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Lesser Peru

brief description of the other towns I visited in Peru

sunny

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)

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)

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