PAFF-General Fact Sheet-01

With 10,000 years of history, the country is the heart of the powerful
Inca Empire as well as several ancient civilizations. From the Andes to
the enigmatic geoglyphs of Nazca, Peru is a land of surprises, including
its world-class cuisine, magical dances and kaleidoscope of landscapes,
sounds and colours.

Offering a wide variety of destinations, Peru is notable for its huge number
of tourist attractions. Discover the enchanting city of Machu Picchu, and
its capital, Lima, cradle of modern Peruvian culture.

We would like to introduce you to five treasures of Peru to discover or



The lively, friendly city of Lima is a Mecca for Peruvian haute cuisine: day after day, it proves to be a choice destination for travellers. Former jewel of the Spanish colonies, the city is home to numerous churches and aristocrats’ mansions, with vast riches to be discovered. Its historic district was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. Lima is a city of museums, overflowing with treasures discovered at archeological sites from the pre-Hispanic period. With a population of close to eight million, it also has more modern districts, such as Miraflores, with its chic shopping malls and condominiums, and San Isidro, with its charming residential neighbourhoods, large parks and lively cafés pulsating to the beat of Latin culture.

5 days in Lima to discover its treasures

Day 1: Historic downtown district

Day 2: Main museums

Day 3: Strolling in Miraflores and San Isidro

Day 4: Callao (Palomino islands and Fort Real Felipe)

Day 5: Sacred City of Caral

PAFF-General Fact Sheet-02Visitors have other options in the outskirts of Lima, including Callao, where they can take a boat to observe the sea lions and sea birds that find shelter in the Palomino Islands. The more adventurous can sail out to the continental shelf and watch whales frolicking on the waves. South of the city is Pachacamac, a pre-Hispanic complex that is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Peru. And just a short distance north are the ruins of Caral, the oldest city in the Americas, built 5,000 years ago.




Unique architecture and a profoundly historic character: this aptly describes the mystical city of Cusco (“navel of the world” in Quechua). Beyond the city, there are several sacred sites along the route, including the celebrated Machu Picchu.

PAFF-General Fact Sheet-03Machu Picchu (or “old mountain” in Quechua) is an Incan site dating from the fifteenth century, located 2,430 metres above sea level. It affords spectacular views of the mountains in southern Peru. Covering an area of 325,92 km2, it has been designated one of the new seven wonders of the world, in addition to being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

Between Cusco and Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail is a network of 22,500 kilometres of trails that the Incas built to unite the administrative and religious centres of their vast empire, from Quito to Santiago de Chile. In our day, adventurers can follow in their footsteps, discovering the treasures they left behind.



Located in the department of Puno, Lake Titicaca is the jewel of Peruvian nature. Legend has it that Puno was the birthplace of Incan civilization, and Manco Capac, the first Inca, is said to have emerged from the waters of Lake Titicaca to found the empire in the city of Cusco, at the behest of his father, the sun god Inti.

PAFF-General Fact Sheet-04Nestled high in the Andes, this 8,562 km2 lake is fed by 25 rivers. Peru and Bolivia both border on the world’s highest lake, at 3,810 metres. Interestingly, Lake Titicaca has a moderating effect on the region’s climate, making it possible for humans to live at this high altitude.

The Puno region abounds with attractions: ancestral rituals like offerings to the earth are still practiced, and farming is widespread. There is also the Lake Titicaca Reserve, created in 1979 to protect the region’s natural resources and unique ecosystem, which includes 60 varieties of birds and 14 species of fish.

Fans of camping, sport fishing, observing plants and wildlife, and trekking will be in seventh heaven when they explore Puno and the shores of Lake Titicaca.


The Ica region is full of wonders, including the Nazca geoglyphs, an enigma of immense proportions. These figures, etched into the surface of the desert, are a still a mystery: it is not known what prompted the ancient Peruvians to create animals and plants, including a monkey, birds and a spider, so huge they can only be seen from the air. In fact, some of the drawings span several kilometres.

PAFF-General Fact Sheet-05On the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1994, these geoglyphs date back to the Nazca civilization, which developed in southern Peru between 300 B.C. and 900 A.D. before the Inca empire. They are thought to have been created between 400 and 650 A.D. These works exude mystery and are a source of fascination for anyone who stops to visit them.

Ica is the capital of the department of the same name. It is an elegant city, known for its tradition of fine wines and pisco brandy, and for its African-influenced cooking.

Those who visit the ICA region will be enchanted by the archeological complexes, including the pyramids of Cahuachi and the Paracas national reserve, home to Humboldt penguins and magnificent landscapes.



