One of the country’s leading chefs, cookbook author and “farm-to-table” pioneer James Walt, executive chef at Araxi Restaurant in Whistler, continues to inspire his guests, creating compelling regional cuisine based on local, sustainable ingredients. A graduate of the Stratford Chefs School, his impressive culinary career spans some of British Columbia’s leading restaurants including a four-year tenure at Sooke Harbour House and as opening chef to sister restaurant Blue Water Cafe in Vancouver. James was also Executive Chef to the Canadian Embassy in Rome, Italy; an experience that helped shape the way he cooks today.
James is Whistler’s only chef to cook at the celebrated James Beard House in New York City where he has performed on three separate occasions. He has been voted best chef in Whistler thrice by Pique Magazine and was inducted into the British Columbia Restaurant Association Hall of Fame in 2011. He lives in nearby Pemberton where he works closely with local farmers and producers and personally selects the freshest ingredients featured on the Araxi menu. It is with this passion and hands-on approach that guests can expect to be introduced to the local cuisine of Peru.
|Includes international air|
Day 01: SEP 26, 2015: Depart Vancouver for Lima
We start this exciting culinary journey as we board our Air Canada flight to Lima arriving early morning of Sep 27. Upon arrival we are cordially welcomed and transferred to our hotel. Rooms are held for immediate access.
Overnight: Radisson Decapolis Miraflores Hotel (3 nights)
Day 02: SEP 27, 2015: Lima
Basics of Peruvian Cuisine, Historic Centre of Lima & Pisco Tasting.
Our culinary experience starts as we visit a specialised produce market with our local chef to choose and purchase only the finest ingredients for our cooking session. A great way to actually be part of the Peruvian day to day chores. Here we will find the best variety of produce from different regions of the country, including products from the Andes and the Amazon Rainforest. We will have the chance to actually taste some of the exotic fruits and learn how to practice el regateo, the bargaining exercise so typical of the local culture and get a yapa, a little extra we get for free with our purchase, such as an extra lime or an extra potato.
Our local chef will teach us the quintessential basics of Peruvian Cuisine, as we have a hands on experience preparing classic local dishes popular not only in Peru but also in restaurants around the world. Our menu will consist of:
Causa Limeña: Potato based dish filled with crabs, meat or chicken. Causa, in its basic form, is a mashed yellow potato dumpling mixed with lemon, onion, chili and oil.
Lomo Saltado: Sliced beef, fried with French fries, tomato, onions, soy sauce and chili, which is served with rice.
Suspiro a la Limeña: Meringue on top of a caramel flavored custard mixed with “manjar blanco” (Peruvian “Dulce de Leche”) and a touch of port wine.
Lima, known as the “City of Kings” was founded by Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro in January 1535 and was the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru and the most important city of the Spanish dominions in South America.
Afternoon, it is a walking tour of Lima’s Historic Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we discover the stories and traditions hidden around every corner of Peru’s capital, beginning at Plaza San Martin Square to look at Lima’s most luxurious hotel of the early 20th Century. Walking along the jirones (narrow downtown streets) we reach the Osambela House, to see one of the best examples of colonial architecture.
Evening we head to the Sibaris Restaurant, one of Lima’s most fashionable eateries. The restaurant is an eclectic space featuring an organic vintage style with modern minimalist touches. Recognized young Chefs Francesco and Thalía will prepare a delicious dinner for us accompanied by a Pisco tasting session. Pisco is Peru’s national drink and a liquor so versatile that it can be enjoyed on its own or mixed with fruit juices from which we make amazing “Pisco Martinis”. We will also learn how to prepare a traditional Pisco Sour in addition to the new, trendy Pisco-based drinks with exotic fruits. (B, L, D)
Day 03: SEP 28, 2015: Lima
Ceviche, Peruvian Dancing Horses & Dinner at Central.
Today we get to savour Peruvian Ceviche. Our Chef will prepare the following dishes right before our eyes:
Traditional Ceviche: In its classic form, this dish consists of chunks of raw fish marinated in lime juice, mixed with chopped onions, and minced Peruvian hot peppers, such as ají limo and Andean rocoto. The mixture is served at room temperature, accompanied by cancha (toasted kernels of corn, slices of cooked sweet potato and/or white potato, and yuyo (seaweed). for us to enjoy it.
Ceviche Mixto: A seafood ceviche with a variety of mollusks and crustaceans.
Tiradito de Lenguado: Unlike ceviche, tiradito does not include onions, and the cut of the fish is finely sliced fine and flattened. The treatment of the fish clearly marks the influence of Japanese immigrants to Peru.
