Archaeological Tour and Culinary Adventure
Located in the Master Page
Day 1 - Arrival in Lima
Upon your arrival at Lima´s Jorge Chávez Airport, our staff will meet you and take you to your hotel where you'll have time to take a shower and rest. According to your arrival schedule and your wishes, a flexible and optional tour will be set up so you can get acquainted with the city of Lima.
Day 2: Visit to Surquillo´s Market with Chef Penelope Alzamora¹, cooking demo and Vivanda Supermarket:
After breakfast, you'll be introduced to Peru's national and cultural food diversity by visiting markets under the guidance of a renowned Peruvian chef. We'll purchase ingredients for lunch, with Chef Penelope Alzamora¹ providing you relevant information and tips, along with the answers to your questions.
So, just picture yourself meeting this morning with Penelope at the entrance of Lima´s Surquillo Market, as she takes you on an exotic adventure full of intense colors and scents, through a maze of food stands that will stimulate your senses at every step. Once inside the market, Penelope, who is a Peruvian food expert, will show you how to choose the best ingredients, to prepare the menu for lunch. Then, it will be time to head to Penelope´s house, where, guided by her expertise, you´ll get to take part in the whole preparation process, with all the ingredients purchased in the morning, up to the point of cooking it all, and finally, feeling the unmatchable satisfaction and most gratifying reward of enjoying typical Peruvian dishes, sharing them with her, in the intimate setting of her own home.
¹Penelope Alzamora was born in Lima, and thanks to her parents who were good food fans, as well as to an expert baker grandmother and a nanny who introduced her to traditional Peruvian gastronomy, Penelope became passionate about cooking. After high school, she studied Hotel Administration at Newbury College (Boston), and Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wells (Providence). After concluding her studies, she started a successful catering business in Lima, and in 1995, opened the well-known “Bohemia Café”, together with her father and other business partners.
In 2002, Penelope married and moved to the San Francisco Bay area, where she taught at the Tante Marie Cooking School and today, she lives in Lima, where she shares her time between her family and cooking classes.
In the afternoon, we´ll visit one of the city´s best supermarkets. There, the presentation of the different products will give you an interesting perspective of typical Peruvian homemade cuisine, as well as of the flavors Peruvians consider fundamental as seasoning.
Dinner at La Rosa Nautica restaurant.
Day 3: Chorillos Sea-Fishing Port and Fish Market, Walking City Tour and Chinatown:
After an early breakfast, we´ll visit Chorrillos Sea-Fishing Port to “spy” on its traditional activities and get familiarized with a broad variety of marine products, followed by a special visit to the fish market to observe fishermen coming in with their freshly caught fish. Then, we´ll have the chance to taste a typical seafood dish: Lima´s deep fried fish cracklings, and afterwards, we´ll pay a visit to the well-known Chef Luis Cordero; winner of an award for preparing the best “Ceviche” in Lima, who will invite us into his kitchen to learn more about the history of this emblematic Peruvian dish, and to observe its preparation process.
Later on, we'll set off on a guided walking city tour of the most outstanding sites of Lima´s Historical Center which was declared as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO and holds jewels of both the Colonial and Republican time periods. On the way, we´ll take the best advantage of the almost omnipresent street food vendors, to taste a selection of typical popular dishes, for their peculiarity and seasoning, right there, on the spot, which is tradition in Peru, since the time of the Colony.
We'll end our tour with a leisurely stroll around Lima´s Chinatown; the largest in Latin America, to taste some Peruvian-Chinese fusion food, for a bit of a change, while remaining within the frame of our national gastronomic mosaic. Dinner at one of the famous Chifa restaurants.
Day 4: Guided Visit of Pachacamac and Pachamanca Cooking Lesson:
After breakfast we´ll travel out of Lima, to the world-famous Pre-Incan Ceremonial Center of Pachacamac, located on the coastal band that borders the Pacific Ocean, a great ceremonial complex that attracted large numbers of pilgrims, both in pre-Incan and Incan times. We´ll then go to a typical countryside restaurant to observe the steps in the preparation process of the Pachamanca, a traditional Andean cooking technique and dish in which meats, vegetables and potatoes are wrapped up and placed on hot stones in a hole dug into the ground, to slowly bake under layers of earth and stones. Here, the secret of a good Pachamanca is the time it should be cooking, the depth of the hole, heat of the stones at the bottom and the way the hole is filled with earth and covered with stones. So, once again, this will be a very special culinary experience.
Overnight in Lima.
Day 5: Azpitia, Winneries, Pisco cellars
Just one hour and a half from Lima, traveling along the Panamericana Sur at the height of 80 km, (2 kilometers before reaching the valley of Mala), lies the idyllic village of San Vicente de Azpitia , cool and dry with a spectacular view of the fertile valley, known as the balcony of heaven. Here a variety of restaurants near the river offer local dishes and wine and pisco produced at vitinivicolas wineries. Pisco is a popular native Peruvian wine with a unique flavor, besides tasting a glass of pisco.
We'll return to Lima and dine at Astrid and Gaston, a Peruvian restaurant that has achieved international recognition. It was the first of many that Gaston Acurio has developed in South and Central America, Spain and the United States. In a recent issue of Elle magazine, Gaston was named, along with Charlie Trotter and Thomas Keller, one of the "three chefs who broke the mold" in Madrid Fusion.
Day 6: Cusco, City Tour, Central Market
Transfer to airport to take the flight to Cusco. Upon arrival in Cusco, we will be waiting at the airport to take you to your hotel.
