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Peru

Lesser Peru

brief description of the other towns I visited in Peru

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Lesser Peru

Mancora: a small beach town near the Ecuadorian border. Not much to do here unless you are a surfer or heavy drinker and the drinks are somewhat expensive. Ordered margaritas from several places along the beach. They were all $6US and not one came close to the taste of a decent margarita. Ate at one sandwich shop right off the beach on the main pedestrian street that was a bit tasty and good value. Also ate at Tao, wonton soup was ok and I had tuna shashimi for the main course. Quite small for the price and it too was ok; however a bit pricey for a party beach town. I was scheduled to stay 2 nights decided to cut it a day short if that tells you anything.

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Chiclayo: awful; just awful. I caught the only day bus from Mancora to this town. I was headed to Chachapoyas and I arrived about 2 hours before the bus left that night for Chachapoyas. Of course, there are only night busses to Chachapoyas and I should have just jumped on the night bus to Chachapoyas. For whatever reason I decided to give Chiclayo a chance. One of the strangest hostels I’ve stayed in; nothing wrong with it and the guy was very nice just limited options and it was just a weird setup that’s all I’ll say. The driving around town is ridiculously aggressive and overcrowded. The food is crap and it was really hard to waste the next day waiting on a night bus. I had lasagna from the highest rated restaurant in town ‘Cafe 900’ and I’ve gotta say it was pretty average on the weak side. The restaurant was well decorated and had a nice upstairs overlook of a busy dirty street. I ate around the square the night before and I have no memory of the meal it was so plain. I don’t recommend leaving the bus station if you find yourself passing through.

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*note: I booked an overnight bus with Civa that offered 180 degree beds from chiclayo. The beds were on the top floor and the bus sways too much to get good sleep and it didn’t even have a plug at your seat. From Chachapoyas I booked with Mobil whenever possible. I booked the last seat downstairs in the single row on the right side. It only reclined maybe 170 degrees but the meals were good, the temperature always set right and they provide blankets and pillows. I recommend Olturso if Movil is unavailable or booked. I took Cruz del Sur once and I find that they take theirselves a bit too seriously. Demanding only passports for identification and they actually search your bags when boarding and take your fingerprint. A bit ridiculous if you ask me. I avoided them at all costs after this.

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Trujillo: a pretty town; I probably didn’t explore it long enough; however it has a few ruins and nice tours nearby. I took the tour that did several of the ruins. I went to the first stop which of course you had to pay for entrance then they brought us to an expensive restaurant in town that I knew had terrible food, so I just left and skipped the 2nd half of the tour. Hopefully it got better for the crew I was with in the afternoon. Nothing life changing maybe worth a look though. I heard the beach was pretty nice just didn’t want to stay too long and have to reacclimatize myself to my next destination of Huaraz being 12,000 feet in altitude. The square was quite striking and I enjoyed some nice cocktails on a balcony overlooking the square for sunset. Definitely worth at least a night maybe 2 don’t see much potential beyond that though.

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Lima: I was only here 2 nights and I ate at only 1 place worth mentioning. It is a somewhat famous place among locals and served up some exceptional ceviche, Mi Burrantu; I highly recommend a visit. I stayed at hostel Puriwani which was in a good spot and had an exceptional staff. It was in miraflores, I might stay in Burranco if I were to go back. Also, the large water park near La Victoria might be worth a visit. I went during the day and it was I think 4-5 soles for entry. Apparently Sunday and Tuesday nights they have 2 light shows with all the fountains worth attending.

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Paracas: a small beach town that looks to be quite the paradise in the summer. Has a high end resort with 2 really nice restaurants I didn’t get a chance to try. I came to Paracas because of a small private museum located in the main building in front of the main pier. It’s 10 Soles to enter when you can find it open. It contains elongated skulls that have been DNA tested and found not to be human. All the skulls were found on the reserve that surrounds Paracas. I was told there are motorbikes for rent here however couldn’t find one at a reasonable price that didn’t come with a ‘guide’. I stayed at Kokopelli which was under construction at the time yet a really nice spot right on the beach. They had a nice bar with activities nightly and I hear the food was good at the hostel. I ate out. Fruzion has good fruit salads along with burgers and fries. Even the guy across the street with a burger joint admitted their fries were better. Pizzeria Venezia: I took the free walking tour and this was recommended as the best pizza place in town. I had been warned by friends to not even try pizza in Peru as it is generally bad. However this place was quite delicious and with very reasonable prices. I’m told the rest of the restaurants on the pier are cheap copies of each other to feed the cruise ships when they arrive. ; Pizza Nick & Nate’s: this was the place across from Fruzion and I had the wings. It’s owned by a Canadian and he seemed to have quite the gringo menu wand pretty well done at that. His main restaurant was in lima so he has some experience. Lastly, there is a vegetarian place that has a great view of the city. The walking tour recommended it, so I went up to check it out. The menu was pretty pricey for a vegetarian place in a small town, so I tried one of their unique desserts. It was the sweet blue corn pudding. It was like a semi-sweet blackberry mash. Quite strange and it came warm.

