A Cultural and Culinary Exploration in Peru, including Lima and the Mistura food festival!
The dates for Mistura in 2015 will be set in the spring. Contact us to be on the notification list.
Like the Spanish word "mistura", which means mixture, this small group tour (maximum 12 participants) mixes cultures, cuisines, and geography.

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Previous participants for Mistura tours had a fabulous trip. A whole day was spent enjoying the well organized Mistura food festival and still not all was seen! All in the group had fun. Staying at the festival about 6 hours, we of course took full advantage of all the great food and drink, in addition shopping among the amazing variety of national food products. Besides all the entertainment to be seen, we were impressed with the organization and management of the event. Even with no Spanish language skills, the expansive festival grounds were easy to navigate and buying products was easy. We appreciated that the grounds and facilities were kept so clean and all the polite people willing to help with directions or interpretations.
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This small group tour will still feature some of the best Lima offers. Escorted by a professional Peruvian Chef we will have a full day at the world's largest food festival, called Mistura. You will learn for yourself why Lima is often considered the gastronomical capital of South America. For a nice video overview of Mistura and the foods of Peru, here is a link to a video on VIMEO, called Peruvian Cuisine - a Catalyst for Change.

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Also available in conjunction with the Peru Mistura Tour are trip extensions to Cuzco and Machu Picchu, to the Amazon, and to Paracas including the Nazca Lines. See below for a special ANDEAN INCA EXPLORATION of 7 Days & 6 Nights. (Our Peru tours may be taken separately or in conjunction with our other trips in Peru.)

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These unique tours were designed by anthropologist Charlie Strader, President of Explorations. His love and appreciation of Peru’s cultures and food diversity started with travels there in the 1980’s.

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Having traveled throughout Peru, he wanted to offer this special cultural tour with an appreciation and study of Peruvian foods that included the Mistura gastronomy fair in Lima.

The group size is limited to 12 participants. Expert guides will inform of the past and present cultures of Peru, their environment, history, art, and foods. You will experience why National Geographic named Peru the "next Foodie Frontier" in their
Best of the World for 2012. You will also receive a video of the acclaimed and moving documentary, Cooking Up Dreams.

Highlights and features of the tours include:
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* Mistura 2014, seventh annual gastronomy festival and second largest food festival in the world guided by professional chef
* Lima, the City of Kings
* Touring local market and cooking class with Lima chef, Sebastian Figueroa
* A gastronomic focus - from farm to fork - with visits to local markets, cooking demonstrations, and special meals
* Professional, resident guides throughout
* Small group size (maximum 12 participants) for a more in-depth and relaxed travel experience



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PERU MISTURA 2014: 5 Days & 4 Nights, September 6 - 10

Itinerary below is for example - until 2015 dates are set

DAY 1, Saturday, September 6, 2014

Reception in Lima from international flights and transfer to the colonial-style
Hotel Antigua, located in the upscale district of Miraflores, where we stay for four nights accommodations. ( Miraflores is known for its shopping areas (such as the Indian Market and Kennedy Park), hotels, restaurants, flower-filled parks, and beaches.

DAY 2, Sunday, September 7 (B/L)
Plaza Mayor Lima

We enjoy breakfast at the hotel which has wonderful fresh breads from a nearby bakery. Today we learn of Peru’s rich colonial heritage. Taking advantage of the lesser traffic on a Sunday, we travel downtown to explore Central Lima. We first head to the impressive Main Square, called the Plaza Mayor or Plaza De Armas, which is more beautiful than ever with the recent renovations. The large plaza is surrounded by such important buildings as the Government Palace, the Archbishop’s house, the Cathedral, and City Hall.

We can then witness services at the San Francisco Convent, arguably the greatest architectural complex of its kind in Latin America. We will explore its amazing network of underground galleries and catacombs that were a cemetery in colonial times. Then we walk through the most popular pedestrian boulevard in Lima, the Jiron de la Union, to the San Martin Square, which was inaugurated in 1921 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the independence of Peru. On the plaza San Martin is the historic (oldest in Lima) hotel, the Gran Bolivar, which is worth a look around and maybe enjoy a "chela" (beer), or its bar’s famous Pisco Sour.

