By Chere Di Boscio
Let’s face it – there’s not much to do in the Sacred Valley – and we like it that way! One of the most fun activities, of course, is to go for coffee, alone or with friends.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for businesses to come and go in the Valley, so it’s good to know all the tried and tested eateries and cafes. The ones that are open regularly; whose menus can be relied upon, and which serve the tastiest food and drink.
With its beachy vibe and eclectic decor, this is one of the most stylish places in the Valley to meet for coffee. It’s located on the prettiest street in Urubamba, and offers a small menu of light fare in addition to coffees, teas, and other non-alcoholic beverages. My favourite? Their homemade sodas, which are basically concentrated juices blended with soda. I also love the array of chic magazines and books available to leaf through, and of course, there are plenty of gorgeous clothes, bags and home decor items on sale here, too.
Location: Berriozabal s/n cuadra 1, Urubamba
Set in a stunning garden at the heart of the colonial town of Yucay, the cafe in the Sonesta hotel is an adorably rustic affair with some of the best coffees and teas in the area. For example? My favourite is the (naturally) brightly pink-hued apple, clove, cinnamon and arampo tea blend. Typical sweets like cookies and cakes, as well as lunch can be enjoyed here: choose from quinoa burgers and fries, chicken sandwiches or juicy hamburgers. Don’t miss the homemade ice-cream parlor beside the cafe, either!
Location: Plaza Manco II 123, Yucay
A favourite with the locals, this friendly cafe is known for its incredible views of the Apus and tasty food – especially their homemade ice creams (with vegan options). Flavours are really unique – think: strawberry, basil and black pepper, raspberry coconut and ginger. Daily specials typically include dishes like falafel bowls, veggie curries and black bean tacos. This is one of the few cafes that also has a licence to serve alcohol, and they also make a killer chai latte!
Location: Paradero verde, Huaran, just off the pista
If you’re looking for a cafe with your health and wellbeing in mind, look no further! Lily of the Valley uses mainly organic ingredients for all their foods, and makes turmeric lattes, reishi infused coffees and uses freshly ground spices for their chai. Lily’s is pretty much a vegan hotspot, and offers three unique, tasty daily salads you can mix and match into one delicious lunch, as well as soups and some of the tastiest vegan treats imaginable (don’t miss the Snickers pie!)
Location: Grau 675, Písac
With its huge playground for kids, this is a popular restaurant/cafe with families. It’s more a restaurant than a cafe, with an extensive menu of healthy food that includes falafel wraps, salads, soups and chicken dishes. Their fresh juices are superlative, and I love how their main plates come with a small soup or salad of your choice.
Location: Av. Mariscal castilla 563, Urubamba
This bakery is by far the best in the Valley! It’s mainly a bread shop, with different kinds of sourdough and gluten free loaves, but there’s also lunch on offer: croque madames, focaccia, and salad. Many come here for the fresh coffee and pastries, though: fluffy, buttery croissants, sticky cinnamon rolls and more.
Location: Calle Bolivar, near the plaza, Urubamba
This vegan eatery is the best restaurant in Calca! They have a lovely garden, and their daily specials – priced at only 15 soles – are second to none. They come with a soup, main plate and tea – I guarantee you’ll leave full and satisfied! Alternatively, international dishes like Pad Thai, green curry and sushi feature, as do delicious juices, kombucha, coffees and turmeric and chai lattes.
Location: Calle Bolivar 785, Plaza De Armas, Calca
This may be one of the most feminine of all the cafes in the sacred valley! It has fresh, delicious coffee and loads of homemade cakes, including vegan options. Located near the Ayni school, this is a popular hangout for moms and kids when class is dismissed.
Location: Calle Convencion 116, Urubamba