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Ica: not much here, they have a large mall if you need to get some shopping done and they had places that sold large fruit bowls for cheap. It’s a $5 sole tuck-tuck ride to Huacachina and there’s a bus terminal there. That’s about all I remember of the town. I stayed a night there while I visited Huacachina and waited on a bus. There was a circus in town that advertised dinosaurs. I took the show in for $10 soles. I think there were a total of 15 people there with me, nonetheless entertaining for me at the time.

Huacachina: just a little lake in the dessert. Some say it’s manmade. I have no idea, it seemed like a nice retreat although supremely overly touristic. Sand boarding and dune buggies were the activities here. The new Wild Rover seemed to be really hopping as well. Nice views of the dessert if you choose to climb up the dunes or rent a dune buggy for sunset, not much else here besides the party scene which seemed to be happening, like I said even for the ‘off’ season.

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Posted by Veritas2377 07:00 Archived in Peru Tagged mountains skylines trees sky snow food sunset beach travel ruins museum tour tourist eats lodging tickets tips foodie Comments (0)

Huaraz

Tours and, of course, Eats

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Huaraz

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Honestly, this town may deserve its own post; I just don’t feel like I have as much food content as I would normally for staying a week here. I guess some of the places seemed quite expensive and maybe I just wasn’t in a good kind of mood. The altitude sometimes takes the energy away from you. I stayed in Alpes Huaraz which was quite nice with comfy beds, nice showers, a rooftop and from what I hear an ok breakfast just slow. I didn’t hear of any other better places to stay while I was there. The staff weren’t overly welcoming however nice enough to not want to leave. They never had change though; it was incumbent upon you to being correct change. And they spoke enough English in case I had complicated questions.

Laguna 69 Tour: I recommend taking a tour on this one. I got the tour for $30 Soles although many places in town try to get you for 35-40 just walk away until they agree to 30. They picked me up from the hostel at 4:30am. It’s a couple of hours on the bus and they stop for breakfast. Once done with breakfast the sun is up and you are starting to warm up. They drive you to take some pics of a lake at the base that’s quite pretty just nothing like you’re about to see on the hike. Then they drive you the remaining 30-40 minutes up the mountain to the start of the trail. Be aware it’s another $30 soles to enter the park or you’ll have an opportunity to by a multiple day pass or a month to save some money if you plan to return for other hikes. Once at the trailhead you are at about 13,500ft and the first 1/3 of the trail is relatively flat; then there’s an ascent that isn’t too steep followed by some more flat. Finally, the last ascent is fairly steep and most are being affected by the altitude as you are over 14,500 by now. The top is TOTALLY worth all the pain. Just absolutely surreal views. It feels like you are looking at a high def green screen. Incredible. The top is around 15,030ft and I was glad to be done with the ascent. We got to spend about an about and a half there depending on how fast you got up there. It’s about a 3 hour hike, I think I made it in 2:30mins. Although the altitude was really making it hard to breath. I had been in Huaraz at 12,000ft 4 days now and it was still difficult. Probably why I ultimately decided not to do the 4 day Santa Cruz trek there. That and I was by myself with my tent in those mountains would have been amazing though. It goes a bit higher than this to 4900 meters and 15,030 is about 4600 meters. After we had lunch and pics we walked down hopped on the bus and they delivered us back at the hostel around 6pm.

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Quri Tullpa: a quaint Indian restaurant that was extremely close to the hostel. Had really good butter chicken that came with some bread for 20 soles. I ate here twice and had the same dish.

Yurac Yacu Cafe: it’s a small cafe kind of far from town however has a great overlook on the city of Huaraz and they hire local women to work there. They take no profits and just help foster a community there and provide a place for the local women to make some money and sell any wares they make. Probably the best price and place to buy and hand made objects you want to buy. The food was extremely fresh as they grow almost everything on site and they also sponsor a school for the local children. I good spot for philanthropic reasons if nothing else. However, the food was excellent and the service quite friendly. Again, just a balance of getting a taxi up there or taking the long journey on foot.

