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Cusco, a beautiful city in the southeastern part of Peru, is a haven for food lovers. Thus, it’s not hard to find a Cusco restaurant that serves the finest Peruvian and International delicacies. Most travelers to Peru would head to Cusco as a starting point for their trek to the Machu Picchu. A lot of times, they would spend at least a few days in the city in order to acclimatize before they head on to their trek. If you’re staying in Cusco for a few days and wondering where to savor some of the most delicious Peruvian dishes, check out this list of the best restaurants in Cusco.

Pachapapa

This rustic restaurant is located in San Blas and specializes in traditional Andean cuisine. If you’re adventurous enough, go ahead and try the local specialty of Andean guinea pig. The marinated alpaca skewers and oven-friend trout are also among the most popular dishes on their menu.

Aside from serving mouthwatering traditional foods, Pachapapa is also among those Cusco restaurants that have a beautiful outdoor setting. Surrounded with whitewashed columns and several potted plants, you’ll be sitting at wooded banquettes while dining at the restaurant’s open courtyard. A heater and an enormous clay oven warm the place and you can smell the tempting scent of pizzas permeating the area while you enjoy your meal.

Pachapapa Restaurant located in San Blas, Cuzco, Peru.

Incanto 

This Cusco restaurant is known for serving a combination of Italian and Peruvian dishes. Set in a former Inca palace, the restaurant’s most popular dishes are crab risotto and squid-ink tagliatelle. They are also known for serving sorbets, which represents the restaurant’s Italian fare. The delicious frozen dessert is available in a wide variety of flavors.

Incanto restaurant Cusco is known for its cozy dining ambiance. The contemporary designed restaurant enjoys a sophisticated, yet welcoming and homey atmosphere. Diners can be seen enjoying the restaurant’s delicious fare while the tempting smell of homemade pizzas cooked in a massive clay oven dominates the place.

Incanto Restaurant in Cuzco, Peru.

MAP Café Cusco

This is one of the most elegant places to eat in Cusco. The cafe is located inside a Pre-Columbian art museum, which makes your dining experience even more interesting. Serving delicious gourmet Peruvian fusion dishes, one of the cafe’s most famous specialties is the farm fresh salad with organic lettuce served with cornflakes, garlic chips, black olive crumble, and vinaigrette. The ingredients are sourced from their own farm located in the nearby Sacred Valley.

If you’re looking for classy fine dining Cusco Peru restaurants, this place should be on your list. Dominating the museum’s cobbled courtyard, the cafe is set in a light-filled, glass-enclosed conservatory where black-suited waiters can be seen serving well-heeled diners.

MAP Café Cusco located inside a Pre-Columbian art museum, Cuzco, Peru.

Cicciolina

Located on the second floor of an old colonial building, which is just a few minutes away from the central plaza of Cusco, Cicciolina deserves to be called the best restaurant in Cusco. Serving diners from an open kitchen, the menu consists of a wide variety of Mediterranean dishes that includes squid-ink pasta and pan-fried scallops served along with a glass of fine vintage wine.

Cicciolina is not only a restaurant, for this charming venue also features a simple tapas bar serving the most delectable wine. The place exudes a cozy and homey ambiance, where bundles of garlic and paprika garlands can be seen hanging from the ceiling.

Ciocciolina Restaurant in Cuzco, Peru.

Chicha Restaurant

Chicha’s name was derived from an ancient Incan corn beer. The restaurant serves the best food in Cusco so it’s not surprising why they are often booked and you may need to make an advance reservation to secure a seat. Its popularity may also be due to the fact that an award-winning celebrity chef, Gaston Acurio, is the owner of the restaurant. Aside from this Cusco restaurant, the celebrity chef also owns several other restaurants in Lima and other cities in Peru.

Overlooking the town’s Plaza Regocijo, diners can also enjoy their meal at the balcony with views opening to the plaza. Chef Gastón has put an imaginative twist on the traditional Andean recipes and came up with delectable specialties like trout ceviche, grilled octopus, and the Peruvian specialty dish that consists of flash-fried spicy sirloin strips.

Chicha Restaurant Cusco, Peru.

Limo

Opening up to the picturesque views of Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, Limo is a chic and contemporary Cusco restaurant that doubles as a pisco bar. The restaurant’s decor features a minimalist design with bare floors and a few wooden tables. Yet, it still retains several historical features from the structure’s original colonial architecture.

Limo is a great place to unwind in the evening while sipping a glass of pisco-based cocktails and nibbling on the complimentary potato fries served with a savory homemade dipping sauce. If you want to have a taste of some traditional Peruvian dishes, try the alpaca steak with quinoa or adobo marinated in an Andean corn beer. The restaurant also specializes in Peruvian seafood dishes with an Asian twist, such as the sushi and tiradito, a Peruvian version of the sashimi.

Limo Restaurant in Cuzco City, Peru.

Fallen Angel Cusco

If you want to enjoy a unique Cusco dining experience, head over to the Fallen Angel. Tucked in a corner of a plaza, Fallen Angel is a Cusco restaurant that doubles as an ultra-funky guesthouse featuring outlandish decors of whimsical art and designs. The place is decorated with floating cherubs and flying pigs where diners eat at tables made of thick glasses set on bathtubs where tropical fishes can be seen swimming inside. It truly is a one-of-a-kind Cuzco Peru restaurant, and dining at this restaurant is an experience you should not miss while in Cusco.

Aside from its unique eccentric decors, Fallen Angel is also known for serving the best steaks in the city. Their steaks are cooked in local Peruvian spices and served with delicious garlic salsas.

Fallen Angel Restaurant in Cuzco City, Peru.

Le Soleil Cusco

Whether it’s modern or traditional cuisine that you want, the Le Soleil Cusco restaurant is certainly one of the best places to eat in Cusco. The restaurant’s stylish interiors exude a subtly romantic ambiance. Enjoying a “white tablecloth” dining, diners are served with champagne and wines in sparkling wine glasses.

Aside from the extensive list of wine, the menu of Le Soleil also features several garlic staples such as baked ratatouille and duck à l’orange. If you consider yourself a “shoestring diner”, there’s a single course that you might fancy, but for the more indulgent diners, the seven course-tasting menu would be perfect.

Le Soleil Cusco Restaurant, Cuzco Peru.

Marcelo Batata

This Cusco restaurant’s rooftop terrace opens up to the beautiful views of the city. It is known for its use of traditional ingredients in creating dishes that features Oriental, Mediterranean, and Criollo influences. The restaurant interior’s deep red walls are decorated with black and white photography featuring the local people and the beautiful Peruvian landscape, which is a stark contrast to the black beams and modern seating. 

Some of the best dishes from Marcelo Batata’s menu are the tender Alpaca steak and the chicken served with a thick creamy sauce that’s made with aguaymanto, a Peruvian orange fruit. If you want to learn how to cook these distinctive Peruvian dishes, you can sign-up for a cooking course at the restaurant, headed by the brilliant chef Erick Paz Gallegos.

Marcelo Batata Restaurant, Cuzco, Peru.

