I was the worst at finding places to eat. I was so scared of getting sick on something in fear of it ruining my trip as I was on a semi-tight schedule and traveling alone and didn’t speak the langauge. Or something even worse. Luckily, the guide on my tour was really good and I just ate where ever we ate as a group. Some people in our group had been in town a few days before the trek and had eaten at some places around town, so I took those for ideas too.
On the first day, we landed so late and I was starving, I was about the run up to the McDonalds in Plaza de Armas and stuff my face with something I knew I could count on. Luckily, I held it together long enough to eat at a restaurant off of the Plaza with the group. It had all your typical Peruvian foods, such as guinea pig, llama and of course, pizza. Pizza seemed to be everywhere in the higher altitudes of Peru. It was one of my pricier meals in Peru, but quite fancy for what I am used to, even though we sat outside and enjoyed the mid winter sun of Cusco. A local band came around while we waiting for our food and played us some music, which was enjoyable and thankfully, not overwhelming. Tips were greatly appreciated, but not required. The food was very good and since we ate so late in the day and because of the altitude, I was not hungry when dinner came around. No one else was either. So while a bit more expensive, split over two meals, it wasn’t too bad.
The day we got arrived in Micchu Picchu, the British couple celebrated their one year wedding anniversary. We traveled back to Cusco that day and later that night, half the group ended up at Paddy’s, the highest Irish Pub in the world ! I only had beer that night as I filled up at lunch at the high altitude and wasn’t hungry (see a theme?), but the food looked so good that the next day, when I was wondering around town, thinking of where to eat for lunch, I ended up back at Paddy’s, mainly because I knew the food there was safe and everyone spoke English and this was my first day since the first day I landed that I was technically “on my own” and I had gotten used to the tour mentality. After ordering my plate of nachos (yeah, I know, in Peru and eating nachos!) I looked around and who should be taking a midday break as well, but the British couple! Too funny.
For dinner the following night, I debated heading to Paddy’s again, just because I knew what to expect, but instead hit a place nearby to the hostel I was staying at, called Inka…fé as the menu looked really good. I just ordered a pasta dish and bottled water and it was pretty good. The menu was in English (yay!) so I could just point to what I wanted and sit there as long as I wanted until I signaled the waitress for my check. The place was super cute, it would have not been out of place at all in any American town in it’s décor and menu. I kind of wish I had found this place earlier as the menu was pretty extensive and I wouldn’t have gotten board with it anytime soon.
Moral: I am the worst when it comes to food. I get hungry and then I wonder in circles till I am about the pass out and then I just end up eating something lame like chips for dinner. I was always a bit nervous about the food going into this trip, but thankfully I mostly made it work. While I didn’t eat typical Peruvian food all the time, I never risked street food (for shame, backpacker! Whatever, I couldn’t afford the time if I had gotten sick or worse, being by myself in a country where I didn’t speak the language) and probably paid for it with price, but I wasn’t looking to cut corners on much and definitely not my health. The one thing that they don’t really have in Peru is the concept of takeaway, which sucks as a solo traveler. But I never felt awkward eating alone at restaurants and never had an issue being served.