A Culinary and Cultural Journey to Peru
Whether you are a traveller who loves food or a foodie who loves to travel, this experience of Peruvian food and culture is one you don’t want to miss.
Retreat2wellness is excited to announce a Culinary and Cultural Journey to Peru.
This 10-day, adventure features an ideal combination of in-depth culinary and cultural touring. We will explore Peru’s unrivaled geography, culture and cuisine, from cosmopolitan Lima to the colonial city of Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, mystical Machu Picchu, and finally the floating islands of Lake Titicaca. Along the way, we will enjoy gentle yoga and meditation sessions in breathtaking outdoor settings.
The birthplace of authentic fusion, Peru is an epicurean dreamscape where Spanish, West African, Chinese, Japanese and Andean influences create a cuisine as deliciously captivating and complex as the culture. Savor insider access to the Peruvian culinary scene as you explore the food markets of Lima, as you learn the secret to the perfect ceviche, as you experience farm to table dining, cooking lessons, discussions of Sacred Valley agriculture, and a “Pachamanca”, a banquet prepared with a traditional Peruvian earthen oven, or “huatia”.
The journey bring us up close and personal to the most interesting cultural and historic sites in Peru. We will experience insider activities, and meet fascinating locals who will bring us closer to the history and living traditions of Peru.
Cultural Highlights of the trip include:
A visit to mythical and legendary Cusco, a UNESCO protected World Heritage Site considered the historic capital of the Inca Empire. Located high in the Andes Mountains, Cusco is the most important tourist destination in Peru and home to one of the newly selected seven wonders of the world: Machu Picchu. In addition to our day at Machu Picchu, we will visit nearby Maras, a picturesque town with salt mines from the Inca era that are still worked today. We will also visit the archaeological site of Moray, composed of a series of concentric agricultural terraces, some as deep as 150m. This site is believed to have been a large agricultural laboratory where the Incas were able to create different microclimates to grow a large variety of crops.
A visit to the Sillustani Archeological Site near Puno, one of the world’s best preserved pre-Incan burial grounds. The tombs, which are built above ground in tower-like structures called chullpas, are the vestiges of the Colla people, Aymara who were conquered by the Inca in the 15th century.
An overnight cultural stay with a Host Family on Lake Titicaca’s Amantani Island, where we will immerse ourselves in local traditions and experience the warm hospitality of the Uros people.
Day 1 – ARRIVAL TO LIMA
PM Arrival to Lima Airport. Accommodations this evening are at The Costa del
Sol Hotel in the Airport of Lima. A meet and greet upon arrival at the Airport.
Day 2 – LIMA – CUSCO – VALLE SAGRADO
AM Breakfast at Hotel, briefing and introduction to our week of (Yoga+Gourmet Peru)
11:00 AM Departure to Cusco, arriving at 12:30 PM. Travel to the Sacred Valley of
the Incas, a region in Peru’s Andean highlands. Along with the nearby town of Cusco and the ancient city of Machu Picchu, it formed the heart of the Inca Empire. Stretching roughly 60 kilometers, the Sacred Valley is an area of fertile farmland and Spanish colonial villages like Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Pisac is known for its Sunday handicraft market and hilltop Incan citadel. We will enjoy a light picnic lunch, then continue to our Lodge, the IFK Lodge, named after Ivan and Franco Kisic. IFK Lodge Hotel is magically and mystically situated under the gaze and protection of the Pitusiray Mountain (Apu), on the banks of the Sacred River of the Inca – the Urubamba River – which runs through the entire valley, creating a unique micro climate, turning the area into a natural, cultural and eco-environmental setting, which in turn soothes us with its hum, inducing us into meditation, rest and relaxation as we acclimate to the altitude. We will enjoy a light dinner at Nunay, the Lodge’s restaurant. B/L/D
Day 3 – MARAS – MORAY – PACHAMANCA
Morning drive by Maras, a picturesque town, and its closer salt mines from the Inca era that are still worked today. Thousands of uneven square-shaped ponds dot the slopes of the hillside less than a kilometer west of the town. These pre-Inca salt pools were constructed during the Chanapata culture between AD 200 and AD 900. Highly salty water emerging from the Qoripujio spring, close to the head of the valley, is directed into an intricate network of tiny channels constructed so that the water runs gradually down onto the several hundred ancient terraced ponds. Almost all the ponds are less than four meters square in area, and none exceeds thirty centimeters in depth. The flow of water is carefully controlled and monitored by the workers. The altitude of the ponds slowly decreases, so that the water may flow through the myriad branches of the water-supply channels and be introduced slowly through a notch in one sidewall of each pond. As water evaporates in the arid Andean air, the water becomes supersaturated and salt precipitates as various size crystals onto the inner surfaces of a pond’s earthen walls and floor. The pond’s keeper then closes the water-feeder notch and allows the pond to go dry. Within a few days the keeper carefully scrapes the dry salt from the sides and bottom, puts it into a suitable vessel, reopens the water-supply notch, and carries away the salt.