There are many great places downtown for lunch. One of the popular and most charming ones is the historic El Cordano Bar, founded by Italians and famous for its sandwiches, such as “Butifara”. Or we may stroll the pedestrian boulevard of Paseo de los Escribanos, one of the most beautiful stretches of buildings in the area, to find a lunch spot. Known as “The Writers’ Way”, because in the past, when much of the population was illiterate, locals came here to have their messages to loved ones and friends transcribed. With its signature yellow buildings, it’s a favorite among residents and visitors and has many eateries.

After lunch, we will go for a stroll through the artsy and bohemian Barranco neighborhood, full of grand mansions and historic buildings. We will also see and learn the story of the famous Puente de los Suspiros, or Bridge of Sighs, on the walking tour.

After a rest at the hotel, for those who would like we can arrange reservations and transportation to the upscale
Huaca Pucllana Restaurant, located in Miraflores overlooking the Pre-Inca archaeological Pucllana ruins. (Costs are not included.) Currently the Pucllana Archeological Zone spreads over 15 hectares and is divided into two well-defined sections. One is of pyramidal structure, 23 meters high. The charming restaurant is was a large old house. The high ceilings and low lights give it a special touch. They also have a dining area and bar on a lovely terrace. The view of the ruins is just breathtaking and their desserts are extraordinary.
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(Note: Unless noted otherwise, dinners are not included to allow you the freedom of choice regarding what to eat and where. The local guide will assist with any desired dinner reservations, or you can choose to eat at the hotel, or nearby restaurants, such as in Kennedy Park along the Calle de Pizza, or seaside at the nearby Larcomar Mall. Famous Lima restaurants include: La Rosa Nautica, Punta Sal, Astrid y Gaston, Panchita, Rafael, Costanera 700, Malabor, Mangos, AmaZ and Caplina among others which can provide unforgettable dining experiences.)

DAY 3, Monday, September 8 (B/L)
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Today we learn about the foods and pre-Columbian cultures of Peru along with a special market tour and cooking class with professional chef, Sebastian Figueroa.

The morning is free to relax, explore Miraflores, or shop in the nearby "Indian Market". A few blocks from the hotel and one block from the roundabout in Kennedy Park many artisan shops sell nearly everything that Peruvian craftsmanship has to offer. It is a 10 block walk or about $3 to taxi. You can buy souvenirs, artisan handicrafts, jewelry, silverware, alpaca clothing, T-Shirts, pottery, paintings, wooden pieces, and much more from all over Peru. It is a place you can shop 'til you drop and most shops stay open until about 9pm!

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At 11am, we meet Chef Sebasitian for a tour to the recently renovated Mercado Surquillo in Miraflores. It is Lima’s largest food market and great place for an introduction to the great diversity of foods in Peru. Click here for a video. The market contains a wide variety of well-stocked breads, fruits, cheeses, fish, meats, potatoes, dried beans, nuts, seeds, herbs, flowers and many of the natural products from all over the country of Peru, including many of the pre-Columbian food items of Peru. Chef Sebasitian guide will explain the unknowns - how they taste, and are prepared. Of course, you may want to sample for yourself. It is normal to see women from the countryside wearing the colorful dress of their regions selling local products. The three floors have independent vendor stalls, small restaurants for take-out foods and craft shops. It is the market of choice for the gourmet chefs of Lima. The market includes an incredible range of meats, fish, and seafood. Upstairs in one of the restaurant stalls is a great place to view some of the many types of fresh ceviche. This combination of marinated fresh seafood is one of Peru’s most famous dishes.

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We then have a special cooking class and lunch with Chef Sebastian! Sebastian has studied at Le Cordon Bleu Perú and taught workshops and cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu Perú and the San Juan Bautista University. Has worked at Astrid & Gastón (Ranked #1 Restaurant in Latin America, #14 in world), and the Central (Ranked #4 in Latin America, #50 in world), and the Artístico Café Bistró and Hatuchay Hotel at Macchu Picchu. He is also part of the “Cook - Farmer Allegiance” that investigates native Peruvian products and promotes their consumption. Sebastian speaks fluid English, German and Spanish, and a little bit of Portuguese.