Organika

This Cusco restaurant often gets a long queue during lunchtime simply because they are known to serve the most delicious food in Cusco Peru at very reasonable prices. Serving local organic foods, their trout and caper salad is truly the best, which was stacked high with fresh veggies. They also serve refreshing organic drinks such as the mint and zesty lemon juice.

Aside from the fresh salads, Organika also serves local Peruvian dishes such as the trout ceviche and alpaca tenderloin. If you need a budget-friendly Cusco restaurant, Organika would be the best place to visit.

Organika Restaurant in Cuzco, Peru.

The post The 10 Best Restaurants in Cusco – 2018 appeared first on Peru Best Tours.

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Peru has a diverse ecosystem and biodiversity and features a wonderful array of plants and wildlife species. From the lofty Peruvian Andes to the rainforests and rivers of the Amazon, the country really does have it all and for anyone who loves wildlife spotting, Peru presents many opportunities to make some rare sightings. One of the most renowned and iconic of Peru’s wildlife species is the Botos Dolphin, more commonly known as the Pink River Dolphin.

This amazing mammal can be found within the Peruvian Amazon and a trip into the deepest rainforests and rivers to search for the Pink Dolphin Peru is a once in a lifetime opportunity! This article looks at where to see pink dolphins in Peru, and explains a little about their physical traits and relevance in Peruvian folklore – enjoy!

Biological and ecological info about the Pink Dolphins of the Amazon

The Amazon River Dolphin is a species of toothed whale and is the largest species of river dolphin in South America. The Pink dolphin in Peru can be found in the Amazon River basin particularly in locations such as Iquitos, the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, and the Upper Amazon. The following is some basic information about this marvelous species of whale:

Physical traits

As you would imagine, the Peru Pink dolphin has a pink coloration of the skin – this is more prominent in males than females. The maximum length of a Pink Dolphin was recorded as 2.55m and their maximum weight has been recorded as 185kg. This type of Dolphin actually has greater mobility than ocean dolphins due to a difference in vertebra alignment. Generally, newborns have a grey coloration, and it is not until adulthood that their skin turns pink.

Pink Dolphin underwater, Amazon River, Peru.

Behavior and courtship

The Peru River Dolphins generally travel in pairs and rarely as full pods. During particular seasons, the males and females of the species will split off and live in different areas of the river. As with most species of dolphin, the Pink dolphin is curious but less sociable – they will interact with boats and have even been known to rub against boats and play with sticks and oars. During mating and courtship, the male Pink dolphins in Peru carry objects in their mouths as a form of social display.

Pink dolphin with mouth open, Amazon River, Peru.

In Peruvian folklore

The pink dolphin in Peru is regarded with high esteem in folklore – the Boto as it is commonly known with the Peruvian population is said to have supernatural powers. Stories say that drowned spirits actually enter the bodies of pink dolphins and cause them to change into handsome young men. This supernatural element to this beautiful dolphin has helped contribute to their preservation.

Pink dolphins swimming in the Amazon River, Peru.

Where can you experience an encounter with the Pink Dolphins in Peru?

The Pink River Dolphins are actually widespread and can be found in a total of six different South American countries including Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and of course Peru. Generally, populations of Amazon River dolphins are separated by different water boundaries such as waterfalls and shallows. If you are traveling to Peru, there are numerous ways that you can experience the majesty of the Pink Dolphins. The best place of course if the mightiest of Peru Rivers – the Amazon.

Sunset in the Amazon River, Peru.

The Peruvian Amazon is situated in the northeastern part of the country and popular locations to see the pink dolphins of the Amazon include Iquitos and the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve. Iquitos is the most popular location and flight from Lima take approximately 2 hours. There are many internal flights that service Iquitos and this could be a perfect add-on to your Peruvian adventure. The following are three locations where you can see Pink Dolphins in the Amazon:

Amazon Cruise in Iquitos

As mentioned, Iquitos is one of the best locations in the Amazon from which you can see the elusive pink dolphins Peru. Dawn on the Amazon is a tour provider who offers an Amazon Cruise from Iquitos with the chance to see these beautiful dolphins. This company has 6 riverboats in total and you can actually book them for a custom cruise package tailored to your liking. The boats are well furnished and the owner Bill is extremely knowledgeable about Peru and the Amazon.

Pacaya-Samiria Reserve

This fantastic national reserve is the largest protected area in the whole of Peru and spans for some 20,000km squared. Iquitos is often the main city from which to visit the reserve, and you can then travel to Nauta and other towns that lie on the banks of the Maranon and Ucayali Rivers. Within this stunning and biodiverse landscape, you can see a staggering 500+ different bird species, 100+ mammals and a jaw-dropping 1000+ species of wild plants. The pink river dolphin is, of course, one of the main attractions here and Pacaya is undoubtedly one of the best pink dolphin locations.

Delfin Amazon Cruise in the upper Amazon

Another superb cruise company who specialize in Peru Amazon cruises is Delfin.  Delfin offers luxury cruise travel in the Upper Amazon and gives you the chance to see pink dolphins in style. Cruises range from 4 day/3 night up to 5 day/4 night. The boats themselves are absolutely stunning and the deluxe master suite rooms even include a jacuzzi!  For the ultimate Peruvian Amazon experience, this is the cruise company for you and a superb way to see the Botos.

As you can see there are numerous different ways that you can spot the pink river dolphin in Peru. We admit that traveling to the Peruvian Amazon is a little out of the way, but flights can be booked from Lima, and there is an abundance of tours and river cruises available that will allow you to hopefully see these wonderful mammals. Can you imagine sailing on the murky waters of the Peruvian Amazon and seeing a dash of pink flash by in the water next to you? Then in the distance, you see the tell-tale melon of the pink dolphin as it emerges from the water – your first sighting!

Delfin III Amazon River Cruise navigating, Peru.

If you get the chance to see the Peru Pink Dolphins, you can count yourself as truly lucky – there are not many people in the world who can have such an encounter with these beautiful and playful creatures! 

The post Meet the amazing Pink Dolphins of the Peruvian Amazon appeared first on Peru Best Tours.

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Everyone is aware of the Peruvian rainforest’s rich biodiversity, but what some people didn’t realize is that there are a number of rare Peruvian plants that are known for their powerful medicinal properties. These native plants in Peru have long been used since the ancient civilizations in curing a number of illnesses. From infertility, anxiety, cancer, and even AIDS, these medicinal plants are capable of treating all sorts of human illnesses. To give you an idea, here’s a list of the most amazing medicinal plants of Peru.

Achiote

 Achiote is a shrub that grows in the Peruvian Amazon and has been cultivated since the pre-Columbian era. Its powder and seeds are good for digestion and have long been used as a treatment for asthma and malaria. The fruits and seeds of this Peruvian plant are often made into a tea infusion and consumed to treat headaches. Furthermore, the Achiote leaves contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and can help to prevent prostatitis, a condition that leads to prostate cancer if left untreated. In some instances, the leaves are crushed to cure respiratory illnesses, fever, throat infections, skin infections, diarrhea, dermatitis, and conjunctivitis.

The Achiote plant, Peruvian Amazon.