We will then visit the archaeological site of Moray, composed of a series of concentric agricultural terraces, some as deep as 150m. This is thought to have been a large agricultural laboratory where the Incas were able to create different microclimates to grow a large variety of crops. For lunch we will be visiting a local farmer who will open his lakeside small farm for us to stretch, do a bit of yoga and enjoy a conversation and demonstration by Chef Pio Velazquez featuring “Pachamanca” a traditional Peruvian dish of lamb, mutton, pork, chicken or guinea pig, marinated in spices and baked with the aid of hot stones. Learn all about Native Potatoes and local ingredients. Interact with a family of weavers typical from the Chinchero Area. Return to IFK lodge B/L
Day 4 – HUCHUY QOSQO
7:00 AM – Full Day Trek to Huchuy Qosqo, an archaeological site north of Cuzco. Its name is Quechua for “Little Cuzco.” It lies at an elevation of 3,600 meters (11,800 feet), above the 3000-meter high town of Lamay and the Sacred valley. The site received its name in the 20th century; previously it had been known as Kakya Qawani. Pedro de Cieza Leon, in his Second Chronicle of Peru, claimed that the palaces were built by Viraocha, the Eighth Inca ruler. Amongst a large number of buildings, some stone, some adobe, is a kallanka (great hall), 40m long. Providing water to the site is an Inca built irrigation channel, lined with stones for about 800m. Dinner at El Albergue. Afterward, we board a 7:00 PM Train to Aguas Calientes, to check in Casa Andina Hotel B/L/D
Day 5 – MACHU PICCHU
AM visit to Machu Picchu, an Incan citadel set high in the Andes Mountains, above the Urubamba River valley. Renowned for its sophisticated dry-stone walls that fuse huge blocks without the use of mortar, intriguing buildings that play on astronomical alignments, and panoramic views. Its exact former use remains a mystery. Lunch at the Santuary Lodge Buffet, afternoon return to Ollantaytambo to continue to Cusco, once capital of the Inca empire, and now known for its archaeological remains and Spanish colonial architecture. Check in Hotel Costa del Sol Cusco. B/L
Day 6 – CUSCO
Morning walk with a visit to Koricancha Qurikancha or Quri Kancha, originally named Inti Kancha or Into Wasi. This was the most important temple in the Inca Empire, dedicated primarily to Inti, the Sun God. It was one of the most revered temples of the capital city of Cusco. We will also visit Santo Domingo, the spectacular Cathedral and the Church of La Compañía (Order of the Society of Jesus) the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cusco. The cathedral is located on the Plaza de Armas. The building was completed in 1654, almost a hundred years after construction began.
Adjacent and joined to the cathedral is the smaller Iglesia del Triunfo, the first Christian Church to be built in Cusco. The Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus, also on the Plaza de Armas, was built at a similar time as the cathedral.
