"Foodgasm" In Lima: A Beginner's Guide to the Best Dishes

One of the things we enjoy writing (and talking) about most is food. This time it's about our love for Peruvian food: the colors and flavors, textures and freshness are unbeatable. We've found that no matter what the problem is, ceviche is probably the answer. As Peruvian food continues to take over the culinary scene worldwide, you're going to want in on the local action. If you're in Peru, especially Lima, you need to try as many of these as you can so you can see for yourself why Peru has some of the best food in the world. Peruvian food recipes take advantage of the wide variety of ingredients found throughout the country, many that are exclusive to the country and regions, so you're exotic foodie experiences will be far from dull here.

 

A beginner's guide to the best peruvian dishes

 

With the number of official dishes in Peru, they say you could eat for two years straight without repeating a dish. We'll let you try to do that in whatever time you have. We covered what we believe are the best Peruvian dishes in Lima, with nods to the best typical Peruvian dishes from a few other regions in case you don't have time to get around and try them where they originate from. We added some of our personal favorite spots in the city to try each meal in case our description wins you over and you need it instantly. Just to get you started, of course there are a million places that serve each wonderfully in Lima, it's hard to go wrong.

 

Read more: The Best Ceviche in Lima: Local Spots That Are Way Better Than Five Stars

 

One piece of advice, on top of what to eat, is how to eat: go with an amigo. Peruvian dishes are known to be served in massive portions, so it's best to start with less, share, and then work your way up. Now go enjoy some of the best food of your life!

 

Ceviche

¿Pescado o mixto? Fish or mixed? The question you're going to be asked a million times when you begin eating ceviche. If you're unsure how to answer and want to experience the most, we recommend ordering mixto, because it's the pescado with added seafoods, such as octopus, calamari and shrimp, so you'll get a variety. To help you fall in love with ceviche before trying it in person, here's our breakdown of the mouth-watering, wildly-popular Peruvian dish.

 

Ceviche at Mercado Numero 1 Surquillo Lima Peru

 

It's basically fresh fish in lime juice (raw at first but slowly cooks in the lime juice), with a little bit of garlic, cilantro and chili. It comes with onion, Peruvian corn, crunchy corn kernels and sometimes a bit of calamari or other fried bits. We can't get enough of this dish, along with many other locals and foreigners alike, but you can't have it for every meal if that's what you're hoping for. While a favorite breakfast as a hangover cure, or everyday lunchtime favorite, this is not something you are going to be having for dinner. Whether the time between lunch and dinner actually make a significant difference or not, Peruvians refuse to eat ceviche at night because it's not as fresh, having been fished in the early morning. You probably won't see it available for dinner, and if you do, we recommend following the local lead and not ordering at night.

 

Read more: Viñac: Five Hours and a World Away from Lima

 

So go earlier in the day, in or near markets are the easiest place to walk up and feel like you "discovered" the best place in the city (somehow they're all that good), and eat a ton of ceviche! Great with a side of chicarron (fried seafoods), or a 50/50 plate with arroz con mariscos (rice with seafood in a red sauce). Don't leave any seaside town or city without trying it, and as it becomes rapidly more popular worldwide, you'll want to have tried the original thing while you can. (Also: cebiche and ceviche are the same. Nobody seems to know exactly how to spell it, but this always throws off a few travelers!)

 

Cevicheria Bam Bam,

Address: Jiron Luis Varela y Orbegozo 213 Surquillo, Lima - Peru

 

Tiradito tres colores (Three Color Tiradito)

 

 Tiradito 3 Colores at Punto Azul Miraflores Lima peru

 

If you love ceviche and can't stop eating it, we give you a very close friend of the dish, tiradito tres colores. Often confused for carpaccio or sashimi, this is the more sophisticated version of ceviche, with no onions and three different incredible sauces that will actually blow your mind. "Tiradito" means "lying down", which is how the long slices of raw fish are laid before having the rich sauces poured on top. Heavier with spices and intense flavors, tradito tres colores may be an even better recipe that ceviche, but it's not something you can or will want to eat as often as the staple dish. It's an incredible example of how Peruvian chefs can turn simple ingredients into world-class dishes. Even though ceviche will always be our first love, this plate is a very close second!

(Usually offered with a choice of 3 sauces, aji amarillo is a classic and our personal favorite, while cheese-lovers can't get enough of the parmesan or pesto, and the intense olive sauce is a favorite among bold foodies. For more spice, rocoto also pairs nicely with the aji.)

Punto Azul

Address: Calle San Martin 595, Miraflores

 

Leche de tigre ("Tiger's Milk")

If the name doesn't give you an idea of what this is, don't worry, nobody can figure it out before trying it. And no, there is no tiger milk in it, which many foreigners ask immediately (sorry to disappoint you, but when you tell your friends at home what you ate, they don't have to know that...). This dish is simply ceviche with milk added and a slight increase in the same spices. By milk added, we should probably say that it's a large cup of milk with ceviche added. While it sounds weird, it's absolutely incredible, and a staple like ceviche but with extra of that delicious juice you want with each bite. Often served in smaller cups as an appetizer or side, if it's the same price as ceviche you're going to be getting a large portion- but that's never been a problem for us.

