Cusco, I Love You

I have to repeat myself here and say I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place as magical as Cusco. You are in a bustling little city while surrounded by lush mountains everywhere you look. It’s breath taking. They almost look like someone threw a green velvet blanket over them, they’re picture perfect.

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Although we were only there for a few days we definitely made the most of it!  Tours of ruins, alpaca textile factories, and you know a casual cleansing from a shaman.

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Click here for more pics

Other than the landscape I’ve was also captivated by some really incredible food during my stay in Cusco. Here are my favorite spots!

Cholos

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It’s a perfect little hidden beer garden! Definitely the type of place you could see opening up in Astoria. (Queens if you’re not familiar with NYC hoods)  A wonderful beer selection and dynamite drinking food.  This is a perfect place to just grab a beer and chill.

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Turkey sandwich and fries! OH yeahhhhh

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Classic cheeseburger and fries

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Anywhere cute pups will just come up to your table is a the place for me!

L’atelier

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This cute little gem may be a steep climb away, but it is well worth it. Little trinkets everywhere, gorgeous views, and a pot of Mate de Coca for something like 7 soles, I was sold!

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La Feria

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Located in the main plaza in Cusco center, this popular spot came as a recommendation that did not disappoint. The menu full of Peruvian classics, you can’t go wrong.

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Egg soufflé on top of thinly sliced potatoes in a cream sauce. Almost like a potato gratin. Yummo!

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Lomo Saltado  with a fried egg! Yass hunty!! The steak was so tender I could die!

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The pièce de résistance was my CHICHARRON BABY!!!! Who doesn’t want fried pork all day everyday? Well, I guess vegetarians and vegans, but they have kale so good for them.

Eusebi & Manolo Cafe

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This quaint little coffee shop was a life saver on Labor Day! Mama needs her cappuccino’s and bae needs his hierba luis tea! I spied on the couple next to us that had the waffles and DAMNN they looked good! I wish I snagged a pic, but that would have been awkward.
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La Bodega 138

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We hit this spot at just the right time, boy can it get crowded after 8pm! It’s because they have a brilliant drink selection and…IMG_5392.jpg

PIZZA!!!! So yes I already had pizza in Peru before this, but it was sad and disappointing, but this? This was perfection! And with a little Peruvian flare we got the pie with arugula, prosciutto and aguaymanto. Aguaymanto is known in the states as “goldenberry” or “Cape gooseberry”.   It’s like a sweet and tart cherry tomato. Here’s a closer look at this beaut of a pizza

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The atmosphere of this place is certainly why it’s also so popular, look at these poster they have up

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I mean really, these are literally my life mantras on the wall.

La Osteria

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This was also a wonderful hidden gem. A fusion of classic Peruvian flavors and Italian cuisine. Just really comforting pastas and wines.

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Your classic Bolognese with house-made pasta

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Bae’s favorite, Ossobuco with a pasta and pink sauce side. I’m not a hug fan of bone marrow, but I appreciate the artistry.

 

Cocoliso

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Now my blog may say coffee and fries, but as someone who has worked in many a tea shop, I am also a big fan of teas, especially chai and I was blown away by this place which is located in the same little nook as La Osteria.

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Like L’atelier there were trinkets and things, but what was brillant about this place was not only how tranquil and relaxing it was to just sit here and enjoy some tea, but also that the shop is both a cafe and a high end alpaca clothing boutique. The designs in the place were out of this world. It look a lot of effort to not buy anything. (Not for lack of need or desire, but for lack of space in the backpack I had brought with me) I could really see myself spending so many evenings and afternoons in this space. It was the most comforting moments of my entire time in Cusco.

 

I really do have a love affair with this city, and I could absolutely see myself spending a lot more time there, but for now Chao Cusco! It’s been real!

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Thanks for reading!

Xoxo,
ItsSajdaa

 

 

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Machu Picchu

If you follow my Instagram you may have caught some pics of my recent getaway to Cusco! It’s one of the most enchanting parts of Peru I’ve been to. I’m determined to retire there and open up an actors yoga studio/retreat! Of course while being there I had to see Peru’s most touristic destination, Machu Picchu, and boy did it not disappoint!

DSC_0198.jpgIt’s just an incredible place. To be surrounded with all that history and ingenuity, I felt in awe of both nature and humanity.

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Click Here for more pics!

Now if you’re planning your own trip and you don’t intend on doing the Inka Trail (which lol me “roughing it” for 4 days, no thank you, but to each their own) Then I would suggest planning at least 4 days for the trip. Here are my suggestions for the best Machu Picchu adventure.

Pre-plan!!! Do not go to Cusco and just wing it. Getting to and from Machu Picchu is not an easy task. Have 2 hotels/airbnb’s booked. One for your first 2 nights near the PeruRail which is the train to Machu Picchu and the other in Cusco center for your other nights.  Make sure you have your Machu Picchu tour tickets booked before you arrive. This means buying both the tour ticket (which should include a bus ride up the mountain) and also buy your PeruRail tickets from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu. You will also probably want to invest in a tour guide since the site is ginormous and lots of important features could be missed. Also pack altitude sickness pills just in case. Machu Picchu is actually less above sea-level than Cusco so you should be fine there, but it’s no fun feeling like your brain is going to explode, so having them on hand is always a plus!

Day 1- Arrive in Cusco. If you have a lot of luggage or heavy bags take a car to your first hotel straight from the airport or if you only have a backpack and want a little traveling break go to the city center and grab a Mate de Coca to help with any altitude sickness. The drive to anywhere near PeruRail is going to take anywhere from two and a half to three hours so I would aim to be at your hotel at least by dinner time. So take that into account when picking flights. Talk to your hotel front desk to make sure all is set for your morning travel to Cusco. Inquire before hand if they can print out your bus and train tickets, if not make sure to have those with you before you go. Get a good night’s rest before traveling to Machu Picchu the next day.

Day 2- I thinking the morning tour is probably your best bet. We caught our train around 8:30am and I think we had the perfect amount of time at Machu Picchu. Bring water! There are stalls leading up to PeruRail so if you get there early snag yourself a nice big bottle. The train ride is about one and a half hours and then another 15-20 minutes on the bus going up the mountain. You will have a chance to use the bathroom right outside the park entrance but they charge so make sure to bring a few soles with you ;P . Once you’re through the park entrance there are no places to buy food, water or use the bathroom. When you’re done with your tour you may want to look around the town below Machu Picchu so maybe schedule a returning train for 5 or 5:30pm? We got back down around 3:30ish and an hour or two to grab lunch and walk around the merchant stalls was nice. We sadly made the mistake of having to go back to Cusco after our day at Machu Picchu and it was way too much traveling. Stay the extra night in your hotel so you don’t have to worry about bags and things and just take a cab/bus back to Cusco in the morning. Your body will thank you!

Day 3 & 4- Once you get back to Cusco center on day 3 just have fun! I will post about my food and other Cusco adventures soon, so look out for some fun trip ideas there!

Thanks for reading!

Xoxo,
ItsSajdaa

P.S. If you would like to follow me on Instagram link is  here and in bio! Instagram