McDonald’s Cusco, Peru

Cusco McDonalds Plaza de Armas
Eat at McDonalds in Cusco Peru

I had a heck of a time trying to find a decent place to grab a bite while I was visiting Cusco this trip.  I was so sick that I couldnt make it much farther than the plaza de armas or the mercado central so I decided to try a taste of home.  The McDonald’s in Cusco, Peru is located in the Plaza de Armas.  They have a restroom and there are plenty of ATM’s and money exchange booths in the plaza close by.

The food here is fast and hot as any McDonald’s should be.  I just wish I could say the same thing about the local restaurants around Cusco.  All I have found that wasnt totally disgusting was Pizza.  All the food I tried was bland and tasted of cardboard and week old frozen tv dinners.  The only real place to get a meal was in the Market and that was a good deal.

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Cusco: Eating at the Mercado Central

Cusco was the Inca Capital.  The city is a cultural epicenter and is located at 10,000 feet high in the Andes Mountains.   One thing I have always said is that good food is very hard to come by in Cusco.  I dont know if that is because of the Altitude Sickness or just that I am used to the complexity of the cuisine in Lima.  I have however experienced a great deal of what Cusco has to offer.

The Central Market is located close to the San Pedro Rail Station just a few blocks walk from the Plaza de Armas.  Here you will find everything from fresh coca leaves to alpaca stocking caps.  On any given day you will find a quick and tasty bite to eat here as well.  In the mornings locals are quick to grab a fresh glass of custom varieties of fruit juice and freshly made sweet bread.  At lunch time it is difficult to find a seat at the favorite spots as the locals all seem to enjoy the eateries.

On this particular visit I was overcome with the AMS acute mountain sickness having taken the Flores bus through the night for a non stop 23 hour ride.  Let me just say I was glad to be off the bus and I needed to eat.  I found a little place in the back with Caldo de chunos or sopa de chunos which seemed perfect.  I enjoyed every drop of it for s./1 or about 30 cents usd.  It was great and made me feel alot better.

There are a variety of alpaca stores and t-shirt shops inside as well as the usual meat market and other various stands of produce.  If you are in Cusco you have to check this place out.  I recommend trying one of the eateries for a decent meal around lunch time.

Restaurant Tumi Mancora Peru Review (***) Stars

Restaurant Tumi – Mancora Peru

The Restaurant Tumi is located on the boardwalk connecting the Pahamerican Highway to Mancora Beach on your righthand side. I chose this place because they were advertising Menu for s./ 8 soles. Tumi is an open air place with plenty of seating. The seafood was fresh and the beer was super cold.

Menu ranges from fresh fish, chicharon de pescado, chicharon de langostinos, lomo saltado and assorted other dishes as they have quite a large Menu daily. The first serving of the day was a choice of fresh cebiche or paps huancaina. The huancaina sauces was great and I like it spicey! I ordered chicharon de langostinos while my family chose chicharon de pescado and lomo saltado. All the meals were good and served hot.

I recommend it as a nice place to get out of the sun while enjoying a nice quick meal. I give the Restaurant Tumi in Mancora, Peru a rating of (***) 3 stars for budget travel dining.

Best Pizza in Peru Pizza Palace

Pizza Palace – Best Pizza in Peru

The Pizza Palace located in the Plaza de Armas is my favorite place to stop in for a quick bite and the Pizza is the best I have had in Peru. The ingredients are fresh and the pizza is great. The atmosphere is perfect for a stop on a date if you are enjoying a walk through the Plaza de Armas to see the fountains, touring a nearby museaum or shopping in the jiron de la union.

Pay for a gaseosa y pizza personal (a slice) at the caja and grab your food and head to one of the many bar stools for seating. Cost for a soda and a slice of the best pizza in Peru is s./ 2.50 or about $.95 usd.

I give the Pizza Palace a rating of (****) stars for the excellent pizza and budget friendly prices it is a must try when visiting the Plaza de Armas in Lima, Peru.

Cruz del Sur Sucks

cruz sucks

Cruz del Sur aka Curz del Sur Not Recommended!

I want to start off with saying I am completely disgusted with my entire experience with Cruz del Sur. Unless trouble is what you want on your journey I suggest that you try another bus line. While traveling through Peru with my Peruvian wife and our 3 kids we have taken many bus trips. Normally we try to get the best deal for the best service.

After a fun filled week in Vichayito Beac, Mancora, Peru we had to get home. We were unable to get seats on Civa Exclusiva and decided to try Cruz del Sur for the first and last time.

I have always compared the rates for Cruz del Sur and until now always chosen to take a more affordable bus line. They charge 12 soles that most of the other bus lines, and from the english website you get a feeling that it is a decent company. However, please do not be fooled with their advertising or shiney black buses.

Upon purchasing our tickets we were given a discount of 5 soles per ticket which was kind of strange. We chose 160 degree seating as they assured us that it was the best seating for the price. I am 6 feet tall and 220 lbs. Not chubby but athletic and the lady at the counter smiled and assured me that I would be happy with the accomidations.

