Sudio Headphones – wireless, compact and tangle free! Perfect for a Christmas gift too!

We’ve been using the Sudio headphones for a while now, specifically the Bluetooth wireless model. They are light, stylish and come in a variety of colours. Swedish design and handmade details. Our first purchase was the white pair and we used these whilst travelling all across North and South America. They are super small and pack down into their case for each transporting and tangle free. They charge quickly and have 3.5 hours battery life. I often use these for the gym too, and having no wires means I can’t get caught up in the cord like I’ve been known to do.

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We’ve updated our pair with the new release of the Vasa Bla. Wow! We’ve tested them out recently and whilst we loved our first pair, these are even better. We have black/gold style but there’s a variety of colours to select from from white to green and even baby pink.

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They also have a new product – Nivå. As the name probably highlights, Sudio are of Swedish origin. These are noise cancelling and with a microphone and Siri voice control!

If you prefer larger models, they also sell regent headphones with designer caps, colours of which can be changed. Check out their website for further details.

Throughout the Christmas period you can get a free gift box with every purchase + free fast delivery + Use our code for 15% off: AROUNDTHECLOCK15

https://www.sudio.com/au/

Food, fun and frivolity: the taste of Tasmania reveals full program

Commemorating 30 years, The Taste of Tasmania unveiled its largest ever program of stallholders and free entertainment including live music, circus and street entertainment, activities for children and the whole family as well as reserved seating for those wanting a guaranteed prime position in the heart of Hobart’s stunning waterfront!

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Taste of Tasmania Director Brooke Webb said “The Taste of Tasmania program is an adventure for the all the senses. From a full culinary program where foodies can enjoy exclusive experiences and get hands on with Tasmania’s leading chefs and culinary influences, to the largest selection of stallholders ever seen at The Taste all proudly showcasing Tasmanian’s best dishes, to a huge program of entertainment and activities for the family and our New Year’s Eve Speakeasy Ball, there is something for everybody at this Year’s Taste.”

This year, The Taste of Tasmania launches a new concept space known as ‘greener grass.’ Greener grass is a new concept that develops small business through incubation and innovation whilst creating opportunities for emerging businesses to grow and develop. Greener grass is a dynamic space where businesses have shorter stay tenure’s and can showcase for 3 days, 4 days or 7 days depending on their resources.

Running from Friday 28 December 2018 – Thursday 3 January 2019, all culinary offerings are proudly 100% Tasmanian, with 112 stallholders, an increase of 35 stall holders from 2017 showcasing delicacies from all over the state. Seafood, cheese, berries, cool-climate wines, craft beers and ciders, gin, whisky and much more will be on offer from established and emerging producers eager to present their wares.

Just some of the standout stallholders at The Taste this year include:

LONG-STANDING FESTIVAL FAVOURITES
Bream Creek Vineyard – Have had a stall every year at The Taste for the last 30 years. Fred Peacock the owner and vigneron is a widely respected member of the Tasmanian wine industry, and known for the care with which he treats his vines. Bream Creek Vineyard are rated by James Halliday as a 5 star Australian wine producer. Bream Creek have a 5 star rating from James Halliday and were recently awarded “Best White Wine of Show’ and “Best Chardonnay up to 12.9%” at the AWC International Wine competition.

Festival Mushrooms – Have also had a stall at every single Taste. A Taste of Tasmania Icon, be sure not to miss their deservedly popular lightly tempura battered and fried Tasmanian mushrooms, served with delicious sauces.

Strawberry Avenue – Started 29 years ago as Strawberry Avenue, this stallholder has since been at The Taste as ‘The Creperie’. This year for the 30th birthday, owner and manager, Ursula Luetke-Steinhorst will revert the company back to its original name and revisit some strawberry avenue classics.

Home Hill – Have been at the Taste since 1997. Home Hill took a well-deserved break in 2014 and in 2018 return to The Taste (with several International awards under their belt) to come and celebrate the 30th birthday of The Taste.

Mures – Celebrating 29 years Mures is a Hobart institution; their fish and chips are supplied by their own fishing fleet.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Fat Pig Deli
– Gourmet farmer stars Matthew Evans and Sadie Chrestman will be serving farm fresh deli style platters in The Atrium.

Gillespie Ginger Beer and Blue Eye Oysters: Home-made ginger beer producers team up with Blue eye oysters to create a 5 meter oyster bar like you’ve never seen before.

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Porky Duck: First timers at the Taste Festival and exclusive providers of Tasmanian grown ducks (from Strelley fields), their menu features crispy duck, duck waffles, duck rolls, dipping duck (master stock) accompanied by home-made Sauerkraut and delicious flavoured Kefir creams.

Big Bessie – Owner and ex Gordon Ramsey Pastry chef Alastair Wise will be bring inventive sundaes made from soft serve, local ingredients and imagination to The Taste. Try the Amy Winehouse, Breaking Bad or the Fat Elvis, which involves bacon marmalade and French toast ‘gravel’!

NEWCOMERS
Karjalanpiirakka – Karjalanpiirakka is a Finnish pie made with crispy rye crust filled with rice, and originates from the eastern part of Finland called Karelia. Offered this year for the first time at the Taste of Tasmania, these Karjalanpiirakka are handmade by Nanna Bayer, a local ceramicist. This is nannas first food stall, and the pies will be accompanied by a special Finnish birch leaf detox drink.

Iraqi kubba – Run by Nagham Al-Knani and her daughters, Iraqi kubba is a beef filled potato and rice dumpling, fried and served with traditional Iraqi salad and sauces. Nagham has lived in Hobart for over 10 years but this will be her first stall at The Taste.

