world’s finest restaurants

Discover ancient Inca ruins including mystical Machu Picchu

Explore vibrant Quechua markets and villages

Cook Peruvian food with expert chefs

Relish the stunning Andean scenery

IS IT FOR YOU?

Our Peru culinary tours are ideal for people who are passionate about exploring culture through cuisine. If you want to enjoy unique cultural and culinary experiences while getting to know the locals and eating delectable Peruvian food, then our culinary tours of Peru are for you. On your Peru tour you’ll explore the Lima culinary scene, Quechua villages and culture, historic and beautiful Cusco, Inca ruins and Machu Picchu – all while learning to cook authentic Peruvian food. Although our Peru culinary tours is not an exceptionally active trips, there is quite a bit of walking, including some on uneven pavement. The altitude in Cusco and the Sacred Valley is the biggest physical challenge, but with proper rest and acclimatization, it should not hamper your enjoyment of the tour.

All of our culinary trips include a rich combination of delicious ingredients: expert cooking classes, visits to flourishing farms and vibrant markets, and world-class cuisine!

Trip Details

Detailed Itinerary

See the detailed itinerary … learn more

Food

All breakfasts, four lunches, and three dinners … learn more

Accommodation

8 nights charming hotels … learn more

Travel info

Important flight, insurance and packing information … learn more

Recommended Reading

Book suggestions for your trip to Peru … learn more

 
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Your Peru Food Travel Itinerary

DAY 1: Your Peru Food Travel Begins

Join us and enjoy amazing Peru food travel experiences! Prepare yourself for one of the most fascinating, colorful and culture-rich countries on the planet. Also prepare for some of the world’s best food! We will pick you up at Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport and drive you to your comfortable hotel. This evening meet your guide and fellow travelers at the hotel lobby for an orientation and optional group dinner.

Drive time: Approximately 45 from airport to hotel
Meals included: None

DAY 2: Lima Culinary Scene

Lima is the most cosmopolitan of all Peruvian cities, a vibrant economic hub and home to three of the world’s top 50 restaurants. After breakfast we’ll set off to visit bustling Surquillo market where we’ll mingle with the locals and taste some of the Peru’s native fruits. Next we’ll learn the secrets of making the perfect ceviche in a chef-led demonstration, followed by a delicious lunch.

In the afternoon we’ll visit a gourmet coffee producer at his flagship coffee shop in Lima’s historic district of Barranco. We’ll sip some fantastic coffee and learn how the coffee industry impacts local farmers. Afterwards, we will continue to explore this bohemian neighborhood and visit the Hermita Church and the “Bridge of Sighs,” as well as a chance to try a typical Peruvian dessert such as Peruvian Sweet Potato “Picarones”, Three Peruvian Milks “Tres Leches”, or Suspiro de Limeña, before returning to the hotel.

This evening is yours to enjoy one of Lima’s many incredible restaurants. Please note that many top Lima restaurants require reservations far in advance, and you are able to make reservations online on their websites.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch

DAY 3: Explore Downtown Lima & Chinatown

This morning we’ll head to the historic center of Lima, with its striking colonial buildings and colorful streets. We’ll stop in at the Larco Herrera Museum to view their extensive private collection of pre-Inca ceramics. Then visit the Plaza Mayor, the original site on which Lima was founded. While you appreciate Lima’s central square, you will also have the opportunity to see the famous changing of the palace guards, which takes place each day precisely at noon.

Next we’ll stroll through Lima’s Barrio Chino, or Chinatown, historic home to Peru’s small but culturally significant Chinese community. Our friend Liliana is general manager of Lima’s top Chifa (Peruvian-Chinese food) restaurant, and she will graciously lead us on a tour of her restaurant’s kitchen. Afterward we’ll join her in the dining room for an exclusive tasting menu. Her English is excellent and she shares fascinating insights into Peru’s Chinese history.

After lunch, we visit the stunningly well preserved Casa de Aliaga, the oldest house in the Americas to be inhabited by descendants of the same family. Dating back to the 1500s, it has been home to the de Aliaga family for 17 generations. The afternoon will end at a historic bar for a Pisco tasting as well as to try the national drink, Pisco Sour.