The Cathedral, in addition to its official status as a place of worship, has become a major repository of Cusco’s colonial art, It also holds many archeological artifacts and relics. The cathedral was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site under the City of Cuzco listing in 1983. This day also includes a San Marcos Market tour, lunch and Afternoon Yoga in Saksaywaman. Located on a steep hill that overlooks the city, this fortified complex has a wide view of the valley to the southeast. Archeological studies of surface collections of pottery at Saksaywaman indicate that the earliest occupation of the hilltop dates to about 900BC. According to Inca oral history, Tupac Inca “remembered that his father Pachacuti had called the city of Cusco the Lion City. He said that the tail was where the two rivers unite which flow through it, that the body was the great square and the houses round it, and that the head was wanting.” The Inca decided the “best head would be to make a fortress on a high plateau to the north of the city. But archeologists have found that Saksaywaman was built by the preceding Killike culture; it was expanded by the Inca beginning about the 13th century. In the early evening, we will enjoy a Pisco Sour Making Lesson at Museo del Pisco and Dinner at The Museum of Pre Columbian Art. B/L/D
Day 7 – CUSCO – PUNO
AM Departure to Puno – with a few interesting stops on the road, arriving in the afternoon to Puno, a city located on the shore of Lake Titicaca. Check in to Hotel Casa Andina Private Collection. B/L
Day 8 – TITICACA- UROS – AMANTANI
AM departure to the floating town of UROS, then continuing to Amantani Island. Overnight stay in Amantani with a Host Family for a unique cultural experience. B/L/D
Day 9 – AMANTANI – PUNO -SILLUSTANI
Return from Amantani to Puno. Afternoon visit to the Sillustani Archeological Site, a pre-Incan burial ground on the shores of Lake Umayo. The tombs, which are built above ground in tower-like structures called chullpas, are the vestiges of the Colla people, Aymara, who were conquered by the Inca in the 15th century. The structures housed the remains of complete family groups, although they were probably limited to nobility. Many of the tombs have been dynamited by grave robbers, while others were left unfinished. – Evening departure to Lima from Juliana Airport, late arrival to Lima, check in Hotel. Costa del Sol Miraflores. B/L
Day 10 – LIMA
Morning tour of Surquillo Market, then travel to Lima Center for a City Tour, including a visit to Lima’s Catacombs and a Chicano tasting at “Bar El Cordano”, one of the oldest bars in the city. Lunch at La 73 or Isolina taverna and Dinner at IK Restaurant – B/L/D
Day 11 – LIMA
Free Day on your own to explore Lima: Museums, Shops, etc. Most flights return to US in late evening or after midnight. PM Return to USA. B
Trip itinerary is subject to change but will always maintain a spirit of adventure and diverse activities.
Don’t miss this unique experience in one of the most exciting culinary and cultural destinations in South America. With our amazing local guides, we will uncover the cuisine, the history, the people and the spiritual side of unforgettable Peru.
…..and yes, guinea pig is on the list!
The icy Humboldt Current that flows through the Pacific Ocean just off Peru’s coast supports one of the world’s most bountiful sources of seafood. If Peru had an official national dish, it would probably be this preparation of raw fish marinated in citrus juice. The acid in the fruit “cooks” the fish, giving it a delicate flavor and slightly chewy consistency. The dish is usually spiced with red onion and aji pepper, and served (typically at lunch) with sweet potato or choclo, a white Andean corn with dime-size kernels. Bold gastronomes can drink the leftover citrus marinade, which is known as leche de tigre, tiger’s milk.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it. This staple meat raised in many households of the Andes goes by a different name in the United States: guinea pig. (One indication of how important the dish is to the rural Peruvian diet: In a cathedral in Cusco hangs a replica of Da Vinci’s Last Supper, in which Christ and the 12 disciples are seated around a platter of cuy.) The meat, which is quite bony, is usually baked or barbecued on a spit and served whole—often with the head on. It has a pleasant, gamy taste like that of rabbit or wild fowl.
A visitor to any market in Peru is certain to find two things—hundreds of varieties of potatoes, which may have originated here (Peru’s longtime rival Chile also claims tuber originality), and piles of avocados large enough to toboggan down. A traditional causa layers these two ingredients into a sort of casserole, which is sliced and served cold. Other layers might contain tuna, meat, or hard-boiled egg.
4. Lomo Saltado
A hundred years before anyone had heard of Asian fusion cuisine, boatloads of Chinese immigrants arrived in Peru looking for work. The ingredients and techniques they added to Peru’s food vocabulary are probably best exemplified by this hearty hybrid stir-fry, in which beef, tomatoes, peppers, and onions are blended in a pan with soy sauce and fried potatoes. Not a dish for the carb-phobic; it’s usually served over white rice.