After our ceviche lunch we will enjoy a Peruvian Paso Horse exhibition. Due to the isolation suffered for about 400 years and the selection made by their breeders, this breed is very particular in their body proportions and a side walk or paso llano that is characteristic. We also have the opportunity to learn how to ride these amazing horses. For those who are not interested in horse-riding, the tour continues in horse drawn carriages or dune boogies. We will also visit a working lúcuma farm. The lúcuma is a fruit from the Andes and is excellent for ice creams and desserts. We also visit an olive farm, a fig farm and conclude our tour at a beach to enjoy the enchanting sunset over the Pacific.
Evening, we enjoy an International Tasting Dinner at Chef Virgilio Martinez’s signature restaurant, Central. The restaurant features an impeccably maintained garden, home to a vast array of produce and continuing experiments with new fruit, herb and vegetable varieties. Here water is filtered, ozonized, purified using reverse osmosis and bottled on- site. This establishment even features a specially created wooden case that has been adapted to the temperature and humidity requirements for the optimum preservation of chocolate. Central was recently ranked as #15 of The World ́s 50 Best Restaurants and #1 in Latin America. (B, L, D)
Day 04: SEP 29, 2015: Lima/Arequipa
Afternoon City Tour & Dinner at Chicha.
A short flight to Arequipa where we are met and transferred to our hotel to relax for the rest of the morning. The historic centre of Arequipa, built in volcanic rock, represents an integration of European and native building techniques and characteristics and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Afternoon we visit Santa Catalina Monastery - a spectacular religious citadel built between the 16th and 19th centuries. We continue to the Plaza de Armas, the main square with the Cathedral, the remarkable Compañía de Jesus church district of San Lorenzo, the old house of Tristan del Pozo and the viewpoints of Carmen Alto and Yanahuara.
Evening, it is dinner at Chicha Arequipa! Peru’s most famous chef, Gastón Acurio owns this wildly experimental place whose menu never veers too far from Peru’s Inca-Spanish roots. Acurio prepares the Peruvian staples with great panache, along with tender alpaca burgers and pastas.
Overnight: Libertador Arequipa (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 05: SEP 30, 2015: Arequipa
San Camilo Market, Home Style Cooking Class & Queso Helado.
Yet another unique and eventful day. We start with a visit to the market of San Camilo in downtown Arequipa. Here we buy the necessary ingredients to prepare two traditional dishes of Arequipa (an entrée and a main dish). Arequipa’s local cuisine is amongst Peru’s most recognized, with popular dishes such as Rocoto Relleno (stuffed Peruvian Pepper), Chupe de Camarones (Thick Shrimp Soup) or Adobo (Marinated Pork). At the restaurant where we learn and assist in preparing the dishes “home style”.
For dessert we visit a traditional Queso Helado store. Queso Helado, which sometimes is wrongly translated as Ice Cheese. It is a typical dessert similar to ice-cream and Arequipa is famous for it. We will learn how to prepare this tasty dessert. Remainder of the day is free for us enjoy Arequipa on our own. (B, L)
Day 06: OCT 01, 2015: Arequipa/Cusco
Walking Tour of Cusco & Novoandino Dinner at MAP Café.
A short flight to Cusco where we are met and transferred to our hotel. It is recommended for our first day to take it easy and rest for a couple of hours in order to adjust with the altitude. (Arequipa’s height is 2380m and Cusco is at 3400m above sea level).
Situated in the Peruvian Andes, Cuzco developed, under the Inca ruler Pachacutec, into a complex urban centre with distinct religious and administrative functions. It was surrounded by clearly delineated areas for agricultural, artisan and industrial production. When the Spaniards conquered it in the 16th C, they preserved the basic structure but built Baroque churches and palaces over the ruins of the Inca city, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Afternoon we embark on a walking tour to Cusco’s impressive Plaza de Armas and visit the impressive Cathedral. We then head to Qurikancha, which was the most important temple in the Inca Empire, dedicated primarily to Inti, the Sun God. The Spaniards built the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo on the site, incorporating the Inca stonework into the structure of a colonial building. We continue our walk in the neighbourhood of San Blas, home to artisans, workshops and craft shops. Its streets are steep and narrow with old houses built by the Spanish over important Inca foundations. It has an attractive square and features Cusco’s oldest parish church, built in 1563, which has a carved wooden pulpit considered the epitome of Colonial era woodwork in Cusco. Here we will also see the famous Twelve Angle Stone crafted by the Incas.
Evening we head to MAP Café, located at Cusco’s Pre-Columbian Art Museum to savour some of the finest examples of Peruvian fusion cuisine in the world: Novoandino. The restaurant appears before our eyes as a beautifully-constructed glass cube, slightly elevated from the rock and cobblestone courtyard. The warm candle lighting, the intimate number of tables, and live Andean harp music set the stage for a unique evening of fine dining. Its varied menu comes from the inspired mind of Chef Coque Ossio, also behind La Bonbonnière, one of Lima’s more popular bistros. After seating, we enjoy a 7-course dinner featuring the restaurant’s varied fusion menu and the creativity of its kitchen staff.