PAFF-General Fact Sheet-06Drifting down the Amazon, observing the palm trees and sampling exotic fruits are just some of the pleasures you can experience in Peru. Iquitos, capital of the Loreto region (Peruvian Amazonia), cannot be reached by road: you have to travel by boat or plane to reach this remote island. Serving as highways in this area are the rivers, including the Amazon, with the highest average volume on the planet (209,000 m3/sec.) and along with the Nile, the longest river in the world (6,500 kilometres). The best way to enjoy the jungles in the Loreto region is to stay in one of its rustic lodges, recognized for their excellent services. They are located along the banks of hidden rivers, where the rainforest is lush and alive with enchanting sounds and colours. Pottery and other crafts are easily accessible in Iquitos. The region’s cooking, which makes use of local ingredients such as hearts of palm and paiche, a variety of fish from the Amazon, will impress even the most discriminating palate.

Peru: a journey to wellness 

Peru is home to more than 400 hot springs with temperatures above 20° C, and some as high as 89° C! These waters are rich in bicarbonates, chlorides and sulfates and are indicated for the treatment of conditions such as rheumatism and skin problems. They also relieve stress, improve circulation and soothe muscles.

The Inca Baths (Cajamarca), Monterrey (Ancash) and Churin (Lima) are the most popular hot spring resorts, along with Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) and La Calera (Arequipa), where travellers come in search of rest and relaxation after exploring the Inca Trail or the Canyon de Colca.

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Archeological treasures along the Moche route

PAFF-Moche Route-01Peru is famous for the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. Along the country’s north coast, the Moche Route, with its fascinating sites and wealth of archeological treasures that offer a unique experience for the senses, is gradually become better known.

The Moche Route includes some of the world’s most impressive archeological sites, where visitors can discover Peruvian traditions that dated back thousands of years. The Moche culture is named for a river, the Moche, which flows through northwestern Peru, as well as the small town located on this river. It is sometimes referred to as the Mochica, in reference to the Moche culture. This Pre-Columbian culture existed from 100 to 700 A.D. along Peru’s north coast. Two major areas along the Moche route are the Lambayeque, which includes the city of Chiclayo, and the Libertad, home to Trujillo, Peru’s third largest city with a population of close to one million. The popularity of the Moche route continues to grow: every year it attracts slightly more than 40,000 tourists, curious to discover what lies behind the powerful civilizations that have shaped history.

Peru is famous for the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. Along the country’s north coast, the Moche Route, with its fascinating sites and wealth of archeological treasures that offer a unique experience for the senses, is gradually become better known.


Mysterious civilizations

Your inner Indiana Jones will be thrilled by the impressive archeological riches along the Moche Route. It is famous notably for the Royal Tombs of Sipán, discovered in 1987 by Walter Alva. A distinctive feature of this discovery: it was the first royal tomb from the pre-Incan period to be discovered intact, having escaped looters (huaqueros). A historic milestone for the region, this discovery, which is now a public museum, led to the identification of more than 400 sites. For visitors, there are numerous attractions along the Moche Route, including the important sites of El Brujo and the Temples of the Sun and Moon.

El Brujo and the Temples of the Sun and Moon

Most of the constructions in these complexes date from the Moche period. The El Brujo archeological complex, an hour’s drive from Trujillo, features the legacy of more than 5,000 years of history, from the pre-ceramic era to the colonial period. At the Museo Cao, visitors can view treasures from the El Brujo archeological site. Opened in 2009, it includes the final resting place of the Señora of Cao and other Moche artefacts. Fifteen minutes from Trujillo are the Huacas del Sol y de la Luna, symbols of Moche power. The Temple of the Moon, a pyramid built with thousands of adobe bricks, still preserves 10,000 m2 of multicoloured surface. There are numerous drawings, some depicting Moche rituals, which shed light on this exceptional culture.


Recently, the mummified remains of a young woman who ruled the area 1800 years ago were found at the El Brujo Archeological Complex. It is the best-preserved body from the Moche period to be discovered to date: her tattoos are still clearly visible. Also discovered were her crown, depicting the figure of a feline, gold nose ring, gold and necklace as well as weapons, a first ever in a woman’s tomb. It was determined that the Señora of Cao was of noble stock, about 20 years of age and had given birth to at least one child.

PAFF-Moche Route-02There are several other sites along the Moche Route, including the Brüning museum, Túcume, a stunningly beautiful archeological site with more than 20 adobe pyramids standing some 40 metres in height, and the Chan Chan citadel, 10 minutes from Trujillo, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1986.






Sensory delights

PAFF-Moche Route-03Beyond the archeological sites and gilded treasures, visitors can experience a unique lifestyle as they travel along the Moche Route. They will see the celebrated reed rafts (caballito de totora), used by the fishermen from the northern coves of Huanchaco, an ancestral activity often depicted on Moche pottery.

From there, they can travel to the historic Bosque de Pomac sanctuary to drink in the fresh air. Peru’s north coast is home to the best-preserved portion of the dry equatorial forest, called the Bosque de Pomac. It is important for its biodiversity, with no fewer than 26 varieties of birds and seven species of mammals.

