Shopping in Cuba involves buying what is available, not what one desires. Stores have limited variety, especially those aimed at Cubans. An extreme example of this was the bakery Rocío and I saw selling only one line of bread. Continue reading
Peruvian cuisine’s variety, taste and freshness make it South America’s finest. Although Lima has Peru’s best restaurants and food festival (Mistura), Arequipa is the city most synonymous with food. Following are culinary highlights from my time in Arequipa, including my favourite food from the city, country and continent: a true chocolate delight!
For ease of navigation I have divided the article into the following sections:
- Baked Goods
- Chocolate Desserts
- Vegetarian and Vegan
Mercado San Camilo
Doña Julia giving the thumb up behind the fruit at her great juice stall in Mercado San Camilo Continue reading
Puerto Maldonado is the tourism, transportation and economic centre of Peru’s southern Amazon Basin. Direct buses and flights from Cusco make Puerto Maldonado a convenient Amazon alternative to Iquitos in Peru’s north.
Puerto Maldonado lies at the confluence of two large rivers, the Madre de Dios and Tambopata. The Tambopata joins the Madre de Dios which in turn flows into the Madeira River, a tributary of the Amazon River.
A giant mural covering the side of a Puerto Maldonado building; the object held by the mural subject resembles a blowgun, a traditional hunting weapon used by indigenous Continue reading
Puerto Maldonado in southern Peru’s Amazon Basin has great tropical produce. Rocío and I enjoyed tasting the exotic flavours at markets, cafes and restaurants.
Central Market (Mercado Modelo)
Puerto Maldonado’s main market has the city’s best range of food with many fresh produce stalls and a restaurant section serving good value local cuisine.
Fruit and vegetable stalls at Puerto Maldonado’s Mercado Modelo; the green bundles in the bottom right contain banana leaves for cooking with
Macusani, located 4,315 metres high up in the Andes Mountains, is the capital of Carabaya Province in southern Peru’s Puno Region. Macusani is also the self-proclaimed Peruvian and world alpaca capital.
Although receiving few tourists, the Carabaya Province, including districts Macusani, Corani, Ayapata, Ollachea and San Gaban, has amazing sights. Macusani town is not so scenic although it has views of snowy mountains on clear days. Mountains in the area include 5,805 metre high Allincapac and the world’s largest tropical glacier, Quelccaya Ice Cap. In Macusani town I did see my first ever sun halo, a colourful circle resembling a 360 degree rainbow.
For visitors, Macusani has basic hotels, restaurants, shops, a central market (Mercado Central) pharmacies and a single ATM inside the Caja Arequipa bank (only accessible during office hours). The weekly street market occurs Tuesdays. In October 2016 wifi was non-existent and not all mobile telephone networks had coverage. At least basic Spanish (or Quechua) is required as few people spoke any English.
Sheep graze on the outskirts of Macusani with snow-topped mountains in the background Continue reading
Historic town Ayaviri lies at 3,900 metres in the Andes’ high plateau. Ayaviri is the capital of Melgar Province in southern Peru’s Puno Region. Known for its Kankacho (baked mutton accompanied by potatoes) and cheese, Ayaviri also has hot springs and a notable cathedral.
Ayaviri’s late 17th century Andean Baroque-style Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi dominated the town centre Continue reading
Cusco’s international exposure and Peru’s South American-leading cuisine combine to provide fantastic food options. Following are seven favourite places from my July-August 2016 stay.
Although touristy, the ChocoMuseo museum, gift shop and café are well worth a visit, or, in my case, multiple visits. The museum explains the chocolate production process and history and the café serves exquisite chocolate-based food and drinks. ChocoMuseo’s workshops also come recommended.
Chocolate mousse and mix your own Mayan hot chocolate ingredients (chilli, honey, hot milk and cacao) viewing Plaza Regocijo and the city beyond Continue reading
Pisac, located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas close to Cusco, makes for a wonderful half- or full-day trip. It is also a great place to relax on a longer visit. Inca Pisac, high above the modern town, contains stunning views and ruins to explore.
Getting from Cusco to Pisac is straightforward, with frequent buses from Avenida Tullumayo and collectivos from Puputi Street travelling there every day. From the modern town to Inca Pisac, one can hike or take a taxi.
Beautiful mountains, valleys and Incan terraces from Inca Pisac Continue reading