Ajo Sacha

Ajo Sacha is another shrub that’s native to the Peruvian rainforests and is known for its medicinal properties. The name of this Peru plant means “false garlic” since it smells and tastes like garlic.  It’s especially abundant in the Ucayali Rivers and Madre de Dios of the Amazon. The Ajo Sacha is used for treating all kinds of pain and inflammation. It’s a muscle relaxant and effective in treating fever, flu, colds, and viruses. The shrub is also among those Peru healing plants that are known as magical plants because it is said to be capable of driving evil spirits away!

 Coca Plant

 The Coca is one of those plants in Peru that plays an important part in the religion of the Inca culture. In fact, it is still widely used today by the Andean people when performing religious rituals. Aside from the Coca plant’s religious uses, it also contains lots of healing benefits. The plant has 14 alkaloids that have been shown to improve cognitive function, curb hunger, suppress thirst, improve digestion, and enhance one’s energy and endurance. Furthermore, this Peruvian medicine plant helps in blood oxidization, which aids in breathing during high altitudes and constricts the blood vessels in order to slow down bleeding. The Coca plant is also a good source of calcium, which strengthens the teeth and bones.

Coca plant, the peruvian medicine plant.

Cordoncillo

Cordoncillo is a type of perennial plant that’s usually herbaceous and sometimes woody. It can grow up to 1.5 meters high and it usually grows in the wet or moist areas of the Amazon forest. The Cordoncillo is among those Peru herbs that have long been used by native cultures in treating various illnesses. This herb is also used as an anesthetic to treat those who are ill or those who have suffered from injuries. When the leaves are chewed, your mouth will eventually go numb. Thus, rubbing the leaves on your wound will have the same effect.

Lapacho

Lapacho is an evergreen shrub that produces rose-colored flowers. There are more than a hundred species of Lapacho trees available and it requires an extremely skilled gatherer to be able to identify the differences among them. Native to Peru and other South American countries, this Peruvian medicine plant is known for its various health benefits. In fact, this incredible plant is said to contain anti-cancer properties. In case you didn’t know, 70% of plants containing anticancer properties can only be found in the Amazon, and the Lapacho is one of them. Currently, it’s used as a treatment for cancer and in alleviating pain resulting from chemotherapy.

Lapacho plant located in the Peruvian Amazon.

 Maca

 Maca is a type of root that’s also known as a Peruvian Ginseng. Although this Peruvian herbal medicine plant does not belong in the ginseng family, it has similar medicinal benefits as that of the ginseng. It is commonly found in the high altitude areas of the Andes and has long been cultivated by the Andean people for medicinal uses. The Maca root has invigorating and energizing effects and is effective in treating fatigue. It’s also used for treating symptoms associated with anemia and depression. Furthermore, this is one of those Peru medicinal plants that have aphrodisiac qualities and helps boost libido in both men and women. And just like ginseng, Maca is also known to improve cognitive function and memory.

Muna Plant

Muna grows in the regions of Puno, Ayacucho, and Cusco. This Cusco plant is known for having a pleasant flavor and is commonly being compared to mint. The Muna herb can be easily found in the Andes, where it’s being made into an herbal tea due to its various medicinal properties. It’s rich in phosphorous and calcium, and thus, it can help to strengthen your bones and teeth. Furthermore, drinking the Muna tea is good for digestion and can also treat stomach pains, inflammation, and intestinal infections.

 Sacha Inchi

Sacha Inchi is one of the most popular medicinal plants of Peru. Its seeds are eaten raw just like nuts. As a matter of fact, the name “Sacha Inchi” means mountain peanut. Sometimes, this Peruvian herb is made into extra virgin oil. The Sacha Inchi contains high level of the Omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9 fatty acids, more than the amount found in fish oil. It’s also rich in amino acids, as well as Vitamins A and E. Because of its high amount of nutrients, the health benefits of this Peru medicine plant are numerous. Among these are managing blood pressure, alleviation of cardiovascular problems, prevention of cancer, and reduction of bad cholesterol level.

Sacha Inchi medicinal plant, Peru.


Sangre de Grado

The Sangre de Grado is a Peruvian herbal medicine plant that grows in Peru’s Amazon region. It’s famously known for its English name, “Dragon’s Blood”, because of its dark red liquid sap. The sap is used for treating wounds. When applied in the wounded area of the skin, it forms a barrier that will act like a second skin. Sangre de Grado is also used in treating bleeding gums, stomach ulcers, insect bites, bone fractures, and various skin conditions. It’s often taken internally to treat diarrhea. The earliest recorded use of the Sangre de Grado was in 1600, although experts believe that indigenous Amazonian people have long been using these Peruvian herbs medicinal plant for centuries prior to1600.

 Uña de Gato

The Uña de Gato are climbing herbs from Peru known for their high level of alkaloids. This plant is often being confused with the U.tomentosa, but these two plants have different medicinal uses. Uña de Gato has long been used as a treatment for arthritic conditions and is effective at reducing pain and inflammation. It is also used as an immune stimulant and can help to treat exhaustion as a result of stress. Currently, the herb is being studied for the treatment of serious illnesses, including AIDS and cancer.

The Amazon Rainforest is said to produce more than 20% of the overall oxygen in the world. It also produces 20% of the world’s fresh water, which explains why it is rich in plant species. The list above is only 10 of the more than 100,000 species of amazing medicinal plants in the Peruvian rainforest. A lot of these species remain undiscovered. This is why it’s important for people to be aware of the significance of preserving the rainforest’s biodiversity. It’s crucial for human life as it holds the key to the discovery of medicines that can help to treat a number of incurable diseases.

The post The incredible benefits of the Medicinal Plants in Peru appeared first on Peru Best Tours.

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Think of penguins and the first thing which comes to mind is probably a colony of black and white birds huddled together during a blizzard in a snow-covered Arctic landscape. It’s a common misconception. While Emperor penguins do reside in the freezing realms of the Antarctic, as anyone who’s been entranced by Disney’s Happy Feet will know, most other species prefer the southern hemispheres as their natural habitat.

Think of South America and rather than penguins, the first image which pops into your head will probably be one of humid, steaming jungles or feather and sequin clad girls in bikinis dancing a samba at carnival time. Are there penguins in South America? You might be surprised to discover that, yes, there are penguins in South America and quite a lot of them too. In fact, from the less than twenty species of penguin in existence, seven of them live and breed in various countries throughout the South American continent. That alone doesn’t make them South American penguins as the same species also inhabit such diverse locations as Australia, New Zealand and China.

Where can penguins be found in South America?

Contrary to popular belief, penguins much prefer to live on rocky islets or by a gently sloping shoreline with easy access to the sea rather than in below zero temperatures. Large penguin colonies can be found in four of the major South American countries, Chile, Argentina, Peru and Ecuador. Not many of the colony sites are accessible to visitors because of their remoteness or for conservation reasons, but there are a few places which are reachable and where it’s permitted to get up close to the South American penguins.

Penguins in Argentina

The most common species of South American penguin is the Magellanic penguin. Their squat physique combined with their distinct markings also makes them one of the cutest. While they have breeding grounds distributed throughout the Patagonian region, the natural area shared by Argentina and Chile, one of the best locations to see penguins actually in Argentina is at the Punta Tombo Provincial Reserve.

