So you’ve done it, you’ve booked your spot on the Inca Trek. You’ve read the guide books, you’ve read the blog posts (hint hint), and now you’re ready to hit Peru like a tornado of sheer excitement. Ah, there’s just one thing you’ve forgotten.
You’ve been so consumed with prepping for the trek that you’ve forgotten about your free days in Cusco and perhaps even Lima. You’ve forgotten that you’ll be able to enjoy the usual fun things of any trip; eating out. So, to save you the panic of not knowing which of the hundreds of restaurants and cafes to try, go to any all of these favourite ones. They’re listed in the order of the usual Inca Trek route, i.e. Lima – Cusco – Ollantaytambo.
♥ ámaZ Restaurante
If you’re after an excellent example of Peruvian food head to this stylish restaurant. If you like venues sexy and inviting, you’ll love ámaZ Restaurante. Fusions of healthy ingredients and captivating flavours, make for a great dinner. The different versions of rice are very popular, including the coconut rice. You’ll find exciting bites like yucca empanadas, Dorado (fish) and Pacamoto (hot ceviche). If you’re feeling adventurous, order half size portions so that you can try more dishes.
Despite being near to a Hilton Hotel, don’t expect the staff to speak really good English, though you will find an English version of the menu. Wash it all down with one or two Pisco Sours.
Address:Av La Paz 1079, Miraflores, Lima
Price: More than a backpacker’s budget, but worth the treat
♥ Jacks Café
Okay, it doesn’t serve Peruvian food, but when you’re suffering with the dizzying heights of altitude sickness, you just want comfort food. Even if you’re haven’t succumbed to that menace, you have to go to this small, but cute café. It’s
You can taste the freshness and good quality of all the ingredients, yet every bite tastes downright naughty; too good to be true. That’s probably why you’ll often find a queue to get a table. It’s worth the wait, but if you can’t be bothered to hang around visit in-between meal times to nab a highly sought table. It’s worth saying that Jacks Café has great veggie choices.
Address: Choquechaka 509,Cusco, Peru
Price: All plates between US$3 and US$8
♥ Hearts Café
If you’re one for sides, you’ll love this heartwarming café near to the gateway of the Inca Trek. You’ll be served a massive dollop of good deeds with your lunch. This cafe raises money for the Living Heart Association and is a really big support to the Sacred Valley. Before you jet to Peru and if you can, take some old jumpers with you. They will be gratefully welcomed as donations for locals living above the Sacred Valley. In fact there are loads of ways you can help – see their website for details. As you’d expect, the food is healthy. However, it’s anything but boring. Expect delicious and filling dishes.
Address: Ollantaytambo, Peru
Price: As big or as little as your heart if you donate!
If you travel on a tour with G Adventures (like I did), you’ll visit all of these towns, so you’ll be able to try these spots. Even if you travel independently or with another operator, the usual route to start the Inca Trek is this one. Have fun! If you’d like more tips and advice on travel in Peru, check my other blog posts here.
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