These three secrets will benefit both you as a tourist and the local people. Want to know what it’s like to sleep in an former monastery? Where to eat the best salmon? Or where to find the softest wool scarf? Let’s find out!
1. Hotel: Monasterio San Pedro
We noticed, with surprise, that in Cuzco, there are not just one, but two hotel monasteries. The second, Monasterio San Pedro, is not so popular and not so fancy, but has a nice atmosphere to go along with its history. It’s located right behind the San Pedro Temple, near the Central Market. This place was a hospital and then a convent run by the Sisters of the Order of La Merced. San Pedro is also home to orphaned girls. So, upon returning to the hotel, enter the beautiful courtyard with its pool and you will be greeted by a group of girls. Just in front of the building, the Sisters created a hotel with elegant and comfortable rooms with hardwood floors, Wi-Fi, hot water, a breakfast buffet, cable TV and heat. The hotel is immense. It has 36 rooms, 3 patios and gardens, a restaurant and sovereign tranquility, deluxe rooms will be available soon. Rooms 203 to 209 have the best views, room 205 is the most privileged. You can have breakfast with the sunrise in the garden. The night illuminates, reminding you that you’re in one of the most beautiful and authentic cities in the world.
Where? Calle Cascaparo 116, Plaza San Pedro.
2. Restaurant: Los Niños
Offering simple, fresh and light dishes, it has become very popular in Cuzco and rightly so. This restaurant is part of Hotel Niños, in an old house with wooden balconies painted green and rustic rooms. Many curious guests come to eat in this bright colored room with white tables, flowers and a fireplace with a country inn style, in the heart of Cuzco. If you go during the day, there are tables outside in the courtyard under the sun. They serve breakfast, juice, fresh organic garden salads, various pasta dishes and lasagna. At night, it’s intimate and cozy and lit with candles. When its chilly out, try the homemade pumpkin or lentil soup, the exquisite salmon steak with mashed peas or the exotic sautéed chicken with curry. The dishes come in small portions but the food is to die for. And finally you can’t resist the chocolate cake with chocolate sauce and almonds or warm strawberries with a special whipped cream.
You’ll be surprised to know that the project also supports the children from Cuzco working in the street. Learn more about the social project by booking a free tour, visiting 2 of the 5 implemented sights (helping more than 600 children). The same place also has a gift shop with different crafts worth browsing. Last tip: the project Los Niños also has a another location in the southern valley, where they offer rooms and bungalows close to Andahuaylillas (a baroque chapel), Tipon, its terraces and the Andean shamans of the village.
3. Shop-Cafe: Cocolizo
Here, the designer is French-Peruvian, Elise, and her products are beautiful and made with the best alpaca wool or organic cotton and designed with personality. I loved the shirts and the shopping bags with colorful designs inspired by photos of the typical day in the Andes, taken by her sister. Her collection includes: soft wool scarves, in the shape of a tube that can be used to cover your neck or head, mittens, sweaters and hats. And a collection of warm sets for babies made with baby alpaca wool. These woolen works are made by the women of the Mollepata community (located on the way to Limatambo, near the entrance to the Salkantay trail), which is under the supervision of NGO Yanapana Peru, part of the social responsibility program of the Mountain Lodges. You can also find a range of fine organic Lorena Pestana jewelry and incredible Saké handbags, a Colombian brand incorporating Peruvian textiles as the primary material and mixing the best leather for their collection. I doubt that you’ll go in without buying a little something to take home for friends or something beautiful and unique for yourself. Don’t know what to bring back? No problem, you’ll find it all here. They will also highlight the work of committed designers and help all who would like to give life to the presented ideas.
Anyway, it’s worth a visit because just next door, her Peruvian husband has a cafe with small tables on the patio, a cozy space to have a coffee or a juice, or eat a homemade cake or an omelet and feel right at home.