Peru culinary tours are the best way to quickly tap into the most exciting food in a given destination. In Peru, a thriving gastronomic scene takes the culinary tour experience to another level. Whether you’re in the city or the countryside, visiting restaurants, fresh markets, farms, and more alongside an expert guide gives you privileged access to hidden foodie treasures you might otherwise miss.

Discover our preferred culinary tours in Peru:

1. Evening Culinary Tour in Lima
2. Pachamanca Lunch in the Sacred Valley
3. Gastronomic Experience in Arequipa
4. Street Food Tour in Lima
5. Chocolate Workshop in Cusco

1. Evening Culinary Tour in Lima

Designed by Lima Gourmet for travelers in search of the city’s culinary highlights, the evening food tour takes you on an interactive journey through the city’s food and cultural landscape. The tour begins at a Barranco bar where you can watch and learn as the bartender makes Peru’s storied cocktail, the pisco sour. Sip and savor while your guide tells you about the renaissance of Lima’s bohemian quarter.

The second stop transports you to the rainforest via the city’s best Amazonian restaurant, ámaZ. Although the rainforest covers two-thirds of the country, Amazonian dishes are underrepresented in what is considered classic Peruvian food. But Lima is quickly embracing rainforest products and ingredients thanks to the work of forward-thinking chefs. At the restaurant, join in making a fresh Amazonian ceviche and enjoy it alongside appetizers and a rainforest fruit cocktail.

Peruvian food samples on a Peru culinary tour

Sample traditional Peruvian cuisine at Huaca Pucllana.  Photo by Britt Fracolli

For the main course, continue to Huaca Pucllana, a 4th century AD pre-Inca ruin in the heart of the city. After sundown, the ruins are illuminated – you will feel like you’re on a movie set. Enjoy the views while sampling exquisitely prepared classic Peruvian dishes. The chef at Huaca Pucllana, Marilu de Madueño, has been recognized by SUMMUM as one of the best in Peru.

There’s always room for dessert. Transfer to your last stop in Barranco, one of Lima’s most happening districts, and indulge in an irresistible gelato on the bustling central square.

2. Pachamanca Lunch in the Sacred Valley

Forming part of the scenic Belmond Rio Sagrado Hotel, Restaurante El Huerto is a must-stop for foodie travelers on the epicurean route to Machu Picchu. With advance notice, the restaurant can also prepare a pachamanca, one of pre-Columbian Peru’s oldest meals. Meaning “earth pot,” the pachamanca is a type of hot stone oven dug into an earthen pit, and it is a unique food experience in the Andes.

chefs preparing the pachamanca dishes and fresh salad to eat

Enjoy a traditional Pachamanca lunch. Photo by Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado

First, stones are heated in a wood and charcoal fire. Then the hot stones go into the pit, followed by marinated meats including chicken, beef, mutton, pork, and alpaca as well as corn, various types of potatoes, and aromatic herbs. The pit is covered with banana leaves, more hot stones, and earth to keep in all the steam. Cooking time varies depending on the size of the pit, but does not usually exceed 20-30 minutes.

The pachamanca holds deep symbolism in Quechua and Andean culture.  Food harvested from the earth is returned to the earth to represent the cycle of life and as a sign of respect to the Pachamama, or Mother Earth. Once everything is in the ground, the cooks perform a ceremony of thanks. Then the oven is opened, and the feast begins.

3. Gastronomic Experience in Arequipa

Arequipa is the birthplace of many of Peru’s iconic dishes. (Read our two-part journal post – Discovering Arequipa one bite at a time, Part 1: What to Eat and Part 2: Where to Eat).

Eating your way through a city is great, but what about cooking some of those famous dishes yourself? Giardino Tours (one of Arequipa’s most reputable tour operators) allows you to do just that.

Stalls at san camilo market in Arequipa filled with piles of fruits and vegetables

The bustling market of San Camilo in Arequipa’s historic center. Photo by A. Davey on Flickr

The experience starts at one of the city’s quintessential attractions, the San Camilo Market. Taking up a full city block in the historic center, this market is packed with stalls selling fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, meats, cheeses, grains, flowers, and more. Your guide will show you around the market, and together you will buy the ingredients for the dishes you’ll be cooking.

After the market, head to the house of a local Arequipa family for a hands-on experience in the kitchen. The cook will guide you through the entire process of cooking your own Peruvian dishes. It’s a memorable experience, and you get to take home a bit of Peruvian culinary knowledge.

4. Street Food Tour in Lima

Spice up your tour of Lima’s historic downtown, a place in the city where local commerce mingles with the more leisurely pace of tourism, with food. We suggest only eating a light lunch and save room for all the Peruvian beverages and dishes you’ll sample during this lively evening tour.

Tourists sitting down eating in Lima with a street vendor in the background at night

Enjoy on-the-go bites of popular Peruvian food.

The food tour commences in Plaza Mayor, an expansive square established in 1535 and a declared a UNESCO heritage site, at a restaurant for your first tasting. Walk with your guide between the various stops, learning about the city’s Spanish heritage and appreciate beautiful architecture, including the wooden balconies of the Archbishop’s Palace.

The foods you sample during the tour are examples of classic appetizers, finger foods, and desserts from Peru. Order fresh picarones (Peruvian-style donuts made from fried sweet potato) from a vendor and try anticuchos (grilled beef heart skewers). You may have heard of the country’s famous pisco sour, but have you heard of a chilcano de pisco?

5. Chocolate Workshop in Cusco

Hone your chocolate-making skills and understanding of cacao cultivation in Peru during a fun workshop at the ChocoMuseo. It’s a great way to spend a few hours in Cusco, especially with kids.

Wood door entrance of ChocoMuseo in Cusco with people inside.

Delicious chocolate treats lure you inside ChocoMueso. Photo by Britt Fracolli

One of our favorite workshops takes you through the process of making your handmade chocolate from bean to bar. Arrive at ChocoMuseo before your scheduled activity and order a beverage from the in-house cafe and browse the museum section. Then, get ready for an interactive chocolate-making experience. Choose between milk or dark chocolate to make your treats and more than 15 flavorings.

Peru is a wonderland of delightful cuisine. Are you ready to explore the country’s gastronomy? Contact us and begin planning your custom journey to Peru.

*This article was updated on April 5, 2020, by Britt Fracolli.

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Written by Anabel
Anabel is Incas Expert’s nomadic wordsmith. After 5 years on the road, she's developed a knack for making impromptu workplaces out of cozy cafes across South America. When not writing, she's probably out searching for the best food, coffee, and bookstores in town.