Nestled in the heart of South America- where ancient Incan ruins seamlessly blend with vibrant colonial architecture- is Peru, a land of breathtaking contrasts. This is where the awe-inspiring peaks of the Andes meet the lush depths of the Amazon rainforest.

HOLR, along with a group of other Canadian media, was recently hosted to discover the beauty, culture, and gastronomy of Lima, Peru with Air Transat and PROMPERU (the official tourism board for Peru). This adventure was in honor of the airline’s latest international stop. Canada’s number one leisure airline, Air Transat, has added Lima, Peru to its list of growing destinations, in which the brand now offers convenient, direct flights to the South American city from Toronto and Montréal- as well as exclusive package deals designed to enhance your overall travel experience. 

Let’s dive into HOLR’s exclusive travel guide, where I uncover everything you need to know about your next visit to Peru- including the country’s top historical sites, where to stay, what to eat, and what to take away from the country’s rich history, courtesy of Air Transat and PROMPERU.

All About Air Transat: Fly Direct To Lima, Peru From Toronto and Montréal

Air Transat now offers direct flights from Toronto and Montréal to Lima, Peru, which is the country’s capital city that is located along a sprawling stretch of the Pacific Coast. As one of South America’s largest cities, Lima boasts an incredible combination of metropolitan energy and coastal tranquility.  

As Canada’s number one leisure airline, Air Transat is all about comfort and convenience, in which the brand prides itself on offering top-tier service, in-flight experiences, and comfortable accommodations to and from your destination. In fact, travelers can choose to fly Air Transat’s exclusive Club Class, which is the epitome of on-board comfort and offers a variety of advantages. The Club Class experience is unlike any other, in which passengers can relax in a dedicated cabin featuring extended legroom as well as reclining seats. You can also choose from a selection of gourmet meals, wine, and snacks while aboard your flight.

The best part?

Club Class passengers can enjoy stress-free travel with fast check-in at an exclusive counter, priority boarding, and exclusive privileges.

In order to enhance the traveler experience upon landing in Peru, Air Transat has also added specific packages and hotel options for guests to explore. This range of new packages and à la carte hotel options in Lima have been introduced by Air Transat to coincide with the latest launch of year-round flights from Toronto and Montréal to Lima. As a result, travelers have the opportunity to select packages that offer exceptionally curated accommodations in Lima. If you plan on embarking on a multi-city tour of Peru, there are also options guests can choose from in Aguas Calientes, Cusco, Urubamba, and Puno. 

What To Do:

HOLR is breaking down the top activity selects I recently experienced while being hosted by Air Transat and PROMPERU (Lima and Cusco City, Peru). 

Lima, Peru

Go On A City Tour

Explore the city of Lima, Peru by embarking on a city tour to catch all of the highlights! I was excited to take in the cultural hub of the city by walking around the bohemian Barranco neighborhood, which featured landmarks such as the Bridge of Sighs. A city tour is the perfect way to get to know Lima in terms of its people, its culture, and its history. 

Experience A Coffee And Chocolate Tasting

I loved visiting Ciclos Café and El Cacaotal to experience a traditional coffee and chocolate tasting hosted by power pair, Felipe Aliaga and Amanda Jo E. Wildey. Throughout the journey, I was taught how to identify the sights and sounds of different local chocolates (yes- some chocolates had a crisp “snap!”) while I was treated to a delicious cup of Peruvian specialty coffee. It was here that I was able to learn all about how the local beans are sourced from cacao and coffee farmers from across Peru- as well as the unique stories behind them. 

Take A Signature Cocktail Class at Hotel B

Dive into an enjoyable yet educational mixology class at Hotel B’s award-winning bar! Designed to teach guests about the history behind alcohol as well as the proper techniques needed to mix certain drinks, this class is a must for those who want to add a fun experience to their Peru bucket list. During the cocktail mixing class, I was taught by Axel Romero, Hotel B’s award-winning Bar Manager, who walked us through how to mix 1 Pisco-based, 1 Gin-based, and 1 Rum-based drink. Plus, it came with a food pairing! 

Cusco, Peru

Ride The Hiram Bingham Luxury Belmond Train To Machu Picchu

If you’re planning on going to Machu Picchu while visiting Cusco- which I highly recommend- the Hiram Bingham Luxury Belmond Train experience is unlike any other. Known as the voyage to the heart of the Inca Empire, the Hiram Bingham is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that offers luxury accommodations, live music, Peruvian cuisine on board, and an open-air cart to experience the stunning mountain views. 

Nestled high up in the Andes Mountains, Machu Picchu is a must-see during your next trip to Peru. Built in the 15th century by the Incas, this is an Incan Citadel set in the midst of a tropical mountain forest.

Breathtaking views from above combined with the Citadel’s precise cut and set stone walls make this new wonder of the world one you cannot miss. The roaming alpacas are also a must-see. It’s no wonder that this is Peru’s most-visited site. 

La Base Lamay

A gem in the heart of Lamay, a small village in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Cusco, La Base Lamay is known for highlighting responsible tourism through conservation and sustainable development. For instance, it offers local activities to partake in, as well as recreational pursuits such as mountain hiking. La Base Lamay is the perfect stop for organizing your activities- which is exactly what we did.

I had the incredible opportunity to spend the day with Indigenous farmers in Huayllafara, thanks to an organized trip by La Base Lamay. It was here that we were taught how to use the farming calendar, as well as how to plow and farm the land. Afterward, we enjoyed a traditional Andean lunch, which also ended up being the first time I tried guinea pig (a known delicacy in Peru).