PAFF-Moche Route-04Along the route, visitors will also discover local crafts. Working in ceramics and precious metals, the region’s artisans are living proof of Moche’s rich cultural heritage. To end the day, those who enjoy culture and entertainment will be delighted to discover the traditional dance of northern Peru, the Marinera. Trujillo holds a national Marinera competition every year in January and February. And they can enjoy ceviche, the region’s signature dish, which dates back to well before the peak of Mochica culture.





Surf’s up!

Indeed, it was in Peru—and not Polynesia or the South Pacific—that the first traces of manmade devices for “riding the waves” were discovered. The surf on Peru’s north coast is best between October and May.



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The cuisine of Peru is one of the most diversified in the world, thanks to its unique location encompassing the sea, the coast, the Andes mountains and the Amazon, resulting in a unique biodiversity. While fruit figures prominently in the cuisine of the Selva (jungle) (more than 650 species have been identified in Peru), cooking on the Costa (coast) makes extensive use of fish (about 2,000 marine and river species), which are prepared in many different ways across the country, often served raw in the traditional ceviche. In the Sierra (mountains), corn, potatoes (with 2,000 different varieties grown in the country) and other root vegetables are widely consumed. Alpaca is commonly eaten in some areas in the Andes.

Three well-known Peruvian chefs

– Chef Gastón Acurio

A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris, Gastón Acurio opened the highly acclaimed restaurant Astrid & Gastón in Lima in 1994, and now also in Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, Spain, Mexico, and Argentina. He also owns a number of restaurants in countries around the world, several of which have become franchises. He is the owner of La Mar Cebichería, with locations in Lima, San Francisco, São Paulo, Panama City, Bogotá, and New York.

– Chef Virgilio Martínez 

After working as a chef in Canada, Virgilio Martinez was hooked on cooking! He enrolled at the Cordon Bleu school in London, where he explored the cuisines of France, Italy, England, Asia and the Americas. After a 10-year absence, he returned to his native Peru where, in 2010, he opened his own restaurant, Central, in a fashionable Lima neighbourhood. He is also the owner of the Lima restaurant, which opened in London in 2012 and features a new take on Peruvian specialties.

– Chef Christian Bravo

From graphic designer to DJ, with forays into 3D animation and advertising, Christian Bravo is now a highly reputed chef on the Peruvian culinary scene. A graduate of the Escuela de Alta Conina de los Andes), he holds certification from the World Association of Chefs Societies. After teaching the rudiments of cooking at the Carrera de Cocina, he became executive chef at the Grand Hotel Casino Talca in Chile. Since 2006, he has been the owner and chef of Restobar Bravo in Lima. Inca Kola or Pisco? Do you enjoy soft drinks? Why not try Inca Kola flavoured with citronnella? Try it at happy hour, combined with beer. Otherwise, Pisco, Peru’s national alcoholic beverage, made from grapes (60% alcohol), will surprise you. It is often served with lemon, sugar and egg white in a cocktail called a Pisco Sour, but it can also be enjoyed on its own.

IPAFF-Gastronomy-05nca Kola or Pisco?

Do you enjoy soft drinks? Why not try Inca Kola flavoured with citronnella? Try it at happy hour, combined with beer. Otherwise, Pisco, Peru’s national alcoholic beverage, made from grapes (60% alcohol), will surprise you. It is often served with lemon, sugar and egg white in a cocktail called a Pisco Sour, but it can also be enjoyed on its own.

PAFF-Gastronomy-03With more than 2,000 different dishes, Peruvian cooking can hold its own among the greatest classic cuisines. Its traditions date back several millennia (well before the Incas, the Mochica people were skilled cooks), and it has been influenced over the centuries by Spanish, Japanese and Chinese cooking, among others.

Increasingly popular in Europe and North America, Peruvian cuisine is also well established in Asia, where it is considered one of the three best in the world. Lima, Peru’s capital, has established a solid reputation for haute cuisine, with the emergence of talented chefs who now enjoy international reputations.

The growing popularity of Peruvian cuisine, known for its health benefits, can also be explained by the increasing importance placed on healthy eating. The many fish and seafood dishes, including the classic Ceviche, Quinoa, an unquestionably nutritious and versatile ingredient, Maca, a root vegetable with energizing properties, which can be eaten raw, cooked or dried, and Camu Camu, a fruit that contains 40 times the vitamin C of a kiwi, are just some examples of this balanced cuisine.




The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa. Grown for centuries by the Andean peoples, quinoa, a herbaceous plant with highly nutritious seeds, is now increasingly consumed worldwide. The aim of this initiative is to promote a grain that could improve food security, help fight poverty and enhance biodiversity, as well as paying tribute to the traditional Andean peoples who lived in harmony with nature and preserved the cultivation of quinoa throughout the ages. The First Lady of Peru, Nadine Heredia, has been named Special Ambassador for this initiative since she has been working to eradicate infant malnutrition for many years. Peru is the world’s largest producer of quinoa, with more than 40,000 tonnes harvested in 2011.


And how about some recipes?

by Diego Alcántara, executive chef, La Mar





We can mail you a gourmet quinoa recipe cookbook. Email us at