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Chilli Heaven: owned by an English woman, just walk in the place and take one deep breath and you’ll know you will be eating there. Have both Thai and Indian favorites extremely well prepared with fresh ingredients and super tasty. I didn’t want to leave. I just took the chef’s recommendation on everything and it was truly a fantastic meal.

Fruti Frutita: there are several places like this around town; this just happened to be my favorite. For $4 soles you get a huge bowl of cut up mixed fruit with some yogurt, honey, and granola sprinkled on top. A great stop every morning.

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California Cafe: it’s worth a mention. Seems to be a central meeting place for gringos and the food is supposed to be really good. However it’s quite pricey. I had some tea and a dessert there as I just wasn’t ready for a meal when I visited.

Posted by Veritas2377 06:38 Archived in Peru Tagged mountains lakes hiking landscape travel tour tourist eats foodie Comments (0)

Chachapoyas Peru

The Machu Picchu of the North, Gocta Falls and more

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Chachapoyas: first you should know it’s a 10 hour bus from Chiclayo and 14 from Trujillo on the complete other side of the country with not much in between. Also, unlike my other posts I didn’t explore too much of the food scene here as I was busy with exterior activities. The Sacofagos de Karajia, Cavernas de Quiocta, Gocta Falls, and Keulap are the activities I took part in at chachapoyas.

It’s a quaint colonial type town with 2 pretty squares. From here you can take a bus to 2 different rather large waterfalls once classified as the 5th largest in the world and has only been Re-discovered in the last 5 years. Gocta waterfalls and Yumbilla Falls. I only hiked Gocta; it was quite impressive and the hike was medium to strenuous and I took the easy route which I will explain here.

I took a tour the first day that took me both to the Sacafogas and the caverns that included lunch. I feel we may have seen one other minor thing on the way. The lunch was actually pretty good and I enjoyed the entire tour however it pails in comparison to the other activities I did in Chachapoyas. So decide for yourself once there just don’t miss the falls or Keulap.

Gocta Falls: A taxi to anywhere in town should be no more than 3 Soles. Take a bus from the terminal in Chachapoyas, I don’t remember the exact amount maybe 10-15 Soles. They will let you out on the side of the road where some Tuck-tucks are waiting that will either take you to Cocachimba or San Pablo. I remember thinking that the tuck-tuck was quite expensive and almost decided that I would hike it and skip the fee. That would have been a huge mistake and I would have missed seeing much of the falls. In retrospect it was worth whatever they were charging to get up to San Pablo. What you need to know is there are 3 levels to these falls in which you can hike and San Pablo is about on level with the 2nd level of the falls. I started out from Chachapoyas about 9am thinking it would be an easy day since I was going to start in San Pablo and hike ‘down’ to the base of the falls and out to Cocachimba not realizing at the time you could actually hike to the 3rd level.

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The tuck-tuck dropped me off in the small town square of San Pablo where I was directed into the main building to pay my entrance fee. It’s Peru, of course they are going to charge you to see any natural beauty there. I think 20 soles which I found a bit steep especially after the bus and the tuck-tuck fee. I was asked what route I would be taking and I said I’d be leaving the falls area from Cocachimba. She informed me it would be a 6 hour hike. I was a bit shocked since it seemed on the map short and all downhill. So, I paid and the lady walked me out to the road and gave some short instructions on how to find the trail.

It was probably close to 10:30am, so I decided to keep a brisk pace to make sure I had plenty of time at the falls and make it out before dark. The path that looked straight and flat on the map was considerably more uphill to the first level of the falls than anticipated. There were very few people on the trail; however we were at some altitude and it slowed me down more than I would have liked. It was a very pretty trail with some gorgeous spots to stop and take pictures. Reaching the 2nd level of the falls I was ecstatic; I had seen views of them on and off for the entire trail and they didn’t disappoint up close. The downdraft at the base of the 2nd level was quite strong and with the mist from the falls it made it cold and even a bit hard to keep my breath. I spent 20-35 minutes here as the stream flows along a flat area about 100 meters before making its final descent which was the biggest part of the falls. I managed to make it right to the top of the 2nd fall. I don’t take selfies often however I was by myself and I made an exception here as the beauty of the canyon in the backdrop of the water seemingly falling off the end of the earth was just too good to pass up.