5. Aji de Gallina
The yellow aji pepper lends its color—a hue similar to Tweety Bird’s—as well as its mild kick to several Peruvian dishes. Among them is this rich, velvety stew made with chicken and condensed milk and thickened with de-crusted white bread. A vegetarian alternative with a similar flavor is the ubiquitous papa a la huancaina, boiled potato with creamy yellow sauce.
These skewers of grilled, marinated meat (much like shish kebabs) are served everywhere in Peru. High-end restaurants offer them as entradas, or appetizers. Street-cart vendors sell them slathered in a garlicky sauce. While almost any meat can be prepared this way, the most traditional—and best—anticuchos are made with beef heart, a practice believed to trace back to the days when Peru’s Spanish conquerors would consume a cow’s choicest cuts and leave the organs for their slaves.
7. Rocoto Relleno
This dish is typically associated with Arequipa, Peru’s second largest city, but it is served everywhere. What appears to be a plain-old red bell pepper is actually a fiery Capsicum pubescens (at least ten times as hot as a jalapeño when raw, but boiled to reduce its thermonuclear properties), stuffed with spiced, sautéed ground beef and hard-boiled egg. This is topped with melted white cheese, baked, and served whole.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the name alpaca refers to expensive wool used to make sweaters and socks. In the Andean highlands, this camelid (a smaller cousin of the llama) has also been a source of meat for centuries. The taste is similar to buffalo or other grass-fed meats: somewhat gamier than beef and very lean. Alpaca’s lack of greasiness makes for excellent jerky, which coincidentally is another ancient Peruvian culinary innovation. (The name comes from the Quechua word charqui, meaning “to burn.”)
While Peru’s cuisine is most famous for its spicy and savory dishes, Peruvians adore sweets, too—as evidenced by the popularity of Inca Kola, a teeth-melting bubblegum-flavored soda. Lucuma is a tree fruit that looks like a mango, but it has a custardy taste akin to maple syrup. It’s usually used as a flavoring in desserts, and is justifiably popular as a variety of ice cream.
10. Pollo a la Brasa
This Peruvian-style roast chicken is so delicious—and popular—that it’s now available in cities around the globe. The secret is marinating the bird in soy sauce flavored with red peppers, garlic, and cumin, which gives the meat and skin a smoky, salty taste. Outside Peru it’s typically paired with French fries, but the more traditional accompaniment is fried yuca, a waxy tuber that has a pleasant chewiness and holds its own against the spicy dipping sauces with which pollo a la brasais typically served.
$5,000 per person based on double occupancy
$5,850 per person for a private room
A 30% Non-refundable deposit is due at booking to reserve your space.
Full Payment is due 6 weeks prior to departure and is non-refundable.
This trip has limited availability. It will sell out, so reserve your space early.
Cancellations after July 25, 2016 are non-refundable, but Retreat2Wellness will do its best to apply the balance of the payment, after the 30% initial non-refundable deposit, towards future travel with Retreat2Wellness.
Passport must be valid for at least 60 days from entry date to Peru. A copy of your passport is required.
Travel Insurance is required to protect you in the event of unforeseen medical issues prior to traveling or while traveling, last minute flight cancellations or personal issues that effect your trip. Many of our clients have found great rates and policies through the following site: www.travelguard.com.
It is strongly suggested that participants get clearance from a primary doctor for any issues with high altitude. We will be at almost 12K feet.
This Retreat Includes:
Expert leadership by Elaine Haffey
10 night accommodations
All transfers, local land transportation
Airfare Lima – Cusco – Puno – Lima
Admission to attractions
Pisco Sour Making Lesson
Pachamanca Cooking Demonstration at Piuray Lake
Price Does Not Include:
Passport fees, international departure taxes and fees, excess baggage charges.
Items of a personal nature, such as gratuities, special diets.
Alcoholic beverages other than those as part of a class or demonstration.
Laundry and ironing services.
Any charges in excess of those covered by this travel program.
Space is limited.