Food and business seem to go together like wine and cheese, especially in a country like Peru where the booming tourism industry and gastronomical takeoff seem to feed off of each other. Thanks to the spike in international interest, other sectors within Peru, such as art, are finding greater and broader opportunities.
So where can visitors (or even residents) go if looking for something other than run-of-the-mill tours?
A two-person operation, Lima te Llena has been up and running for less than a year yet has already managed to stand out from other travel and tour companies offered around Peru. Lima te Llena combines food and art, taking visitors and curious residents to local markets and hole-in-the-wall gems for food, and to the taller, or studio, of two young experts in the field of chicha art (collectively known as Carga Maxima) for a chance to partake in a unique workshop.
Explore the local markets (Photo: Lima te Llena)
“Yes, there are art tours that take you to various museums and galleries, and even some walking graffiti tours, but nothing that really allows people to get in touch with their creative side directly,” says Connie Lee, one of the founders of Lima te Llena.
Take a one-of-a-kind art class (Photo: Erick Andia/Peru this Week)
Many visitors to Peru make a brief stop in Lima, the capital city, as a pit stop before venturing south to Cusco, or perhaps north to the sunny beaches. So often these handful of days are filled with commercial tours, visiting museums and restaurants that just as easily could have been seen had one performed a quick Google search before booking Peru-bound tickets.
(Photo: Lima te Llena)
Although five-fork restaurants and Mario Testino photos have become part of the
cosmopolitan city’s modern culture, it certainly does not define nor reach the
many cultures and art forms that have developed along with the city’s growth- such as chicha art, outdoor markets, and food carts.
(Photo: Lima te Llena)
With a name that translates to “Lima fills you,” Lima te Llena’s goal is to show visitors a different side of Peru’s gigantic capital city, a Lima which is not so neatly packaged for tourists.
The unique take on getting-to-know the City of Kings can be owed to the young entrepreneurs who began the company, Connie Lee and Jose Nunura, both of whom know what it’s like to be an expat.
Born in Hong Kong and raised in the U.S. from a young age, Lee studied Business and Marketing and allowed her free-spirited traveling to bring her to Lima where she began a career in tourism. Nunura, a native Limeño himself, moved to the U.S. at a young age, where he learned culinary skills that would eventually bring him back to Peru.
(Photo: Erick Andia/Peru this Week)
As someone who is “fascinated with the anthropological landscape of Peru and the socioeconomic layers and patterns in urban Lima,” Lee explains that she and Nunura were drawn to the chicha art form not only as an artistic expression but also as a reflection of the “beliefs, hopes, dreams, suffering, and values of a part of Peruvian culture as a result from internal migration, assimilation, and maintenance of Andean traditions all at the same time.”
Those who participate in the Carga Maxima workshops will not only learn the strokes and how-tos of chicha painting, but are also provided with the history behind the art form and its role in contemporary society.
Carga Maxima instructors and recognized artists, Azucena Del Carmen and Alinder Espada (Photo: Erick Andia/Peru this Week)
As for the food experience seen from a native Limeño’s-eye-view, Lee explains that “We feel there is value in visiting a local market and enjoying the offerings of huariques and even meals in the markets for intrepid travelers, and lots of daily life to see in between as part of the tour ambiance.”