When you think of Peru – what comes to mind first? Machu Picchu sitting high in the Andes Mountains? Lima, its capital city? The rainforest?
How about good old food? Yup – Peru has been awarded for seven years in a row as the best culinary destination in the world! And – I am working with a company that can help me arrange the perfect Peruvian culinary tour tailored just to you!
That’s right. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Alexia Harten from Peru Well Served – Gastronomic Journeys and uncover all of the opportunities there are to eat your way around the country! Although gastronomic experiences are the basis of Peru Well Served – they don’t stop there – they are also travel consultants specializing in making sure you get the most out of your visit to the country.
Philosophy: At Peru Well Served they strongly believe that the best way to get to know the country and its culture is through gastronomy. And they have a saying there – in Peru we eat well served – which is how they came up with the company name. Their goal is to design customized itineraries for visitors in search of cultural immersion and that they do! They run their business based on three main concepts – or philosophies if you will – as explained below.
- 360 Degrees of Peruvian Gastronomy: Peru Well Served has fostered partnerships with restaurants, chefs and artisan producers that allow them to create authentic and unique experiences that in turn allow their guests to enjoy Peruvian cuisine in all its forms. So, in addition to dining at their award-winning restaurants you will also delve into the what, how and where locals eat in their everyday life – off the beaten path. The result? A true cultural immersion – not just a tourist attraction – but authentic and unique experiences.
They will also make sure you will visit local markets and artisan producers and have you participate in culinary and cocktail workshops should you wish.
- Hosting: During your stay, Peru Well Served will have you travel with a local – or a host – who will allow you to feel and experience a livelier and more memorable local experience. A member of their team will accompany you through your journey as a facilitator, an advisor and a Peruvian friend – sharing with you special spots and activities that Peruvians love to enjoy.
- Tailor Made: Each journey by Peru Well Served is specially designed – combining gastronomic experiences and activities that best suit what you – the traveler – wish to experience. This way they feel you won’t have to leave your lifestyle behind in order to enjoy your vacation. Throughout your stay a member of their team will be in contact with you, advising you closely.
Destinations: Peru is divided into three regions – the coast, the highlands and the rainforest. Each of these distinct regions is what makes the country so rich in ingredients – as each produces different supplies for its gastronomy.
- Lima: Here is where all of the Peruvian gastronomy converges! In Lima you can find Amazon food, food from the north and the south and everywhere in between. Food is most definitely the tourist attraction here and according to Alexia – she feels everyone must spend a few days there to get the complete gastronomy experience.
- Ica: Ica is located south of Lima. Here you will find the Nazca Lines and many vineyards. Should you choose to you may stay at one of the vineyards and you can also participate in a tour of them. Also found in Ica is Paracas National Reserve where the desert meets the ocean and makes for amazing scenery.
- Arequipa: Arequipa is south of Peru as well and is also known as the White City due to the fact that many homes are made of a white volcanic stone. Here you will also find the Colca Canyon as well as a lot of local, traditional restaurants.
- Cusco: Cusco of course is most famous for being home to Machu Picchu however there are also a lot of amazing activities and gastronomy there as well. In fact, one of my favorite things – street food – is in abundance here!
Sightseeing and Activities: There is plenty to do to help you work off all of that food you are going to consume on this trip! Experiences such as the Inca Trail, bike adventures, visits to museums, beach breaks, the unforgettable Machu Picchu and more abound. All of Peru’s Well Served gastronomic journeys include such experiences, as they make sure to combine the adventures and tourist activities that everyone wants to experience in Peru – tailored to your requests.
For instance – you can go on the basic Machu Picchu tour which means you would take the train to Aguas Calientes then transfer to a bus that will take you up to the archeological site. Here you will tour for approximately two hours before taking the bus back down and grabbing a train back to where you are staying. For the more adventurous you can see Machu Picchu by participating in a four-day trek along the Inca trail where you will have amazing views and camp put under the stars. Alexia also noted that Peru Well Served has an expert partner that they use to escort these excursions and they are totally safe. And finally – if you want some adventure but not quite that much – there is a one-day express trek along the Inca Trail but instead of camping you will sleep in Aguas Calientes. Note – As for the gastronomic experience at Machu Picchu eating is actually prohibited at the site – but they would arrange for you to eat in town or provide you with a boxed lunch to eat once you’ve come back down.
You can also add a visit to the Rainforest to your itinerary – which is truly an experience I feel everyone should have. And Alexia pointed out that there are a lot of great lodges near the rainforests that basically work similar to all-inclusives – meaning all the meals are included and you can plan your tours and activities right there when you arrive.
Responsible Travel: Alexia proudly advised that although it is now more important than ever – responsible travel has been a part of their company since the very beginning. Peru Well Served actually has three main action points that comprise this initiative.
- Fair Trade: They make sure everyone involved in their designed experiences are fairly compensated. Products or services that they know came from illegal activities are banned from their journeys. And they always try to work directly with the local communities.
- Reducing Carbon Footprint: In order to reduce the environmental impact of traveling they plant a rainforest tree. The traveler will receive a certificate with the information and coordinates of the tree that has been planted on their behalf. (So how cool is to know you have a tree out there in the Peruvian rainforest???)
- Children’s Nutrition: A part of their proceeds goes to stock children’s soup kitchens in extremely poor communities in Lima. They ask you accompany them in this pursuit of well-being and defense of the dignity of those in need.
Type of Traveler: Definitely a variety – families, multi-generational, singles, groups – you name it – if they love to eat and look at beautiful scenery – Peru is for them!
Updated COVID-19 Information: As of this writing the CDC advises that unvaccinated travelers should avoid nonessential travel to Peru. All travelers 12 years old and older must present their COVID-19 vaccination card with the completed dose up to 14 days prior to boarding the flight. Otherwise, they must present a negative molecular test issued up to 72 hours prior to boarding. Children under 12 years old are only required to be asymptomatic to board.
Needless to say – Peru hits all four of the pillars of my business – wellness, learning, gastronomy and travelling to off the beaten path areas. It is an exotic nation with an old country feel – and truly brings out one’s inner explorer. There’s so much to see do and experience and Peru Well Served is just one of the fantastic tour operators we partner with to help you see the Peru you want to see!
I am going to leave you with a sentiment Alexia and I discussed prior to our chat: “Luxury isn’t what you can buy with your money but rather access to local experiences you can’t buy.”
For more details on things to see and do, where to stay, it’s price points and more – contact your Travel Guru! Oh, and if you need a payment plan to fund your travel adventure – we got those too!