The best food tours to Peru should include dining at one of the world’s top restaurants, and did you know that Lima boasts three of the world’s top 50? Tonight we will have dinner at one of the world’s top 10, Maido, which features a Nikkei menu blending Japanese and Peruvian flavors.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

DAY 4: Fly to Cusco 

This morning we’ll get up early and head to the airport for the next leg of your Peru tour, a short hour and twenty minute flight to Cusco. We’ve intentionally kept today’s schedule light to give you time to adjust to the altitude. You may need a rest at your hotel, but if you feel up to it, this is a great time to soak up Cusco’s culture-rich atmosphere. This evening, the group will enjoy a delicious welcome to Cusco dinner of Novoandina cuisine.

Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

DAY 5: Explore Cusco and Cooking Class

Start the day off at Cusco’s vibrant San Pedro market, one of the most fascinating places to people watch as Quechua villagers come from the surrounding areas to sell their produce, as well as textiles and homemade goods that make excellent souvenirs. We’ll continue on for a tour of Cusco’s most important historic sites. Cusco was the historic capital of the Inca Empire, from the 13th Century until the Spanish conquest in the 16th Century. Because of its importance to the Incas, the Spanish then made it their center for colonization of the entire Andean region. The Spanish invested heavily in building incredible structures on top of the Inca sites. We’ll tour the Plaza de Armas, with its impressive cathedral and Qorikancha, or Temple of the Sun God.

In the late afternoon we’ll head to a charming local restaurant for a hands-on cooking class. Starting in the bar, you’ll learn how to make a delicious Pisco sour before heading into the kitchen to prepare mouthwatering Andean delicacies that will soon become your dinner.

Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

DAY 6: Village Pachamanca

Today we will start the morning by heading out to explore the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, the Inca fortress perched high above Cusco. Then we’re off to a small village near Pisac, in the Sacred Valley. We’ll spend the morning with a local Quechua family who invite us into their home for an authentic pachamanca meal. Dating back to Inca times, this ancient tradition is not unlike a barbeque, where sharing a meal demonstrates appreciation and reverence for the edible gifts that come from the earth. Meaning – literally – “earth pot,” a pachamanca is an oven created out of stones or clay bricks lining a hole in the ground. A fire is lit inside until it is hot enough to put in heaps of marinated meat, vegetables and potatoes. Traditionally the meal is hearty and provides sustenance to farmers working out in the fields, as well as a welcome break to collectively savor and share the rewards of their labors.

The entire process takes several hours, so we will take a break to explore the village and visit the sacred ruins of Urco, if time permits. We’ll then return to the village as our hosts pull the meat, veggies and potatoes out of the earth oven and join us to enjoy the steaming hot meal together. On the way back to Cusco, we stop and explore the colorful Pisac market. This is a great place to pick up some souvenirs, or just to people watch and photograph.

This evening is free for you to explore on your own. If you would like to try the Andean delicacy guinea pig, an adventure for some people traveling on Peru food tours, your guide will be happy to recommend some of his favorite “cuy” restaurants.

Tomorrow we head to the Sacred Valley of the Incas.  Please note that on the train to Aguas Calientes tomorrow, you are allowed to bring 1 overnight bag or backpack not to exceed 11 lbs (5kg) or 62 inches (length + height + width). Your remaining luggage will be stored at your hotel in Cusco. Please plan in advance, and do not forget your passport for access to Machu Picchu.

Drive time: Approximately 1 hour from Cusco to Pisac
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch

DAY 7: Discover the Sacred Valley of the Incas

We have a big day today as we load up the van and venture deep into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Our first stop is Chinchero, our highest altitude of the tour at just over 12,300 feet. Chinchero is a weaver’s village, and we’ll visit a women’s weaving cooperative to learn how they make natural dyes and spin alpaca fiber. Next we’ll tour the village church and Inca agricultural ruins. If it’s the right time of year we’ll visit some local farmers to watch how they dehydrate potatoes to store for the winter months.

