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
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.
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.
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
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.
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 discovery of Lima’s historic downtown on this Peru culinary tour. “Trying the local cuisine really helps bring the area to life and shows a different point of view that most tourists do not get to experience,” said Melissa, who took the Street Food Tour with fellow Travel Advisor Kiernan. “While Miraflores, Barranco, and San Isidro are known for the elevated cuisine that put Lima on the foodie map, this tour showed us so many off the beaten path options in the historic center of Lima that I would not have known about otherwise.”
The tour starts at a restaurant near Plaza Mayor. “We began the tour getting delicious fresh churros from a little hole in the wall place with a long line of locals outside. I have never had such a good churro, including my travels in Europe and Latin America. Filled with super hot manjar blanco, this churro was way too hot to eat, but I think almost all of us burned our tongues since it smelled and tasted too good to wait for it to cool down,” Melissa said. “This churro is probably what I remember most vividly from the food tour!”
Appreciate the beautiful architecture and learn about the city’s history from your guide. “While you will stop and sit in local restaurants to try different dishes along the way, you will want comfortable shoes for the walking portion of the tour so that you can be more focused on the flavors and stories of Lima,” said Kiernan.
The foods you sample are examples of classic appetizers, finger foods, and desserts from Peru.
“There are lots of delicacies like anticuchos and choncholi for the really adventurous eaters, but plenty of other options for those with more moderate preferences like papa a la huancaina,” Melissa said.
“Don’t be afraid to try everything. You may be surprised by what your favorite dish is,” Kiernan added. “I have a major sweet tooth and a dish called picarones, deep fried pumpkin donuts served with fig syrup, remains one of my all time favorite desserts. Savoring a pan con chicharron, a classic fried pork sandwich, while overlooking the golden Plaza Mayor was also a nice treat. Experiencing the colonial era buildings of downtown Lima illuminated at night makes this tour even more special.”
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.
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.