Recommendation: They will ask you how picante you want it, in regards to how much chili you want. Remember that Peruvians can handle a lot of spice, so I recommend going for "un poco picante (a little spicy)". If you ask for full on "picante", you've earned my respect. You'll see why.

 

Leche de Tigre at La peruanita at Mercado Numero 1 Surquillo Lima Peru

 

 

El Veridico de Fidel

Address: Jiron Colon 246 Miraflores, Lima - Peru

 

Read more: Sandboarding in the Desert Oasis Town of Huacachina, Peru

 

Almejas al limón (Clams with Lime)

 

We still cannot get over this one, it's so simple yet delicious, so quick yet charming, these little clams are our new weakness in the seafood world. Served raw on the shell, the addition of lime and salt comes together to make a whole much greater than the sum of its parts. Again, an example of how many of the best Peruvian dishes turn simple into amazing.

El Rincon de Bigote

Address: Jiron Jose Galvez 529, Miraflores, Lima - Peru

 

Tacu-Tacu de mariscos ("Smash smash" with Seafood)

 

Tacu Tacu en Salsa de Mariscos Lima Peru

 

A marvel of re-heated food. Tacu-tacu, meaning "smash smash" in Quechua, is a mash of reheated beans and rice from the day before with a special sauce that makes a crunchy crust around it, and on top of that you can order it with a seafood "sauce" that embellishes the flavor, and adds a varietey of delicious seafoods such as calamari, octopus and shrimp. You can get many versions of tacu-tacu but this one gives you another excuse to experience the shockingy fresh and delicious seafood that Lima has to offer. Whoever thought of this dish is a genius in the kitchen. You can't leave Lima without trying this, but again, you're going to need to share this gigantic dish with someone.

El Rincon de Bigote

Address: Jiron Jose Galvez 529, Miraflores, Lima - Peru

 

Aji de gallina (Aji Chicken)

Many people's favorite criolla dish (part of a category of traditional homestyle dishes), aji de gallina has the texture of a thick creamy soup, but a flavor created by the gods. When you're done loading up on fresh seafood, or maybe the cold seaside weather has you craving something warm, this is one of your first stops. Made with flavorful but non-spicy yellow peppers, chicken and milk, this dish is blended and served hot and heavy. This bright yellow dish normally comes with rice (like everything in Peru), potatoes, and a boiled egg. If you're having fish for every meal and want a cozy, comfort food type of dish, this is it.

El Rincon Que No Conoces

Address: Jiron Bernardo Alcedo 363 Lince, Lima - Peru

 

Lomo Saltado (Wok-fried Beef)

 

 Lomo Saltado Lima Peru

 

Many would say this rivals ceviche as one of the most characteristic dishes of Peru, and when you try it you'll see why the seemingly-simple dish is worth such hype. This dish is made of thinly-sliced beef, sauteed in a wok with tomatoes and onions in a mixture of oyster sauce, ginger, soy sauce, and cilantro. Served with sides of rice and french fries, this dish is great because it can be a staple budget-travelers meal, availabe in every market for a very affordable price, while also found in high-end restaurants with very high-quality cuts of meat. Loaded with flavor and guaranteed to fill you up, this is a dish you will stumble on a million times in Peru but shouldn't translate into meaning it's just a basic dish.

Pollos Hikari

Address: Avenida La Mar 2339, San Miguel, Lima - Peru

 

Pollo a la brasa (Rotisserie Chicken) 

The star of "fast food" in Peru, it's the Peruvian version of hamburgers in the USA or fish and chips in England. You will see countless restaurants offering this, and when you're ready to gorge with no frills, this is where to go. Pollo a la brasa is well-marinated chicken cooked slowly in rotisseries, just to the point of incredibly juicy on the inside and perfectly crunchy on outside. In Lima you will see as many "pollerias" as public phones (an expression you'll hear Peruvians saying). You can't go wrong with the big chains, and one of the best parts is the variety of sauces they offer for make your chicken that much better.

 

Gran Parrillada TImbo,

Address: Av. Bolivar 944 - Pueblo Libre

 

Papa a la huancaina (Huancaina Potatoes)

Huancaina is the sauce of the moment, and goes wonderfully with a million different types of food. While I can't make it myself, I'm more than happy to just eat it, no questions asked. The main flavors of the sauce are cheese and mild orange chili peppers (ahi naranja), and can turn a pile of cold sliced potatoes or plain pasta into an orgasmic expereience- seriously. Even though it's beginning to be exported everywhere, and there are some good bottled versions, this sauce made fresh is something everyone should have the pleasure of experiencing. The classic version is the sauce thickly poured over potatoes, and this 2-ingredient plate will taste more incredible than many 20-ingredient dishes elsewhere.