Pikelets and Dreamz – This is owner Gilly’s first year at The Taste managing her own stall, but Gilly grew-up at The Taste making blueberry pancakes for her families business Huon Choice berries who were at the first ever taste of Tasmania and throughout the first festival. This year Gilly is partnering with Angus and Ewen from The Spirit People and together they will be making pikelets with “hyper-local” produce.

Circle of Life: Premiering at The Taste ahead of its official opening in February, 2019, Circle of Life is the next offering from The Pilgrim group offering specialised coffee and delicious fresh donuts.

Afghani Bolani – A family business started during a trial market stall program run by the Migrant Resource Centre. The first solo stall that sells potato and leek, stuffed and fried flat-bread. A traditional Afghani street food.

FESTIVAL FAVOURITES

Lost Pippin and the Lamb Baa – Come along and enjoy estate grown prime lamb and own farmed grains with house made Pear and apple ciders and freshly made salad pairings.

Waji – He’s back! Waji serves huge and very popular platters groaning with Tassie seafood prepared in a variety of cooking styles and flavours.

Bertas Creamery and Milkbar – Berta’s Creamery & Milkbar with Valhalla has been showcasing Tasmania’s popular Valhalla Ice Cream at The Taste of Tasmania since 2011. Don’t miss these super popular ice-creams in specialty cones, served from 3 stall fronts on Castray.

Josef Chromy – Started at The Taste festival in 2006 and for 12 years have been showcasing their diverse variety of sparkling, red & white wines. This year, Josef Chromy are festival supporters of The Taste and can be found in the ‘The Atrium by Josef Chromy’.

Valle Nella Bocca – The team from Hobart’s much loved Italian Pantry teams up with local farmer and chef, Will Chapman and Lawrenny Distillery to make handmade filled pasta’s and anti-pasto platters inspired by the premium distilled products of Lawrenny estate.

DRINKS

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Seven Sheds
– In a Taste exclusive Seven Sheds will be releasing their Platypus 400 milestone brew, their 400th brew in 10+ years, made from locally grown hemp seeds.

Paradise Island x Brian Wine – Pick up a refreshing summer drink like no other, Beer wine, which is 51% beer blended with wine. A unique paring many won’t be able to pass up!

Spirit People – Well known for creating delicious bespoke cocktails at a range of events, Spirit People are releasing their first production of distilled products at The Taste, including schnapps made from Jerusalem artichokes!!

Winsome Spirits – Brian was a scientist at the CSIRO but now his ultimate goal is to create a series of unique absinthe’s that are based on the five rivers of the Greek underworld. Two absinthes made from herbs in his lower Longley garden and Tasmanian saffron will be available to try at The Taste.

Rukkus Fried Chicken – A local ethical fried chicken restaurant, this year Rukkus are adding a house made strawberry soda to their menu as they make their premiere at The Taste festival.

Tassie Can Bar: Showcasing all the small-batch, craft brews available across the state of Tasmania (and one cider!). Everything comes in a can, proudly brought to The Taste by T-bone brewing company.

EXOTIC AND RARE FARE
palawa kipli
– palawa kipli will be serving up Aboriginal inspired street food. One of their dishes (paruwi) will include crickets from local edible insect supplier Rebel Foods.

Paradise Island – Catch Paradise Island serving up a Caribbean themed menu using fermented and foraged foods and handmade fresh tortillas, fresh reggae beats blasting on the decks and wine on tap. A new business from a local team including Adam James from Rough Rice, Tassie’s fermenting guru.

Tassie Small Fruits – Supporting over 10 local growers with their stall, Small Tassie Fruits will offer up many varieties of small fruits people may never have seen including golden raspberries, gooseberries, tayberries and black currants, red currants and white currants (which are quite rare)

Provenance coffee – Travelling to The Taste from Launceston, make sure to stop by Provenance Coffee for one of their nitro brewed iced single origin roasted coffee, on tap.

Lauds – Lauds offer up plant based, dairy and lactose free cheeses. Lauds are also showcasing their range of dairy and lactose free cheeses in a variety of dishes. Think Mac ‘n’ cheese sticks, Tasmanian truffle and plant based cheese toastie. Foodies can also buy platters of their plant based cheeses.

For the best seat in the house The Taste of Tasmania offer reserved seating for visitors wanting a guaranteed seat amongst the action. With three, four hour long, sessions on offer each day, reserved seating costs $25 and is located in a prime waterfront location.

This year the Children’s and Families program takes place throughout the entire Taste Festival site and is humming with free activities for all the family. Move to the rhythm of the beat in cultural dance and drumming workshops, get physical with circus and acrobats, little ones create with art play and there’s fantasy face painting for all ages. For the active ones try your hand at cricket, tennis or soccer or jump into a Zorb ball, take part in bike and board demos and test your skills on the skate ramp.

There’s no need to run away with the circus, kids can just head to The Circus Drop Zone and learn circus skills daily. For something more hands off, kids can sit back and enjoy the acrobatic storytelling of Hazel Suitcase Circus or laugh out loud and be bewildered at The Little Big Adventure Stage with short snappy performances for the whole family.

For the trendsetters, Unicorn Manes will be providing free out of this world haircuts and styles for those young and young at heart, there’s no better way to end the year or begin the next then with a totally new do!

As the sun begins to set, settle in with the family for The Taste’s FREE twilight cinema. In honour of the Taste’s 30th birthday the twilight cinema will be showing some great classics from the 80s. Travel Back to the Future with Marty McFly and Doc Brown, escape to a fantastical world in The NeverEnding Story, phone home with E.T. wax on wax off with The Karate Kid, enjoy detention in The Breakfast Club or let Wesley and princess buttercup tell you a tale of love and adventure in The Princess Bride.

