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San Antonio Del Areco Argentina

A truly tranquil town

sunny 9 °C

San Antonio Del Areco

I think this town was the first place I remained on budget in quite sometime. Even the nice dinners were cheap and it’s such a relaxing quaint well landscaped town. I don’t know if it’s all rich people or what; the houses and yards all seemed to be well manicured and everyone was smiling and helpful. I even witnessed them filming a movie around the town square while I was there. It’s aesthetically pleasing and everyone is super nice and trusting.

I spent 3 nights in this lovely town. I wouldn’t say that there’s much to do here other than observe the waterfront at sunset, eat and relax; which we all know I love to do. As some of you know by now I really eat about 1 meal a day; at most 2, so I really had to stuff myself to get this many places in such a short span. So, I dug into the small town with my fork and knife.

Bodega Septima: I actually think it’s called something else; however that’s what the menu said on the outside. It’s a couple of blocks off the main square towards to bus station. The empanadas were truly on point as were the tacos. Actually the tacos I could have eaten everyday. So good. The cheese plate was good here as well. They have a small quaint interior that kind of reminds you of a French bistro. Their outside patio is actually larger than the inside. Very friendly and accommodating. Spent a few hours on multiple days here just sipping on wine and ordering food. I even had a small breakfast here on my way out of town (and I don’t eat breakfast) just because I liked sitting in the place.

La Arcadia: highly recommended by the blogs and I don’t disagree. One of the nicer restaurants in town as far as atmosphere and table setting. Down home feel and really nice service. Of course, I had salad, steak and dessert with a bottle of wine. All really good and for a total price of about $15US or like $700AP.

El Tokio: a bar resto located on the corner of the square that seemed to be relatively crowded al
Kat all the time. Kind of like the local meet up coffee shop yet they served ice cream and wine by the glass. I was told by a local the food wasn’t that great; really enjoyed their box wine and the atmosphere though.

Balthazar: It is catty cornered across from El Tokio. I had a vegetarian sandwich here when I arrived on a Sunday afternoon which was quite tasty with some really good bread. Their kitchen was closed yet had a limited menu and glasses of boxed wine. In case you haven’t noticed I’m using my brief time in Argentina to try as much wine and beef as possible. Also, their outside seating enabled me to see my bags on the sidewalk outside the hostel that was locked with no one inside. I ended up having to go to the other hostel in town for the first night; it too was locked however they had a WhatsApp number and their WiFi password on a note on the door. Ended up with a private room and a double bed for the night. Woohoo!

El Mitre: the bar resto on the other corner of the square. Sat out and had some vino Sunday night until the rain and wind picked up too much to be outside. Nice place and friendly staff.

Almacen de Ramos Generales: came highly recommended by the local museum attendant. I walked in at 7:55 on Monday night. They closed at 8, so I decided that I’d return another day. Went for a late lunch on Tuesday. It was packed and the table setting relatively nice and upscale. They immediately brought out some delicious bread and butter. I ordered a salad and the skirt steak. Salad cane with onion tomorrow and lettuce and they provided salt, olive oil and balsamic vinegar for the fixings. Mixed me up a great tasting salad and it was a large portion. They too brought the steak way before I was finished with the salad. It was well prepared and seasoned. In the large scheme of steaks it’s nothing to really write home about yet it had good flavor and was a decent portion for the price. They didn’t serve wine by the glass, so I ordered a bottle. It’s literally $4-6 US for good wine here. Slowly enjoyed the meal and ordered the bread pudding. Again, it’s not like bread pudding in the states it’s more like a really moist and grainy yellow cake however in this one they piled high the canela (caramel paste) and let me just state for the record it was a bit rich; I finished it all though. I was among one of the last in the restaurant before they closed to get ready for dinner. They were patient and allowed me time to finish my wine. A very good lunch for the low price of about $850AP. Highly recommend visiting this place if you are in San Antonio Del Areco.

