is one of my favorite South American countries, because of its incredible variety of landscapes—from the Pacific coast and Amazon jungle to the Andean mountains and Sacred Valley—and cultures—from ancient and Incan to colonial and indigenous. Yet every time I return, I make new discoveries—from the exquisite isolation of the Amazon River to the bohemian art districts of Lima.
On last month's Insider Journey, we bypassed some of the country's best-known attractions (Machu Picchu and Cusco) and instead headed to Lima and the Amazon River: we savored local specialties, toured private colonial mansions, explored flooded forests and visited indigenous inhabitants. Each day, we uncovered more of Peru's secrets. Read on for my favorite foodie finds and not-to-be-missed boutiques in Lima, to meet a few of the inspiring people I encountered along the way and to learn more about the Amazon and why it is a must for lovers of wilderness, wildlife and wonder.
As astute foodies know, Peruvian fare has emerged in recent years as one of the world’s most buzzed-about cuisines, and Lima is ground zero for tasting it. Here are my picks for the best of the best of Lima restaurants.
Often the people who you meet on your travels influence your understanding of a place. During our recent Insider Journey, we met with many such individuals, including Penelope, pictured above, who is a cooking teacher and culinary guide. After working in San Francisco for a number of years, the Lima native returned to her home city to open a restaurant with celebrated Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio and to introduce travelers to the local culinary scene. Read about more of the people we met.
One of Peru's lesser-visited attractions (compared to iconic sights like Machu Picchu), the Peruvian Amazon is a rainforest basin that makes up more than 60% of the country's landmass, but is inhabited by only 9% of its population. As such, it offers rich adventure and wilderness experiences, but also the opportunity to interact with local people. Cruising the Amazon on the exquisite Aqua Expedition's Aria boat was one of the highlihgts of our Insider Journey; see some of our group's photos.
The best Peru itineraries include a mix of classics and off-the-beaten-path favorites. This 8-day itinerary features expert-guided city tours of Lima and Cusco, as well as a private visit to the ancient monument of Machu Picchu in the Sacred Valley. In Lima, travelers will dine at some of the city's most renowned hot spots and explore up-and-coming neighborhoods like the bohemian Barranco, known for its artisan shops. This itinerary also includes visits to ancient villages like Chinchero in the Sacred Valley, which is a center for textile markets, and historic sites in Cusco. Rates from $5,724 per person, based on double occupancy. Contact Indagare to learn more and start your booking.
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