Things to do in the Sacred Valley, Peru

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Apus Peru FOCUSThings to do in the Sacred Valley, Peru

This series is a collection of travel tips and stories shared by other bloggers and traveler’s around the web.

We hope these tips and stories will inform and inspire you to visit the Sacred Valley. If you have already been, please share a tip on things to see and do in the Sacred Valley.

 

 

 

Sacred Valley Travel Essentials – What You Need To Know About a Visit To The Sacred Valley

Exploring The Sacred Valley – While this article does not provide a lot of text, what it does provide is many pictures to help paint an image of the region, especially for those who have never been. I find images to be helpful to gain a sense of what the culture, and community is like.

The Symbolism Is Strong With This One – This is a fun read that highlights the story of how the beloved ruins of the Sacred Valley came to be.

The photo below is just one example of these ruins. It shows a close up of the God Tunupa
overlooking the city of Ollantaytambo

Things To Do In The Sacred Valley

Hiking With Llamas…And Kids! – Peru is known for its many incredible trekking trails. This one just so happens to be kid friendly! You get the chance to get to hang out with some pretty cool llamas as well as hike with them – who wouldn’t want to do that?!

To Market, We Will Go – It’s no secret that the Cusco region hosts one of the world’s most famous markets drawing many tourists and visitors! As it is a tourist destination, it can be a little hectic at times, remain patient and take your time as this is one stop worth waiting for! Also, please note that some of the vendors may not enjoy having their photo taken, so please ask before doing so!

 

 

Festivals Galore – The Sacred Valley hosts some incredible and exciting festivals throughout the year! This is a great, and helpful calendar of sorts that highlights when each festival takes place as well as a short description of each. The festivals provide a chance to not only see but to take part in the culture.

Learning On Vacation – While visiting, why not take up a few fun and exciting classes? These are just a few that are offered through this particular group. You can take cooking classes, learn how to weave and even learn Spanish!

 

 

Another Path Less Traveled – Speaking of weaving, Apus Peru offers a tour designed to take you away from hiking the dirt trails and instead give you a glimpse at another village tradition – weaving! (don’t worry, we still go hiking). This particular village is one of three that our NGO Threads of Peru works with!

Where To Stay in the Sacred Valley

A Family Friendly Stay – If your looking for somewhere family friendly to stay – look no further! This blog post has you covered! Please note that these suggestions are not limited to just families – anyone can stay! I found this post to be helpful as it highlighted the pros and cons of each of the three main towns located in the Sacred Valley

 

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Photo via www.worldoftravelswithkids.com

 

 

The Best Of The Best – This is a longer list of suggestions on where to stay when visiting the Sacred Valley. Again, these are family friendly but not limited to just families. Each hotel has a fantastic little description along with it, as well as a photo!

Don’t Break The Bank – If you are a solo hiker, or even a couple looking for a quick and clean place to stay, this is a list of many hostels located in the region. With affordable prices, they might be a worthwhile option! I love that this site provides reviews of those who have visited previously so that you know what to expect from each.

Sacred Valley Hotel – recommendations from the folks at Apus Peru. These hotels have been tried and tested by people that work in the area.

 

 

 

 Where To Eat In The Sacred Valley

Looking For Food Fuel In The Sacred Valley – A fantastic travel website that breaks the restaurants down by not only area but cuisine type too! It uses a simple dollar sign to show the range of prices for each restaurant – how helpful! When clicking on each restaurant it will open a new page which has a short description, address, phone and website of each restaurant should they have one.

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Rooftop Kitchen – A Recipe for a Great Experience

Rooftop Kitchen – A Recipe for a Great Experience

My experience of a rooftop outdoor cooking class in Cusco!

In Peru, food has always been a big deal! But these days, as Peruvian cuisine has gained worldwide recognition, visitors to Peru are actively requesting experiences that allow them to engage with one of the most original cuisines in the world!

Peruvian cuisine’s newfound status in the world of gastronomy is due in part to the efforts of Chef Superstar Gaston Acurio, as well as those of other famous chefs like Micha Tsumura and Virgilio Martinez. These talented chefs have contributed to the elevation of native Peruvian dishes to haute cuisine.