In the later afternoon, we visit one of Lima’s outstanding museums, the
Larco Herrera Archeological Museum to learn of the ancient cultures of Peru and have lunch (independently, so you have control over your museum viewing time). The museum is housed in an 18th century vice-royal mansion built over a 7th century pre-Colombian pyramid. Its galleries provide a thorough overview of 4,000 years of Peruvian pre-Colombian history. The museum has the world’s largest private collection of pre-Columbian art, including Moche, Nazca, Chimú, Inca artifacts, the finest gold and silver collection from Ancient Peru, and its famous erotic art ceramics.
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The museum also provides a beautiful setting for a fine meal of traditional and Novo Peruvian cuisine in its Cafe del Museo. The gourmet restaurant is rated one of the best in Lima, directed by one of Peru's most prestigious chef, Gastón Acurio. With indoor and outdoor patio seating, it has a wonderful atmosphere, located in the terrace and garden alongside the Pre-Columbian pyramid and vice royal mansion that hosts the Larco Collection. Its interior, designed by architect Jordi Puig is planned to make you feel that you are having a meal in the terrace of an old chateau. (Dinner is independent, so you have control over your museum viewing time, or you can wait to have dinner after we return to the hotel.) We return to the hotel in the evening.

DAY 4 Tuesday, September 9 (B/L)

Today along with a professional chef, we enjoy one of the world’s biggest gastronomical events and the largest food fair in the world - Mistura! In 2011, Mistura broke the Turin Italian Cuisine Expo then attendance world-record of 275,000 people with a paid attendance of 405,000. At the seaside location of the Costa Verde of Magdalena del Mar, a short distance north of the popular Miraflores district, Mistura 2014 will have estimate paid gate attendance of 600,000 people during the 10-day festival. Over 25,000 international tourists, mostly from the United States, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil, are expected to attend.

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We have a full day at the festival on a Tuesday to avoid the large weekend crowds. Since we will still be joining a large number of food aficionados, we will arrive in the morning before the lines start at the popular booths. In addition to transportation and entrance fee, we will supply $25 worth of food tickets to get you started, and be joined by Chef Sebasitian! He can help teach us about the incredible diversity of foods, products, ingredients, and cuisines.

Because of the nature of the event, we will have some free time and coordinate / assist with transfers back to the hotel or assist with departures at time of your choosing. To assist in logistics for independent explorations of the sprawling festival, we will provide cell phones for use and regularly meet at a specified location.

Food, and the people that make it, are respected at all levels of society in Peru. During the Mistura food festival, Peruvians from various social, age, and gender distinctions gather around pots and cookers to celebrate Peru’s traditional cuisine, marvel at the creativity, reaffirm their identity and celebrate cultural diversity.
Click here for short video about Mistura and the power of food.

Food has long been associated with Fiesta. The Mistura food fair brings together the various actors in the chain cuisine of Peru: farmers, producers of pisco, cooks, bakers, food sellers, confectionery, huariques, restaurants, cooking schools, and commercial companies. In Mistura a special tribute is paid to mother earth, or Pachacama. The richness of Peruvian cuisine is based on history and at the confluence of particular styles culinary and inputs from different regions of Peru - hence the name mistura, which means mixture. To this regional diversity is added 5 centuries of contributions of European tastes, Arabs, Africans, Chinese, and Japanese.

The organizers, Apega, is again planning to for an incredible number of foodies. For example, at the 2011 Mistura: More than half a million loaves of bread were sold.
The area of sweets and dessert carts sold more than 230 thousand portions. More than 40 thousand portions were sold in the area of regional cuisine. More than 20 thousand portions sold in the classic cuisine section. In the booths of Javi, Makatong and La Cilindada Pedrito more than 4,000 portions were sold daily. The rustic kitchen section sold more than 95,000 portions. More than 8 tons of fruit were sold - most requested: Orange, Chirimoya, Avocados, Pitajaya and Poro Poro. (We can also attest there was tons of fun!)

