We spent a few days in Cusco before and after our Inca trail trek to Machu Picchu. I can’t say we got to really know it, but at least we got a little flavor of this cute little town in the Andes. The first night there, despite a bit of altitude sickness (Cusco sits at 11,200 feet), we went to Plaza las Armas to try some local food.

We walked along narrow cobblestone streets,stopping at many of the art galleries and artisan shops. There were also many food options. After much deliberation we decided to stop at a restaurant where a group of locals were eating. As we predicted, the food was very good and we were surprised by a trio of musicians playing typical Andes songs. It reminded us of the banda musicians at some Mexican restaurants and, although I hate to admit it, the Andes music was much more pleasurable while eating dinner. Anyway, it was a great first impression!

The following day we explored the main plazas and also met our guide, Freddy, for our trek debriefing. That night we tried some local beer: Cusquena, and had a hamburger (we couldn’t resist) at a trendy bar called “Mama Africa”.

After 4 days on the Inca Trail we came back to Cusco exhausted, but couldn’t leave with out trying “Cuy”, better known as Guinea Pig. We made arrangements with Freddy and as planned he took us to a restaurant to try the exotic dish. Cuy is a delicacy that people typically eat on their birthdays or special occasions. After the presentation our server cut it into four pieces and we dug in… it was tasty! Guinea pig is a greasy, soft, gamey meat similar to dark turkey meat. Adam had a good time mimicking the locals by trying the paws, ears, and several other parts I couldn’t stomach. This scene culminated in Adam, Freddy, and the server bowed over the remains as they searched for the brain that is very small and tough to find. Gross! For all those vegetarians and animal lovers: don’t worry, we saw a few guinea pigs along the way and they are well treated before eaten.

Related posts:

At the Equator
Inka Trail to Machu Picchu
A weekend in Uruguay
Salta Road Trip - Day Two

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Comments To This Entry.
  1. ailsapm December 18, 2011 Reply

    Lovely photo of Cusco. Congrats on completing the Inca Trail!

  2. danielfee December 18, 2011 Reply

    It looks like you guys had a great time. I did this same trip at the end of October. I ate at the Inka Grill on Plaza de Armas and the food was excellent. I couldn’t tell from the photos if that is where you ate. And of course I tried the same beer. Who did you go with on your hike? My trek was with Mountain Lodges of Peru (MLP). We actually did five and a half days of hiking. The first half day and full day hikes were warm ups before started on the four days to Machu Picchu. That first day on the way to Machu Picchu was a killer going up and over the 15,253 pass. Plus it was about 8 hours of hiking. The nice thing about MLP is they have built really nice lodges along the trails and we had a route chef with us to prepare meals. At one of the lodges the chef prepared a traditional meal cooked the old fashion way of digging a fire pit and heating rocks then using them to cook the food. Of course Guinea Pig was included. It was OK and I agree with your desciption. I hope you enjoyed your trip as much as I did mine.

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