In the afternoon after a few hours to adjust to the altitude we will walk along the streets and marvel at the flawless Incan stonework and picture a time and place when the Incas once had a massive empire. We start our visit with a walk around the colonial Plaza de Armas, visiting the Cathedral, which contains one of the city’s greatest collections of colonial art. Following the Cathedral we will be admitted to view the archbishop’s private collection of interesting local colonial and Indian pieces of art.
We'll then visit the Central Market, a traditional market where we will get a sense of the daily rhythm of Cuzqueño life. From open air stalls, everything from coca leaves, flowers, carrots, a range of familiar and unfamiliar fruits and vegetables are sold.
Overnight in Cusco. Lunch at Limo restaurant, dinner at Cciciolina restaurant.
We'll return to our hotel and have a Cultural Expeditions Signature Cultural Immersion Evening with dinner with a cooking demonstration, and time to relax, ask questions, and let the experiences to date sink in.
Day 7: Pisac, Huayoccari
We'll drive along the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Our first stop will be Awana Cancha Weaving Centre, located on the road to Pisac. The center exhibits weaving products from several local communities, and more importantly one has the opportunity to view the traditional weavers in action using dyed wool yarns from alpaca, llama, and vicuna. One of the other highlights of this visit is a chance to pet alpacas and llamas. We then continue to visit Pisac's famous archeological site, impressive ruins that stand above the town. The site is spectacular for the views alone, but the archaeological site also contains an important ceremonial center, temples, terraces and a collection of Inca tombs. Then we will have lunch and visit the famous Pisac market which retains much of its local charm, where villagers from miles around gather to barter and sell their produce.
Following the Market we'll drive to the exclusive Hacienda Huayoccari, where we'll enjoy delicious homemade dishes, while enjoying a spectacular view of the Sacred Valley. Huayoccari is a private home where we will stay for the night. It provides beautiful surroundings, amazing gardens and views, antiques and folk art throughout, plus, of course, delicious food.
Hacienda Huayoccari is a working farm which cultivates a strain of corn with especially large white kernels. The Hacienda itself is situated within extensive grounds located in the heart of the Sacred Valley.
Day 8: Visit to Maras & Moray, Cooking demonstration
After breakfast, we'll depart from the hotel to visit Moray, a unique archaeological site. Moray was an important center of domestication, acclimatization and hybridization of vegetables and wild plants that were modified or adapted for the human consumption due to its climatic conditions and other characteristics. Natural gigantic holes in the surface of the area were used to construct in its contours farming terraces or agricultural platforms. We'll have a picnic lunch. Then we'll continue toward the famous salt ponds of Maras, the salt world, where local people have been processing and harvesting salt for over 1000 years.
Afterward we'll continue to your hotel, the Sol y Luna, in the beautiful Urubamba Valley and have a cooking demonstration.
Day 9: Ollantaytambo, Train to Machu Picchu
We'll depart from the hotel early for the Ollantaytambo train station to board the train to Machu Picchu. This rail journey is one of the most spectacular in the world. The rail line follows the Urubamba river through the spectacular Canyon of Vilcanota to the Lost City of the Incas. We will tour Machu Picchu in all its splendor and mystery, then we'll drive to the Sacred Center. Our expert guide, fully knowledgeable about the history and meanings of each aspect of Machu Picchu, will share the most current information and insights into this world-renown marvel. We'll check into the hotel and have a buffet lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge on the top of Machu Picchu before we take a special tour of the archaeological site. Machu Picchu is a remarkable work of art and a jewel of Inca architecture. It is a city in harmony with its environment perched atop a narrow crest high above the meandering Urubamba River and surrounded by the rugged, green slopes of the forested Andean mountains. Our visit to the Lost City of the Incas (discovered in 1911 by the American historian, Hiram Bingham and never reached by the Spanish Conquistadors) will include the Temples and Tombs, the ceremonial water fountains and baths, and the Sacred Plazas. We will take a 30-minute walk that leads to the Inca Drawbridge before returning to the hotel.
Overnight in Machu Picchu.
Day 10: Optional Hikes around Machu Picchu, to Cusco
You can rise at dawn with the sun's first light and experience the mystical magic of this sacred city and its sublime beauty. After breakfast there are several optional activities available. Huayna Picchu or Young Peak, (8,860 feet) which looms over the citadel in the background and a one-hour climb (one way) along a steep trail of stairs that ends at the terraces and ruins on top, providing an excellent "bird's eye" view of Machu Picchu citadel. It is a challenging hike, but the reward is one of the greatest views in the world! The descent is relatively quick and easy, but steep, and leads straight to lunch. Or, take an hour and a half hike downhill through the forest which ends at the partially excavated temple site. We'll have lunch at Indio Feliz. These hikes vary in length and difficulty and your guide can help you decide which option it right for you. Those who prefer may simply stay back and explore the hotel's orchid gardens or meditate on the archaeological wonders. After lunch we bus down to the train for our train ride to Cuzco.
Overnight in Cusco. Dinner at the famous Map Cafe. You will not find a better location or a nicer setting in the old colonial quarters of beautiful Cusco. Literally set inside a big glass bubble in the patio of the Museo de Arte Precolombino (Hence the "MAP café" name), this elegant, upscale restaurant features the delicious creations of renowned Peruvian chef Coque Ossio.
Day 11: Cusco, Lima to home or other expedition
Morning free to shop and roam Cusco. We'll take you to the airport for your departure home unless you are remaining for more expeditions.
My mother and I think back so much on the trip and the memories it created for both of us.
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