Magellanic penguins, Punta Tombo Provincial Reserve, Argentina.

Punta Tombo is a rocky peninsula which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean from the central eastern coast of Argentina. A national reserve since the late nineteen seventies, it is home to the largest colony of penguins not only in Argentina, but in the whole of South America. The reserve is reachable by road. It’s around a two and a half hour drive from Puerto Madryn or from Trelew. Expect to pay an entrance fee of approximately $20, but it is all in a good cause as the fee goes towards helping with the maintenance and vigilance of the environment. There are strict rules about sticking to the marked pathways which run through the reserve and it’s not permitted to approach the penguins, but that doesn’t detract in any way from the sight of so many penguins all together. They are just amazing.

The Magellanic penguin, Punta Tombo Provincial Reserve, Argentina.

Penguins in Chile

Chile hosts several species of penguin, including colonies of Magellanic, Macaroni and the Humboldt, but they mostly reside way off shore on tiny islands which are just too difficult to visit for even the most adventurous of travellers. But there is one special place in Chile which combines penguins with some of the most stunning picturesque scenery in the world. That place is Chiloe Island and it’s one of the best places to see penguins in Chile.

The Macaroni Penguin, Chiloe Island, Chile.

Chiloe Island, the largest in the Pacific archipelago, lays just half an hour away from the Chilean coast by ferry. Its stunning mountainous interior is clad with pine forests, its shoreline rimmed with swathes of beautiful beaches and colorful wooden houses. Chiloe Island’s natural ruggedness draws many visitors to the island, but it’s the rocky coves of Puñihuil on the north west of the island which attracts the penguins.

The Puñihuil Penguin Colony is the only place you are able to see Humboldt penguins, which are in danger of extinction, nesting alongside the Magellanic species. While Puñihuil beach itself is easy enough to get to, you’ll need to take a zodiac boat out to see the penguins. Take a good pair of binoculars if you want to see them close up as it’s not possible to go ashore.

Humboldt Penguin, Puñihuil Beach, Chile.

Penguins in Peru

Penguins may not rate as highly as Machu Picchu on Peru’s list of top attractions, but there are some great places to see penguins in Peru. Some are visitable and some are not. One site which is the most important conservation area for Humboldt penguins in Peru, the Punto San Juan Reserve, has reserved it’s schedule of guided tours for residents of the local area only. Disappointing for avid penguin fans, but their essential work which includes involving the local community in the conservation of the area, will hopefully help take the Humboldt penguin of the threatened species list.

There are still a couple of other amazing places to see penguins in Peru, but you will need to board a boat to do it. The Ballestas Islands are a group of rocky islets situated off the coast of Peru near the town of Paracas in the south. The penguin populations there can be so dense it’s impossible to see the rocks for bodies. There’s still room though for other species to cohabit alongside them and as you sail around you’ll see sea-lions as well as other marine birds like cormorants.

Humboldt penguins, Ballestas Islands, Paracas, Peru.

The closest place Peru’s capital, Lima, to see penguins is on the Pachacamac Islands. Visible from the coastline near the town of Lurin, it takes around an hour to get to the islands by boat. You might need to charter your own or use your best persuasion techniques on one of the local fisherman, but it’ll be worth it.

Penguins in Ecuador

To get to see penguins in Ecuador, you’re going to need to be prepared to travel to the isolated archipelago known as the Galapagos Islands. Yes, it is a bit of a trek as the islands are over six hundred miles from the coast of Ecuador, but they’re a natural haven for penguins as well as a plethora of other exciting wildlife and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You’d be right in thinking getting there is not a task for the faint hearted penguin spotter, but it is the only place to go to see the Galapagos penguin which is endemic to the islands. Only two of the islands have airports, Baltra and San Cristobal, which you can fly into from Ecuador. After you’ve landed you’ll need to take the public ferries to either of the islands Fernandina or Isabela where the colonies are.

Penguins in Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.

Walk the peninsula Punta Espinosa, on the island of Fernandina, which has been marked as a visitor site and you’ll see not just Galapagos penguins, but sea lions and land iguanas too. If you really want to get up close, get in the water at Concha de Perla bay on the island of Isabella and snorkel as the penguins and sea lions going about the business of catching their dinner. Penguin spotting really doesn’t get any better than that.

The post Best locations to see penguins in South America appeared first on Peru Best Tours.

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For most travelers, simply seeing the jaw-dropping site of Machu Picchu is a once in a lifetime event in itself. What makes this experience even more enjoyable however is the mysterious Machu Picchu face or Inca face, symbols and rock structures that can be found in the ruins of the city.

Machu Picchu is actually packed full of hidden symbols such as the Machu Picchu silhouette, The sacred rock of Machu Picchu, and the Temple of the Condor. These hidden mysteries give us insight into the Inca beliefs and life and also help answer the question – What did Machu Picchu originally look like? The following article delves into this and provides great insight into this subject – enjoy!

Mirroring the landscape – mountain shaped rocks

As you will undoubtedly know, Machu Picchu is surrounded by a ring of immense mountains. These mountains are truly magnificent and to gaze upon them with your own eyes is just as impressive and meaningful as seeing the ancient city itself. When traveling along the Inca Trail you are transported to another world where nature reigns supreme. The Incas shared this love of nature and therefore carved various different parts of Machu Picchu to mirror its surroundings.

The Sacred Rock

This is the most famous and iconic of the Machu Picchu mountain rock carvings and has been preserved in a fantastic condition. Stretching for 25ft, this rock is a must-see and has its own pedestal. At first glimpse, you may think this is a normal rock; on closer inspection of the outline, however, you can clearly see that this rock has been carved to resemble the peaks of the Yanantin Mountain and its surrounding counterparts.

The sacred rock, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru.

Mountain Houses

In a similar fashion to the sacred rock, many of the residential homes of Machu Picchu have also been modeled after the surrounding mountain landscape. It is clear that the Incas revered their surroundings and wanted to display their appreciation of these monumental mountains they called home. If you wander into the residential area, you will notice that many of the houses have triangularly shaped tops – if you look behind these buildings, you will see mountains that mirror those triangular shapes perfectly.

Mountain houses in Machu Picchu citadel, Cuzco, Peru.

Homage to nature – The Llama in the wall & Temple of the Condor

The Inca civilization had various animals that they revered and they actually only kept llamas, alpacas and guinea pigs domesticated. It is not surprising therefore that Machu Picchu has various animal symbols hidden in its structures. There are two standout symbols:

The Llama in the wall

Llamas are one of the hardiest and unique animals that live in the Andes Mountain Range. The Incas domesticated these animals and used them for various different functions and they still live in and around Machu Picchu. The Llama in the Wall is the most famous hidden animal symbol and is another must-see when visiting this iconic location. As with many of the other symbols within the Machu Picchu walls, at first glance, it may look like a simple wall section. However, if you study the outline, you can clearly see the body, long neck, head and ears of a llama – the shape is unmistakable.

The llama in the Wall, one of the most famous hidden animal symbol in Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru.