 Huancahuasi,

Address: Avenida Javier Prado Oeste 1405

 

 

Anticuchos (Grilled Cow Heart)

 

Anticuchos dish at Tio Mario Barranco Lima Peru

 

Yes, cow heart. While it sounds strange and probably disgusting to many foreigners, this is one of the most appreciated dishes in Peru, and any party or event that starts grilling them up is instantly better. Thinly sliced, marinated in a delicious sauce, and then skewered and grilled, you won't know what type of beef it is until someone tells you and once you taste how delicious it is, you really won't care. This is something you'll see at any outdoor event, or sold by food carts and stalls on the street, and the recipe for the sauce at the most popular anticucho food cart is considered one of the best-kept secrets in the world. Affordable, quick, delicious, and something you can be proud to say you tried on your travels.

Anticuchos Grimanesa

Address: Jiron Felipe Barreda 475, Miraflores 15074

 

From other regions of Peru:

 

Rocoto relleno

From Arequipa, these stuffed peppers are one of the most popular dishes across the country. Spicier than a bell pepper, this has a kick that most don't expect (and the flavor is much richer). Stuffed with beef and oozing melted fresh cheese, it's hard to go wrong here.

 

Cuy Chactado

One of the "bucket-list" dishes in the Andes, this is what you've heard it is- guinea pig. Like they say wth everything, "it tastes like chicken". Even a bit better...Many people try in Cusco or other highland towns, and it's definitely something to experience, just push the memories of your kindergarten pet out of your head before you go.

 

Pachamanca

Cooked for hours underground, this is another Andean dish that shows the time and patience Peruvians dedicate to their food. Usually full of meats, potatoes and plantains, everything is so well-smoked and seasoned it's such a shame that it's not something you can exactly cook DIY once you return home.

 

If you LOVED this post and want to see MORE like it, GO like our page on facebook, follow us on twitter, or join our latest adventures on instagram. ¡Muchas gracias!

 


Video: Mancora Beach, Peru

Bringing you a glimpse of the sunny, beer-drenched beaches of Mancora Peru. The spot to stop along Peru's North Shore for surfing, impossibly fresh ceviche and party hostels right on the beach, our time in Mancora was nothing less. Your first stop outside of the cities and highlands.

After Mancora, there are a few more spots along the North Shore of Peru that are known for surfing, head to Chicama, Lobitos and Cabo Blanco next!

 

 

 

 

http://youtu.be/05SkykE3zXk


Machu Picchu peru

A Beginner's Guide to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is the number one place people want to visit in South America, but it can be difficult to know where to begin with planning your trip to see this Wonder of the World. Sometimes the sheer volume of information you can find on it is actually more confusing than helpful, so to make planning your trip easier we have made a super simple guide, and from our experience it's everything you need to know. If we forgot anything, please let us know in the comment section!

A beginners guide to machu picchu Final - the borderless project

Transportation

 

Buses

There are many ways to get to Cusco from Lima, Bolivia, Chile and Brazil, if you take the bus within Peru, we recommend taking a look at these bus companies, they are among the best in the country and there for all prices, wifi, tv, etc. For us, Cruz del Sur is the best bus company so far, service and convenience, although it is the most expensive, but all buses here below are completely reliable, so far no complaints.

 

Cruz del Sur / Oltursa / CiVA / Hermanos Flores / TEPSA

 

Flights

If you’re coming from a country where you only get two weeks of vacation per year, you’re definitely going to want to fly so you can make the most of your time. In Peru there are two airlines that fly to Cusco and are totally affordable. Obviously more expensive than the very cheap buses, but it’ll save you a day of travel. Peruvian Airlines and Star Peru are the cheapest, we recommend them over LAN Peru (different prices for gringos) because they offer great deals for Peruvians and foreigners.

 

Peruvian Airlines / Start Peru / LAN Airlines

 

Hostels

After transportation, book your hostel. In Peru you don’t have to pay in advance to make a hostel reservation, which gives you nice flexibility. You pay for everything at the end of your stay as well. The greatest part of hostels in Peru, and especially Cusco, is that they’re ome of the greatest hostels in the world, stocked with fun bars, restaurants, travel agencies, free breakfast...everything you need. The competition keeps them in top condition, really fun and very affordable. Keep in mind that in Cusco, basically every season is high season, so for the fun hostels you should book in advance (it’s not uncommon for them to fill up).

 

Cusco

Here are some of our favorite hostels, so you can read reviews, compare prices and see what’s best for you!

 

Pariwana Hostels - Reviews: Pariwana on Tripadvisor

Loki Hostels - Reviews: Loki on Tripadvisor

Kokopelli HostelsReviews: Kokopelli on Tripadvisor

Wild Rover Hostels - Reviews: Wild Rover on Tripadvisor

Milhouse Hostels Reviews: Milhouse on Tripadvisor

The Point Hostels - Reviews: The Point on Tripadvisor

 

Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Town)

If you book a trek to Machu Picchu, your lodging in Aguas Calientes will come included, as well as with some car/van options. If you’re taking the train and figuring it out on your own, this hostel is a great option.

 

Supertramp Hostel - Reviews: Supertramp on Tripadvisor

 

Money

Peru continues to be a backpacker friendly destination, so you will find that most everything is quite affordable (and a lot is incredibly cheap). However, sometimes things (such as treks) are sold as “everything included’, and “everything” comes with a little room for interpretation. Even when you think you don’t need money, have some Peruvian soles on you in small bills (it can always be a struggle to find change for the fifties and hundreds the ATM gives you, even somewhere like Starbucks may not accept bigger bills), and as a backup, you can change dollars in every city.

