Peruvian gastronomy has become famous the world over, as chefs flock south to experiment, reinvent and redefine Peruvian and international cuisine. For first-timers heading to Peru, here are some of the most famous dishes you’ll find on traditional menus throughout the country.
The traditional national dish of Peru, some of the world’s freshest ceviche can be found in both its city and beachside restaurants. Ceviche is raw fish marinated in citrus juice. The acid of the citrus cooks the fish and the dish is usually highlighted with red onion and aji pepper.
Aji de Gallina
This is a stew made with chicken, milk, yellow peppers thickened with nuts and bread. Consider the vegetarian alternative, papa a la huancaina, a dish made with potatoes over which a spicy, creamy sauce is poured over and is eaten with hard boiled eggs and olives.
Peru’s version of stir-fry, this popular dish includes beef, tomatoes, peppers and onions mixed with soy sauce and fried potatoes. It is usually served over rice.
Causa is a traditional cold casserole that layers potatoes and avocado. It can be served with layers of tuna, meat or hard-boiled egg.
Pollo a la Brasa
A succulent Peruvian-style roast chicken, this dish is the most popular. Typically in Peru this dish is served with French fries and accompanied with Inca Kola, a yellow soft drink with a sweet, fruity flavor.
Peru’s version of the shish kebab, these grilled skewered steaks are served all over the country. They can usually be made with any type of meat but the most traditional is beef heart.
The dish of Arequipa, this spicy dish is served in a Capsicum pubescens pepper, which is infinitely hotter than a jalapeño when served raw. Cooking it, however, mellows out the flavors. It is then stuffed with spiced, sautéed ground beef and hard-boiled egg, topped with cheese and baked.
Peruvians have been eating Alpaca meat for centuries, especially in the form of jerky.
This national dish has become infamous throughout the world: its guinea pig. A sclickle in many households, cuy is usually baked or barbecued on a spit. If you can get past the stigma, it is actually a tasty dish and one of the most important in Peru.
The national beverage of Peru, pisco is a brandy made from distilling grape wine into a spirit. The potent liquor is popular all throughout Peru and can typically be found in the cocktail, Pisco Sour.
For those with a sweet tooth, lucuma is a mango-looking tree fruit with a sugary taste similar to maple syrup. It’s used as a flavoring in many desserts and ice cream
In Harmony with Nature
With its dramatic and majestic settings, Peru’s ties to nature and a spiritual past make it a tranquil and profound backdrop for travelers on an inward journey.
Peru is home to some of the world’s best spas, all in stunning environments that will help travelers connect within, as well as with the natural environment. In the Sacred Valley, consider spa resorts like Aranwa Hotels, Resorts and Spas, which is a luxury hotel and spa chain in Peru with locations in Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Colca and Paracas.
In the Colca Canyon consider Las Casitas del Colca, which offers 20 private casitas, each with a heated pool, terrace, fireplace and a glass roof through which you can see the stars. Also consider the spas at Tambo del Inka , Palacio del Inka, and Hotel Paracas, all Luxury Collection resorts. As well, in the Colca Canyon wellness travelers will find the Colca Lodge.
Rio Sagrado’s Spa Maya Wilka in the Sacred Valley overlooks the Urubamba River, making it a beautiful setting for outdoor massages and yoga practice.
And if your wellness needs simply mean a trip to the healing waters of the Pacific, consider one of the many luxurious beach resorts in places like Paracas, where travelers can sit and soak up some sun and sand.
Peru is also a wonderful environment for aspiring or accomplished yogis. Yoga retreats take place all over the country.
Families will delight in Peru’s archaeological treasures, indigenous people, and folklore, but the real magic to Peruvian family travel is capitalizing on the nature and wildlife. For that, it must be the Amazon!
Take a minute to listen to these two Peru Specialists and why they both think Peru is perfect for families. Just click the Agent Insight icon's now.
Peru’s Amazon Rainforest is teeming with wildlife, which will thrill and delight every member of the family. Be on the lookout for giant otters, black and white caimans, harpy eagles, jaguars, giant anteaters, capybaras, monkeys, toucans and so much more. Several tour companies have specific family itineraries for Amazon travel that incorporate education and discovery that is geared toward kids.
These three-, four- and five-day itineraries (and sometimes longer) put travelers on terra firma at eco lodges and on trails that twist into the jungle. Programs range for children of all ages and will incorporate more mature activities for older kids, like kayaking, canoeing or hiking.
Whether in the area of Madre de Dios, in the south eastern circuit, or in Iquitos, in the north east of Peru you will find lodges that provide excursions and additional services specifically designed for families with children. Talk to your tour operator.