Machu Picchu Temple of the Condor

The Condor is a bird that can be found across Peru, Chile, and Argentina. One of the most fantastic symbols within Machu Picchu is actually that of a Condor in flight. At first glimpse, you can see the outline and beak of a Condor on the floor – it appears as if the bird has no wings, however. If you tilt your head 90 degrees and look up from the floor you may be surprised – the wings have been carved from two immense rocks and clearly show the bird in full flight.

Temple of the Condor, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru.

Human depiction – The sleeping woman

Throughout Machu Picchu, it is clear that the designers and inhabitants wanted to leave behind symbolism and show pay homage to the human form. One of the best known hidden symbols of the city is undoubtedly the fabled sleeping woman. If you look at this carved rock formation you may simply think it is worn away and eroded – but if you catch it at the right angle, you will be amazed! The clear outline of a woman’s bosom, leading up to her head including her nose and eyes is visible.

Furthermore, scientists have actually taken samples of the rock and found traces of gold. This points towards the sleeping woman being entirely covered in the precious metal. Can you imagine what this original statue may have looked like? A beautiful sleeping woman glinting in the sun – her eyes turned towards the heavens?

The sleeping woman rock, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru.

Life and death – The face of life and death & The fetal man

The Incas believed in an afterlife and considered the cycle of life and death to be hugely important. Furthermore, their funeral procedures and rituals were considered sacred and carried out with the greatest of respect and care. To that end, you can find a myriad of symbols and statues the revere this cycle within Machu Picchu.

The faces of life and death

There is a large rock on the outer parts of the ancient city that is revered by the locals. Some people climb over this rock; unaware of its significance. If you look at the rock however from beneath you will understand why it is so important. From one side of the rock, it looks like a happy, smiling face – a face of life and vitality. However, if you look at the other side, the face appears to be sad and almost as if it is embracing death.

The fetal man

Traditional Inca burials involved moving the deceased into a fetal position. This positioning was used to represent the belief of a second coming i.e. a re-birth into a new-born baby. There is a rock that clearly shows a man in this scared position and is obviously used to represent the cycle of life and death.

As you can see, if you delve a little deeper below the surface of the Machu Picchu rocks you can see a whole different story. This magnificent retreat high up in the Andean mountains is packed full of hidden surprises and symbolism – the Machu Picchu mysteries are often what draws people to this hidden location. If you are planning an adventure across the Inca Trail to see this wonder of the ancient world be sure to look out for the symbols and try to imagine what Machu Picchu looked like during its days of glory.         

The post The mysterious face and symbols of Machu Picchu appeared first on Peru Best Tours.

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If you are planning to travel to Peru, then we are sure that you will find this page to be very helpful. We have put together the most relevant information about the Lima airport to ensure you have the best experience possible.

Lima Airport general information

Jorge Chávez International Airport is the main one in Peru. Since 2001 it has been managed by the company Lima Airport Partners. Although it might be considered small compared to international airports in America and Europe (it has only one terminal), it is still one of the most modern, well organized and awarded of the region. “Best South American Airport Staff 2013” and “Best Airport in South America 2014” by Skytrax World Airports Awards and “South American Leading Airport 2013” by the World Travel Awards just to name a few. In 2001 it was privatized and given to Lima Airport Partnersand is now managed by Lima Airport Partners (LAP).

View of the main entrance of Lima International Airport, Callao, Lima, Peru.

Where is Lima International airport?

It is located in the district of Callao, 7 miles (11 km) from the center of Lima and about 14 miles (22 km) from the most important districts. Because of the traffic in the city, it might take an average of 50 minutes by car from your hotel in Miraflores, San Isidro or Barranco.

Lima Airport arrivals

During your flight you will be given two forms to fill out.

  1. “Andean Migration Card” (TAM): Fill out your personal data and after disembarking hand it together with your passport to the immigration checkpoint. Peru does not require a visa for most countries, although there are a handful of exceptions and it is better if you double check at your local consulate. The upper part of the TAM card stays with immigrations; the slip will be handed back to you. Make sure to keep it in a very safe place as you will need it to leave the country. If you lose your TAM card, you can go to the Peru’s Immigration Office to get a duplicate or you can also pay a fee for the loss of it when you are leaving Peru.
  1. Baggage Declaration Form: You will receive one form per family. After picking up your luggage, you should head towards customs. You will see one line forming right in front of the only exit gate to the arrival area. Upon handing over your customs form you will be asked to press a button that randomly turns red or green. Green indicates you are good to go. Red indicates you will be sent to secondary inspection.

The whole procedure, from landing until leaving the airport should take between 40 to 120 minutes depending on how busy the airport is when you arrive.

View of the check-in area at the airport, Lima, Peru.

Where can I exchange money?

It is always recommendable to exchange or withdraw some money upon arrival for your first days in Lima. Money exchange service is available 24/7 for the following currencies:  American Dollar, Peruvian Sol, Sterling Pounds, Euro, Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, among others. However, exchange rates are often a bit better in Miraflores area.

Getting from Lima airport to Miraflores

If this will be your first time in Peru we highly recommend arranging a transfer in advance. This way, your driver will be waiting for you holding a sign with your name on it. If you do not have a pick-up arranged you will find a few private transportation options. However, official taxis are recommended, since taxis outside the airport are informal and not the safest option. Within the arrival area you the different taxi companies available.

View of the luggage pick-up area at the airport, Callao, Lima, Peru.

Leaving the country

Once you have passed through customs, you will move onto the arrival area. This is probably the most confusing part of the entire process of leaving the airport. Depending on the time of the day, you are likely to find hundreds of people waiting for their relatives and friends as well as a good number of taxi drivers and travel agency representatives doing the same with their passengers.

  1. Check-in. Approach the check-in desks in the center of the first floor right after entering the terminal. For international flights make sure to be there 3 hours in advance. If you are taking a domestic flight, be there 2 hours in advance.
  1. Security control & Customs. After your check-in you can proceed to the second level where you can find the public shopping area and food court. This area is free to anyone. Behind the food court, you will arrive to the security control for both international and domestic flights. Make sure you allow up to 30 minutes to pass through security as it can get busy. Once you make it through customs, check the screens for your flight find your gate and wait within that area.

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Think of penguins and the first thing which comes to mind is probably a colony of black and white birds huddled together during a blizzard in a snow-covered Arctic landscape. It’s a common misconception. While Emperor penguins do reside in the freezing realms of the Antarctic, as anyone who’s been entranced by Disney’s Happy Feet will know, most other species prefer the southern hemispheres as their natural habitat.

Think of South America and rather than penguins, the first image which pops into your head will probably be one of humid, steaming jungles or feather and sequin clad girls in bikinis dancing a samba at carnival time. Are there penguins in South America? You might be surprised to discover that, yes, there are penguins in South America and quite a lot of them too. In fact, from the less than twenty species of penguin in existence, seven of them live and breed in various countries throughout the South American continent. That alone doesn’t make them South American penguins as the same species also inhabit such diverse locations as Australia, New Zealand and China.

Where can penguins be found in South America?