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After being satisfied I saw what I could and being pressed for time by potential nightfall I pressed on. To get to the lower level you have to re-trace part of the trail I’d say at least 1km before the trail branched off to lead down to the base of the falls. The trail was steep. Really really steep. It made me extremely happy I wasn’t going the other way climbing this trail. I was a switchback trail that was just shy of having to climb in a crawling position. Had I started to run down the trail I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to stop at the switch backs. I would estimate 25+ switch backs. I was exhausted when I reached the bottom and just kept thinking thank goodness I was walking down to Cocachimba from here.

Apparently there is some confusion about how to get to the lower falls base as I ran into several people trying to make their way up this trail looking for it. However, once you reach the bottom and cross the bridge the trail splits to the left is the lower falls and to the right is the trail that leads to Cocachimba. I even think the sign was pointed wrong however there was a guy resting at the juncture that told me which was to the base and he said it wasn’t far. I remember thinking I would hurry to see the base and get back to Cocachimba before the last bus left for town. It was quite a bit further to the base than anticipated and a decent amount of it was uphill. I was already pretty tired and I almost gave up, yet I kept thinking all I have to do is walk down hill to the town and I’m golden afterward.

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I reached the base of the falls and found that it was totally worth it. A lot more people were here than at the top and after the decent I understand why. I spent about 20 minutes here resting and taking some photos then decided to head back as I didn’t know how far it was. Let me tell you the journey ‘down’ to Cocachimba was anything but. It was up up and more up. My phone said I climbed close to 300 flights of stairs on the way out. Like I said, I was already pretty tired and it was steep and long. Upon finally making it to the end of the trail the road leads down finally where I stopped at this perfect house/shop that was selling Jugo de Naturals where I promptly ordered 3 sat down and marveled at the view this lady had of the falls in her own backyard. Truly an incredible sight as I looked back and reflected about the long day I had had. I had made the entire journey with time at the falls at about 5 hours 30 mins. I remember thinking it could easily take some people 8 or more.

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Shortly after this perfect spot down the road there sits more tuck tucks that I initially passed by thinking I’d catch a collectivo back to Chachapoyas. I promptly found one that agreed to take me. As I waited in the grass of the square I looked around to see a small beautiful town that seemed to be just really developing the tourism industry. New rooms and resort like places to stay were either just built or being built. Had a perfect view of the falls and it was quite gorgeous. I grabbed a glass of wine at one of the restaurants and removed my shoes as I waited. As 35 minutes rolled by and only 1 other person he signed up for this collectivo I realized the passing tuck-tucks were taking people down to catch the passing collectivos to town. I mustered up enough strength to walk back up the road a bit to grab one for myself. I paid a little extra because I was alone however at that point I was so tired I didn’t even care. He brought me down to the highway where I promptly got picked up by a passing collectivo and I was off back to chachapoyas.

All in all a fantastic journey and this is one strenuous hike I’d gladly do again. The views and the falls were worth it all.

Kuelap: obviously you can take a tour and it’s all auto-pilot however I found two Peruvian girls from Lima that we decided to make a little bit cheaper and do it ourselves.

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I can’t state enough what a fantastic day this was and how special and beautiful the place is. We took a collectivo from the bus terminal toward the town of Nuevo Tingo. The collectivo dropped us off at the entrance to the Teleferico to Keulap. However on the way back you’ll need a tuck-tuck or taxi to bring you down to Nuevo Tingo to catch the collectivo back. We ended up meeting a group of locals and we stayed in town for lunch and they drove us back to Chachapoyas. So, not sure exactly where to catch the bus back. It’s a really small town and I think it will be easy to find. It’s about 1:30 minute ride if memory serves.

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Once at the teleferico you’ll need to buy a ticket which was 21 Soles. From there you board a bus that takes you to the teleferico. The ride up had spectacular views as you traversed a large canyon and up onto the mountain. Once on top the mountain there’s of course another entry fee of 40-50 soles. Don’t remember the exact amount. I was thinking it was kind of steep; however you’re there now and it’s the ‘Machu Picchu’ of the North. Then it’s a short hike up to the sight. There were maybe 20 other people at the site that day and it all turned out to be worth it in the end. A couple of guys we met that had just come from Machu Picchu said the entire experience was better than MP. And now having gone myself I would agree with them. I’m sure I’m a few years as keulap gets popular it may wind up being the same as MP; for now it is a tranquil and peaceful experience I won’t soon forget. Definitely one of the top 3 things I did in Peru and chachapoyas contained 2 of them and Huaraz (Laguna 69 trek) being the 3rd

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Posted by Veritas2377 19:12 Archived in Peru Tagged landscapes waterfalls skylines trees hiking ruins mountain tourist Comments (0)

Cuzco, Peru and Machu Picchu

The tourist trap that is Machu Picchu and the surrounding ruins and towns plus some eats.