Posted by Veritas2377 05:40 Archived in Argentina Tagged food restaurant travel town tourist relax eat foodie Comments (0)

Buenos Aires

Mainly Eats and where to stay

sunny 9 °C

Buenos Aires

Started at hostel Rayuela: nice small place in San Telmo. Good location and clean with friendly staff with a balcony and Netflix room. Within the first few minutes of arriving was treating by a friendly Texan that said one of the owners was coming to BBQ Argentinian style for the hostel and asked me to sign up. I agreed somewhat reluctantly because I was excited about so many places I wanted to visit here in Buenos Aires. However, I do like to socialize and wanted to meet everyone around the place. So, I put away my things and headed out to explore the town. Sadly, it was Sunday and most things were closed, so I took the opportunity to get to know the neighborhood and surrounding parks. Upon returning to the hostel kind of hungry having not done my usual snacking I was informed we’d be eating about 9pm. I normally like eating late just hasn’t been the norm as of recent countries I was traveling through. I thought about heading back out to grab a snack before dinner, however I didn’t see anything quick in the hours I was walking and BA is a bit fancy with not a lot of street food out and about. It smelled really good and the owner promised wine, so I bided my time doing some research about future travels. I tried to make my usual in roads with everyone around the place. No one seemed real responsive. No one was rude or didn’t answer, just didn’t seem to have the regular enthusiasm I’m used to. The same attitude carried through dinner except for 1 girl from England. Conversation at dinner wasn’t awkward but it wasn’t what it should have been either despite my numerous attempts to involve everyone. Anyway, on to the dinner. Boy, I am glad I didn’t pass this meal up. It was easily the best meal I had in Buenos Aires. There were 5 courses! Yeah, 5 courses at a hostel dinner for $300 AP (about $8US). The first course was Choripan. Beef sausage on a garlic buttered soft bread. A salad was served with this course with an absolutely divine sesame dressing that the guy from Texas made. I can’t say enough about how perfect the sausage was cooked with a sweet glaze and the bread left nothing to be desired. It left me wanting for more. Then came the side of beef ( I wish I would have asked more about each course, it like I said conversation was a bit weird at dinner). Perfectly charred on the outside and there were a variety medium rare pieces to well done. The owner really knew his audience. I took one of the rarer pieces and it was tasty, well seasoned (although he told me he didn’t even salt and pepper it) and very tender. Next came the short ribs, again perfect then came the pork shoulder which I abstained from as most know by now I don’t eat pork any longer. Last came the mashed sweet potatoes mixed with honey and some of the glaze used for the sausage in the first course. Bravo is all I can say. That dinner cast a shadow over the rest of my culinary experiences in BA. Although there was nothing wrong with the hostel, I still chose to move the next day. The only real complaint was all the beds were covered in plastic and fairly small so quite noisy in a room of 8. The room had heat I just felt the need to leave even after the great dinner.

Now at hostel Che Juan: this place is like a dream hostel. It’s only a month old or the price wouldn’t be as low as it is I am sure. Everything you could want in a place. Great location, everything is new. Beds are super comfy with great pillows. Plenty of bathrooms and showers that have amazing pressure and temperature. Plugs, lights, and curtains at every bed. Free filtered water, A work room, Netflix room and the internet works good from the room. It’s 2 blocks from the metro in a great part of town close to Madero, ferry ports, parks, bars, restaurants etc. Everyone in the place was truly excited to be there and couldn’t believe how nice and well thought out everything was.

The Ferry to Colonial del Sacramento or Montevideo Uruguay: there are two companies. I checked all the deal sites and the cheapest round trip was $84US. I went directly to the companies site www.colonialexpress.com and got a round trip for $65.50US. Apparently there are even better deals if you go to the counter in person. The bus is $35US each way and is an overnight bus each way. I think 12 hours and it goes to towns that aren’t even as cool as Colonia. The ferry is by far the better option IMHO.

The subway here is nice and convenient and pretty easy to traverse. Depending on which station you go to you may have to search to be able to obtain a card to put credits on. The first two times I tried to enter I was turned away at the booth when I tried to purchase trips because I didn’t already have a card. I think some stores sell them on the street; I still haven’t figured it all out on that front.

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The Ferry to Colonial del Sacramento Uruguay: there are two companies. I checked all the deal sites and the cheapest round trip was $84US. I went directly to the companies site www.colonialexpress.com and got a round trip for $65.50US. The bus is $35US each way and is an overnight bus each way. The ferry is by far the better option.

Eats

Mundo: stopped in for a hot chocolate and some flan. The flan came with a side of canela. A strong dessert game. Has both indoor and outdoor seating a nice place to take a coffee. Fast friendly service. Don’t remember the price, however it wasn’t crazy.