Contrary to popular belief, penguins much prefer to live on rocky islets or by a gently sloping shoreline with easy access to the sea rather than in below zero temperatures. Large penguin colonies can be found in four of the major South American countries, Chile, Argentina, Peru and Ecuador. Not many of the colony sites are accessible to visitors because of their remoteness or for conservation reasons, but there are a few places which are reachable and where it’s permitted to get up close to the South American penguins.

Penguins in Argentina

The most common species of South American penguin is the Magellanic penguin. Their squat physique combined with their distinct markings also makes them one of the cutest. While they have breeding grounds distributed throughout the Patagonian region, the natural area shared by Argentina and Chile, one of the best locations to see penguins actually in Argentina is at the Punta Tombo Provincial Reserve.

Magellanic penguins, Punta Tombo Provincial Reserve, Argentina.

Punta Tombo is a rocky peninsula which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean from the central eastern coast of Argentina. A national reserve since the late nineteen seventies, it is home to the largest colony of penguins not only in Argentina, but in the whole of South America. The reserve is reachable by road. It’s around a two and a half hour drive from Puerto Madryn or from Trelew. Expect to pay an entrance fee of approximately $20, but it is all in a good cause as the fee goes towards helping with the maintenance and vigilance of the environment. There are strict rules about sticking to the marked pathways which run through the reserve and it’s not permitted to approach the penguins, but that doesn’t detract in any way from the sight of so many penguins all together. They are just amazing.

The Magellanic penguin, Punta Tombo Provincial Reserve, Argentina.

Penguins in Chile

Chile hosts several species of penguin, including colonies of Magellanic, Macaroni and the Humboldt, but they mostly reside way off shore on tiny islands which are just too difficult to visit for even the most adventurous of travellers. But there is one special place in Chile which combines penguins with some of the most stunning picturesque scenery in the world. That place is Chiloe Island and it’s one of the best places to see penguins in Chile.

The Macaroni Penguin, Chiloe Island, Chile.

Chiloe Island, the largest in the Pacific archipelago, lays just half an hour away from the Chilean coast by ferry. Its stunning mountainous interior is clad with pine forests, its shoreline rimmed with swathes of beautiful beaches and colorful wooden houses. Chiloe Island’s natural ruggedness draws many visitors to the island, but it’s the rocky coves of Puñihuil on the north west of the island which attracts the penguins.

The Puñihuil Penguin Colony is the only place you are able to see Humboldt penguins, which are in danger of extinction, nesting alongside the Magellanic species. While Puñihuil beach itself is easy enough to get to, you’ll need to take a zodiac boat out to see the penguins. Take a good pair of binoculars if you want to see them close up as it’s not possible to go ashore.

Humboldt Penguin, Puñihuil Beach, Chile.

Penguins in Peru

Penguins may not rate as highly as Machu Picchu on Peru’s list of top attractions, but there are some great places to see penguins in Peru. Some are visitable and some are not. One site which is the most important conservation area for Humboldt penguins in Peru, the Punto San Juan Reserve, has reserved it’s schedule of guided tours for residents of the local area only. Disappointing for avid penguin fans, but their essential work which includes involving the local community in the conservation of the area, will hopefully help take the Humboldt penguin of the threatened species list.

There are still a couple of other amazing places to see penguins in Peru, but you will need to board a boat to do it. The Ballestas Islands are a group of rocky islets situated off the coast of Peru near the town of Paracas in the south. The penguin populations there can be so dense it’s impossible to see the rocks for bodies. There’s still room though for other species to cohabit alongside them and as you sail around you’ll see sea-lions as well as other marine birds like cormorants.

Humboldt penguins, Ballestas Islands, Paracas, Peru.

The closest place Peru’s capital, Lima, to see penguins is on the Pachacamac Islands. Visible from the coastline near the town of Lurin, it takes around an hour to get to the islands by boat. You might need to charter your own or use your best persuasion techniques on one of the local fisherman, but it’ll be worth it.

Penguins in Ecuador

To get to see penguins in Ecuador, you’re going to need to be prepared to travel to the isolated archipelago known as the Galapagos Islands. Yes, it is a bit of a trek as the islands are over six hundred miles from the coast of Ecuador, but they’re a natural haven for penguins as well as a plethora of other exciting wildlife and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You’d be right in thinking getting there is not a task for the faint hearted penguin spotter, but it is the only place to go to see the Galapagos penguin which is endemic to the islands. Only two of the islands have airports, Baltra and San Cristobal, which you can fly into from Ecuador. After you’ve landed you’ll need to take the public ferries to either of the islands Fernandina or Isabela where the colonies are.

Penguins in Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.

Walk the peninsula Punta Espinosa, on the island of Fernandina, which has been marked as a visitor site and you’ll see not just Galapagos penguins, but sea lions and land iguanas too. If you really want to get up close, get in the water at Concha de Perla bay on the island of Isabella and snorkel as the penguins and sea lions going about the business of catching their dinner. Penguin spotting really doesn’t get any better than that.

The post Best locations to see penguins in South America appeared first on Peru Best Tours.

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For most travelers, simply seeing the jaw-dropping site of Machu Picchu is a once in a lifetime event in itself. What makes this experience even more enjoyable however is the mysterious Machu Picchu face or Inca face, symbols and rock structures that can be found in the ruins of the city.

Machu Picchu is actually packed full of hidden symbols such as the Machu Picchu silhouette, The sacred rock of Machu Picchu, and the Temple of the Condor. These hidden mysteries give us insight into the Inca beliefs and life and also help answer the question – What did Machu Picchu originally look like? The following article delves into this and provides great insight into this subject – enjoy!

Mirroring the landscape – mountain shaped rocks

As you will undoubtedly know, Machu Picchu is surrounded by a ring of immense mountains. These mountains are truly magnificent and to gaze upon them with your own eyes is just as impressive and meaningful as seeing the ancient city itself. When traveling along the Inca Trail you are transported to another world where nature reigns supreme. The Incas shared this love of nature and therefore carved various different parts of Machu Picchu to mirror its surroundings.

The Sacred Rock

This is the most famous and iconic of the Machu Picchu mountain rock carvings and has been preserved in a fantastic condition. Stretching for 25ft, this rock is a must-see and has its own pedestal. At first glimpse, you may think this is a normal rock; on closer inspection of the outline, however, you can clearly see that this rock has been carved to resemble the peaks of the Yanantin Mountain and its surrounding counterparts.

The sacred rock, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru.

Mountain Houses

In a similar fashion to the sacred rock, many of the residential homes of Machu Picchu have also been modeled after the surrounding mountain landscape. It is clear that the Incas revered their surroundings and wanted to display their appreciation of these monumental mountains they called home. If you wander into the residential area, you will notice that many of the houses have triangularly shaped tops – if you look behind these buildings, you will see mountains that mirror those triangular shapes perfectly.

Mountain houses in Machu Picchu citadel, Cuzco, Peru.

Homage to nature – The Llama in the wall & Temple of the Condor

The Inca civilization had various animals that they revered and they actually only kept llamas, alpacas and guinea pigs domesticated. It is not surprising therefore that Machu Picchu has various animal symbols hidden in its structures. There are two standout symbols:

The Llama in the wall

Llamas are one of the hardiest and unique animals that live in the Andes Mountain Range. The Incas domesticated these animals and used them for various different functions and they still live in and around Machu Picchu. The Llama in the Wall is the most famous hidden animal symbol and is another must-see when visiting this iconic location. As with many of the other symbols within the Machu Picchu walls, at first glance, it may look like a simple wall section. However, if you study the outline, you can clearly see the body, long neck, head and ears of a llama – the shape is unmistakable.

