Trip Report: Be our Guest on the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail offers some of the best gourmet dining in Peru. All the cooking happens in pots on a gas flame in half of the mess tent which doubles as porter’s tent for the night. It’s also the only shelter when it rains, which is why the porters crowd in. The tent is red, like everything Llama Path, which explains the funky light on some of the pictures.The kitchen team in action

The chefs often start as porters, then assistant chef, then they go to chef training. We trekked with Llama Path, and our chef Dennis was nothing short of amazing. These chefs compete annually in designing new dishes, and the winning dishes get then rolled out for all tours. But now let’s look at some of what Dennis, our chef served us. We’ll start with the easy dishes on the first day.

Inca Trail Food

Inca Trail Food on day 1.

Food safety is on top of everyone’s mind: no tour operator wants their clients to get sick. In our group nobody got sick – and we ate pretty much everything, including fruit, salads, Guacamole, and fish and meat. The support team also prepares water to wash hands and face three times a day. The water comes when you wake up, or when you arrive at camp. I’d rather have it right before a meal, though. I noticed (but didn’t share while on the trek) that no porter washed hands after using the bathroom – not our’s and not any of the other tour groups….Maybe they wash before they start handling food?

Inca Trail Food

Inca Trail Food. Dinners are typically more fancy than lunch, and the amount of  fruit and green leaves is slowly reducing over the days – but never totally goes away.

As you can see, food is plenty. Our guide said that some groups eat it all, but we rarely eat more than half. Maybe it’s because we were a small (private) group and we got the same number of dishes that large groups (up to 18 tourists) get. Out guide did mention llama path had the best food, and he had been gaining weight. Anything we didn’t eat went to the support team to finish. We did finish most of the deserts, and sweet breakfast items. Pancakes with chocolate sauce, fruit salad, panetone.

Inca Trail Food: Deserts

Deserts and Breakfast.

This is the Inca Trail, with world class chefs, they get more elaborate every day. The chefs are actually being poached by Peruvian restaurants from across the world. We were told that some clients actually marry the chefs and open a Peruvian restaurant back home. Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes! Or check out the last day’s food…

Inca Trail Food

On the last day, Denis and team went all out. Remember, we have been on the trail for three days…

And then, there is the chocolate cake. When I am “cooking” while backpacking, it’s mostly freeze dried food. Maybe it’s time to up the ante?

Inca Trail Food: Denis and the Chocolate Cake

Our amazing chef Denis with the most delicious chocolate cake.

Early one morning, when I got up in the dark, I saw them cooking outside the mess tent (some porters were still in there). Quinoa soup is the breakfast for porters, and according to the guide, they prefer this over the tourist food.

Breakfast for porters

Quinoa Soup in the making.

If the above is not enough, there are chicherias and restaurants along the Inca Trail, if only during the first day. They even serve cui, and keep them right in the kitchen. You can probably pet your lunch :-).

Inca Trail Restaurants

On the first day, there are a few restaurants. They even have cui, right there in the kitchen.


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