Every night of the Festival a headline performance from some of Australia’s best party bands play main-stage including: four times ARIA nominated powerhouse Mojo Juju, acclaimed indigenous vocalist Emma Donovan with rhythm combo The PutBacks, blazing funk-party band S.O.T, 10 piece latin explosion Son del Sur, the raucous New Orleans inspired Jazz Party and the most exciting new RnB artist in Australia, Kaiit.

In addition, there will be three special, never-to-be-repeated performances when The Taste present 1988, a wonder-band that fulfils all those 80’s hair, fashion and smash hit fantasies. Made especially as a love letter to 30 years of Taste, this glorious over-the-top tribute show, promises to surf the biggest FM radio waves that 1988 served up.

The program of free circus and street performances is set to dazzle minds and astound with a lineup of incredible artists set to rock The Taste. Gag hags will love Australia’s favourite comedic daredevil Ernesto The Magnifico whose addiction to danger will have them in stitches. For those with nerves of steel catch some of the hair raising shows by Extreme Bicycle Stunts or contortionist and sideshow extraordinaire Samora Squid and be amazed by one of the world’s elite street performers Shep Huntly.

Test out dance moves with the steam powered mobile nightclub-slash/time machine Gramophone Man playing all the best pre-WWII Shellac or witness the singing gentleman-adventurer and one man band extraordinaire ‘Uptown Brown’ and his “Goodtimes Gyratorscope”, a musical machine which permits an athletic fellow to play multiple instruments at once.

As night descends on the Waterfront, wander the streets trading secrets or jokes with the live comedic installation Talking Lamposts; catch some fire and flag twirling accompanied by the ancient Japanese rhythms of the Taiko Drum ensemble; or revel in wonder at the internationally-acclaimed dancer and 2014’s Miss Burlesque Australia, Zelia Rose, who returns to Australia after three hugely successful back-to-back American tours with headlining burlesque legend Dita Von Teese.

For an unforgettable New Year’s Eve experience make sure not to miss The Taste’s New Year’s Eve Speakeasy Ball – a special, once-in-a-lifetime event to celebrate the 30th birthday. As the Festival enters its thirties, revisit the world of the roaring twenties – an era iconic for its high-octane entertainment, carefree fun and wild parties – right in the heart of Hobart! The Speakeasy Ball is proud to present a line-up of dazzling performances, from top Aussie musicians, giant brass bands and bold burlesque!

The awe-inspiring night features a stellar ten-piece band, led by ARIA-winning composer and pianist, Barney McAll, with an incredible array of guest singers including: Tex Perkins (The Cruel Sea), Ella Hooper (Killing Heidi), Monique Brumby, Mojo Juju and Loretta Miller (Jazz Party).

The Taste of Tasmania is the not-to-be-missed summer event, where the culture of gourmet food and beverages converge with awe-inspiring activities, markets, movies, and music in one of Australia’s most breathtaking regions.

Joseph Lloyd
Photo Credit: Taste of Tasmania

Entry to The Taste of Tasmania is FREE, with premium events (including New Year’s Eve) being ticketed.

WHAT: The Taste of Tasmania
WHERE & WHEN: Friday 28 December 2018 – Thursday 3 January 2019
Princes Wharf, Hobart, TAS, 7000

Website: www.thetasteoftasmania.com.au Facebook: facebook.com/thetasteoftasmania Instagram: instagram.com/thetasteoftasmania

booking.com – Christmas in the Shire

Research conducted by Booking.com reveals half of Australians feel they’re missing out on a magical Christmas by living in Australia. More than a third saying we don’t have the same level of decorations ( ie. lights, tree and mistletoe) compared to other countries, which they feel creates a genuine Christmas atmosphere.

So, Booking.com is bringing the ultimate Christmas experience to you at North Cronulla Beach – a destination site representing the epitome of what an Australian summer Christmas is!

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Featuring a life-size ‘White Christmas Snow Globe’ with all the Christmas trimmings, including snow and a real Santa Claus inside, experience Cronulla Beach in a whole new way this festive season.

A white christmas is something out of the movies for us down under while the other side of the world rugs up fighting the cold, we’re soaking in those scorching rays!

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? On the beach, sand is glistening, thanks to Booking.com Sydney we’ll be walking in a Winter wonderland!

Joseph Lloyd, Freelance Writer
Photo Credit: booking.com

Date: Friday, 14 December
Time: 9am – 12pm
Where: North Cronulla Beach
Cost: Free of Charge

Get Fit for Summer

Christmas overeating’s a bummer, here’s a guide to your new body for Summer!

It’s that time of year again. You’re ready to change your ways, turn over a new leaf, and actually conquer your resolutions — yeah, never mind all that.   We’ve got the quick fixes to get you back on track allowing you to enjoy a guilt free Christmas!  You’ve jumped on the scales and you’re wondering how that extra zero got there, the buttons are popping off your favorite jeans you’ve got new cheek folds in those photos that you’ve just been tagged in from the annual work party do!   Getting back on track for Summer is not all that daunting!

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Where to begin? LAB TESTS DIRECT is a new Aussie owned product and service enabling you to take tests from the comfort of your own home.   Your fitness and training plan is taken to a granule level allowing you to identify specific genes that can tell you your capacity / ability to build muscle, how fast you recover from repetitive strain, your range of motion and ligament strength and how your body processes different food.  If you’re a serial dieter or fitness freak and you seem to keep coming across the same roadblocks in your progress and can’t figure out why, maybe it’s time to take the test?