Cusco

Eats:

Quinta Waly-

Marcelo Batata- $$$

Paddy’s Irish Pub: located at the edge of the Plaza de Armes upstairs across the street from Norton’s pub. It’s a nice fun atmosphere with good service and drinks. Can’t remember prices just don’t remember it being too bad. I stayed for quite a while.

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Norton’s Pub: located at the corner of the plaza de Armas. The pub has a small outside balcony that faces the sunset. Everything from local to craft beer. Nice place to sit and watch the square. We didn’t try any food. Service was fairly quick and I believe the big cusquena was 12 soles. The craft and draft beer were closer to 20 soles for a pint.

Native Burger- had the alpaca burger. The fri s were good; the meat was tough. The bread was fresh; just wrong bun for that burger. $20 soles in all with drink though.

Uchu- steakhouse by Eric Paz Gallegos

Pachapapa - great patio for sunny days $$

Morena Peruvian Kitchen - really upbeat staff and atmosphere. We sat at the bar facing the open kitchen. All staff recommendations were great. Started with the stuffed pepper. (Relleno Rocoto) they brought out 3 different spice mixes plus the sauce it came with and it was quite tasty. Had the Peruvian wine which was just fine and perfect compliment to the evening. My friend Andrés had the El Duo which was a mix of ceviche and seafood rice. It was zesty with good deep flavor. I had the Lomo Saltado which came on some quinoa and grilled onions. Had food flavor and spice, I thought a touch more salt would have made it exceptional; however I like a lot of salt, so for most it would be perfect. I wanted dessert; however I a full tasting day and the meal was quite filling. Ended up 189 soles for 2 glasses of wine, 1 maracuay sour, an appetizer, and 2 excellent entrees. Everyone left pleased and the service was impeccable.

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Limo- $$ great view of plaza

Fruit Madre: excellent fruit salads with yogurt, quinoa, and oats $8 soles.

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MAP cafe- in Pre-Columbia art museum 3 course menus

Greens organic- $$

Fallen Angel- (a bit pricey) eat around bathtubs with fish best steak in town; atmosphere and the decor are worth a trip just for a drink. Wine selection was very good. I had the croquettes for a starter; a salad with what may have been dried chicken sausage; the fish with a white cream sauce and I can’t remember which dessert. All of it was great and the service was more than excellent. Spoke great English, just enough attention and not overbearing. Overall a great experience.

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Le Soleil- French has 7 course tasting menu for $58US. They also have a menu del dia which includes a glass of wine for $12US. Just didn’t have time to sample this.

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Incanto- Pizza

Cantina vino Italian: just had a tiramisu and a glass of wine. Very friendly Italian owner; knew a lot about the world and very fine ingredients on the shelves. I would have like to have eaten a meal here.

Korma Sutre - Indian rest; excellent alpaca chili and garlic naan bread. Service was fast and efficient and English is spoken. Would consider returning. Spice just right too.

Tacomania- Mexican- thought this would be some cheap fast tacos. It’s more of a sit down restaurant and the cheapest thing on the menu was 30+ Soles. Didn’t order anything as I wasn’t ready for a full meal.

Green Point My Vegan Restaurant-

Bojosan- Tokyo style noodle shop; simple menu ranging from 19-25 soles. I ordered Bojo San- Udon. The chicken dish. 24 soles. A sizable portion, not much chicken and a little light on the noodles. Also had carrot shavings. The broth was really nice and rich. Would be an excellent meal for a hangover. Japanese beers 14 soles and Saki for 30. All light wood interior with the Balinese flag and menu written in Japanese. Only 3 tables with about 20 seats along two bars. A very pleasant experience all in all.

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La Bodega 138- simple menu and craft beer

Monkey Cafe- coffee shop

Cicciolina- Italian

Papacho’s- burgers

Juanita’s- sandwiches

Kion Peruvian Chinese-

UFO Asian Food-

La casa del kebab- mid-eastern. I ordered the gyros pita + Falafel. 17 soles. The portion was fairly large. It came stuffed in a really fresh pita bun. The meat was seasoned well and it came with a side of gretian sauce and a spicy red sauce which made everything complete and perfect. I think I can easily say it’s the best schwarma I’ve had since leaving the states. It’s a small place just off the plaza de armes. Service was quick and efficient. A great place for a late night snack or lunch.