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Our chef and teacher, cutting up a Peruvian yellow ají pepper

The number of cooking schools in Lima and Cusco has proliferated along with this newfound fame. Even though I’m a person who’s not into cooking, I recently decided to challenge myself and find out what the fuss was all about. When I signed up for the class with Rooftop Kitchen, I brought with me the assumption that a cooking class was for people that were already interested in cooking. How wrong I was! In fact, just by participating, I became more interested in cooking than I had been for a very long time!

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I became more interested in cooking than I had been for years.

Firstly, the tour of San Pedro Market, where we “perused” the aisles of colorful market stalls for fresh and unusual ingredients, was frankly awesome. San Pedro Market was designed by Gustavo Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame) Though earthquakes and the ravages of time have detracted from much of its original character, it’s still possibly one of the most varied markets on earth.

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Entryway to Cusco’s famous San Pedro Market

I had lived just one block from San Pedro Market for two of my first years in Cusco, so I’d spent a lot of time there. However, familiarity sometimes causes you to miss the magic, and on this tour I had the joy of visiting the market with two Brazilian foodies who went crazy for the variety, color, and strange-ness of many of the different types of food. And even though in my explorations of San Pedro I’d seen many of these foods before, I hadn’t known their full names or especially what they were used for. Every misconception I’d held was blown out of the water as I learned fascinating facts about the colourful herbs, veggies, cheeses, meats, and fruits that I’d hitherto passed right by without taking notice! This of course, is one of the advantages of taking a guided tour – you get information packaged in a way that you otherwise wouldn’t, and are therefore able to absorb pertinent information about a subject more deeply than you would without guidance.

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Colorful fruit stand at Mercado San Pedro

From San Pedro Market, we went a little out of the center of downtown Cusco and headed up to the 11th floor of a residential building for an Awesome and very different view of the ancient Inca capital. The entire kitchen and rooftop area was set up beautifully with excellent attention to detail. The incredible view, especially as the sun went down, was a massive winner for me!

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View from the Rooftop Kitchen at dusk

Rooftop Kitchen describes their tour as providing “unique insight” into Peru’s food and culture through the use of regional products like quinoa, yellow peppers, and fresh trout; and the menu itself as consisting of “fusion gourmet” dishes.

First up on the menu were pisco sours: with lots of shaking and fun, it was the perfect way to loosen up and laugh with my group.   Then, we headed out on the deck for breathtaking views, enjoyed our drinks, and got a chance to know one another. A recipe for a great social and educational experience!

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Here’s to making a great Pisco Sour with friends!

Relaxed from the fun of the Pisco Sours, we prepared an appetizer of Fennel and Olive Oil Trout Tiradito with Red Quinoa and Red Wine-Glazed Turnips. While our chef did a great job explaining the elements of the dish, I also learned a lot from the questions of others on the tour that were truly passionate about food.

The main course was a Red Quinoa “Quinotto” with Wild Mushrooms and Blue Cheese. (Just in case you don’t know, a Quinoa Risotto is known as a ‘Quinotto’ in culinary circles!)

Hats off to the crew at Rooftop Kitchen for choosing a couple of dishes that were fancy – yet extremely simple- to prepare. We had a great time and headed home feeling inspired.

And in case you are wondering – no, I haven’t made the dishes at home yet. But they gave us the recipes, and I am inspired to do so soon!

– Ariana Svenson

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Try it, you’ll like it!

Take-away tips

Cusco Cooking Class in General

  • Even if you are not a keen home –cook, the classes are done in such a way to make you feel entirely competent PLUS you get some tips which actually caused me to feel more enthusiastic about cooking at home than before!
  • The class was lots of fun, and it was interesting to follow the connection from the market to the kitchen.
  • Why not cook your meal and engage with Peru, rather than just go to a restaurant. What an awesome immersion experience!

 

The Rooftop Kitchen stands out for a number of reasons –

  • Other schools have a storeroom of products to choose your items from. I really enjoyed the market visit, where we got to see lots of local color and purchase fresh ingredients.
  • Rooftop Kitchen is on the 11th floor in a residential area with a truly sensational view of Cusco!
  • The class was professionally presented and loads of fun!