Have you ever had a preconceived idea of a destination or a country, just to realize the reality was different from your imagination?
Peru was one country that shocked us – especially when it came to finding good coffee.
Whether we were in the Andean highlands, at the highest navigational lake, in the desert, or in the cities, not a day went by without a cup of hot coffee.
Come with us to 10 places in Peru where the coffee served was as good as the natural wonders and iconic sceneries:
1. Coffee in Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas is one of the most popular destinations in the world. Archeologists believed Inca Pachacutec, the king of the Inca Empire, built it in the 15th century. The conquistadors never discovered it. This well-preserved city with giant walls, terraces, buildings, steps, and temples is still a mystery today.
Surrounded by tropical mountain forest and mountains, Machu Picchu is about 8,000 feet above sea level. Most people take the 4-days/3-nights hike on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. An easier way to get to Machu Picchu is by taking the Peru Rail to Aguas Calientes, and either hike for one and half hours or take the bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu.
For the best cup of icy cold frappuccino with a view, go to Sanctuary Lodge Snack Bar located at the entrance to Machu Picchu. There are plenty of picnic tables and benches. Expect long lines there, however, the service was fast when we were there. Make sure you get the delicious burgers shown below:
Wi-Fi was available at the snack bar.
Ollantaytambo is an Incan town in the Sacred Valley, south of Machu Picchu. Most people stop in Ollantaytambo to visit the ruins. The Incans built military, political and religious complexes in Ollantaytambo at the same period as Machu Picchu. Most of the buildings were destroyed during the Spanish colonization period. You can still see the remains of the Temple of the Sun and Inca stone water fountains.
Ollantaytambo is the last stop for hikers taking the Inca Trail. It also serves as an important train station for visitors visiting Machu Picchu. Trains from Cusco stop here and take passengers to Aguas Calientes to join the Machu Picchu tour. The town has quite a number of cafes and restaurants with decent coffee and views of the mountains and town center.
Wi-Fi was available in the cafe.
3. Peru Rail
They served coffee and snacks in Peru Rail just like airlines do.
Cusco is a tourist town and an important archaeological capital of the Americas. It is South America’s oldest continually inhabited city. Incan stone walls, colonial cobblestone streets, churches, plazas, old and new buildings occupy the city of half a million people.
There are plenty of places to eat and drink coffee in Cusco. The city’s Starbucks is located in front of the Plaza de Armas. Wi-Fi was available in Starbucks Cusco.
When in Cusco, check out Jacks Cafe’s cappuccino and pancakes. Jacks Cafe serves breakfast all day. Wi-Fi was available in Jacks Cafe.
Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru, located in Southern Peru. The city has spring-like weather year round and is surrounded by volcanoes and mountains. It’s a beautiful city that attracts tourists and long-term foreign residents.
If you are looking for coffee and dessert we recommend Cusco Coffee, one of Arequipa’s most popular coffee shops. It served coffee in beautiful mugs with coffee cup sizes similar to Starbucks. There was Wi-Fi in Cusco Coffee.
Lima, the capital city of Peru is filled with coffee shops. It has over 20 Starbucks and a number of Colombian Juan Valdez coffee shops as well. While in Lima, we went to R.H. Atlantic Cafe and Restaurant, located across the street from Plaza de Armas. For less than $3 we had an espresso and a chocolate cake.
Miraflores is an upscale residential and commercial district of Lima. It is about a half hour drive from the city center during off-peak hours. The Centro Comercial Larcomar is a mall by the coast with views of the sea. It is a pleasant place to hang out and have coffee. We like Havana Cafe, an Argentinian coffee chain that serves coffee with aljafores and a glass of water.
8. Colca Canyon
Hotel Mamayachi in Coporaque, located in the Colca Canyon, serves coffee and breakfast in its dining room. It offers panoramic views of the mountains from every seat in the room. The view made us forget our iPhone and cameras, leaving us without photos of the coffee. If you are going to Colca Canyon, we recommend Hotel Mamayachi. Don’t forget to have coffee and the special Andean cereals.
Huacachina is desert oasis located about five hours south of Lima. Tourists go there for sand dune adventures and sandboarding. Coffee shops, restaurants, and shops are located by the lagoon. You will have plenty of options for a coffee break in this little desert oasis surrounded by giant sand dunes.
10. Camping in Cuncani
While camping in the remote highlands of Cuncani, it was impossible for the cook, horseman, assistant and tour guide to carry an espresso machine and coffee grinder. Even at 12,000 feet above sea level, there were good cups of hot instant coffee in ceramic mugs served with freshly cooked plantains and cheese rolls.
Have you been to any of these coffee shops in Peru? Peru is one of the coffee producing countries in South America. Most of the locally grown coffee is exported, not for local consumption.