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The meeting place cafe - nice friendly staff with excellent service. Owned by an Englishman I believe. Nice atmosphere and good WiFi. Had a tea here and wrote this report, haha.

Jack’s cafe- breakfast/sandwiches/coffee

Crepe Rica Last Bo’M- hot chocolate

Things to do:

Machu Picchu - expensive and super touristy. Overall an experience worth doing if only because of the fame of the place. However; it took until the end of the tour for me to be glad I did it. Keep in mind that there are tours within the MP tour. Like Montana de Machu Picchu and the 2nd mountain Wayan Picchu need to be included in your ticket if you want to do them. The 2nd mountain is 4 hours round trip and they only let 400/day in. I skipped that part as nothing but the view was really impressive about the place. When I arrived in Agua Calientes by train I immediately wanted to leave. It’s a super super touristy town and quite expensive for the same menu repeated over and over. Mapacho had some good craft beer was 18 soles a pint though. The French bistro, the name escapes me, was pleasant and highly rated. I only had wine and a dessert. Atmosphere and the food was good with a seat overlooking the stream that runs through town. I had the carrot cake. Don’t think I ate anything else in town except a few bites of street food that was less than average.

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When booking Machu Picchu it seems overwhelming with the transfer from bus to train to bus plus the timing of entry to MP. If I had it to do over again, I’d either do the Salkantay 4 day Trek or I’d book my own tickets. The way to do that is you can purchase everything in Cuzco from train tickets to MP entry. This is a break down of what you’ll do and where you’ll go. You’ll need to catch a collectivo to Ollantaytambo (it is a small pretty town with lots of restaurants and places and the ruins there are quite interesting as well. It’s about 1.5 hours from Cuzco by collectivo. I rented a motorbike to travel around and see all the ruins I bought entry to on the Boleto de turistico for 140 soles and stayed the night here. Has nice places to stay as well because most catch the train from here to MP because out of Cuzco is expensive and limited times and availability. It’s a much better place to hang out than Agua Calientes where you’ll catch the train to; so you want the afternoon train to limit your time in Agua Calientes.) So, I’d consider staying a night or two there to see everything and catch the train. They dropped me off at 12:45 in AGua Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo) with nothing to do but eat and drink til morning when the tour started. Tourist trap. Everyone hassling you to buy something or come eat. They have hot springs for 20 soles. Everything else is just too much. Stay one night in AC and try and get a 6am entry to MP. Get up early, and buy your bus ticket up the day before ($12US) unless you want to leave at 3am and hike the Inca trail up. It’s nothing impressive except a steep staircase that crosses the bus route 12 times; as I walked down it because the return bus wasn’t included in my tour. Another $12US. The line forms early and they line up by entry time to get on the busses. The line moves fast; it’s a 25 minute ride up on the bus. I caught the 2:30 train back to Ollantaytambo and was back in Cuzco by 6pm. I paid $280 for the two night tour. I think I could have done it for $225 or a bit less not including food.

Sacsayhuman: 70 soles separately or its included in the Boleto de Turistico. 812F651B-7F21-45BF-9F8B-E6B44775A271.jpeg I thought that this was the best of any of the ruins I saw in or around Cuzco. It’s big and interesting. You can technically walk there from Cuzco; I caught a taxi up and walked back. However there are 4 ruins located near there. You could taxi to the furthest and make a day of the 4 spots walking back. Like I said above I rented a motorbike $225 soles for 2.5 days and made the trek around to all of them plus the towns of Piscay, calca, ollantaytambo, Morays, and a few pretty drives up mountains I just decided to go down. I’d highly recommend this.

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Qurikancha - included in the big ticket, smaller ruins somewhat worth seeing.

Palacio Arzobispal: was closed

Tipon- missed this one; definitely could have made it on the bike. Didn’t see where it was until too late.

Maray: worth a stop if your driving yourself; however I took 3 pics from the top and spent a total of 5 mins here.

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Ollantaytambo - elaborate and intricate ruins; not sure how much it was individually was included in the tourist ticket. Spent 1.5 hours here. Big molded rocks at the top. In a lot of ways as interesting or more than MP.

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Tambomachay- one of the 4 smaller ones near Sacasayhumana

Q’enqo: one of the 4 smaller ones near Sacasayhumana

Puka Pukara: one of the 4 smaller ones near Sacasayhumana

Piscay Ruins: also quite elaborate and a lot to see. Included in the tourist ticket. Don’t know how much individually though.