Simply send in your swab samples from the home testing kit you order and access a full DNA Profile analyzing genetic markers that equip you with the knowledge you need to optimize your training regimen or take the Food Sensitivity and Adrenal Fatigue Tests*:

https://www.labtestsdirect.com.au/product-category/sports-fitness/

Ease into it, why put your body through the shock?   Sudden changes to your physical activity could be traumatic to your body, if you’re going to go in hard (which you shouldn’t), we’ve found the perfect tool called WAVEBLADE that’s all about preventative injury and offers relief to your post training recovery.

It works on a simple premise:  RELEASE (tight muscles and fascia), MOVE (enhance functional mobility), IMPROVE (training, performance and recovery time) .  The Waveblade is more than a foam roller,  it’s a versatile sports massage tool that accurately targets all areas of the body. Engineered for Athletes, Essential for all, the Waveblade is designed to help people Stay Mobile and Stay Active, so they can keep doing what they love.

“The Waveblade has allowed by body to recover faster and perform at my best every time.  It has been like my personal therapist on my competitive journey” says world pro-Surfer, Soli Bailey.   “It allows me to pinpoint specific areas of tightness rather than just global treatment” says former Waratahs & Wallabies player, Bernard Foley.  It’s also been endorsed by AFL legend, Adam Goodes and part of the therapies used by South Sydney Rabbitoh’s physiotherapist.

Release.  Move.  Improve  Right here*:

https://waveblade.co/product/waveblade/

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Let the experts to the calorie, macro and nutrient counts while you get a handle on things:

The great thing about MUSCLE MEALS DIRECT is not just the current UFC roster of Australian fighters using their meals as they prepare for UFC229 being hosted in Adelaide, but their easy choice of prepared meal configurations with the right calorie and macro count for you to choose in three categories: Weight Loss, Muscle Gains or Training & Fitness.  From Rob “Bobby Knuckles” Whittaker to Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski, like them, the pre-set meals can be easily adjusted according to your needs to boost protein, lower carbohydrates or increase fat.    Food rations sorted.  Set meals for the week sorted.  Food intake inline with training regime sorted.  Results?  Inevitable!

Choose from a selection of pre-configured plan of 12, 18, 24 or 30 meals:

https://www.musclemealsdirect.com.au/order-meals/

Go through those office drawers, car glove boxes and secret cookie jars and turf out all the junk.   NUTRITIONISTS IN A BOX put together monthly snack packs of bars, powders, nuts, drinks and more with their rotating range of brands (Musashi, Match Maiden, Nexba, Clean treats Factory, RAW C, Slim secrets,  CLIF Bar, Bondi Protein, Justine’s among many others).  It’s curated by a team of nutritionists with your medically recommended daily intake in mind.  Often, people will forget about all those healthy vitamins and minerals the body needs as they excessively shift their protein, fat and carbohydrate levels in pursuit of their new figure.

Choose from their function focused boxes or surprise your tastebuds with their Mystery Box. Find out https://www.nutritionistinabox.com.au/plans-pricing

Easy Treats & Health Boosts:  Molecular technologies have greatly advanced our understanding of the complexity and diversity of  gut (health or) microbial communities in individuals. New bodies of research are rippling through the fitness industry on the topic.   Diet, particularly macronutrients, play a major role in shaping the composition of these complex populations. Though long term effects of a high protein diet or high fat diet are less well defined, we do know your gut health composition is altered when making such extreme changes to your food intake.  This can affect the way you absorb nutrients, digest fibre, affect post training recovery and the strength of your immune system.  This in turn can predispose or trigger genetic or environmental influenced health conditions.  SET THE BAR has created a range of healthy snacks based on such research.  Their EnerGi bars are designed to replenish the probiotics imbalance from excessive changes to diet, are low GI, protecting you from sudden spikes in your glucose and improving digestion, providing a low carb alternative and prevent diabetes among other benefits. 

Stock up on these healthy treats here:*

https://www.setthebar.co/collections/energi-bio-bars

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YUMMEE GLUTEN FREE is a locally produced product.   A range of Peanut Butters enhanced with scents of Tumeric, Cashew & Chai, Almond, Matcha, Cinnamon have been created as a gluten free alternative and substitute for butter and other saturated fats you might what to strip from your diet.  Peanuts are jam packed with heart health and infectious disease fighting antioxidants, cell protecting Vitamin E and bone building magnesium.  They can be easily stirred into your marinades, smoothies giving that extra health boost to your meal.

Get the Power box here:*

https://www.yummeeglutenfree.com/gift-boxes/power-pack-box

Coconut Oil is said to temporarily increase metabolism and so why not try switching over those cooking oils and trying this healthy one?  Designed by My Kitchen Rules alum, Luke Hines, he has also developed a coconut based keto tonic. 

CocoLife:  https://thecocolife.com.au/order/

Supplementing your training:   How does one begin to navigated the modern day complexity of whey, soy, egg, milk, pea and hemp proteins?  What is good for you?   We suggest why for muscle building, something without BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) for weight loss.  Vegetarian, vegan, diabetes, kidney disease and gastrointestinal conditions would warrant non-milk, no-added sugar, low-range protein content and lactose sugar / sweetener or gluten based proteins respectively would generally be the right choice.

SUPPLEMENT WAREHOUSE delivers nationally and offers a price match guarantee.

https://www.supplementwarehouse.com.au/all/protein-powders.html

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A new mindset, a new lifestyle:  It’s nothing new is it, we’ve heard it churned out a million different times in a billion different ways, but it’s all about adopting a new mindset and sticking to your guns. One innovation that reflects this pop culture awareness in cleaner eating, leaner eating and leading a more active lifestyle is LEGACY TRAINING TOURS.  Many of us will finally get to enjoy that long awaited end of year holiday, but for many the cost of that is a dent to your training routine…  What if we told you there was a way to get the rest and relaxation you deserved, enjoy the sites of a new city, eating out and meeting new people without having to sacrifice the progress you have made?  Yes – it is true.  The ultimate holiday package where you can do those things except your tour guides… wait for it… ARE PERSONAL TRAINERS!   Do everything you do together in your tour group exploring the city after a morning session.   From Muay Thai in Thailand, outdoor beach training on Venice Beach, to Las Vegas – welcome to the new way to holiday!