And beyond the Amazon, Peru has many other treasures in store for family travelers. Stay in Cusco to acquaint your children with the history of Peru, where indigenous culture touches Spanish colonization and modern day Peru all in one city. Visit the Museo de Arte Precolombino to look at the archaeological artifacts and examples of pre-Columbian artwork from all across Peru. Active families will love hiking the Inca Trail together to Machu Picchu. While the trail is challenging, active teenagers will have no problem completing the trek. This is a wonderful way for families to bond, with the final moment being the arrival and family photo taken overlooking the ancient city.
Families visiting Paracas will love the opportunities to get back to nature and experience the wildlife. A cruise to the Ballestas Islands will get families up close and personal with seabirds and sea lions. The islands are part of the Paracas National Reserve and are home to more than 150 species of marine birds, including the Humboldt penguin, cormorants and pelicans.
Peru’s historic sites, cutting edge culinary scene and A-list hotels make it a great destination for all travelers, but signature touches allow you to put a romance spin on the entire getaway.
First, Peru does all the work for you as a romantic backdrop, from lofty Andean peaks and lush, verdant valleys to electric city nights and sleepy beachside destinations. With a wide range of romantic hotels and spas all over the country, couples and newlyweds will feel pampered and ready for romance.
Your clients destination wedding or vow renewal in Peru can be as hands on or hands off as they want it to be. Many hotels in Peru are already equipped to handle wedding parties and vow renewal ceremonies, with established packages or wedding planners onsite to help tailor each detail. Couples can even arrange to have outdoor ceremonies in the Sacred Valley, which can combine a bit of hiking into the plans if the couple is adventurous, though hiking is not a requirement. To arrange this speak with your tour operator.
A true Andean wedding is a powerful and spiritual initiation - a true cosmic party! In the old days it was performed for only a small group of people, and today is even a rarer find. The main objective of the Andean Wedding is to bring two dedicated souls together in such a way that their personal journeys will be realized much more easily…together! Consider incorporating this spiritual initiation into your own wedding ceremony. If you are already married, you are still able to re-enforce your marriage through this special initiation.
Peru makes a wonderful choice for romance travel because it is magical, affordable and easy to get to. It is easily accessible from many gateways in the U.S. including New York, Miami and Los Angeles. And once you arrive, you will find the exchange rate to be in your favor, with 1 Peruvian Nuevo Sol equaling 30 U.S. cents.
The country is full of bucket list markers, which make memorable honeymoon moments. A classic example may start in Cusco, staying at a luxury hotel for romantic dinners and spa treatments, wandering the historic streets and soaking up the native culture. Follow this with a tour of the sites in the Sacred Valley to see the majesty of Peru’s natural beauty. Cap the trip off with a hike or luxury train ride to Machu Picchu, which, as a bucket list destination for any traveler, will be even more magical when part of a honeymoon.
Meetings and Incentives
Peru is a top destination for MICE travel, specifically for five reasons.
First it is one of the best countries to do business in, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report. Peru has signed free trade agreements with world super powers like the U.S., the E.U. and China.
Second, the strategic location of Peru in the west coast of South America makes it accessible from anywhere in the region. Non-stop flights from international destinations arrive at Jorge Chavez International Airport, Peru’s main international and domestic airport. A single-terminal airport with business facilities, shops, restaurants and a 4-star hotel.
Third, the four cities equipped for MICE events have additional perks to the infrastructure and level of services they offer. Lima, Peru’s capital, is now in the prime of life in this new millennium, and continues to showcase its Pre-Hispanic and Colonial past. Paracas, the desert on the seashore, is just a few short hours from Lima and offers incredible leisure experiences. Arequipa is a jewel of Colonial architecture, and its center is a World Heritage Site. Cusco, the capital of the Incas, is where former royal palaces have been renovated into hotels, making Cusco a dynamic and cosmopolitan city.
Peru is also a premier culinary destination, offering recipes that date back centuries that have been adapted to modern-day fusion cuisine.
And lastly, Peru is an expert in professionalism and cordiality. From events for more than 12,000 participants to incentive travel for senior executives, Peru has played host to a long list of presidents, prime ministers, international opinion leaders, heads of multilateral organizations and CEOs.
Lima has a wide range of companies that organize international events, and the city is equipped with space to accommodate meetings of anywhere from 100 to 10,000 people. Popular Lima venues include the Lima Convention Centre, with capacity for 10,000 people. The Westin, along with the JW Marriott and the Country Club Lima Hotel are also great options for MICE events.
In Cusco you will find a range of accommodation for meetings and incentives, from halls to historical and natural areas such as archaeological and monumental sites. For instance the Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Park and the Qorikancha.
Arequipa has more than 200 hotels, many of which are equipped with event space and dedicated staff for meetings and events. Arequipa also has infrastructure to host incentive programs, including transfers, products, services and restaurants.