I think for me, Machu Picchu was always just one of those must see travel destinations. It had always piqued my curiousity, and I had more than a passing interest in the history of the different people in the Andes because I’d been doing a lot of work in South America.
So at the end of a work trip, I took a month off and decided to travel around a bit. I spent some time in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador on this particular trip. I flew between countries and cities on LAN. My adventures with vegan food on LAN will go into another post at some point.
The food in Peru tends to be different depending on whether you’re on the coast or in the mountains. On the coast, the cuisine is dominated by more fresh fruits, salad and seafood. Getting vegan and gluten free food on the coast isn’t a major hassle. I think they’re a little more used to western dietary issues there. Miraflores was especially good in terms of finding vegan and gluten free dining options.
Up in the mountains though, the cuisine is more “meat and potato” style. With corn. Always with corn. In Cusco I struggled to find much to eat other than potato and corn. I attempted to order salad a couple of times, but it always came drowned in ranch dressing despite me asking in both English and Spanish to have no salad dressing. And fresh fruit in the mountains was hard to come by.
Elsewhere in places like Lake Titicaca, it was similar. Meat, potato and corn. Again, I ate a lot of potato and corn! They also had more seafood there, but clearly it wasn’t exactly an option for me.
So eating vegan in Peru is possible. As is eating gluten free. It just means that once you leave the coast and head up into the mountains, you might be faced with a distinct lack of variety. I know now that it is best to stock up on food rations in Lima and take it with you when you head inland, which is what I’ve done on subsequent trips. The big grocery stores in Lima are relatively well stocked with gluten free and vegan options.
So if you’re travelling to Peru and you’re vegan or gluten free? Just take into consideration where in the country you’re planning to spend your time. If you just plan on hanging around Lima, you’ll be pretty safe in terms of finding suitable food. If you’re heading into the Andes? Consider buying a decent stash of food in Lima before you go out there!
I wanted to drink a pisco sour in Lima, but it’s got egg whites in it. I couldn’t find a barman willing to make me one without the egg. I drank lots of Inca Cola instead…
Machu Picchu at daybreak! Such an amazing sight!