Once you leave Cusco though, it can be hard to find an ATM, many inconsistently take and refuse foreign cards, and people may stop accepting dollars. On a trek, you’re going to need cash even if they say you don’t, and I’d recommend bringing 75-100 soles to be safe. Not being able to buy water is a terrible situation to be in, and if we brought the amount of cash the tour company told us we would need, we would have been left with nothing to drink by day two.

 

Exchange Rate Here: Dolar / Euros / Pounds

 

Food

Bring good snacks for trekking and the day at Machu Picchu, either from Cusco or a town on the trek. Prices jump in Aguas Calientes and the limited food options at Machu Picchu are, as you can expect, incredibly expensive. Also, bring a reusable water bottle if you can, some places won't sell water but will fill it for cheap.

 

Weather & Seasons / Gear

If you're going during rainy season, bring a poncho. For more intense treks, also bring waterproof pants. Make sure to have plastic bags to also cover your thins inside your backpack, the rain here is like miniature flashfloods.

 

Before You Go: Things You Need To Know About Cusco And Machu Picchu Weather

 

Machu Picchu Hacks

There are some unexpected things to bring or do that will make your experience much more enjoyable, we've put them togetheer here for you:

 

Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me: Cusco and Machu Picchu Tips

 

How To Get To Machu Picchu

For details on exactly how to get to Machu Picchu, read below:

How To Travel To Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Tickets: Book Here!

 

Inca Trail & Alternatives

The Inca Trail is the most popular Trek to Machu Picchu, but there are several more affordable and bookable at the last minute options. Read below for more details:

 

How to Get to Machu Picchu

 

And for stories from our experience to give you a better idea of what's ahead:

 

My Experience Trekking To Machu Picchu: DAY 1

My Experience Trekking To Machu Picchu: DAY 2

My Experience Trekking To Machu Picchu: DAY 3

My Experience Trekking To Machu Picchu: DAY 4 - Machu Picchu!

Booking And Information: Loki Travel

 


If you LOVED this post and want to see MORE like it, GO like our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or join our latest adventures on Instagram. ¡Muchas gracias!

 

 


Video: Inca Jungle To Machu Picchu

Video: Inca Jungle To Machu Picchu

Video: Inca Jungle To Machu Picchu

 

 

Want to travel to Machu Picchu in less than five minutes? Don't worry,we got you. Follow us on three days of trekking the Inca Jungle trail and our final day of arriving at the ruins and exploring Machu Picchu.

 

-The Borderless Project Team

(Cusco, Santa Maria, Santa Teresa, Hidroelectrica, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu- October 2014)

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZa7qU8-AME

 

 


Cusco Town in 5 Days

Cusco Town in 5 Days

How to Spend 5 Days in Cusco Peru - The Borderless Project

 

When we arrived in Cusco we realized that we actually had very little time to explore such a city. We had heard that there were thousands of things to do, but we were only staying 10 days of which 4 were going to be on the Inca Jungle, so we re-examined our list and began to focas on the things that intrigued us the most. With that, we decided to explore the historic city center, ruins around the city, and the Sacred Valley.

We wanted to take advantage of our 5ish days in the best way, not running between attractions, but actually enjoying and experiencing all of it. First, if you're not used to the altitude, we recommend you drink a lot of "mate de coca" and relax, and avoid alcohol and smoking (at least the first day). You'll thank us. Then, you'll see that all of this can be done in 5 days or less. And lastly, we did all of this before our trek to Machu Picchu and recommend that order completely. You'll be exhausted afterwards, and no ruins can really compare after you have seen Machu Picchu.

 

Free Walking Tour

A great place to start would be to take the FWT in Cusco, we recommend taking the tour at 10am, which shows you around the city center and is shorter, the one at 12:30 is longer, goes up onto the hills, and right in the middle of the day.The second one is good because it shows you sights up near the Christo Blanco statue and includes a free bus up and down which is a major plus, but it's inconvenient if you're not planning on staying until the end. The walks on both are beautiful, informative, and a good introduction to the city. The fun, young guides do a great job of telling the interesting history of the city as well as giving insights into what is currently going on in Cusco.

We also got some helpful advice on San Pedro, the ritual hallucinogenic cactus, and that many versions sold for cheap are fake and will give you nothing but horrible diarrhea. Don't buy it on the street, get a shaman!


Perks: Free food and drink samples, free bus up to the Christo Blanco on the 12:30 tour, the tour is donation-based (most people donate 10 soles or more)

http://www.fwtperu.com/

 

Halloween in Cusco Peru
We found Batman y Robin

 

Main Square

It’s naturally the first place you think of to visit when you're in town, it's a beautiful part of Cusco with spectacular views surrounded by lovely architecture where you will not want to stop taking photos. Try to avoid sellers who are around the square, they will follow you for blocks if you get started with them and don't buy anything. Also, if a cute dressed up girl offers you to take a photo with her baby llama or lamb, you will be expected to pay her.