There are many other small ruins around Cuzco that don’t require entry fees such as the temple of the moon. Not highly touristic and I found it riding around on the motorbike. There was a group of horseback riders touring it when I stopped in.

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Posted by Veritas2377 19:48 Archived in Peru Tagged trains food restaurant hiking tourist eats tickets tips Comments (0)

Arequipa, Peru

Hiking and Eating

sunny 10 °C

Arequipa

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Things to do:

Colca Canyon: if you like fairly steep expensive hikes with average views and no rewarding waterfall or climax at the end then this is the trek for you. However; should you still want to do this trek here is the info you will need. The pitfalls and the plus’.

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We had a group of 6 so we decided to just do it ourselves rather than hiring a tour. Don’t recall the price of the tour. However the entry to the hike is $70 soles. We jumped on a collectivo around 4am and headed out to a town called Chivay which is about 2+ hours from Arequipa. That was $15 soles each and it was ‘near’ the bus station. My friend Andrés was from Mexico and without his Spanish probably wouldn’t have found the place. There are collectivos out of the bus station they had just already left.

Once in Chivay you’ll need to hire a smaller collectivo which carries only the 6 of us for $12 soles each and we had to fight to get it to 12. The drive is about 45 mins. The start of the trail isn’t well marked or known by the collectivo guy so download the map of the area before heading out. We bought the entry ticket in the 2nd collectivo from the side of the road. Keep your ticket as they’ll check it often.

Once at the trailhead; you could see everything you will see on this 1.1km vertical hike. It was somewhat steep just longer than it should have been to reach the bottom so it seemed. Once at the bottom; they will check your ticket again and it’s a 15 min hike up to a small village that you can stay in or just grab some food. We chose to press on another 8Km to the oasis which we thought was located next to the hot springs. The hot springs sounded nice after that long hot day in the sun. Very little shade on the trail.

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The hike from the small town to the oasis goes up about 1/3 the distance you just descended on the opposite side of the creek. Then all the way back down to the oasis where we found a place to stay $15 soles each with little to no amenities including electricity. That was fine as you could see the stars so brightly and we were all ready for bed shortly after nightfall.

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We got up at 4:30 to try and get out of the canyon before the sun got as blistering as the day before. Only to wait til 6:15 for the shop owner to show and give us the change he owes us from the nights stay. It wasn’t too cold down at the bottom.

We got started up about 6:30. It was supposed to be a 3 hour hike out. The earliest one did it in 2:15 mins and I made it out 2:30. The last of us made it up 3:30. Once out of the canyon it’s a 20 minute walk to town where we decided to catch the bus to Arequipa as it would be more comfortable and cheaper. Big mistake. It was $18 soles yet; 2.5 hours into the journey we had reached Chivay the town it only took us 45mins to come from in the collectivo. 7+hours in all on the bus after the long steep crawl out of the canyon. 1.1 vertical Km we made it back to the hostal. This should be enough information to get you through the hike should you choose to do it.

Museo Santuarios Andinos-MUSA: 20 soles and takes about an hour because they give you a guide. The main attraction was the frozen Juanita that you view through the window of a freezer in the middle of the last room. You aren’t supposed to bring in your camera or phone so be sneaky if you want pics. Also, she asks for tips at the end.

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Museo arqueologico UNSA: 5 soles; some interesting sacrificed skeletons; overall pretty not worth it.

Walking Tour: there are 2 different ones 9:30 and 3:00pm. I took the afternoon tour. It was interesting maybe lasted a bit too long at 3 hours.

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Eats:

Find some queso helado even off the street it was quite nice.

Zig zag: Excellent overall place. Had 4 3 course selections for lunch for 65 soles. Excellent presentation, atmosphere, service, and food. I had the Del la Volcano. They brought out some very nice bread with an olive tapenade sauce that was exquisite to start. The wine was also excellent and reasonably priced at 18 soles I believe. Next was the butternut squash which was very well prepared and tasted amazing. Then 3 small pieces of meat (chicken, alpaca, and steak) on a sizzling volcanic rock with a special butter and 5 different sauces one being garlic and another similar to the olive tapenade I had with the bread. Everything was tender and tasty. Lastly an ice cream dessert with fruit and chocolate sauce. Reasonable price for the quality of meal and by far my best meal in Arequipa