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The Mistura food festival attracts internationally acclaimed chefs such as Ferran Adria of El Bulli, Alex Atala of D.O.M. in Sao Paulo, Dan Barber of Blue Hill in New York, Massimo Bottura of Italy’s La Osteria Francescana, Rene Redezipi of Copenhagen’s Noma, Quique Dacosta of Spain’s Quique Dacosta Restaurant. Many famous Peruvian chefs will be there, such as Gaston Acurio, Rafael Piqueras, Rafael Osterling, Virgilio Martinez, Javier Wong, Giacomo Bocchio, Mitsuharu Tsumura, Ferran Adrià, René Redzepi, Alex Atala, Massimo Bottura, Victor Gutierrez, Luis Arevalo, Astrid Gutsche, Jaime Pesaque, Toshiro Konishi, Cyrus Watanabe, and Pedro Miguel Schiaffino (many will have food booths for a taste of their internationally renowned creations).

Scattered throughout the grounds are food stands from several hundred restaurants, hailing from all over Peru and serving specialty dishes. The restaurants are a combination of well-known and higher end places in Lima to simpler regional huariques. Special areas are dedicated to bread, pisco, chocolate, coffee, and Nikkei food. There is also a marketplace with specialty products, demonstration and lecture stages, live entertainment and parades. It’s like a Peruvian food Disney World! While there are plenty of free samples, food and drinks from the stands is bought with tickets, which can be purchased in separate stands throughout the park. In addition to transportation and entrance fee, we will supply $25 worth of food tickets to get you started on your food and drink discoveries.
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In the Great Market area, about 300 suppliers were present from such areas as Cusco, Puno, Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Apurimac, Huancayo, Oxapampa, Iquitos, Pucallpa, Piura, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Cajamarca, Ancash, Moquegua, Arequipa and Tacna. Many sold their entire production in the early days. Tarwi, cañihua, quinoa, salt maras, custard, coffee, Hot Chili, soft leaf stalk, cocona jams, native potatoes, etc., were just some of the products for sample and sell.

DAY 5, Wednesday, September 10 (B)

After breakfast at the hotel, you may choose among the options of: 
1. Transferring to the airport for international flights out.
2. Extend your stay in Lima to experience another day at Mistura, or other explorations in Lima.
3. Continue traveling in Peru (escorted by anthropologist Charlie Strader and local guides) for an exploration of Peru's North Coast (6D/5N).
4. Continue your exploration of Peru with one of our Amazon tour packages, our Andean Inca Exploration for Cuzco and Machu Picchu (see below for a special 7D/6N itinerary), or trip extensions for the Nazca Lines & Paracas (see below for a 3D/2N itinerary), Like Titikaka, or other.

All airport / hotel transfers and group transportation as listed 
All lodging, including hotel taxes, as listed or similar
Tours as described including entrance fees, and tickets for Mistura 2013
Meals as listed (B=Breakfast / L=Lunch / D=Dinner)

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(Note: This cultural tour may be taken separately or in conjunction with our other Peru tours.)

DAY 1 (B/L)
A mid-morning flight over the Andes Mountains to the city of Cuzco transports you to a dramatically different environment. Upon seeing the beauty of Cuzco, situated in a scenic valley at 11,000 feet, it is much easier to understand what may have prompted the Inca to call this area the "navel of the world". Tonight and tomorrow you stay in a colonial-style hotel, the Casa San Blas. This boutique hotel is centrally located near the Main Plaza in the “artsy” neighborhood of San Blas.

After check-in at the hotel, we have a welcome cup of coca tea and orientation session. Afterwards you are encouraged to take a siesta and relax at the hotel to get acclimated to the altitude. For lunch we may go to the nearby Pachapapa Restaurant for some of its popular homemade-style chicken soup, or other delicious dishes.

A guided afternoon walk introduces you to the historic center of Cusco, a UNESCO World Heritage Center.
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DAY 2  (B/L)

Today is a walking tour of Cuzco, starting with the historic buildings in the San Blas neighborhood. We will see Hatun Rumiyoc, named for its famous large 12-angle stone found in an Incan wall along the street. Along the way, we can (Why would we not!) stop at a Chocolate Shop, to be tempted by their interesting flavors including, chili, cinnamon, maca (an Andean plant) and lúcuma (a Peruvian fruit).