It's very easy to find the main square (imagine that) and to get anywhere from there. It's easy and beautiful to walk around, but if you decide to take a taxi anywhere in Cusco  it'll never cost more than 5 soles. If it does, you're either very far away or getting a tourist price. Go Peruvian and bargain!

 

San Pedro Market

It's one of the most exciting markets in South America, you can do it on the first day you arrive in Cusco because it is very close to the square, everyone knows the market, and just need to ask anyone to find it (or go on the Free Walking Tour). If you visit at the beginning of your trip, fair warning that you'll end up back there before you leave because it's definitely where you'll want to buy all of your souvenirs (and it's the cheapest spot in Peru to do so). Warning: Colorful knit things with llamas on them are highly addicting.

If you're feeling adventurous, you're really going to love this market because if you get in deep enough, you're going to start seeing some weird things. From dead llama fetuses for rituals to old women skinning frogs and offering fish egg samples to literally EVERY part of every animal with recipe recommendations from the butchers (we didn't not see bull penises that are "great for salads"), it's here. We had lunch in the market everyday and it was the perfect place to experiment and eat massive portions for very cheap (the ceviche understandably wasn't very fresh, but otherwise you can't go wrong).

 

Read more: Machu Picchu Hacks And Tips

 

San Pedro Market Cusco peru

 

San Blas

Flat doesn't exist in the city of Cusco beyond the size of a plaza, everything is up and down the beautiful hills. We learned this on our second day, when we were strongly recommended to visit the neighborhood of San Blas. San Blas is less than 15 minutes walking from the Plaza das Armas (upwards), and this is where you'll bars, music, art and all things "trendy" in Cusco. However, it also offers impressive views of the city (worth the walk up), and it's one of those places where you can't wander more than a block without stumbling upon your new favorite spot in the city. My favorite spot for finding nontraditional food when you want a change (and there are countless vegetarian and vegan spots if that's what you need).

 

Night at San blas Neighborhood Cusco Peru

 

Churches

Whenever walking around the historic center in Cusco, we found that there were endless, stunning colonial-style churches. Around the main square alone are five, and if you walk in any direction you will surely find many more along your way. You don't have to be religious to fall in love with these churches. We aren't but were equally enamored by the fascinating things you find inside (not only the free wine). Exploring the churches you'll find incredible artwork, architecture and something unique in each one.

Read more: How To Travel To Machu Picchu

Qoricancha or Temple of Sun (Cusco’s Touristic Ticket) 

If you're trying to get to the heart of Cusco, then you should buy the Boleto Turístico de Cusco ( the Tourist Ticket to Cusco). It costs 130 soles for tourists and gives you entry to more than 10 sites throughout the city (only 70 for students).

Once you have purchased your ticket, you need to visit the Temple of the Sun (or Koricancha), it's the most famous Incan museum in the area with wonderful exhibits on the Incas. You can walk around the grounds, hang out in the garden and relax before leaving the temple and continuing to tour the city with your pass..

Here you can buy Cusco's Touristic Ticket: http://www.cosituc.gob.pe/

 

Qoricancha
Qoricancha

 

White Christ / Cristo Blanco

My favorite place in the city of Cusco, it has an amazing view of the city and I always make sure to bring a bottle of wine, lots of warm clothes, and stay for the incredible sunset (the sunrise is amazing, too). To get to the Christ will take about an hour and a half from the main square, you can follow the road (which takes longer) or do a small trek uphill which only takes about 30 minutes (sometimes it's hard to find the place to begin the climb, but ask a local and they'll kindly show you where it starts). Good luck and enjoy the view my friend.

 

White Christ at Cusco Peru

 

Sacsayhuaman (Cusco’s Touristic Ticket)

It's the ruin closest to Cusco, also known worldwide as Sexywoman, as many tourists have found this easier than trying to figure out the proper pronunciation (in fact, every word in Quechua is equally difficult to pronounce). You can visit this impressive ruin on your tourist ticket, and you can spend all afternoon there, exploring and learning a bit about the history (also, wild llama hotspot and these guys are very selfie-friendly).

 

Sacsayhuaman - Cusco Town - The Borderless Project

 

Q’enqo (Cusco’s Touristic Ticket)

It is a huge rocky outcrop with carved steps, holes and channels, believed to have been made to deposit chicha (the purple corn drink), which was consumed in Inca rituals.

It's super easy to get to, just 15 minutes from the city of Cusco, even closer from the White Christ, we took horses there and it was an amazing experience.

Ollantaytambo (Cusco’s Touristic Ticket)

Surely you're going to hear a lot about this town, either because of its beautiful Inca ruins, or because this is where the train to Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu departs from (not Cusco). However, it's more than just a train stop with lots to do and explore, such as treks, ruins and hot springs. No need to pay admission to enter the ruins at Ollanta, your tourist ticket is enough.