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El Stablo: steakhouse that came highly recommended by some very experienced reviewers on yelp. It appears yelp is fairly new in this area; however I find it easier to use and more accurate than TripAdvisor. One comment was that it was better than Don Julio’s. (Which is supposedly the standard for comparison here in BA. I later found out he got famous for a single cut of steak that he apparently uses the Sous-Vide method for cooking to keep it tender and flavorful). Now I haven’t been to Don Julio’s. It’s supposed to be the best. The atmosphere was quite nice with a big wooden carved bar with a few tables packed in around it with big picturesque windows with curtains covering the bottom half. Waiters were all dressed nice and almost in a cliche way of a steak restaurant of this sort. I got a little excited as I sat down at one of the only tables left open. I ordered a nice wine and took the waiters recommendation on the appetizer, salad, and steak. The appetizer was beef tongue in vinaigrette with chopped pickled veggies. It was quite tasty and came in a large portion almost too large for 1 person. I had ordered the smaller salad with fresh palm hearts. It also was really good and I think the freshest palm hearts I can remember ever tasting. I didn’t get 1/4 through my salad when the steak was brought out. I really don’t care for nice restaurants that either are oblivious to when to put in the main course or are trying to rush you out the door. However, it didn’t seem like they were trying to rush me it’s just how it’s done in BA. Other than this fact the service was impeccable. So, I put my salad aside and dug into the steak. It was tasty, tender and cooked just how I ordered it. However, the flavor was average at best. I had stayed in for dinner the night before at the hostel. One of the owners came and did an Argentinian BBQ for us for 300 pesos. (Described in detail above) It was a 5 course meal with 4 of them being meat. That dinner blew this one out of the water and needless to say it was a bit more expensive almost 6 times more expensive. There was a lot on the menu I didn’t try and the place was packed on a Tuesday night I’m sure for a good reason; my experience was just average though. Whole 3 course meal with a full bottle of nice wine $1700AP

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Bocanada: fantastic empanadas I had the classic beef and the cheese and onion. Had a takeout deal for 2 empanadas and a drink for $125AP pesos. I made the block to get one more round they were so tasty.

Pizzeria Guerrin: a bustling pizza joint that seems to be constantly slammed serving slices as fast as they can rotate in the door. I recommend the neopolitana and the mozzarella. The onion one didn’t come with sauce. Kind of weird. There’s always a line however it moves fast as some sit and eat and others stand around the big bar and eat then leave. Just a face paced good snack or entire lunch. 2-3 slices should fill you up. 3 slices came to $148

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Pani: stopped in for a coffee and dessert. Had the cappuccino and the Floriquita dessert. The slice of cake was HUGE, really rich and delicious. I couldn’t even finish my portion despite it being absolutely delicious. Nice atmosphere with plenty of tables and seating with prompt friendly service and big picturesque windows. Looks like the women love this place as there was hardly a seat open for what seemed like table after table of women sitting and chatting. They have a full food menu that looked appealing; just wasn’t ready for another full meal just yet. I recommend this place on San Martin if you’re in the neighborhood. Cappuccino ran about $120 and the pie set me back $300.

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Old Beijing: wow! What can I say the reviews and the food did not disappoint. They actually had hot and sour soup that tasted good. First, you never see that on a menu out here and 2nd if you so it’s a weak attempt. I’m not saying it’s the best I ever had; however it was a good attempt and they brought me a quite sizable bowl. I think it could have easily been shared between 4 people. The place is small maybe 9 tables and seemed to be run by an elderly Asian couple. Sweet as can be and she cooked up a heck of a kung pao Chicken. The best Asian food I’ve had since I left the states. Easily a 5 star rating by any standards. If you’re in the mood for Chinese food I’d aim to get over to Old Beijing. Huge bowl of soup, main course with rice $700 pesos.

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Bar Du Marchè: I tried the following wines here. Krontiras (organic Malbec) mild and smooth Bodegas Krontiras, Mendoza; padrillos fruity and a little dry. (Pinot noir Ernesto Catena Vineyards, Mendoza) Amalaya Rosado de Malbec-Torrontes (Bodega Amalaya, Salta) a house blend. Ordered the menu del dia ($320 pesos) which came with a spinach soup, small salad, a main course, a glass of wine and a dessert or expresso. Quite the deal for the fancy atmosphere they had to off. The soup was quite hearty and delicious just what I was looking for coming in out of the brisk BA air. The main course was an egg tart with tomatoes with a lettuce salad. The tart needed some salt; was fine after that. And it came with a small glass of the house wine Amalaya. All quite tasty with a very pleasant atmosphere with large tall windows on a charming street corner in Palermo. The extra glasses of wine were $150 pesos each. Sitting from my seat I spotted a sign a block away that said ‘wine bar’ which oddly enough I had looked for, expected and yet had not found yet in Argentina. Needless to say, I went straight there and sampled some of Argentina’s finest.