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Chicha: I decided to sneak in here for lunch since his restaurant in Lima had a month and a half wait. They had a tasting menu for $250 soles. Not sure if wine was included or not; however I elected to go a bit smaller. The bread and butter they brought out first was excellent. One must have been made of sweet blue maize was really fresh and tasty. The wine I chose they didn’t have so they forced me into a more expensive selection. Most restaurants would have given the nicer wine at the price point I ordered. (Keep in mind I’m grading this restaurant by the highest standards not your everyday S American standards). The stuffed pepper (rellano recoto) was really good and tasty that came served on potatoes that were more like a lasagna cut into sheets. Very nice presentation and taste. Oh, let me mention the atmosphere; it was upscale yet still somewhat casual large archways with very thick walls. Castle like. The service was impeccable.

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The main course was alpaca steak with oven baked potato slices. Keep in mind I went with the servers recommendation on everything. The steak was tender; however even with the ‘spicy’ dressing they brought on the side it was bland and over cooked and the potatoes were extremely dry. Very disappointing to say the least. The main course was so bad I didn’t dare risk ordering dessert. Overall expensive and not really worth the price. The money would have been much better spent at Zig Zag.

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Puku puku: nice rooftop coffeehouse that serves beer and wine. Atmosphere is great; perhaps a little expensive. 8 soles for a cup of coffee; craft beer $14 soles; glass of wine $21 soles.

Crepisimo: $$ cute place that serves all meals; however I stopped in for dessert. I had the mixed fruit with ice cream crepe and it was excellent. Also tried a truffle and a canela something. All very tasty with 2 cups of coffee total bill was 44 soles.

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La Nueva Palomino: if you’re looking for authentic Peruvian it doesn’t get any closer than this. It’s located across the river and is only open during the day closing at 5pm. There was a lot of pork on the menu (I don’t eat pork by the way) so I decided on the traditional stuffed pepper. A fairly generous portion with good flavor maybe even a little on the spicy side. I think it was $29 soles. Atmosphere was completely local as well as all the patrons.

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Manolo’s Arequipa: located just off the square down the main shopping street across from Starbucks. The entire menu is recommended by a few blogs; however I wanted to try the stuffed churros. Wow! Absolutely amazing; warm churros stuffed with delicious canela purée. Might be the best dessert I have tried since the donut empanada I had in Medellin which was the highlight of the food in Colombia. $3 soles; stop in for one.

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Pura Fruta: located right next to Manolo’s right off the square this is a great place for a fruit salad served with yogurt, fresh honey, and granola all with a balcony view overlooking the busy street. A great place for a morning snack. $10 soles

Qochamama: nice tiny bar with a small balcony. We had wings which I think there were 9 for $21 soles. They were hot and crispy, could have used a little more sauce, overall good wings. The fries were a bit soggy. Had a happy hour with 2 for 20 mojitos that were quite strong and delicious.

Omphalos: a vegetarian restaurant with a very nice courtyard. They have a menu del dia for 10 soles with soup, main dish, drink and dessert. I got the mushroom dish came with a ton of fries and rice for 13 soles. It was quite filling.

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Salamanto:

Hotel Katari: 2nd best rooftop in the square for sunset. They require $5 minimum per person to go up. They have a grass garden up top that makes it very aesthetically pleasing. Glass of wine $30 soles as well as the delicious maracuay piscos. Don’t recall how much the beers were. They provide blankets/ponchos as it gets cold. Great friendly service with a nice view of the square.

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Restaurant on the top terrace: best rooftop terrace in the square for sunset. It’s higher than Hotel Katari and overlooks the cathedral. Very nice pictures of the mountains and square from here. I went early and booked a rail front table. They had it all ready and waiting. They also provide blankets/ponchos after sunset. Glass of wine $15 and drinks about half the price of Katari. I had the guava stuffed crepe and it was excellent. 15 soles. The other food up there looks great; however it’s quite expensive.

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Wuayki Roots: was closed when I tried to go; comes recommended in some blogs and has a nice balcony overlooking the old bridge over the river. Has food and happy hour.

La Trattoria del Monasterio:

El Tio Dario:

Dimas:

Sach’a:

Da Giancarlo casa Pizzeria Italiana: very quaint and cozy pizza place. Has a small courtyard and the service was fast and friendly. Comes highly recommended and large gourmet pizzas are $25 soles. I had the caprese as well for $20 soles. Large portions and excellent taste if you’re in the mood for pizza this is the place.

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Posted by Veritas2377 13:23 Archived in Peru Tagged food restaurant hiking eats Comments (0)

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