 

 

Ollantaytambo - Cusco - The Borderless Project

 

Urubamba / Action Valley

Currently this is the cool place to be in Cusco, where the best hotels are and everyone wants to be, due to its beautiful surroundings, healthy climate, and lack of tourists. We recommend that you stay one night so you can really explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas, but if you stay for two you definitely won't run out of things to do. There are also day trips to different spots in the valley if you have less time. Either way, don't miss the chance to visit Action Valley, and try to avoid coming with a hangover because there are plenty of opportunities for extreme sports while you're there!


http://www.actionvalley.com/

 

Urubamba - Cusco - The Borderless Project

 

acton valley - cusco - the borderless project

Pisac (Cusco’s Touristic Ticket)

Located 30 km from Cusco, about 45 minutes away by bus. It's a great place to come for the craft fairs in the main square (Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday), which showcase local artisans all year round. There are many beautiful handmade things to buy and it's a great place to practice your haggling, just keep in mind that the going rates are going to be a bit higher than elsewhere.

Just 9 km from the town of Pisac atop the mountains, you can find complex farming terraces and Inca building divided into six different towns. The stunning architecture and historical landscape are worth visiting.

 

pisacmarket - Cusco - The Borderless Project

 

 

Maras / Moray (Cusco’s Touristic Ticket)

These are the salt mines of Maras, located between Cusco and Urubamba, this is one of our most highly recommended spots. All of the best restaurants in Peru use salt from here and all of the chefs swear that it's the magic in their dishes.

 

Maras Salt Mines - Cusco - The Borderless Project

 

Moray, very close to Maras, is also interesting in a very different way- mention it to the right person and you'll hear some very convincing alien stories. You’ll have to see and decide for yourself.

 

Maras Moray - Cusco - The Borderless Project

 

Chinchero (Cusco’s Touristic Ticket)

Chinchero, the best known-spot of the Sacred Valley is a purely Incan town, which the Spanish conquerors tried to "civilize" with their culture, but never fully achieved. It was the largest and most prosperous Incan civilization in the Americas, and today offers dramatic scenery. It's surrounded by several snowpeaks that will make you feel incredibly tiny.

 

chicnhero - cusco - The Borderless Project

 

 

Pukapukara (Cusco’s Touristic Ticket)

It's a good spot to see, but there are other places that may be more worth to visiting in only 5 days. Basically a huge fortess, and it's included in your touristic ticket.

If you're not exhausted, have more time, or simply crave more, here are some places we couldn't make during our last visit to Cusco but you might enjoy. We had high aspirations and these were on our list, but post-trek hips don't lie, and we reached a point that nothing but relaxing at our hostel with a cold beer could cure. However, it's up to you if you want to make to every spot in Cusco, and this will at least give you a place to start and idea of all you can do in less than a week.

 

Places that we’ve missed:

 

Pikillacta (Cusco’s Touristic Ticket)

http://www.inkascusco.com/ingles/04a_2pikillacta.htm

Tipon (Cusco’s Touristic Ticket)

http://www.cuscoonline.com/english/cuscossurroundings/cusco040.shtml

Barroco Route / Churches

http://www.inkaexpress.com.pe/barroco-andino-route/

 

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Before You Go: Things to Know About Cusco and Machu Picchu Weather

Cusco and Machu Picchu Weather

 

If you’re planning to go to Cusco, you might want to know several things about this beautiful city before you go. Most importantly: the climate. Often people want to research the weather of a place before they arrive to be prepared. If you're one of those people, read carefully, because the weather in Cusco is a bit more complicated than most destinations...

Basically, don't count on anything. No matter how prepared you are, whether you've read Cusco weather forecasts or printed out "Cusco Weather For The Next 10 Days," "Cusco Weather In May", anything... It doesn't work here. You can try, but you may end up spending all of your money on waterproof everything and come to find beautiful sun, or head on a hike in shorts and feel the temperatures drop quicker than you can head back to town.

There are 2 seasons clear seasons in Cusco, the rainy season and the dry season, and here's what to expect from them.

 

Rainy Season

Running from around October to March, you can expect it to rain occasionally throughout the week, but the weird thing about this season is that one minute the sky will fill with dark clouds and everything will be instantly soaked in rain, and the next the sun appears and everything returns to perfect, normal weather.

A lot of people hear this and wonder if it's safe, or even possible, to trek during this season, and most of the time it's fine. The rain is sporadic, usually not constant, and if you are just a bit outdoorsy you'll see it's not as bad as you'd expect. If not, you can still get to Machu Picchu other ways, such as by train, car or bus. (For more advice, click here: How to Get to Machu Picchu)

 

Cusco and Machu Picchu Weather

 

The rainiest month is definitely February, when they usually have to close some routes to Machu Picchu due to heavy rains along the way. If you have your heart on trekking, this may not be the best time. To be on the safe side, it's usually not advisable to go in January, February or March if you want to plan a trek. But if you're determined to go and this is the only time, you can always get there one way or another, and I wouldn't miss these amazing ruins no matter what the weather. You just might not get the perfect picture...

 

Dry Season

As you may have guessed, the dry season means sun and no rain! It's extremely rare if it rains during this season, running from April and ending in September or so.

April, May and June, in my opinion, are the best months to visit Machu Picchu and Cusco, because the rainy season has just finished so everything is beautifully green and the weather is more predictable. It's a dream traveling to Cusco at this time of year.