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Salumeria Wine Bar very nice place tucked away on a charming street lined with lots of trees I have to imagine would be a little prettier without all the leaves missing in winter. What can I say, I ordered samples 7 to be exact then finished with a glass of my two favorites. Went ahead and ordered a cheese plate because what’s a wine tasting afternoon for if you can’t indulge a little. The Argentinian wines were cheap 30-45AP for a sample. The Chilean wines jumped in price to 150AP per sample. Needless to say it was a fantastic afternoon. I won’t bore you here with my simplistic wine descriptions. Just go and try for yourself.

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Parrilla Peña: I decided to get one more steak before leaving BA. This place has a $$ rating with 4.5 star rating on yelp with great reviews. So did El Stablo though! Anyway I had a good feeling about the place so I hopped on the subway to traverse the mile to the place. Normally I’d walk and take in some more of the city, but I’m leaving the next day and still had some cash left on the old subway card. I arrived around 2pm on a Saturday. Downstairs dining was completely packed. They directed me to one of the 3 upstairs dining rooms. It too was pretty crowded however they found a table for me. Miguel was my waiter and immediately handed me a menu and offered his recommendations. There was already bread on every table. I ordered a house salad, a half bottle of wine and the ribeye. Service here was extremely fast and efficient. Promptly I was brought a starter empanada that apparently comes with every order a side of red chimichurri and some cut up onions, carrots, and bell peppers in an oil and vinegar sauce. Both went quite well with the absolutely delicious empanada. I’m not sure what it was filled with yet if the salad and steak hadn’t come out so fast I would have asked for 5 more. Wow, the dough was perfect as well. Anyway, the salad was onion, tomato and arugula with salt, oil, and a touch of balsamic vinegar. I saw Miguel doctor it up right next to me at his station. It was a lot of salad and only added $180AP to the bill. Again, just as at El Stablo the steak and fries come rushing out after just a few bites of salad. This time I finished a good portion of the salad first as it was quite tasty then dug into the steak. It was seared well and cooked just to order and was a hefty portion and very tender and juicy. I found it a little bland; so I added a few heaping tablespoons of the left over chimichurri sauce and it made everything perfect. A very pleasant experience overall and I would highly recommend a visit here especially for the reasonable price and high quality; that is compared to some other choices in town. $1050AP before tip.

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Posted by Veritas2377 16:56 Archived in Argentina Tagged food restaurant eats lodging tips foodie Comments (0)

Santiago/Viña Del Mar/ Valparaíso

Mainly Eats

sunny 11 °C

So, I was only in Chile 5 days yet still managed to fit in quite a few must try’s in the food arena.

First up Santiago. Just for reference everyone should know that when arriving in a new town I like to walk around the first day and get a feel for the city. I just stop at any place that looks interesting and usually places I can get in and out of quickly. So, I’m walking down the street and see an unusual amount of people crowded in this small shop called Tip Top. I managed to get a photo with a few people standing in front as I could so you could see in a bit. Naturally I stop to look in to see what the commotion is all about. I see 5 ladies behind a small counter trying to get everyone served. It’s so busy you needed to take a number. It’s just simple cookies about 20 varieties of cookies. I step up, take a number and waited my turn. I sampled about 7 different types for under 2,000 pesos. As I walked away chomping down on some delicious butter cookies I immediately knew I should have ordered more; however I resisted the temptation to turn around since it was the first meal of the day.

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Next I found a similar shop called Paradiso and I thought I had remembered reading that they had the best ice cream. However, upon entry I decided to try their shredded beef and cheese sandwich since I was feeling peckish and all I had was cookies. The kind lady warmed the sandwich on a panini press for me while I picked out an irresistible dessert called the Berlin Frito Manjar. It was a lightly powered donut stuffed with ultra sweet Canela. It was a bit sweet for my liking, I finished it nonetheless and moved on to the warm sandwhich. It had shredded beef, melted cheese and some fresh sour kraut. It was definitely above average for I think 1700.