The llama in the Wall, one of the most famous hidden animal symbol in Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru.

Machu Picchu Temple of the Condor

The Condor is a bird that can be found across Peru, Chile, and Argentina. One of the most fantastic symbols within Machu Picchu is actually that of a Condor in flight. At first glimpse, you can see the outline and beak of a Condor on the floor – it appears as if the bird has no wings, however. If you tilt your head 90 degrees and look up from the floor you may be surprised – the wings have been carved from two immense rocks and clearly show the bird in full flight.

Temple of the Condor, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru.

Human depiction – The sleeping woman

Throughout Machu Picchu, it is clear that the designers and inhabitants wanted to leave behind symbolism and show pay homage to the human form. One of the best known hidden symbols of the city is undoubtedly the fabled sleeping woman. If you look at this carved rock formation you may simply think it is worn away and eroded – but if you catch it at the right angle, you will be amazed! The clear outline of a woman’s bosom, leading up to her head including her nose and eyes is visible.

Furthermore, scientists have actually taken samples of the rock and found traces of gold. This points towards the sleeping woman being entirely covered in the precious metal. Can you imagine what this original statue may have looked like? A beautiful sleeping woman glinting in the sun – her eyes turned towards the heavens?

The sleeping woman rock, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru.

Life and death – The face of life and death & The fetal man

The Incas believed in an afterlife and considered the cycle of life and death to be hugely important. Furthermore, their funeral procedures and rituals were considered sacred and carried out with the greatest of respect and care. To that end, you can find a myriad of symbols and statues the revere this cycle within Machu Picchu.

The faces of life and death

There is a large rock on the outer parts of the ancient city that is revered by the locals. Some people climb over this rock; unaware of its significance. If you look at the rock however from beneath you will understand why it is so important. From one side of the rock, it looks like a happy, smiling face – a face of life and vitality. However, if you look at the other side, the face appears to be sad and almost as if it is embracing death.

The fetal man

Traditional Inca burials involved moving the deceased into a fetal position. This positioning was used to represent the belief of a second coming i.e. a re-birth into a new-born baby. There is a rock that clearly shows a man in this scared position and is obviously used to represent the cycle of life and death.

As you can see, if you delve a little deeper below the surface of the Machu Picchu rocks you can see a whole different story. This magnificent retreat high up in the Andean mountains is packed full of hidden surprises and symbolism – the Machu Picchu mysteries are often what draws people to this hidden location. If you are planning an adventure across the Inca Trail to see this wonder of the ancient world be sure to look out for the symbols and try to imagine what Machu Picchu looked like during its days of glory.         

The post The mysterious face and symbols of Machu Picchu appeared first on Peru Best Tours.

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If you are planning to travel to Peru, then we are sure that you will find this page to be very helpful. We have put together the most relevant information about the Lima airport to ensure you have the best experience possible.

Lima Airport general information

Jorge Chávez International Airport is the main one in Peru. Since 2001 it has been managed by the company Lima Airport Partners. Although it might be considered small compared to international airports in America and Europe (it has only one terminal), it is still one of the most modern, well organized and awarded of the region. “Best South American Airport Staff 2013” and “Best Airport in South America 2014” by Skytrax World Airports Awards and “South American Leading Airport 2013” by the World Travel Awards just to name a few. In 2001 it was privatized and given to Lima Airport Partnersand is now managed by Lima Airport Partners (LAP).

View of the main entrance of Lima International Airport, Callao, Lima, Peru.

Where is Lima International airport?

It is located in the district of Callao, 7 miles (11 km) from the center of Lima and about 14 miles (22 km) from the most important districts. Because of the traffic in the city, it might take an average of 50 minutes by car from your hotel in Miraflores, San Isidro or Barranco.

Lima Airport arrivals

During your flight you will be given two forms to fill out.

  1. “Andean Migration Card” (TAM): Fill out your personal data and after disembarking hand it together with your passport to the immigration checkpoint. Peru does not require a visa for most countries, although there are a handful of exceptions and it is better if you double check at your local consulate. The upper part of the TAM card stays with immigrations; the slip will be handed back to you. Make sure to keep it in a very safe place as you will need it to leave the country. If you lose your TAM card, you can go to the Peru’s Immigration Office to get a duplicate or you can also pay a fee for the loss of it when you are leaving Peru.
  1. Baggage Declaration Form: You will receive one form per family. After picking up your luggage, you should head towards customs. You will see one line forming right in front of the only exit gate to the arrival area. Upon handing over your customs form you will be asked to press a button that randomly turns red or green. Green indicates you are good to go. Red indicates you will be sent to secondary inspection.

The whole procedure, from landing until leaving the airport should take between 40 to 120 minutes depending on how busy the airport is when you arrive.

View of the check-in area at the airport, Lima, Peru.

Where can I exchange money?

It is always recommendable to exchange or withdraw some money upon arrival for your first days in Lima. Money exchange service is available 24/7 for the following currencies:  American Dollar, Peruvian Sol, Sterling Pounds, Euro, Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, among others. However, exchange rates are often a bit better in Miraflores area.

Getting from Lima airport to Miraflores

If this will be your first time in Peru we highly recommend arranging a transfer in advance. This way, your driver will be waiting for you holding a sign with your name on it. If you do not have a pick-up arranged you will find a few private transportation options. However, official taxis are recommended, since taxis outside the airport are informal and not the safest option. Within the arrival area you the different taxi companies available.

View of the luggage pick-up area at the airport, Callao, Lima, Peru.

Leaving the country

Once you have passed through customs, you will move onto the arrival area. This is probably the most confusing part of the entire process of leaving the airport. Depending on the time of the day, you are likely to find hundreds of people waiting for their relatives and friends as well as a good number of taxi drivers and travel agency representatives doing the same with their passengers.

  1. Check-in. Approach the check-in desks in the center of the first floor right after entering the terminal. For international flights make sure to be there 3 hours in advance. If you are taking a domestic flight, be there 2 hours in advance.
  1. Security control & Customs. After your check-in you can proceed to the second level where you can find the public shopping area and food court. This area is free to anyone. Behind the food court, you will arrive to the security control for both international and domestic flights. Make sure you allow up to 30 minutes to pass through security as it can get busy. Once you make it through customs, check the screens for your flight find your gate and wait within that area.

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Cusco, a beautiful city in the southeastern part of Peru, is a haven for food lovers. Thus, it’s not hard to find a Cusco restaurant that serves the finest Peruvian and International delicacies. Most travelers to Peru would head to Cusco as a starting point for their trek to the Machu Picchu. A lot of times, they would spend at least a few days in the city in order to acclimatize before they head on to their trek. If you’re staying in Cusco for a few days and wondering where to savor some of the most delicious Peruvian dishes, check out this list of the best restaurants in Cusco.