Book your trip here:

https://legacytrainingtours.com/collections/tours

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And there you have it, our picks for the jump start you need to work towards the best you!  Cheers to new beginnings!

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Readers of The Where to are offered 10% OFF on all products as indicated* when using the promo code: “SNAP10%OFF” or mentioning in the notes when finalising orders at each shopping cart. 

Joseph Lloyd, contributor 

Central Restaurante @ Lima, Peru

There’s a reason why it’s in top 50 restaurants in the world. Especially top 10. Because it is downright amazing, that’s why.

Our reason for visiting Lima was so that we could stay overnight so we wouldnt miss our next flight out of Peru. Upon our journey through South America, it was bought to our attention that Lima was not just a stop over, it was a Gastronomy standout in South America with numerous restaurants featuring amongst the best in the world.

Whilst on a surf adventure in Northern Peru, we met a Spanish gent who worked in the mining industry and lived in the trendy Lima suburb of Barranco and discussed the dining options in Lima. Central was one of his recommendations, it turned out to be ranked the sixth best restaurant in the world. We did not have a booking and the last seating was at 1:30 pm, which was the time we arrived.

The restaurant pretty much had a welcoming committee, who thankfully advised that we were not too late to dine somewhere ons ite. The site housed two restaurants and a bar. One being the Vergilio Martìnez Véliz restaurant Central, the other a restaurant Kjoller created by his wife Pía and the bar called Mayo. We were politely advised the lunch was fully booked and opted for a seat at the bar to look at the menus of both Kjolle and Mayo. The cocktails on the drink menu sounded pretty inviting and whilst milling over what to eat, I thankfully decided on the ceviche at the bar. Thankfully because the Bass cevice, with clam, citrus juice roasted white onion chips happened to be best cevice we consumed on the whole trip. The cocktails were also amazing.

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The ceviche had arrived, and the waiter had obviously heard our strong desire to eat at Central, and advised that there was a cancellation and there was the possibility of us dining in Central. He disappeared for a short moment and returned with news that the stars had aligned. There was a fair amount of luck involved, but that is how we walked into one of the worlds top restaurants without a booking. We highly appreciate the staff member going out of his way to help us!

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We have already established the cocktails were good, the espresso martini was one of the better versions we have sipped on. They also had some cool beer on the menu, can’t say that I’d ever thought there would be a home brew on the menu at a fine dining restaurant. Anyway we don’t mind a beer, a pale ale is usually the beer of choice. The Blur home brew pale ale, was ordered. It had plenty of hop and a unique spice, a great pale ale.

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The ethos of Central and chef Véliz is to display local ingredients, the biodiversity of Peru and put each of the microclimates on a plate. We have been fortunate enough to dine at a number of fine dining restaurants,  including a few in the top restaurants list. Central is by far the best fine dining meal we have enjoyed to date. The 12 course dining menu was flawless. NOTE – there is a 17 course menu, but we only had time for the 12. This place amazingly reflecting Peru on a plate, with some out there and unusual ingredients and creative plating.

We outline the dishes below for your perusal:

1 A great start, the main ingredient was clam, the dish looked like little orange pillow sitting on a rock with flowers on top. This morsel exploded with citrus and clam once bitten into.

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2 Contrasting textures of Catctus fruit, root veg crisps and the urchin roe with citrus mousse. The texture and flavour of the urchin roe and citrus mousse was sheer decadence.

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3 Yellow mushrooms dish had a flavour that remined me of toast with butter. The black mushrooms were served on a sweet blackened cruton with pickled mushshroom, sour cream and chives, this dish had perfect balance of flavours and a great contrast to the yellow mushroom dish.

 

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4 The duck leg tartar was nicely spiced served with a citric cream, the knife skills were very impressive, the duck carved into minuscule cubes. Using Jungle potato to make bread which was grey in colour and serve with a cacao butter with cacao and a butter made with 3 types of jungle tomatoe.


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5 A refreshing dish of Pepino melon scallops, a creamy citrus ceviche, with mild melon flavour that had a nashi pear like texture. A great palate cleanser.

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6 The oco tumbo, made with a legume cheese. This dish was a bean dish that was gnocchi like and server with tranparent crisps. The dish had a nice sweetness and earthy flavour.

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7 Another light dish of avocado and river prawns that were very juicy and melt in your mouth, served with toasted black and orange corn, the savoury prawn broth providing a big hit of flavours.

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8 The pirahna dish! This was the scariest and coolest plating we have come across. The crisp pirahna skin with juka, extravagantly plated atop of 5 pirahna heads. Eat or be eaten.

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9 The Octopus had a sweet flavour and was very tender and served with sea lettuce that was prepared like kale chips

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10 Slow cooked baby goat with olluco, which had a subtle caramel flavour, the goat amazingly tender. The goat flavour infused in to every item in the dish.

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11, Mountain rain, choc clay, coca leaf granada and powder, gel, thick chocolate paste. As you can imagine this dessert nicely following on from the goat with rich, bold flavours and texture.

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12 A palate cleanser that is a medicinal plant drink, containing algae from a high altitude lake. This was very refreshing and a great end to the meal.