Our Peru food tour then takes us to Moray, a site of Inca ruins that were used for agricultural experiments. Taking advantage of the micro-climates, the Incas studied how crops grew at different altitudes and adapted those crops for broader farming use.

After a picnic lunch at Moray, we’ll visit the terraced salt ponds at Maras. Mineral rich and excellent for cooking, these ponds are owned by villagers and have been harvested since Inca times. Terraced on the side of a mountain, we’ll enjoy a view and explanation of the ponds and how they work.

We’ll come to the end of the road at Ollantaytambo, and explore the vast Inca ceremonial center built into the hill overlooking the town. Then we’ll hop on a train and ride about one hour and 45 minutes to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. We will arrive just in time to check into our hotel and head out for a quick dinner. You’ll want to go to bed early tonight because tomorrow is a big day and it starts early!

Travel time: Approximately 2.5 hour drive from Cusco to Ollantaytambo and 1.5 hour train ride to Machu Picchu
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch

DAY 8: Revel in the Splendor of Machu Picchu

Today is the day many have been waiting for and a highlight of most tours to Peru. Built on a saddle between sacred peaks, the improbable setting for the architectural masterpiece of Machu Picchu is just as awe-inspiring as the ruins themselves. Starting with a 5am wake-up, we’ll take an early shuttle to Machu Picchu, arriving at dawn. Machu Picchu was built in harmony with the sun and the moon, and enjoying the early morning light over the sacred site will be a memory you’ll savor for a lifetime.

After a guided tour of these magnificent ruins, you may choose to explore the ruins on your own, soaking up the ancient atmosphere.

We’ll return to Aguas Calientes in time to catch an afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo and then drive about two hours back to Cusco. This evening, you may enjoy celebrating your incredible experiences in Peru with your fellow travelers over one last Pisco sour and dinner (optional). Please ask your guide if you would like recommendations.

Travel time: Approximately 1.5 hour train ride from Machu Picchu to Ollantaytambo and 2 hour drive from Ollantaytambo train station to hotel
Meals included: Breakfast

DAY 9: Peru Food Travel Ends

Alas, your Peru food travel ends today and it is time to fly to Lima and then home. You may also choose to spend a few extra days on your own exploring Cusco or other areas of Peru.

Meals included: Breakfast

Please note: This itinerary is designed to give you an idea of what to expect during your Peru food travel experiences but is not set in stone. What we actually do on a given day is flexible and can be tailored to the interests of the group.

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Peru Cooking Tours: Authentic Peruvian Food

Peruvian food is the ultimate fusion cuisine, stemming from its geographic and cultural diversity. The Andean highlands provide quinoa, maize, and more than 3,000 types of native potatoes. The Amazon region supplies delicious seasonal fruits, more than 20 of which are indigenous, and Peru’s 1500 miles of coast line delivers abundant fresh seafood.

Culinary influences were brought to Peru in waves, by the Spanish, Japanese (Nikkei), Chinese (Chifa) and West Africans. These immigrants brought their culinary techniques and recipes and combined them with Peru’s agricultural bounty to create new genres of cuisine with exceptional flavors and textures.

With a meals at top Peruvian restaurants, intimate conversations with restaurateurs and chefs, and traditional cooking in a local village, our Peru cooking tours truly enable you to explore the many facets of Peruvian culture through its rich culinary heritage. You will even learn about the ancient Incan influence on food cultivation through visits to select archaeological sites.

Your culinary experiences in Lima will include a ceviche demonstration from a true master, an intimate visit and tasting menu at one of Peru’s top Chifa (Chinese-Peruvian) restaurants, and dining at a Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) restaurant that is one of the top 10 restaurants in the world. You will also learn about Peruvian coffee, sample traditional Peruvian desserts, and taste Pisco, the famous Peruvian liquor made by distilling grape wine.

In Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas, you will enjoy a Peruvian cooking class, explore the Maras salt ponds and the agricultural ruins of Moray, and visit local markets. A particular highlight of our Peru cooking tours is a visit to a local village where you will take part in a Pachamanca. Join the village women as they built an earth oven and use to create a feast of meat, vegetables and potatoes that you will enjoy as their special guests.