Pachapapa

This rustic restaurant is located in San Blas and specializes in traditional Andean cuisine. If you’re adventurous enough, go ahead and try the local specialty of Andean guinea pig. The marinated alpaca skewers and oven-friend trout are also among the most popular dishes on their menu.

Aside from serving mouthwatering traditional foods, Pachapapa is also among those Cusco restaurants that have a beautiful outdoor setting. Surrounded with whitewashed columns and several potted plants, you’ll be sitting at wooded banquettes while dining at the restaurant’s open courtyard. A heater and an enormous clay oven warm the place and you can smell the tempting scent of pizzas permeating the area while you enjoy your meal.

Pachapapa Restaurant located in San Blas, Cuzco, Peru.

Incanto 

This Cusco restaurant is known for serving a combination of Italian and Peruvian dishes. Set in a former Inca palace, the restaurant’s most popular dishes are crab risotto and squid-ink tagliatelle. They are also known for serving sorbets, which represents the restaurant’s Italian fare. The delicious frozen dessert is available in a wide variety of flavors.

Incanto restaurant Cusco is known for its cozy dining ambiance. The contemporary designed restaurant enjoys a sophisticated, yet welcoming and homey atmosphere. Diners can be seen enjoying the restaurant’s delicious fare while the tempting smell of homemade pizzas cooked in a massive clay oven dominates the place.

Incanto Restaurant in Cuzco, Peru.

MAP Café Cusco

This is one of the most elegant places to eat in Cusco. The cafe is located inside a Pre-Columbian art museum, which makes your dining experience even more interesting. Serving delicious gourmet Peruvian fusion dishes, one of the cafe’s most famous specialties is the farm fresh salad with organic lettuce served with cornflakes, garlic chips, black olive crumble, and vinaigrette. The ingredients are sourced from their own farm located in the nearby Sacred Valley.

If you’re looking for classy fine dining Cusco Peru restaurants, this place should be on your list. Dominating the museum’s cobbled courtyard, the cafe is set in a light-filled, glass-enclosed conservatory where black-suited waiters can be seen serving well-heeled diners.

MAP Café Cusco located inside a Pre-Columbian art museum, Cuzco, Peru.

Cicciolina

Located on the second floor of an old colonial building, which is just a few minutes away from the central plaza of Cusco, Cicciolina deserves to be called the best restaurant in Cusco. Serving diners from an open kitchen, the menu consists of a wide variety of Mediterranean dishes that includes squid-ink pasta and pan-fried scallops served along with a glass of fine vintage wine.

Cicciolina is not only a restaurant, for this charming venue also features a simple tapas bar serving the most delectable wine. The place exudes a cozy and homey ambiance, where bundles of garlic and paprika garlands can be seen hanging from the ceiling.

Ciocciolina Restaurant in Cuzco, Peru.

Chicha Restaurant

Chicha’s name was derived from an ancient Incan corn beer. The restaurant serves the best food in Cusco so it’s not surprising why they are often booked and you may need to make an advance reservation to secure a seat. Its popularity may also be due to the fact that an award-winning celebrity chef, Gaston Acurio, is the owner of the restaurant. Aside from this Cusco restaurant, the celebrity chef also owns several other restaurants in Lima and other cities in Peru.

Overlooking the town’s Plaza Regocijo, diners can also enjoy their meal at the balcony with views opening to the plaza. Chef Gastón has put an imaginative twist on the traditional Andean recipes and came up with delectable specialties like trout ceviche, grilled octopus, and the Peruvian specialty dish that consists of flash-fried spicy sirloin strips.

Chicha Restaurant Cusco, Peru.

Limo

Opening up to the picturesque views of Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, Limo is a chic and contemporary Cusco restaurant that doubles as a pisco bar. The restaurant’s decor features a minimalist design with bare floors and a few wooden tables. Yet, it still retains several historical features from the structure’s original colonial architecture.

Limo is a great place to unwind in the evening while sipping a glass of pisco-based cocktails and nibbling on the complimentary potato fries served with a savory homemade dipping sauce. If you want to have a taste of some traditional Peruvian dishes, try the alpaca steak with quinoa or adobo marinated in an Andean corn beer. The restaurant also specializes in Peruvian seafood dishes with an Asian twist, such as the sushi and tiradito, a Peruvian version of the sashimi.

Limo Restaurant in Cuzco City, Peru.

Fallen Angel Cusco

If you want to enjoy a unique Cusco dining experience, head over to the Fallen Angel. Tucked in a corner of a plaza, Fallen Angel is a Cusco restaurant that doubles as an ultra-funky guesthouse featuring outlandish decors of whimsical art and designs. The place is decorated with floating cherubs and flying pigs where diners eat at tables made of thick glasses set on bathtubs where tropical fishes can be seen swimming inside. It truly is a one-of-a-kind Cuzco Peru restaurant, and dining at this restaurant is an experience you should not miss while in Cusco.

Aside from its unique eccentric decors, Fallen Angel is also known for serving the best steaks in the city. Their steaks are cooked in local Peruvian spices and served with delicious garlic salsas.

Fallen Angel Restaurant in Cuzco City, Peru.

Le Soleil Cusco

Whether it’s modern or traditional cuisine that you want, the Le Soleil Cusco restaurant is certainly one of the best places to eat in Cusco. The restaurant’s stylish interiors exude a subtly romantic ambiance. Enjoying a “white tablecloth” dining, diners are served with champagne and wines in sparkling wine glasses.

Aside from the extensive list of wine, the menu of Le Soleil also features several garlic staples such as baked ratatouille and duck à l’orange. If you consider yourself a “shoestring diner”, there’s a single course that you might fancy, but for the more indulgent diners, the seven course-tasting menu would be perfect.

Le Soleil Cusco Restaurant, Cuzco Peru.

Marcelo Batata

This Cusco restaurant’s rooftop terrace opens up to the beautiful views of the city. It is known for its use of traditional ingredients in creating dishes that features Oriental, Mediterranean, and Criollo influences. The restaurant interior’s deep red walls are decorated with black and white photography featuring the local people and the beautiful Peruvian landscape, which is a stark contrast to the black beams and modern seating. 

Some of the best dishes from Marcelo Batata’s menu are the tender Alpaca steak and the chicken served with a thick creamy sauce that’s made with aguaymanto, a Peruvian orange fruit. If you want to learn how to cook these distinctive Peruvian dishes, you can sign-up for a cooking course at the restaurant, headed by the brilliant chef Erick Paz Gallegos.

Marcelo Batata Restaurant, Cuzco, Peru.

Organika

This Cusco restaurant often gets a long queue during lunchtime simply because they are known to serve the most delicious food in Cusco Peru at very reasonable prices. Serving local organic foods, their trout and caper salad is truly the best, which was stacked high with fresh veggies. They also serve refreshing organic drinks such as the mint and zesty lemon juice.

Aside from the fresh salads, Organika also serves local Peruvian dishes such as the trout ceviche and alpaca tenderloin. If you need a budget-friendly Cusco restaurant, Organika would be the best place to visit.

Organika Restaurant in Cuzco, Peru.

The post The 10 Best Restaurants in Cusco – 2018 appeared first on Peru Best Tours.

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