The tour introduces you to the impressive colonial historical city, with visits to such places as the San Blas Chapel, Arzobispo Palace, the Main Cathedral of the Plaza De Armas, San Francisco´s Botanical Gardens and much more. The Inca founded Cuzco as the capital center of their empire and it is still considered the” archaeological capital of the Americas”. Cuzco is the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the western hemisphere and evidence of its long history surrounds you. Massive Inca-built stone walls serve as foundations for the red tile-roofed colonial buildings. Here you can visit some of the oldest and grandest cathedrals in the New World. The feeling of history comes alive in the faces and language of the local Quechua-speaking, descendants of the Incas.

Before lunch a walk is planned through the colorful and vibrant San Pedro market to familiarize yourself with local ingredients. This covered, open-air market is Cuzco’s largest and full of a great variety of local fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses. No doubt hungry by then, we will then go to a local restaurant.

casco main plaza at night
After lunch, we visit and learn about Coricancha, Temple of the Sun, and the new discoveries from archeological excavations. The Coricancha temple was one of the most opulent and revered temples of the Inca. We will also explore the imposing Church and Convent of Santo Domingo which the Spanish built over the Inca spiritual complex.

For dinner on your own, the San Blas district has a great variety of fine restaurants, including the Hotel Monestario for upscale dining and the local guide can direct you.

DAY 3 (B/L)

We depart Cuzco for a drive through the countryside the Sacred Valley. In route we tour the traditional Indian village of Chinchero, the Moray Inca ruins, and the salt works at Salinas along the way. We then have two overnights in Ollantaytambo, an ancient Inca fortress and current Quechuan town.

Surrounded by mountains, we stop for visit the Quechua town of Chichero which is famous for its colorful weavings and Sunday market. There you can enjoy a weaving demonstration and may shop for high quality textiles. Chinchero is located at an altitude of 3,700 meters where you can see the entire plateau of Maras and the Vilcanota's Mountain Range with its +5,000 meters glaciers like Chicon and Veronica. We will have a picnic lunch and share with the residents their traditional dishes such as cuy (guinea pig), watia (potatoes baked on earth), maize, local bread, etc.

We then visit one of the Inca's engineering marvels, the ruins of Moray. The site's agricultural terraces form a sunken amphitheater that creates a variety of mini ecosystems due to differences in sun exposure, altitude, irrigation, and temperatures. It is thought that the site was used by the Inca to experiment with growing different plants.

Our travel through the scenic mountains also allows us to view the impressive salt pools at Maras. The ancient pools form by water emerging from the mountain and the evaporating ponds are still used to extract salt.

We continue on to Ollantaytambo for two overnights at the lovely
Pakaritampu Hotel. The hotel has beautiful landscaping, a nice restaurant, and is close to the train station for next morning travel to Agua Calientes.

After checking in at the hotel, we explore the adjacent Inca ruins of extensive terraces, massive stones, and waterworks. The excellent examples of ancient Inca city planning and architecture are evidenced by the remaining (still utilized) roadways, pools, canals and enormous stonework. The original water canals of the Inca irrigation system still function as important parts of the communities' life. It is also an excellent example of living history, as today's towns people still live in structures that housed the Incas of the 14th century.

DAY 4 (B/L)
travel to machu picchu

We have an early rise so we can depart on one of the first trains to Machu Picchu to be there as the sun rises over the mountains, which is between 7 - 8am on a clear morning. A short walk (one block) takes us to the train station for travel up the valley to Agua Calientes. The rails run along side the Urubamba River, past towering mountains and through lush forests. Upon arrival at the Machu Picchu train station in Agua Calientes (about a hour and half ride), then a 20 minute bus ride takes us 2,000 feet up to the site's entrance.