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This degustation is a perfectly orchestrated dining affair. Each dish compliments the next. This meal was a food journey through Peru in one sitting. Highly recommended if you are intending on visiting Lima. Make sure you book well in advance.

Central Restaurante

Avenida Pedro de Osma 301, Barranco, Lima 15063

Where to go in Buenos Aires

What an awesome city. It is picturesque, there are plenty of good sites to see, food is amazing and to top it off, it’s not expensive.

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We found it safe to walk around here, people are very friendly, but make sure you know some Spanish! It’s a big city so you can’t walk everywhere, so we used Uber a bit (more convenient than public transport for us).

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Where to stay 

Buenos Aires is about 45 Mins from EZE International airport and we recommend getting an Uber as they work out a lot cheaper than taxis.

In terms of areas to stay, Recoleta and Historico are both good and close to the main points of interest. San Telmo is also good for antiques and galleries. We chose Palermo as its for a younger crowd with lots of bars, restaurants and trendy boutiques. As you head closer to the Libatore av you will find plenty of cheap patisseries too.

There’s so many options of hotels to stay, get online and do you research as to what suits you the most.

Hotel First Palermo

This hotel has a great location in Palermo. We have been going budget and this was a good budget hotel with a pool and lifts! We appreciated the upgrade room – it was a large room with a television, a safe and a heater. Breakfast was also good, included breads, fruit, eggs and even dulce de Leche. The staff were outstanding and made so much effort to help, and organised football tickets for us and offered advice for food etc. But to be honest everything was great except it is incredibly loud on the street side. Mostly partygoers in the early hours of the morning.

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What to do 

Recoleta Cemetery tour

We decided to join the Recoleta cemetery tour with “Buenos Aires Free walks” to learn the stories of the people buried there such as Eva Peron. Our guide Victoria was superb, extremely passionate and knowledgeable and looked after the group well. We learnt lots of interesting information about the cemetery. Although this particular walk wasn’t “free”, $150 pesos is totally worth it.

We heard about stories such as “the girl who died twice”, “till death do us part” and the gravekeeper”. They were very interesting and made it better than simply walking around ourselves. If you do choose to go yourself, entry is free.

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They also have the free city centre tour and free Recoleta tour, as well as $200 peso tours to La Boca.

You can look them upon online at www.buenosairesfreewalks.com

Jardin Japones 

This is a  little Japanese Gardens in the heart of Argentina. Serene and calm. It’s 120 Peso to enter and have a look around.

Shops

We loved Buenos Aires for shopping, whilst there are a few large mainstream plazas, we recommend heading to Palermo Soho for more boutique style shopping, smaller designers, cool clothes and furniture. We enjoyed looking around here. There’s also some discount outlets.

** Tourist refund 

There’s plenty of advertising about getting your tax back on purchases at the airport. It’s a good idea if you can, just be very sure to do the following:

  1. Check that the shop facilitates this (usually a sticker on the shop window)
  2. Check all the labels on that the item is made in Argentina. The airport staff will check.
  3. Have your passport at time of purchase
  4. Ask for the tourist refund scheme form
  5. Have the form and goods to show at the airport before going through departure gates

La Boca

This is a cool place to visit for its colourful houses, street art, street performers (tango) and steakhouses. However people are hesitant because of the area and its perceived danger. Even Buenos Aires locals are wary of the area. BUT follow travel advice and you’ll feel absolutely safe. Yes the outskirts are rough. So, get a cab to Caminito street where the majority of colourful houses, artists and restaurants are. It’s a huge tourist spot and you will be absolutely fine, just don’t take valuables to prevent theft. This area is also home to the famous and successful La Boca Football team. See a match if it’s on (be sure to arrange a tour).

Futball 

When visiting another country, we are always looking at experienes that can be enjoyed that give an insight in to the local area and it’s people. In Argentina there are a few that come to mind, including Gaucho and soccer. They were both a bit pricy to do both and we love sport and had heard good things about going to the soccer in Argentina. We chose to go to the soccer. After reading reviews online, it seemed a little difficult and time consuming to arrange tickets yourself. We spoke to the concierge at our hotel who arranged tickets through an agent. The agent provides transport to and from the game and your entrance tickets. This experience is a little expensive, but worth is to immerse yourself in local culture.

To say the Argentineans are fanatic is an understatement, they are very extraordinarily passionate about this game. As such, it can even be considered a little dangerous to attend. There are measures in place to make attending a game safer, these measures include; home fans only (YES! no rival fans in the stadium), no alcohol is served within the stadium and there is also plenty of security and police to keep things in order. In Buenos Aires, there are two main teams: Boca Juniors and River plate, who have a fierce rivalry and stadiums that accommodate 60000 plus fans. Tickets are members only, with a seven year waitlist for membership. We went to a smaller game between Boca and smaller local team Argentinos Junior. The game was played at Maradonna stadium, which is named after the Argentine soccer legend. He also represented both clubs in his career. The stadium is basic, with cement step seating and no cover with the stadium accommodating 20000.

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The magnitude of how fanatic the supporters are is evident through the stadium set up, no plastic seats, fences with barbed wire separating sections of the crowd. It was a dreary wet night, but that didn’t dampen the spirit of the Argentinos fans, with rythmic drumming and passionate chanting continuous through out the game. The tunes so rythmic it could have been used as tango music, another Argentine tradition. It was an awesome atmosphere, with quality soccer from both sides. Boca was too good on the night, taking the game 1-0. It was also bizarre when Boca scored their goal and there was the sound of crickets, not one applause or cheer. Despite the rain and a Boca win, all fans stayed until the final whistle.

Going to a soccer in Buenos Aires is more than a game it their a passion. It was wonderful to experience the local culture and passion and it is a highly recommended activity.

