Mr Living in Peru, Carsten Korch tells us how to see Cusco and the Sacred Valley in style.*To read part one of Carsten Korch’s Cusco trip, click here.
A few hours later we arrived to the Monasterio hotel of Cusco. An old monestry which more than 10 years ago was turned into a luxury hotel and still is one of the finest hotels of Cusco. The atmosphere and especially the courtyard is absolutely fascinating, both during night and day and is a MUST-visit, when you’re in Cusco.
The following morning, after having breakfast in the courtyard with a guitarist playing soft melodies from the time when the priests were still living there, we went for a full-day walk around the city. I love walking and we had a mission to shoot everything beautiful and/or special that would fit into a guide book we’re preparing on the city of Cusco.
There is something special about walking around the city with a camera in your hand with the ONLY purpose to shot pictures. One starts to see so many details in everything you walk by, and we must have taken more than 2.000 photos before we finally stopped for a cheeseburger and a draught beer at Paddy’s bar, right on the Plaza de Armas.
While visiting Mistura Latin America’s largest Gastronomy Fair in Lima, we met up with Adam Weintraub, the owner of the Museo del Pisco and after trying some of his special Peruvian flavored cocktails (one with a chica morada – purple corn – base), we knew we had to visit his original bar in Cusco. The Museo de Pisco is a very nice building on three levels, with a bar on the ground floor, a restaurant in the basement and a special room for larger groups in the back on the second floor.
Adam and his partners have done a great job, not only by teaching people what pisco is, but also what grapes you make pisco from, how to enjoy pisco pure and how to mix them into some of the best cocktails in the world. If you get a chance, you should try the sliders (mini burgers) made from beef, lamb, alpaca and chick-peas. They were all good, but my favorites were the lamb and the veggie slider, served with a pisco chilcano with muña.
It could have been a dangerous and fun night, but I know myself and managed to remember the work that was waiting for me the next day, so we stopped while we could still walk, and somehow made it back to the hotel in time to get some sleep.
Around Cusco and the Sacred Valley, there are many well-kept and interesting ruins to visit, and we chose to purchase a pass to see them all. These passes cost S./ 130 for tourists (S./ 70 for local residents) and allow you to see the best of what the Inca empire built and which the government has since restored. It’s a great way for you to get an idea of how the Inca empire ruled and managed large territories throughout Latin America.
For people living in Cusco, the San Pedro market is one of the most important places to buy your daily groceries. It is a very interesting market to see and taste, if you dare. I have no problem trying a little of everything, and I in particular enjoy the juice section, where about 25 women produce any juice you like made from the local fruit from both the mountains and the jungle, which are located only a few hours away. Besides boosting our bodies with a delicious juice, we bought some spices and souvenirs, while talking to the local vendors who talked to us about, among other topis, witchcraft and other similar things in this magical town of Cusco.
We skipped lunch at the market, as we had a reservation at Zenzo, one of Cusco’s finest restaurants. The menu has been put together by Virgilio Martinez and his team, who also manage Central’ in Lima. Entering the Hotel Palacio Nazarenas, where it is located, was amazing and left us speechless for a few minutes, then we sat down next to Cusco’s only swimming pool to look at the menu.
We chose a garden salad, trout with black quinoa, alpaca tartar served with dry potatoes, and then ended with a chocolate soup with a brownie and caramelized cacao bean shells.
All dishes was prepared perfectly by the young and talented chef Veronica from Lima, who with the help of Virgilio Martinez had spent almost a year to creating these delicious dishes.
After lunch, it was time to take a last walk around the city. Five days had gone by, and we still needed a few more photos for our guidebook (and this article!) before returning to Lima.
It was a wonderful trip, we had a great time meeting interesting people, who all work hard to make visitors feel special while visiting the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu City (Aguas Calientes) and the center of Peru – The City of Cusco.
Thank you for doing a great job and making us feel special.