After an introductory walking tour of the ruins, the remainder of the day is free for self-exploration and discovery of this magnificent site. Enjoy lunch (voucher provided so you can go at your own timing from 11.30am - 15.00pm) at the Tinkuy Buffet Restaurant in the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, adjacent to the ruins entrance. As the sun sets, we return to the Agua Calientes train station (last bus down is around 5:30pm) for the evening train back to Ollantaytambo and the hotel.

DAY 5 (B/L)

We then begin our return to Cuzco, taking a different route and touring in the Sacred Valley of the Inca. The spectacular mountain scenery includes quaint villages, terraced valleys, and towering snow-capped peaks - all overlooking the white-waters of the Urubamba River. Much of the scenery looks like it was created just yesterday!

The Inca ruins of Pisaq are strategically located on a ridge-top overlooking two scenic valleys that are etched with extensive agricultural terraces. Covering an area four times larger than Machu Picchu, the central complex of temples in this ancient citadel was protected on all sides by high walls and gateways. In the valley, at the colorful Pisac village, you can examine (and buy) local goods such as; fruits, vegetables, coca leaves, mineral dyes, weavings, stone carvings, and a great variety of handicrafts.

Depending on timing, we will probably have lunch at La Quinta Dona Clorinda restaurant near Pisaq, popular for its typical Cusquenian food such as quinua soup, cream corn, stuffed trout, ceviche, cuy and stuffed rocoto.

alpaca and llama cuzco tours
In route onward to Cuzco, is a visit to AwanaKancha, or “Palace of the Weaver” in the indigenous language of Quechua. Various communities work with AwanaKancha to present weaving demonstrations at the farm and there is an exhibit on traditional dyes for coloring the textiles. It is also a lama farm that showcases all four members of the Andean camelid family: llamas, alpacas, guanacos, and vicuñas. Proper foods are provided so you may feed the beautiful creatures.

Before arriving into Cuzco, we explore the immense Inca fortress-temple of Sacsayhuaman, strategically built overlooking Cuzco and learn about its important role during the Spanish Contact Period. You also see the Inca shrines of Kenko, an outdoor amphitheater and Tambomachay, where a natural spring still feeds ancient Inca baths.

We then drive into Cuzco for two overnights at the Casa San Blas.

DAY 6 (B)

This is a free day in Cuzco for personal exploration and relaxation to allow you the maximum amount of choice on activities.

Cuzco is one of the world's top travel destinations and a myriad of options are available. If desired, you can arrange a day of white-water rafting, mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, or explorations of surrounding remote Inca ruins. The city of Cuzco also offers wonderful art and history museums, countless shops with a great variety of handicrafts, a wide variety of restaurants, pubs & peñas, numerous churches, cathedrals and other outstanding historic architecture line the cobble stone streets. Cuzco is safe (with a little common sense) to explore on your own and taxis are convenient. You can also hire a guide for the day if desired. Out-of-town day trips, private guides, and sport activities can be arranged directly with the local personnel in Cuzco. (Note that lunch is not included this day to allow for the most options.)

DAY 7 (B)

Morning transfer for flights to Lima.

Upon arrival in Lima, you have several options:

1. Stay at airport and connect to international flights out.

2. For an additional $90/dbl/pp you may choose to overnight in Lima (includes airport transfers, hotel and breakfast). You then may:
A. Fly out the next morning.
B. Fly out the next night (day use of hotel day room is $35/pp/dbl).

3. Or, you may choose to continue travels in Peru with custom trip extensions. You may see our webpage below for Peru travel options and we are happy to customize an itineary for you.

All airport / hotel transfers and group transportation as listed 
All lodging, including hotel taxes, as listed or similar
Tours as described including entrance fees
Meals as listed (B=Breakfast / L=Lunch / D=Dinner)

You are welcome to call us anytime at 1-239-992-9660, or toll free at 800-446-9660, or email us at travel"at"

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You may click here for photos from our previous Peru Mistura tours.
Here are some nice videos of the Mistura Food Festival (on the share link, you can go to URL and see full size)

1st Day

Mistura 2010
2nd Day

Mistura 2010

3th day

Mistura 2010

4th day

Mistura 2010

5th day

Mistura 2010

Last Day

Mistura 2010

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Mistura: A celebration of foods and those who make it!