Other

Some attractions we didn’t have time for but come thoroughly recommended include

  • Teatro Colon – a 7 storey landmark
  • El Zanjon de Granados – to see a tour of their tunnels and cisterns
  • The polo
  • Horse racing
  • Plaza de Mayo
  • Congresso Nacional
  • Plaza Dorrego – the city’s oldest plaza
  • Galerias Pacifico Shops – for shopping and beautiful ceilings
  • A visit inside Casa Rosa (pictured below). Be sure to buy tickets online.

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Where to eat and drink

Vinosfera Wine Gallery 

Lovely little wine gallery offering wine/cheese/chocolate tastings for 600. We had a glass of wine each and received great advice from the staff. He even gave me a complimentary taster. It was an enjoyable visit.

Lab Training Coffee 

Trendy little coffee store with a range of coffee styles and you can get your preferred milk style. No chemex on the day we visited. I personally found the coffee quite strong. Food and cake on sale too. Staff are efficient and nice.

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Felix Felicis and Co

A small coffee shop selling good milk based coffees as well as cold brew, plus a number of small baked goods. Staff were friendly and the cafe has a cool vibe.

Chori 

Chori is a takeaway style sandwich shop, serving chorizo sausages with various toppings. We tried the chorizo with aji sauce, caramelised onion, yoghurt, spinach and tomato on a fresh roll. It was a good burger. Although we didn’t have them, they have some cheesy vegetable sides too. The shop was pretty busy and they also sell alcohol and soft drinks.

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Pani

We couldn’t go by without a visit here. The desserts are phenomenal. Yes you might consume your daily intake of calories and need a wheelbarrow home, but we’re pretty sure it’s worth it. Amazing cheesecakes and everything dulce de Leche! We tried the dulce de Leche cake with Oreos. It took us two days to eat. Amazing. The cafe is styled in an antique / rustic decor and the staff were lovely.

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La Cabrera 

This is a famous Latin American steak house that is famous for a reason, they do really good steak. We visited both locations in Palermo. Be sure to keep an eye out for their happy hour each evening, which provides 40% off. We also recommend you book as by 8:30 people are lining up outside (but you get free snacks and champagne) so it’s not too bad at all. Don’t expect to leave this place hungry, to say the servings here are huge is an understatement. It is recommended that you share a steak, unless you are survivor hungry. The restaurant has a casual but upmarket feel, suitable for all including the niño (children). The waiters have character, making for an enjoyable experience.

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The restaurant provides you with a delicious bread basket, which is very common in Argentina, there is olive oil and basalmic on the table and they provide a meat dipping sauce. We visited a couple of times and it never disappointed. The 850g T-Bone was a massive piece of meat, nicely seasoned and perfectly cooked. Some theatrics included when the waiter busts out the carving knife. The steak had a thick layer of fat, but other than that, it was delicious. The rib eye was superb, also seasoned nicely and perfectly cooked. The steak also came with a large assortment of sides including carrot brûlée, mashed potatoes, ratatouille, mixed salad (with egg, bacon, dressings), mate foam, pickled vegetables, beans and cheese, confit garlic as well as apple sauce and chimichurri. We don’t recommend you need any sides. The wine is also quite nice, the 375ml bottle is perfect for one person. We couldn’t do dessert as we were so full! They also bring out a lollipop tree at the end, which is a nice touch.

Don Julio

Don Julio is an upmarket steakhouse with a classy feel to it. They had the best steak we had in South America, maybe ever. The service was slightly off when we visited, one of the waiters appeared to be sick with the flu and the sommelier wasn’t interested in discussing the wine (she seem more  interested in serving the most expensive wines to the rich people). As with most restaurants, the meal is provided with a nice selection of bread. To start, the grilled provolone was very nice, impossible to go wrong with hot cheese. For our meat dishes, we choose the beef ribs which were a tasty option, but the rib eye was out of this world. We could eat here everyday We really liked the cutlery, especially the steak knives, which are small gaucho knives. You can purchase these knives and they also come with a leather sheath, which makes for a nice souvenir.

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Casa Dulce De Leche 

We also did more research about places to eat which we didn’t get time for so maybe you could consider:

  • Scarlett cakes bakery for their chocolate torta
  • La Mezetta for their super cheesy pizza slices
  • Cafe Tortini – a historically famous cafe known for their Tango Sensation routines with dinner
  • Fabrica de Churros Olleros in the federal district for churros
  • La Panera Rosa – a huge pink cafe known for brunch and desserts

Overview

Buenos Aires has been one of most favourite places to visit and we’re sure you’ll love it too.

Incredible waterfalls @ Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu falls can be seen from the Brazilian side as well as the Argentinian side. We hear Brazil is good for the Panoramic shots, but Argentina for everything else. You can visit both if you desire. How can the falls be described: jaw-dropping, incredible, and unforgettable.

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The falls are 190m of cascading waterfalls, with power and depth. We had previously been to Niagara, but this is absolutely better.

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The falls are part of a broader national park, and UNESCO heritage site, which you pay 600 peso to enter (per day of visit). It is about 20 minutes from the airport and 30 minutes from the town of Puerto Iguazu.  You can organise a bus or taxi in, or tours. Guided tours are really not necessary if you read about the falls before your visit, and can read signs – you’ll be right. Within the park there’s a few trails to walk. Only one of them has stairs, so most of it is wheelchair and elderly friendly. You can also get a train to the climax of the falls, Devil’s throat.  The train leaves every 30 minutes and takes about 20 minutes travel (mainly because it is slow). From here you see the falls from above.

