My adventure continues as I depart South Africa for Peru, flying from Cape Town via an overnight stopover in Sao Paulo on my way to Lima.

I am so looking forward to spending a couple of days in Lima, arguably the gastronomic capital of South America! Did you know there are about 3000 different varieties of potatoes in Peru? I am going to be in potato heaven! The potato actually originated in the Andean region of Peru and Bolivia, where they have been cultivated for around 8,000 years.

Luckily I am on a diet to get ready for this trip, because while I am in Lima I will get to take part in a Culinary Tour.

Peru is recognised as having one of the world’s finest cuisines, and I will visit a local Peruvian market as well as learn how to cook a selection of local dishes. Whilst I am a very enthusiastic ‘eater’ of great food, I very rarely actually produce said great food myself… Let’s just say that Nigella has nothing to worry about from me! So, although I am not renowned for my prowess in the kitchen, I am hopeful that things will change once I have learnt to cook with a Peruvian Chef, so I will let you know…

  

From Lima I fly to Cusco, the gateway to the legendary Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley!

For over a century, Machu Picchu has captivated adventurous explorers the world over. Peru’s crown jewel, and one of South America’s most coveted bucket-list destinations, this ancient Inca citadel was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. Built at an altitude of 2,430 metres, and comprising temples, aqueducts, steep staircases, gardens and terraces over an area of 13 km², Machu Picchu is both a journey and a destination. Reaching it, either on foot or by train, is only half the magical experience.

Although you can visit Peru year-round, the best (and most popular) time of year to visit, particularly if you are going to hike the Inca Trail, is the dry season which runs from May-October. If you want to go during this time be sure to book in advance as permits can book out 6 months or more in advance.

Stay tuned next week as I delve into the secrets of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, and then look to the final part of my trip as I head to Argentina!

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