Overnight: Marriott Cusco Hotel (4 nights) (B, D)
Day 07: OCT 02, 2015: Cusco
Full day excursion to Machu Picchu.
A short transfer will get us to Poroy Train Station, where we board our train to Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival we take the bus uphill to the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Machu Picchu stands 2,430 m above sea-level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height; its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna. Here we take a privately guided tour to explore every corner of the "Lost City of the Incas", followed by some free time to continue exploring the citadel at our own pace. Lunch will be served at the famous Belmond Santuary Lodge before our return by bus and train to our hotel in Cusco. (B, L)
Day 08: OCT 03, 2015: Cusco
Cooking with Chef James Walt & Sacred Valley Tour.
Today we have another exciting day, as we see our own Chef James Walt in action. We first visit a local market and see how James fares with el regateo (bargaining) and what kind of yapa he gets. Then we see him in action and will get to enjoy his creations.
After lunch we head into the Sacred Valley and visit the Inca town of Ollantaytambo, still inhabited by the locals in much the same way as it was during the time of the Incas, where we visit the incredible fortress overlong the valley. We continue to Chinchero, a charming town, with colonial style constructions and a major agricultural center during in Inca times. Here we can appreciate the stone walls with trapezoidal niches that provide the setting for the traditional market, where they still practice bartering. The Chincheros women can always be recognized by their very distinguishing clothing and braided hair. We return to Cuzco at the end of the day. (B, L)
Day 09: OCT 04, 2015: Cusco
Pachamanca & Pachamama Ceremony at Piurai Lake.
Today we drive to Lake Piurai, the perfect setting for an afternoon of unique food: Pachamanca. Pachamanca is a traditional Peruvian dish based on the baking, with the aid of hot stones of different meats marinated in spices, vegetables, fruits and tubers. The food is steamed with the heat generated by the rocks. This ancient food preparation it more of an art than a technique. While we wait for our food to be ready, we will make an offering to the Pachamama, a goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes. In Inca mythology, Pachamama is the fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting. Therefore, local people usually toast to her honor before every meeting or festivity. Our ceremony will be led by an Alto Misayoc (Master of ceremonies) who will conduct prayers, pututu sounds and invoking protection for us. The offering is burned or buried for their success, prosperity and healing. We then enjoy our meal, which has existed since the time of the Inca Empire. The remainder of the day is free for us to enjoy Cusco on our own. (B, L)
Day 10: OCT 05, 2015: Cusco/Lima
Chinatown Tour, Farewell Fusion Lunch at Astrid & Gaston & Demonstration Class with Chef James Walt.
Morning transfer to the airport for out flight to Lima. After a brief stop at our hotel we head to Lima’s Chinatown for our next adventure. Chinese culture has been an important influence in Peru’s gastronomy and we will stroll through the colourful streets Lima’s Barrio Chino.
We then head for a fascination fusion lunch at Astrid & Gastón, a place where innovation, creativity make for the restaurant’s excellent cuisine. Gastón Acurio has helped establish Peruvian cuisine and offers typical Peruvian meals in a modern and attractive style. His restaurant franchises focus on a specific category of Peruvian cuisine. Together with his wife Astrid, he managed the restaurant franchise Astrid & Gastón since 1994. With a restaurant empire that stretches from Bogotá to Madrid, from Buenos Aires to San Francisco and New York, Acurio is something of an international ambassador for Peruvian gastronomy. This is one of the best restaurants in Lima and recently ranked as #18 of The World ́s 50 Best Restaurants and #2 of Latin America.
Since it is our last day, we get to see our very own Chef James Walt in action. First we visit a market to purchase the ingredients for the dishes of tonight’s dinner. After our master class we get to savour a very special dinner on our last evening in Peru. After dinner, before we are driven to the airport, special arrangements have been made at the Casa Bella Boutique Hotel for us to freshen up and change before we are transferred to the airport. Rooms will be held for a late check out.
Overnight: Casa Bella Boutique Hotel (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 11: OCT 06, 2015: Lima/Vancouver
Our flight departs Lima early in the morning and we connect in Toronto for our flight to Vancouver. We are scheduled to arrive Vancouver at 4:00 PM of the same day.
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
English Speaking Departures (Please contact us for information on French, German, Italian and Spanish speaking departures).
This is a suggested program for private tours. Please contact us for details.
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|Estimated Airfare (FROM)+|
|East Coast||West Coast|
|This is a suggested program for private tours. Please contact us for details.|
Estimated International Airfare
(International airfare is included in this tour)
This tour operates on a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 15 participants
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