Your Peru cooking tour includes all breakfasts, four lunches, and three dinners.

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Peru Hotels

Our Peru tour journeys from the bustling city of Lima to the ancient high settlement of Cusco. Along the way, we’ll stay at charming Peru hotels that reflect the local culture and offer a central location accompanied by warm Peruvian hospitality.

Day 1 – 3:
Our Lima accommodations are the ultimate starting point for a discovery of Peru’s vibrant capital city. Conveniently located in the Miraflores district, our hotel offers hot breakfast, a sauna, and lovely rooms where you can rejuvenate after a busy day of touring.

Days 4 – 7:
Our base in Cusco is in the artistic neighborhood of San Blas. Here, we’ll stay in an old colonial home that has been renovated into a spacious and unique hotel. Just steps away from Cusco’s key sights, our accommodations are convenient yet relaxing, complete with local craftsmanship and a verdant courtyard.

Days 7 – 8
A trip to Peru is not complete without a visit to Machu Picchu. To ensure both proximity to the ancient citadel and a peaceful respite from the crowds, our final accommodations are in the quiet area of Aguas Calientes. Modern, light, and comfortable, our Machu Picchu accommodations offer panoramic views, a delicious Andean buffet, and a lounge with a fireplace.

Days 8 – 9
Finally, we return to our Cusco accommodations for a memorable final evening in Peru!

All of our Peru hotels offer en suite bathrooms, air conditioning and clean, comfortable rooms.

Note: All Peru hotels are subject to availability and may be changed as needed.

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Peru Travel Information From Access Culinary Trips

Arrival and Departure Travel Information

Arrival Airport
Please plan to arrive at Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) in Lima on Day 1. We recommend that you arrive no later than 3PM on Day 1 of the tour in order to join the group welcome orientation and optional dinner. Your driver will be waiting for you with an Access Culinary Trips sign once you’ve claimed your luggage and cleared customs.

Please note that you will be given a customs declaration form and landing card to fill out upon arrival and must keep these documents until your departure on Day 9 from Lima.

Departure Airport
On Day 9 of the tour, we will provide a group transfer to the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) in Cusco. We will not know the transfer time until we have received the final flight information from all guests. We will notify you in advance should there be a wait time longer than one hour from your flight’s scheduled departure time. In this case, you may choose to wait for the included group transfer or we can arrange in advance of your trip a private car and driver for an additional cost.

Pick-up & Drop-off Information
Group airport transfers at the specified airports in Peru on the group travel dates, are included. If you would like a private transfer, to be picked up or dropped off on a different day, or brought somewhere other than the airport, please contact us.

Flights

  • We do not book international flights to or from Peru for our clients. If you would like assistance with purchasing your flights, please let us know and we will forward your contact information and trip details to our travel agent partner.

  • Internal airfare from Lima to Cusco on Day 4 is included in the trip price. In order to give our guests greater flexibility with their travel plans after the tour, the flight from Cusco to Lima is not included and will need to be arranged by the guest.

  • For those routing directly from Cusco through Lima on their way home after the tour, we recommend selecting a flight itinerary with a layover of 3 hours if possible to allow some schedule flexibility at the busy Lima airport.

Notes: Please contact us if you would like to arrive before the tour begins or stay after the tour ends, and would like assistance with accommodations, airport transfers, etc.

TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS FOR PERU

Travel Insurance
Travel medical insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is compulsory for all our trips. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation protection so that you will be covered in the event that you are unable to attend our trip (due to injury, illness or other unforeseen circumstances). Please do not attend any of our trips without purchasing appropriate insurance coverage and providing the details to Access Culinary Trips.

Please note: proof of insurance is due within 14 days of booking, and delay in receipt may result in late documentation charges.

We do not provide travel insurance for our clients. Additional details are on our website here.

