Posted 22 January 2006 - 05:29 AM
1. Any eating tips (both sanitary and restaurants) in Cuzco. I must stay there for two days before the ascent to get acclimated to the altitude.
2. Locals have suggested drinking "coca tea" made from the leaves of the Erythroxylum Cataractarum plant, from which cocaine is also produced to help with the altitude adjustment. Does anyone know about a). the legitimacy of this drink as an altitude acclimator? and, b). whether it has any harmful effects (ie. like cocaine).
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Posted 22 January 2006 - 08:45 AM
Posted 23 January 2006 - 06:27 PM
You'll find in most towns in the Andes that coca leaves and/or the tea are readily available - here in Argentina it tends to run about 1 peso for a bag that could easily last you a week or more.
In terms of any concerns about the "cocaine" connection - it takes 100 pounds of the leaves to produce a pound of cocaine. An ounce of leaves is probably enough to last you a couple of days - not a major concern.
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Posted 25 January 2006 - 12:17 PM
Most hotels will offer you a cup of coca tea upon arrival. I even brought some back with me, after asking the people in the duty-free shop about 83 times if they were SURE it was legal to carry to the US. It's relaxing and settles the stomach, as others above have said.
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Posted 17 February 2006 - 11:08 AM
I'd be inclined to chew them so I could enjoy not only the scenery and culture but also my food.
Posted 20 February 2006 - 07:34 AM
Posted 05 March 2006 - 06:52 PM
I found myself getting out of breath walking quickly up and down hills around town. I do several hours of intense cardio work a week so this humbled me. I'd suggest taking the altitude reasonably seriously.
I had a mild headache and some nausea throughout much of my second day staying in town and I rarely get headaches. I don't think it was a coincidence. I used this as an excuse to drink more coca tea. I like it better than coffee and black tea. Too bad it's not available here.
Cuzco is a party town. There are plenty of young visitors especially European and Australian backpackers. Many drink like fish on their day of arrival and then get up the following morning to begin their Machu Picchu trek. Combine the probable hangover with the altitude effects and the physical activity and I can only guess what their personal hell must be like that day. :)
Edited by esvoboda, 05 March 2006 - 07:05 PM.
Posted 05 March 2006 - 07:01 PM
Also try the puy (guinea pig)! I understand it's sort of a traditional special occasion (and perhaps tourist) dish. Visit the large main cathedral and go inside. You'll see how the Spanish adapted their art to the natives. The painting of the Last Supper has a GUINEA PIG on the table! I sent some postcards home depicting this painting and they were thoroughly enjoyed.
Cuzco is pretty touristy yet it has authentic charm and lots of history. Be careful that you don't get ripped off.
My favorite bar is Los Perros Couch Bar. I had my first coca tea there...
For non-food knowledge and wisdom about the area, be sure to check out Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree South America Forum. I found it quite helpful.
Edited by esvoboda, 05 March 2006 - 07:17 PM.
Posted 06 March 2006 - 01:18 PM
Posted 06 March 2006 - 01:50 PM
Not meaning to be obnoxious, but the word for guinea pig is "cuy". (Delicious.)
That's cool. I had a mental short-circuit. I hate that when that happens. :)
Posted 31 March 2006 - 08:53 PM
(really good food but not peruvian)
really good israeli food when you go all the way up gringo alley and go to the left. (the alley with all the restaurants.. near los perros)
ceviche is best by the water, in the mountains the only fish available are trout and pejerrey. try the aji gallina or papa ala huancaina. cuy is a must. some places i went with locals, and hard to find... i had street food everywhere in s. america and never had issues. try visiting the local market- they're good fun
please do rest awhile b4 going up to machu picchu, and if you can, support the local reputable companies so the money stays in town.. coca did help for altitude sickness.
and beware of some of the local women and men you meet at bars.. some of them are "working"
Edited by katkit, 31 March 2006 - 09:29 PM.