 

Read more: How To Get To Machu Picchu

Read more: My Experience Trekking to Machu Picchu: Day 1

 

Cusco and Machu Picchu Weather

 

Climate Overview

If you're going to Cusco rain or shine, whichever season, keep in mind that the climate of the Andes is very different to any other climate. If you're going to the Andes of Bolivia or Ecuador you'll see this as well- if you stand in the sun, you'll be boiling hot, and want to go out in shorts and a tank top. The minute you cross the street into the shade, you'll be shivering and scrambling to buy every llama sweater you see.

 

Cusco and Machu Picchu Weather

 

Always carry something warm in this kind of weather because you never know when the sky will fill with clouds, it's just a matter of luck. Remember that, even if you see a shining sun and cloud-free sky when you head out for the day.

Despite the inconvenience it sometimes causes, the climate is impressive and Cusco has so many incredible things to offer that you can't miss. No matter what kind of traveler you are, no matter what the rest of your trip looks like, you're going to want to see Cusco and Machu Picchu. Just know which season you're visiting in and come as prepared as you can!

 

Let us deliver our adventures, travel hacks and stories directly to your inbox. Newsletter anyone? :)

 

 


The 16 Most-Asked Questions About The Inca Trail

Most Asked Questions About Inca Trail The Borderless Project

 

1. Do you need to book ahead?

YES! It is recommended that you make a reservation for the Inca Trail and pay for your entrance fee well in advance.

 

Bookings should be done :

December, January, March: 3 - 5 weeks in advance (approx)

April, October, November: 6 - 8 weeks in advance (approx)

May, September: 2 - 3 months in advance (approx)

June,July ,August: 3 - 4 months in advance (approx)

 In February, the trek is closed due to rain, but you can still visit Machu Picchu.

 

The number of trek permits is limited to 500 per day (about 200 tourists and 300 trekking staff). This includes the 2 and 4 day treks as well as the Salkantay 7 day trek. The estimate is that there are approximately 160 trekkers per day on the 4 day trek, 25 on the 2 day trek, and 15 on the 7 day trek.

You can check availability of the Peruvian Government's website.

 

2. Do you have to book through an agency?

Since June 2002, trekking independently on the Inca Trail has been prohibited. Regulations state that each trekker must be accompanied by a professionally qualified guide. The UGM (Unidad de Gestion Machu Picchu),is the regulatory body responsible for controlling access to MP and the Inca Trail. Companies must meet certain basic requirements proving that they have professional guides, good camping equipment, radio communications, and emergency first aid including oxygen.

Go to: andeantravelweb.com/peru/companies/peru/more… for a comprehensive list of licensed operators.

 

3. What is the cheapest way to visit Machu Picchu?

The normal backpacker train cost this year 44 USD one way , but yes it is possible to go cheaper,although its not sure,you need time and in high season there is also a waiting list. More information here: How To Get To Machu Picchu

 

4. Is it possible to use a ticket under someone else's name?

No, you will only be allowed to enter with a ticket under your own name, and you will need to show your valid ID (passport) to enter. (Make sure you get the Machu Picchu stamp in your passport at the entrance!)

 

5. Are there alternative treks?

Yes, there are several!

 

Short 2 Day Inca Trail To Machu Picchu - Easy to Moderate

Inca Jungle To Machu Picchu : Easy To Moderate

Mollepata - Salkantay - Machu Picchu 7 day trek - Moderate to Difficult.

Mollepata - Salkantay - Santa Teresa - Machu Picchu 5 day trek - Moderate to Difficult

Ausangate 6 to 7 Day Trek - Moderate to Difficult

Lares Valley To Machu Picchu 4 Day Trek - Moderate

Choquequirao 4 to 5 Day Trek - Moderate

Vilcabamba 7 Day Trek - Moderate

 

6. Is there a limit to the number of visitors allowed to enter Machu Picchu per day?

There is technically a max capacity for the number of guests allowed to enter Machu Picchu each day, though it is not enforced (proof? the average visitors per day has often exceeded it). If you are unable to do the Inca Trail trek (or any of the alternatives), you can also just do the ruins. Stay overnight in Aquas Calientes and take the first bus up to the ruins in the morning, which will also let you in before the average 1500 visitors start arriving on trains. If you plan to take the train in or out of Aguas Calientes, make sure to book these tickets in advance.

 

7. What is the two-day Inca Trail like?

The shorter two-day Inca Trail is for trekkers with limited time on their hands, or who just want to take things a little bit easier. This trail starts at km 104 and ascends to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna before continuing on to Machu Picchu. Since you don't have much time at Machu Picchu on the first day, most people spend the night at the town of Aguas Calientes and return to Machu Picchu again the following day. This trail is subject to Inca Trail regulations, and trek permits must be reserved well in advance.

 

8. How much does it cost, and where do I book?

Prices for the 4 day group service Inca trail trek generally range between US$300 and US$400 per person including entrance fees and return on train (you can almost double these figures if you buy the trek with a tour agency outside Peru even though the service is the same). This price includes the Peruvian sales tax known as IGV which is currently at 19%. A US$30 discount is offered to students who have valid ISIC cards, and to children under 16 years old. This is the standard service offered by most tour operators in Cusco and is the most economic way of hiking the Inca Trail as part of an organized group.