Passports & Visas
Travel to Peru requires a valid passport (most countries require a minimum of 6 months validity) and a visa (which is free and issued at the point of entry for US citizens). To learn more about visa and entry requirements for Peru, please check out the Embassy of Peru website at: http://www.embassyofperu.org/ or consult your local travel agent. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documentation.

HEALTH & SAFETY IN PERU

Emergency Contact 
If your friends or family need to contact Access Culinary Trips due to an emergency while you are on the tour, please have them refer to the pre-departure email that is sent out three weeks prior to departure, which will have specific contact information relevant to your trip. If you need to contact Access Culinary Trips while traveling, please also refer to the emergency contact information in the pre-departure email.

Health Requirements
Guests with preexisting medical conditions are required to disclose this information prior to traveling with Access Culinary Trips, and all guests with preexisting conditions are required to provide a note from a doctor clearing them for travel to Peru. The US Department of State recommends that travelers with medical prescriptions consider bringing small additional amounts of prescribed medicines as well as a copy of the prescription and a letter from the prescribing physician explaining the need for prescription.

We strongly recommend that all of our guests visit a travel doctor before embarking on international travel. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you receive any necessary vaccinations before traveling on your trip with us. If there is a chance that you may be pregnant during your trip, please discuss your travel plans with your doctor.

Please be aware that you will be traveling in very high altitude areas, and altitude sickness is a possibility at elevations higher than 8,000 feet (Lima is located at roughly 5,000 ft, and Cusco at roughly 11,000). It is very difficult to anticipate how much or little altitude may affect individuals. Prepare yourself by drinking adequate amounts of water and be conscious of any alcohol, tobacco and sleeping pill intake during the first 24 hours. You may also choose to bring over the counter or prescription altitude sickness medication. Always discuss taking such medication with your doctor before traveling.

Please carefully review the health information section of the following webpage for up-to-date health information, including information on the quality of medical care, the availability of medications and the necessity for vaccinations in the destination country: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/peru.html.

Fitness Requirements
Our trips are open to anyone who wants to explore our exotic destinations through cuisine. Unfortunately, Peru does not yet have adequate facilities for disabled travelers and the accommodations and restaurants may not have elevators. Although our Peru culinary tour is not an exceptionally active trip, there is quite a bit of walking, including some on uneven pavement. The altitude in Cusco and the Sacred Valley is the biggest physical challenge, but with proper rest and acclimatization, it should not hamper your enjoyment of the tour.

Safety & Security
To maximize your safety during our tours you should exercise common sense and caution at all times. We recommend that you always stick to set travel arrangements, and avoid unknown areas. We also recommend that you wear minimal jewelry and that you keep valuable items (including cell phones) safely stored. Always keep a copy of your passport, airline tickets, and credit card numbers separate from where you keep the originals.

For more information on safety and security in Peru, please review the safety and security section of the following webpage: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/peru.html

Note: As a rule, do not drink tap water or use unfiltered ice in Peru. We strongly recommend buying bottled water. Eating uncooked or unpeeled fruits and vegetables can also be a potential risk if they have been washed in tap (unfiltered) water. Please eat street food at your discretion.

Age
Children ages 12 and up are welcome on group trips. Children under 12 are welcome on private tours. Please contact us with any questions.

CURRENCY, BANKING & SPENDING MONEY IN PERU

Peru’s official currency is the nuevos sol (S/), divided into 100 centavos. Coins are issued in denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50 centavos, and banknotes in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 soles.

U.S. dollars are accepted throughout Peru, however you should only bring bills in good condition. You can exchange U.S. dollars at the airport, banks, or money changing offices. Automated teller machines (ATMs) are also a convenient way of getting cash in Peru; they’re found in most towns and cities, although not on every street corner. ATMs allow customers to withdraw money in either Peruvian soles or U.S. dollars. Screen instructions are in English as well as Spanish.

Peru is still very much a cash society. In villages and small towns, it could be difficult to use credit cards. Make sure that you have cash (both soles and U.S. dollars) on hand. If you pay in dollars, you will likely receive change in soles, so be aware of the correct exchange rate. U.S. dollars are the easiest foreign currency to exchange. Currencies other than U.S. dollars receive very poor exchange rates.