Visit Maras Salt Mines

Known locally as Salineras de Maras, Maras Salt Mines is a must-stop during your stay in Peru, as the site features over 3,000 ponds connected by an underground network of canals. It is believed that the Wari civilization built these salt mines between 500 to 1100 AD. Be sure to pick up a bag of salt as a souvenir on your way out as I did!

Experience Traditional Textile And Weaving Demonstrations At Chinchero

If you’re looking for a local experience while visiting Peru, I loved being able to witness traditional textile weaving by the women of this association in Chincero- who also run a small shop filled with handmade clothing, decor, and accessories. I would highly recommend stopping by for a weaving and dyeing demonstration as the women walk you through how they craft the masterpieces that fill the shop. 

Where To Eat:

Peru has an incredibly diverse cuisine that blends indigenous, Spanish, African, and Asian influences. If you’re exploring Lima, these are some top restaurants and indulgent dishes to add to your bucket list as I experienced being hosted by Air Transat and PROMPERU:

Astrid y Gastón

One of my favorite lunch spots of the trip was Astrid y Gastón, which is set in a vibrantly colorful open-air environment in Miraflores- situated inside an old mansion. Of course, traditional Ceviche was a hit from the selection of contemporary offerings, but I also enjoyed the establishment’s Oxtail Gyozas and Nikkei Vegetable Tempura.

You can also find dishes such as Orange Guinea Pig Confit (a delicacy) and Lima Style Angus Beef on the menu.

Mercado 28

Known as the “new” gastronomic experience, Mercado 28 in Miraflores is a market that is a food-lover’s dream destination. Featuring multiple vendors and cuisines, I had the pleasure of trying a few dishes, one of which included Anticuchos. The Ceviche- a must-try in Peru- was also delicious! 


Highlighting a 9-course exclusive tasting menu- and vintage wine pairing- MAYTA is part of the 50 best restaurant list and was an unforgettable culinary experience by Jaime Pesaque. I was treated to an array of dishes that emphasized traditional Peruvian cuisine and featured a modern twist. 

Our menu consisted of delectable dishes such as; Tubers; Scallops, Clams, Codium; Loche, Macre, Huacatay, Yellow Chili; Corn, Tarwi, Cushuro, Quinoa Flower; and Paiche, Cocona, Chonta, Rough Lemon, Charapita Chili. This is the ultimate indulgent culinary experience that will truly make your trip. 

If you’re venturing into Cusco City, Peru, I’ve also outlined a couple of must-try restaurants and an incredible local experience you can’t miss.


The tapas bar and restaurant located on the second floor of an old colonial house features a hint of Italian flair in its traditional offerings, in which I ventured outside of my comfort zone slightly and decided to try Alpaca! I also opted for the Gnocchi made with Yellow Potatoes and Taglitelle made with Slow-Cooked Leg of Lamb Ragu. Potatoes are significant in Peru as they formed the foundation of the Incan diet. 

MAP Café

MAP Café is part of a unique setting, as it is nestled in the central courtyard of the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art. Featuring a menu that uses regional ingredients and highlights traditional Peruvian cuisine, this was one of the last meals of my stay- and one to remember! My final meal before heading home was not complete without Ceviche and Pisco Punch, of course. 

Where To Stay:

Whether you’re visiting Lima’s bustling metropolis city center or exploring Cusco- the once capital of the Inca Empire that is known as the gateway to the Sacred Valley and the famous Machu Picchu– HOLR has you covered. Below are some of the accommodations hosted by PROMPERU and Air Transat during my stay that come highly recommended:

Lima, Peru

Miraflores Park Hotel

The luxurious hotel and spa is located in Lima, Peru, in which the Miraflores Park Hotel offers everything from tailored service to incredible dining and luxe amenities. Ultra plush rooms with grand views of the surrounding city and ocean make this a must-stay. Plus, popular attractions are just steps away while on-site facilities such as a rooftop pool and spa allow you to truly indulge throughout the duration of your stay.

Hotel B

The white stucco mansion that is home to Hotel B has been restored to accommodate a luxury boutique hotel in Lima, Peru. Guests can enjoy afternoon tea (lonche) and indulge in Peruvian delicacies while dining on-site. Multiple suite options also allow for the ideal night’s sleep, complete with contemporary designs and in-room amenities.  

Sacred Valley and Cusco, Peru

Sacred Valley, Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba

Nestled in between Cusco and Machu Picchu, this hotel offers a contemporary hacienda-style design located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This was one of my favorite stays of the trip as guests are truly immersed in nature, with their own stand-alone luxury casitas to call home for the night. Featuring colonial furniture, an earth-to-table dining concept, stunning mountain views, and an on-site spa, the Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba is the ultimate getaway.

Palacio del Inka

Our final leg of the trip involved a short yet sweet stay at Palacio del Inka, a Marriott property. Timeless elegance seamlessly blends with contemporary comfort as guests have the opportunity to experience superb dining options, relaxing spa treatments, and the historic charm of this luxury hotel located in the middle of Cusco. Comfortable guest rooms and nearby attractions make this the perfect place to stay while in the city.  

There you have it- the ultimate travel guide featuring must-try eats, must-do activities, and must-stay accommodations next time you travel Air Transat to Lima, Peru. The country’s rich cultural tapestry is unlike anything you will ever experience- from the majestic ruins of Machu Picchu to the bustling city streets of Lima, every moment is a testament to Peru’s unique charm and hospitality. 

Until we meet again, Peru.

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Published by HOLR Magazine

Image Credits: Samantha Vecchiarelli

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