Although services can vary from operator to operator, generally speaking, the following services are included: Bus to the start of the trek, bilingual guide, assistant guide for groups of 9 or more, entrance fees (US$60 adult or US$30 student), tent, sleeping mattress, meals, porters (to carry the tents, food, and cooking equipment only) and a return ticket to Cusco on the Backpackers Train service (typically costing US$46). The following items are not usually included: Breakfast on day 1, snacks along the trail, tourist bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes (US$6), meals on the final day after breakfast.

A private trek is a more comfortable option, but will cost more as well. Additional items such as porters to carry your personal items are usually included in this service. Typical costs (per person) provided by a medium range tour operator are: 1 person: US$1000, 2 persons: US$650, 3 persons: US$550, 4 persons: US$450, 5 persons: US$400, 6-9 persons: US$350, 10-12 persons: US$325, 13-16 persons: US$300

These costs include entrance fees and return on the basic backpackers train from Aguas Calientes to Cusco.

Prices can vary considerably from company to company, depending on the quality of the service and what is included, and the sky is truly the limit in terms of the range of experiences possible.

 

9. What is the cost of an extra porter, and how much should you tip?

As mentioned above, porters trekking with your group are there to carry larger supplies, but it's up to you to carry your personal items. If you're looking to get assistance with those too, an additional porter can be hired separately for between US$60 and US$80 for the entire 4 day trek.

Generally speaking, if the entire group is pleased with the service, then try to ensure that each porter takes home an extra US$6. You'll also want to consider tipping the cook US$10, the guide US$20, and the assistant guide about US$15. A typical group of 14 persons with 12 porters (12 x 6 = $72), 1 cook ($10), 1 guide ($25) and 1 assistant $15) would receive a total of $122, which works out at a tip of about $9 per person.

Remember, the above figures are just a guideline. If the food that the cook served up was inedible, and you couldn't understand what the guide was talking about, then don't feel obligated to tip them. They'll soon get the message. and hopefully improve their services. Don't, however, take your dissatisfaction out on the porters who were probably working hard throughout the entire trek.

 

10. What is the weather on the trek, and how should I pack?

Make sure to give this article a read: Before You Go: Things To Know About Cusco And Machu Picchu Weather

 

11. Just how tough is it? How fit do you have to be?

You should be in decent shape, though what that means is hard to define. It is a common misconception that because many people do the Inca Trail then it must be easy ... it depends what you consider 'easy'. The trail is 45km (26 miles) long and involves great physical exertion to complete. On the second day, you'll climb nearly 1200m (about 4000 ft) in the morning. Combined with high altitude (lack of oxygen) and extreme weather (you can easily burn in the high altitude sun during the day and temperatures can drop to below freezing at night) the trek can be hard work. However, all this will make the final arrival at Machu Picchu all the more enjoyable.

 

12. What about altitude sickness?

You definitely need to acclimate before heading out on your trek, and there are a few things that can help you to handle better the altitude. For example, chewing coca leaves and "mate de coca" tea is an easy, age-old approach to tackling altitude sickness. Another great recommendation is to rest when you just arrive in Cusco, and stick to a strict no smoking, no drinking mantra for a few hours. (This article has a few additional tips: Hacks And Tips About Machu Picchu.)

 

13. How many people are in the groups?

The maximum allowed group size is 16 persons. Normally, the group tours are between 12 and 16 persons.

 

14. What does the trail look like in the peak season?

It could get a little bit crowded, but with the regulations in place, there is enough space for everyone.

 

15. Are there toilets on the trail?

Toilets have improved a lot in the last couple of years and all of the larger campsites have toilet blocks with flush toilets and running water. On the whole, they are kept pretty clean. If you do need to go to the toilet between campsites, the do so well away from the trail and water supplies; dig a hole, cover anything you leave behind with a rock, and take the paper with you in a bag to deposit it in one of the several bins along the way. There are hot shower facilities are Wiñay Wayna on day 3, although they usually go may uses between cleanings.

 

16. Last minute question: they spelled my name incorrectly on my Machu Picchu ticket, does this matter?

Name misspelling, wrong date, these minor detail actually won't cause you any trouble upon entering. Because Machu Picchu has no limit of visitors per day, you can visit this awesome place at any time if you have a ticket. It can be challenging for Spanish speakers to get the spelling of your name right, so they're forgiving of issues like this, as long as the passport number is accurate. Double check this bit of data before leaving wherever you purchase your ticket from, and make sure to rectify any errors as soon as you spot them!

 

 

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¡Our First Video!

Here are bits and pieces of just a few of our journeys through Peru, Brazil, Thailand, Vietnam, Bolivia and Cambodia to give you a preview of everything else that's to come!

TBP Team

(Featuring: Ica, Huacachina, Marcahuasi, Peru; Foz do Iguacu, Angra dos Reis, Brazil; Koh Phangan, Thailand; SaPa, Vietnam; Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia; Angkor Wat, Cambodia)

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1-9sokmnYE