Note: We do not recommend exchanging money using street vendors as counterfeit banknotes are common. Merchants and consumers across Peru vigorously check the authenticity of money before accepting payment or change. (The simplest way: Hold the banknote up to the light to see the watermark.)

For the latest currency exchange information please go to: https://finance.yahoo.com/currency-converter

Spending Money
Meals: All breakfasts, four lunches, and three dinners (including the one dinner prepared in the cooking class) are included in the trip price. Please plan to bring at least USD $5-$15 per lunch and USD $15-$30 per dinner for those meals that are not included – but this can vary considerably based on where you choose to eat. Also remember to bring money for snacks, drinks, and bottled water.

Tipping: Most restaurant and bar bills include a 10% gratuity. It’s customary to add an extra 10% if the service has been satisfactory. Most Peruvians only tip one or two Soles at small “mom and pop” restaurants that do not add a tip to the bill. At bars, expect to tip about 1 sol per drink. Be sure to check your bills for included gratuity!

You might be interested in taking photos of the locals, such as women in traditional clothing with their llamas. Please ask before taking pictures and oftentimes, these people will expect a tip of one-two soles. Bathrooms also often have fees, which are usually about .50 PEN (Peruvian centavos) or .15 cents. Taxi drivers usually do not expect tips. Bellboys and porters expect about 2 soles per bag (approximately 70 cents).

Discretionary tips to your tour staff for good service are very much appreciated. We recommend $15-20 USD per person, per day for the guides (approx. $80 USD for the Lima guide & $120 USD for the Cusco guide) and $5 USD per person, per day for the drivers (approx. $20 USD for the Lima driver & $30 USD for the Cusco driver).

Other expenses: You should also plan take spending money for incidentals such as internet cafes, souvenir shopping and nightlife.

PERUVIAN CULTURE

The ancient land of the Incas is a dazzling demonstration of a rich and complex history situated within a modern context. Peru’s vibrant Andean culture is a distillation of Indigenous, Spanish, African and Asian influences. While Machu Picchu has no close rivals as the top destination in Peru, its gastronomic identity has become, for many, a must on any trip itinerary.

The Peruvian people are just as vibrant as their history. As a people, the Peruvians are incredibly hospitable and warm. You may notice that most Peruvians kiss each other on the cheek in greeting, and are always willing to stop to provide directions, chat, and ask a question often heard in exchanges, “De donde eres?” or, “Where are you from?”. The Peruvians are also very proud of their history; often, taxicab drivers and random passersby on the street may know just as much about their country as your tour guide!

While Spanish is the official language of Peru, other indigenous languages are officially recognized as well – Quechua, the language of the Inca, and Aymara, the Tiahuanaco language spoken around Lake Titicaca. Regarding language and terminology, it is important to keep in mind that certain terms used to refer to the indigenous peoples, such as “nativo” (native), “indo” (Indian) and “tribú” (tribe) can offend some. It is safest to stick with “indegina” (indigenous).

Our tour explores both Lima and Cusco, two cities each vibrant and unique but remarkably distinctive from one another. Lima, where we will spend three days and three nights, is known to be much more metropolitan. It’s busy, sprawling streets are studded by art galleries, newly constructed condos, and of course, the restaurants which proffer Peru’s world-famous cuisine.

Cusco was the foremost city of the Inca Empire and an archaeologist’s dream. It balances its ancient identity with a bustling cosmopolitan pace. Women in traditional garb and bowlers hats amble down the cobblestone corridors of the city, locals walk their pet llama down alleys colored by traditional weavings, all presided over by Incan temples and elaborately appointed cathedrals. We will explore Lima for two days and two nights!

Peruvians, like many South American countries, are also on “Latin time,” meaning they often arrive late for social engagements, and by and large do not demonstrate the same urgency and punctuality we are accustomed to in more westernized cultures. Do your best to slow down and enjoy the Southern pace of life – you are on vacation, after all!

PERU’S CLIMATE

Peru is located south of the Equator, which means its seasons run opposite of the Northern Hemisphere.

