Illuminating: darkest Peru

Go to Peru – it’s hot right now…

First of all there was Lima London (, then Ceviche (, and now Coya ( has opened cementing London’s most vibrant foodie scene straight out of Peru. Latin America’s newly acclaimed culinary capital is the result of a 500-year melting pot of Spanish, African, Japanese and Chinese immigration and native Quechua culture and it is attracting foodie travellers (tempted, no doubt, by their London outposts) in droves.

Wild about the Aria Amazon
Wild about the Aria Amazon

The ultimate way to digest it all for yourself is onboard the boutique cruise company’s Aqua Expeditions’ vessels, which journey into the heart of the Amazon ( But you won’t be roughing it. The seriously five-star Aria Amazon and Aqua Amazon (which has just undergone a $250,000 revamp) will be offering travellers unique interactive cookery lessons for 2013. You’ll learn how to make ceviche, Pisco Sours and shrimp escabeche. When not ensconced in the kitchen, you’ll also be able to get hands-on with some of the most amazing wildlife in the world, such as fishing for piranha and feeding baby manatees.

Macchu Piccu
Inkaterra: timeless view of Macchu Piccu
Tea from Peru: Pick your own at Inkaterra

Peruvian travel experts Inkaterra are also highlighting the foodie appeal with new packages across their hotels. At Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (, based in 12 hectares of cloud forest, guests are invited to pick their own lunch in the hotel’s edible garden. Honey-making classes are also available and guests can pick their own organic tea and coffee beans, which are processed and served at the hotel.

Local delights: macaws
Local delights: macaws

Due to open mid-2013, also from Inkaterra, is the Hacienda Urubamba, a farmhouse hotel located in the remote area of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It is set at high altitude, and will serve as a living showcase of authentic Andean mountain farming. On offer will be llama riding through the valley and learning about quiñales (quinoa culture) by meeting the native community.  Excursions to nearby Inca ruins and Sacred Valley of the Incas will also be available.

Gorgeous interiors
Time for a breather at Palacio Nazarenas
Roof top high at Palacio Nazarenas

Creating a new benchmark for Peruvian spas is the new Hypnôze, a unique Andea spa at the newly opened Palacio Nazarenas in Cuzco ( The peaceful hideaway is boosted with special oxygenated air (due to its altitude) on offer are a selection of treatments designed by Aïny, a product line that harnesses the powers of plants from the Amazon rainforest and Andes. Another speciality are the spa’s indulgent herbal baths, in which native plants, such as white sage from Lake Titicaca, coca leaves and eucalyptus plants, are used to ease your cares away.

Sing it from the rafters: Romero Rainforest Lodge

Appealing to more of an adventurous traveller are the responsible tourism itineraries from Crees, a rainforest conservation organisation ( You’ll be taken through the remote area of The Manu Biosphere Reserve in the Amazon led by expert guides, biologists and anthropologists. Travellers will journey through the rainforest to see local communities and stunning flora and fauna, staying in lodges, such as the new Romero Rainforest Lodge.

This was taken from my feature on Travel Trends for 2013, which appeared in the January issue of The Mayfair Magazine.

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