Affordable Peru

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Panorama of Machu Pichu with Huayna Picchu

They say that sea bass makes the best ceviche because it retains its full flavour and firm texture after it’s been marinated in lime juice, orange juice and a little shredded red chilli – a process which actually ‘cooks’ the fish just as heat would. Some top chefs, though, swear by salmon, sea bream and dover sole too. Either way, you’re looking at a mouth-watering example of modern, zingy-fresh Peruvian cuisine, pronounced ‘seh-vee-chay’ for the record.

Why are we telling you this? Because, fellow explorers, we are literally whetting your appetite for one of the hottest trips with Virgin Vacations – a 10-day escorted tour of Peru, flying out of Miami into Lima, travelling through a dazzling Andean landscape from friendly vibrant cities to ancient archaeological sites, kindling a fascination that will last a lifetime – with great food all the way.

Peruvian fare has been having a ‘moment’ for longer than you might think – welcome to a country that was making and eating its own popcorn at least 5,000 years ago. It began with the Incas, blending the fruits of the sea with the goodness of the mountains and jungles, and has been enriched over the centuries by influences from Spain, Africa, China and Japan.

Still peckish? Aji de gallina is a delicious chicken dish cooked in a spicy yellow pepper sauce…and creamy evaporated milk…served with walnuts and parmesan cheese…over fluffy white rice…with a garnish of black olives. If you’re not yet gnawing at your smartphone or computer screen, wait till we get to the Peruvian-Chinese fusion in part 2 of this blog.

For now, it’s enough to know that all this and much more awaits you on our Affordable Peru (Miami Special) vacation package which runs till December 2014. We’ll take you from the capital Lima, founded in 1535 by the conquistador Francisco Pizarro, to ancient Cuzco in the Inca heartland, visiting ancient temples and sacred sites like the lost city of Machu Picchu
and pristine Lake Titicaca, a staggering 12,500ft above sea level.

Throughout you’ll have the services of an English-speaking tour guide, plus ample time to explore independently and take optional excursions that cost less when they’re pre-booked. It’s an active, on-the-go itinerary with some early starts and longish days, but where else would you be so inclined to work up a real humdinger of an appetite? Now, about those heavenly chifas we’re rustling up next…