The first problem we encountered was that the lady at the counter in Mancora said she did not have change. As we sat and waited for the bus to arrive several other would be passengers paid and we returned to the counter twice and were told that she still did not have change. I got the feeling that she was trying to steal 5 soles. As 2 other Cruz del Sur employees showed up for work I double checked my ticket which said 105 soles and then made certain the lady hear me tell my wife that if she didnt want to give us our change that I would be calling their corporate offices and filing a formal complaint.

Not the way you want to start a journey to say the least. The Cruz del Sur bus arrived 25 minutes late and we were rushed onto the bus. Once on the second floor I was utterly appalled to find that we were going to spend the next 23 hours smashed into tiny seats with little to no leg room. The Civa bus had already gone by 30 minutes before or I would have demanded a refund.

We had to get back to Lima for work and decided I would try to make the best of the ride as I spend 8 weeks living in the back of my compact Jeep Wrangler car camping in the Rocky Mountains and figured I could deal with not having ample room.

The 3rd problem we encountered was when the bus departed from the station and then we knew we were in for a long bumpy and very uncomfortable ride home. The bus looked brand new on the outside but had to be over 10 years old judging from the seat padding and overall condition of the inside. The ride was rough and so bumpy that 2 of our children and my Wife vomited from the constant shaking from side to side. I liked the experience to being lashed to the main sail of a small sail boat during a category 5 hurricane.

We kindly asked the attendant for some rubbing alcohol and motion sickness pills at the first stop to which he laughed and said there was no pharmacy. Then he moved on down the cabin to chat with the gringas onboard. A little while later we were served and the jerk attendant laughed and asked if I wanted all 5 of our meals as our kids were too sick to eat. The food was cold and mine looked like someone had chewed up some chicken and spit it out right on my plate. I did not eat this as I brought plenty of snacks on board.

Following a few old movies in english with spanish subtitles we tried to go to sleep. The seats are not full 160 degree seats and there is no foot room. The seats themselves are also a little smaller than most coach airline seats and very uncomfortable. I was very tired and fell asleap for 51 minutes until I was awakend by the bus swaying from side to side. For the next 4 hours I sat there with my eyes closed and half awake. I got up and went to the bathroom and it smelled like a chicken farm and there was urine all over the place.

We were served a muffin and a small sandwich for breakfast. We neared Lima and were stuck behind an traffic accident for about 45 minutes in the steep hills of Pasamayo where a truck had overturned. We got back on our way and passed the mega plaza in Comas before we hit grid locked traffic on the expressway. For the next 3 hours the driver sat in traffic moving less than 3 km. I undrestand traffic jams as I have encountered gridlock in NYC and LA but have no explanation for why the driver did not exit the expressway and get us moving. Instead he got into the far left hand land and just sat there.

We arrived 4 hours late and encountered another lazy employee at the baggage claim. One of my bags was the last one off the bus and I stood patiently awaiting the bag handler who was too busy staring at the wall to get my bag for me. I asked for it 8 times in spanish before another employee handed it to me. On the way out a Cruz del Sur employee bumped into my oldest step daughter knocking her to the ground and did not appologize or offer her a hand getting to her feet.

I have never before experiences such horror as this bus journey and I will never take Curz del Sur anywhere ever again. I plan to make it a point to inform all tourists visiting Peru about my terrible experience so that they will not make the same choose. Stay away from Cruz del Sur as you will regret it! I give them a rating of 0 Stars.

If you wish to debate my ratings I welcome you to post in comments.

Mochileros Lorr Mancora Restaurant Review (***) stars

The Mochileros Lorr is located on the boardwalk linking the Panamerican highway to Mancora Beach. They serve Menu daily with a wide selection to chose from. Prices for Menu are s./7 soles and include a fruit juice drink.

The food in this open air eatery was decent but the best thing about this place was the 3 cold beers for 12 soles special that they run daily. I was even offered my beer for 4 soles as well. The Menu special for the day consisted of a choice of cebiche or chicharon de pescado with a maracuy passion fruit juice and your choice of entree ranging from fish to shrimp with different preparations. I chose the cebiche and chaufa con langostinos. The food was served prompty and the beer was ice cold, probably the coldest I encountered on the entire trip up north.

The Cebiche was fresh and the Chaufa con langostinos was pretty good. They also serve parilla de tuna which smelled fantastic. I recommend the Mochileros Lorr for a decently priced place to eat close to the main drag in Mancora, Peru. I give it a rating of 3 stars.

Cristo Rey Cebicheria Review ***1/2 Stars

Located in the Collectivo de Chira across from the Mercado de Limoncillo on the prolongacion Tacna just over the bridge in Rimac you will find a fantastic locals restaurant. I first ate here last year on the way to take my step daughters to school for a quick lunch, since then I have been back numerous times.

The Cristo Rey a small open air cebicheria inside the Chira Market with some fantastic food. They serve a different Menu special daily along with fresh cebiche and chicharon de calamar. Everything here is made fresh that day and I have not had a bad meal here. Price for Menu is S./5 soles or about $1.75 USD and changes daily.

Last week I tried their Menu special of Chupe de langostinos which was fantastic! It came with chicharon de calamari and cebiche for S./7 other choices for starters are papa huancaina. The chicharon is great and the cebiche is spiced perfectly.

They open around 11 AM and close late in the afternoon. The Cristo Rey is a great place to eat a tasty meal on a buget and the service is friendly and fast. Enjoy and maybe I’ll see you there!