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After leaving Paradiso, I started looking for something healthy like cut up fruit. I came upon a fresh juice vendor which had Kiwi juice of all things for 1,000. A 12-16oz glass. It was amazing and my first experience with kiwi juice. Clearly it was fresh squeezed and little to no water added. What a deal.

That ended my snacking for the day. I walked around to some museums and the big parks and then returned to the Hostel to research dinner. I was surprised to find that Yelp works in Chile. Hasn’t worked in any of central or S America to date. Made the research easy as I find TripAdvisor the worst website ever to be used so widely. SMH. The choice Barrica 94. It was just a few blocks away from Puriwani Hostel (very nice place with very accommodating staff right in the middle of the food and bar scene in Santiago). It turned out to be an excellent choice as it had plenty of my favorite wine. Chilean! I sat outside despite it being quite chilly. They had warmers set by every table and we were in a courtyard surrounded by similar restaurants and their outdoor seating. It almost was like dining at a fancy meeting of food trucks. Very cool and comfortable atmosphere. I ended up ordering the Chilean Vinos tasting (comes with 4 half glasses of different Chilean wines) for 10 mil. Then I started with the empanadas and beef tartar. Both super tasty especially with the good wine. Service was exquisite and all staff spoke good English. Apparently most of the Chileans know enough English to get by if not fluent. I finished with the sweet/savory short ribs and the poor man’s fries served with 2 fried eggs and caramelized onions. The meat was fall off the bone and the sauce was just enough sweet balanced with the savory. I think some jalapeños would have been a good addition to the sauce, it was delicious nonetheless.

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The next day I went to Valparaíso on the coast. A very hip town with lots of hills and a graffiti problem. Well, when I say problem I mean the entire town is covered in graffiti some sanctioned some not. It’s a quite gorgeous town. I took a bus from Santiago terminal South to Viña Del Mar then took a taxi to Valparaíso. (Don’t take a taxi here, use Uber of find the bus. Or use the rail system. I found this out the hard way. And you can take the bus duress this to Valparaíso; although Viña Del Mar has a lot to offer as well)

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First stop the Empanada shop on Urriola st. It’s famous, it’s small and boasts 80 kinds of empanadas. Fresh made to order and fried needless to say they were delicious. I had cheese, olives and sweet peppers. Delish. I doubt there’s anything bad on the menu though.

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Next I toured around the beautiful city and checked out the churches and parks. Landed at Restaurant Fauna. They probably have the best balcony in the city. I sat and drank several of their wines from 3pm to sunset. Didn’t try any food hear, the outside balcony with view of the bay was really nice as was the service.

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I skipped dinner in lieu of snacks and sangria at the hostel. Boy, I felt that the next day ended up not doing much that would be worth writing here. However, the following day I went to lunch at El Internado. I arrived 5 minutes before they opened 12:55 on a Saturday. They showed me to a nice waiting room where I waited just under 5 minutes to be seated. They have a nice deck and an all glass dining room upstairs located right at the top of the Queen Victoria Elevator. Of course I ordered a glass of wine which came with a nice side of olives. I ordered their house burger which came dressed and they piled on the tiny onion rings and some fried thick cut potatoes on the side all for 7 mil. It was the best burger I’ve had in a while, may be the best in town as I had been asking about burgers to no real answer from the hostel workers. The burger plus the view left me overly pleased with my choice, so I ordered dessert. Apple crumb cake with a scoop of ice cream. The crumb cake should have been served warm yet was still pretty good. Overall the burger was much better than the dessert, really can’t complain about either though.

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I hear Chinchero and Pasta and Vino are also good food choices in this town.

That afternoon I hopped an Uber and checked in Garden Street Hostel in Viña Del Mar. A small rich town that has some wonderful landscaping and a nice beach. Looks like there are a lot of great food choices here Gaucha Parrillas is supposed to be the best steak house and Burger Home for burgers. Since I had a burger for lunch and Argentinian steak is coming up tomorrow I elected to try shawarma from Shawarma Kings on 4th Poniente very close to 5 Norte. For 3700 I got a very large mixed chicken and gyro meat burrito which was well seasoned and tasty. That’s about all I’ve got for Chile, stay tuned for Buenes Aires, I hear amazing things about this town and I’m looking forward to tasting it all.

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Posted by Veritas2377 17:33 Archived in Chile Tagged landscapes skylines food restaurant tourist eats tips foodie 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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