Peru has three distinct geographical regions: the coast, the mountain highlands and the jungle. We visit the coast and the mountain regions on our tour.

Coast
Lima, one of the driest city capitals in the world, only gets rain about seven days. During the summer months (December through April), you can expect daytime temps between 73°F to 80°F. During the winter months (May through November), the daytime temperatures dip a bit to 63°F to 70°F. During both seasons, you can expect nighttime temperatures to drop about 5-10 degrees.

Mountains
Summer (wet season) generally lasts from November to mid-April, with January & February seeing the most rain. You can expect mild daytime temps in the high 60’s and nighttime temps to drop into the 40’s.  Winter (dry season) lasts from mid-April to October. The average daytime temperatures still hover in the high 60’s but nighttime temps can drop into the 30’s.

Note: Please check specific weather for your dates before you travel. You may consider a website such as Weather.com.

ELECTRICITY & COMMUNICATION IN PERU

Electricity in Peru is 220 Volts and 60 Hertz (cycles per second). Most American electrical appliances are 110 Volts and 60 Hertz. We recommend you bring a universal power adapter.

Many hotels, resorts, airports, cafes, and retailers are now offering wi-fi. You can also expect to see internet cafes or booths, called “cabinas” in every city and many small towns.

Note: The @ symbol is difficult to find on a Latin American keyboard. To type the @ symbol, keep a finger on the “Alt” key, and then press “6” and “4” on the number pad to the right.

Most US cell phones will not work in Peru, unless you have a specific international plan. Contact your cellular provider to see what options you have in terms of international calling plans.

WHAT TO TAKE ON YOUR PERU TOUR

There will not always be someone available to help you carry your bags so you should only bring as much as you can carry on your own up a flight of stairs. Also, luggage space will be very limited in our vehicle and we encourage you to pack as lightly as possible.

Baggage Restrictions
On the internal flight from Lima to Cusco, checked baggage is limited to 50 lbs (23kg) per person (or additional fees apply). Carry-on luggage is limited to 17 lbs (8kg).

On the trains to/from Aguas Calientes, you are allowed to bring 1 overnight bag or backpack not to exceed 11 lbs (5kg) or 62 inches (length + height + width). Your remaining luggage will be stored at your hotel in Cusco.

We strongly recommend using TSA approved luggage locks on your bags and to hand carry valuables.

We suggest that you bring the following items:

Clothing & Equipment

  • Season specific casual clothes

  • Dress clothes for upscale restaurants

  • Bathing suit (some accommodations may have a pool)

  • A pair of comfortable walking shoes

  • Hiking clothes and shoes (they can get quite dirty/dusty)

  • A jacket (light or heavy, depending on season)

  • 1 small overnight bag or backpack (for the night in Aguas Calientes)

  • Power adapter and converter for 220v, 50 Hz

  • Toiletries

  • Toilet paper and hand sanitizer (for public restrooms) Note: No paper products can be put in any toilets in Peru.

  • Hair dryer

  • Sunscreen, sunglasses and hat

  • Insect repellent

  • First-aid kit with lip balm, aspirin, band aids, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, any extra prescription drugs you may be taking

  • Toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, soccer or volleyballs with pins and pumps (optional gifts for Peruvians in Cusco and Sacred Valley)

Travel Documents

  • Passport (with photocopies)

  • Travel insurance (with photocopies)

  • Airline tickets (with photocopies)

  • Credit and/or debit card and/or cash (MasterCard and Visa are the most commonly used; American Express and Maestro cards are difficult to use in Peru.)

  • This document, printed

RECOMMENDED READING LIST

Click here to check out our recommended reading before your tour!

FINAL NOTES ON YOUR PERU CULINARY TOUR

This is a tool meant to help you decide what you should bring on your upcoming trip. It is by no means comprehensive. While we do our best to be as thorough as possible, we cannot foresee every possible condition. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@accesstrips.com.

The information contained in this document is provided in good faith. Due to the nature of travel, details in this document may change. You should thus use the above information as an indication only and not as a contractual obligation on the part of Access Culinary Trips.