Sushi, veggies and a run with a view in Cusco, Peru
You can eat well, and stay fit in Cusco, mostly through the countless stairs at high altitude.
Cusco is indeed a magical place and one of my favorite in South, America. It's even more enjoyable after you acclimate to the high elevation. Finding healthy balanced meals was much easier in Cusco than other Countries in South America...Buenas dias Ceviche!
Who knew Cusco would offer such glorious seafood in the middle of the mountains? I was lucky enough to arrive in Cusco after living in La Paz Bolivia for a month so I was actually downgrading in elevation which was pretty much the greatest thing ever and I re-gained my appetite and stamina. Cusco is very much a tourist city but with that comes more healthy options for dining out. One of my go to sushi and ceviche spots was at Limo. It does air on the touristy side but the food and pisco sours continued to bring me back on a several occassions.
One of the more popular breakfast joints is at Jack Cafe. This does offer more westernized breakfasts, but its easy to get a healthy omelette topped with some power house avocado. There can be a line on occasion but moves fairly fast. Speaking of power house foods, I was incredibly excited to find the lovely vegan restaurant Green Point in Cusco. Granted I'm not vegan and partake in white meat and fish, but some of the best food I have every had has been at vegan restaurants not to mention its always a great way to sneak in those veggies while traveling. Speaking of healthy foods like vegetables, Peru offers an amazing local fruit called Granadilla, also known as a passion fruit. You can buy these anywhere in Cusco and make a great snack on the go and are usually opened with a spoon which you then scoop the seeds with.
Lets move to tapas and fancy dining. La Cicciolina is a tapas style restaurant with Peruvian roots. Side note: I had one of the best cosmos of my life at this place. The food was spot on and each dish had its own special presentation. La Cicciolina is known for its Tapas, but keep in mind they only serve the tapas in the bar area. There is a more formal dining living room (equally as amazing) but does not offer the tapas. Important to make note of this for reservations.
Because I practice balance in travel, that means I have to mention one of the most amazing sandwich shops existing in this world. Juanitos Cusco is a small, family owned shop but has devoted and loyal local customers. Expect hearty, flavorful, gigantic and extremely messy sandwiches. I should mention I'm a dipper...love my dips. They have 10 to choose from as you wish, to load up on your meal. Just writing this is making me salivate for one and sadly I'm far from Cusco at the moment.
How to burn calories in Cusco?
Easily, by just walking up 5 stairs. The altitude can be fairly brutal on most and there are enough stairs within Cusco to go around for all. I was not impressed with the gyms in the city center and preferred the yoga studios. If you are at a place where you have acclimated well there is a great running (I recommend walking) path I found that gradually increases in elevation, offers some great views of the city and passes the popular Sacsayhuaman inca ruins which are worth seeing. It is an out and back path and can last as long as you like depending on how far you take it up. I averaged 3-4 miles total. Traffic is minimal and you will find more Alpacas than cars around. Epic views, alpacas and inca ruins...could there be a better morning run while traveling?
Cusco offers many of the most beautiful and memorable hiking in South America and I will keep those to a separate post but I have listed some gym and yoga options if you will be staying the cusco city area for an extended period of time or want to do a drop in visit.
Favorite Healthy Eats
Green Point - Amazing vegan restaurant with local and organic options
Jacks Cafe - Popular breakfast spot in city center with great omelettes
Limo - Great views and strong emphasis on seafood and sushi
La Cicciolina - Amazing tapas spot using local ingredients. Well made cosmos
Juanitos Cusco - Mouth watering sandwiches of the world
Fitness options in Cusco
Golds Gym - Decent gym inside the Real Plaza Mall
Cusco Crossfit - $20 per visit, 1 month is 200 soles
Healing House Yoga - Really enjoyed this yoga studio in the heart of the city and great for all levels
Running Walking Path - My daily 3-4 mile out and back running/walk path with great views