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You can do ecotourism tours and birdwatching or a guide if you simply want more information. Throughout the park there’s some fast food places and a restaurant to eat at, though we recommend having lunch at the Melia hotel within the park. It’s the same price and so much better.

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There’s plenty of flora and fauna to spot, we saw a crocodile, turtles, plenty of birds and coatis. Be careful the coatis can bite, just keep your food away and don’t annoy them and you’ll be fine.

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Make sure you pack your bug spray and hat, as well as a poncho or raincoat. It can get humid and sunny as well as rainy. It is a rainforest.

We visited overnight, arriving at 9:25 am. On this day we did one of trails and the boat ride. We could have easily fit everything else in too, but wanted to enjoy our hotel a bit too. On the following day we did another trail and the train trip and had lunch at the hotel as well as a masage at left at 6pm. It was completely do able to stay overnight only.

It’s 100% worth a visit.

What to do

Iguazu Jungle (boat trip)

We wanted to go on the boat ride because it takes you under the falls. We first began with a drive in a truck through the jungle (information provided in Spanish and English).

You then are given a waterproof bag and walk down some stairs (quite a lot) to the boat. Hop on the speedboat and it takes you on a trip through the rapids to both the Brazilian falls and Argentina Devils Throat falls.

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Getting up close makes for great photos. The driver then drives you straight into the falls. It is awesome fun and pretty crazy! We were warned you would get wet and thought we were prepared. We were covered full head to toe in a poncho. They give you a waterproof bag. Note you will get wet – very very wet! You may as well wear a bikini and thongs because you will get soaked right through. Totally worth every dollar you pay. Hold on tight to your phone and leave your cameras at home if they’re not waterproof.

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What else to do?

Some attractions we didn’t have time for but come thoroughly recommended include:

  • Guiro Oga – animal rehabilitation centre
  • Casa Ecologica de Botellas – house made of packaging
  • Museum tower
  • Mano Das Americas – point where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet

If you’re staying in Puerto Iguazu, some food options we read about include:

  • Feria – if you want some Brazilian food
  • Tatu Caretta – for Asado
  • La Misionera – empanadas
  • Maria Preta – dinner for steaks

Where to stay 

Most accomation options are in the town of Puerto Iguazu. You then need to get a bus, taxi or tour group into the falls. You then pay your 600 peso entry each time you enter the park (daily). The other option is the Melia hotel (old Sheraton) inside the park.

Melia Hotel 

We chose to stay here because it is the only hotel inside the park. This makes the trip to Iguazu easy because you pay your entrance fee and then you’re in the park. Elsewhere you pay everytime you want to enter.

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The lobby of the hotel has a view of the falls, as does your room if you choose a falls view. As the hotel is pricy, we selected the room facing the jungle. The hotel wasn’t very busy and they offered us to upgrade for $80 (most hotels just give you free upgrades in that instance). The hotel is then in walking distance of al the activities; train, bush walks and boat tour so it’s the perfect location.

The hotel has (and is) undergoing renovations. The lobby, dining hall and half the rooms have been completed. The renovations and styling really is beautiful, very country cottage/Hampton’s style and feels very stylish. The rooms look lovely too. The half of the hotel is being renovated but it isn’t disruptive at all.

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Big rooms and bathroom with a TV and desk. There’s a safe, mini bar and laundry service.

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The outdoor pool is being renovated but there is an indoor one (could be a bit warmer) and it would be good if they had a spa bath. There are massage, facial services at reasonable prices and they do a good massage. There’s also a huge bathroom with. Wet and dry Sauna and the area makes you feel so relaxed.

The gym is excellent – fully equipped with machines and weights, and a view of the falls.

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Staff here are lovely, particularly the bellboys who were so happy and eager to help.

The dining room was comfortable and the food here was excellent – for the same price as junk food in the park, you can get delicious fancy food here. Begins with a free bread basket with cheesy balls too. We ordered some lovely lemongrass prawns and grilled vegetables with hummus, as well as the amazing steak. Good wines and cocktails on the menu as well.

The buffet breakfast was outstanding, everything you can expect from a buffet and more. I was impressed to see oatmeal and egg whites for those in a health kick. There’s also Champagne to make brunch cocktails.

We loved this hotel and can’t fault it.

Overview

Iguazu is brilliant and should not be missed. Feel free to ask any questions you may have

 

Chicama – for a surfing holiday

If you’re heading to Chicama, the reason is for the surf. It has a famous point break and surfers flock from everywhere in search of the perfect wave. The town is an old remote fishing town with very little to do.

Walking around, you will see pueblo’s and brightly painted properties which is interesting artistically. There’s a few hostels and restaurants and a park but it feels like a pretty empty place.

 

The surfing 

 As you know Chicama is a long long sand bottom left point break, it is suitable for all levels. The sweep along the point is quite strong, you will want to have your paddle fitness at a decent level. This being said, it is not really a wave of consequence, except for the odd rock and the pier at the end, which you will be unlikely to get to. The vibe in the water is fun and relaxed, as there are plenty of waves for everyone, when there is swell, this break is a literal wave machine.

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There are a number of fun sections along the way, best not to fight the current and pick off waves down the point. The point itself has a super strong current that sorts the crowd out. 

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Next section is named las tittas which is distinctly recognised by a couple of fallen boulders, then there is the reef, with a steeper face for vertical turns and some barrel sections. Further toward the pier is another hollow fast section with some sharp rock, which we were told is a good wave on its day.

Chicama Boutique Hotel 

This area has a number of small hostels and the town has very little to do. So if you have a non surfing partner or simply want a bit of luxury during your non surfing hours, then this is the place for you. The hotel is a beautiful little beach apartment style rooms with a main dining area and central spaces like a gym, spa, sauna, jacuzzi and games room. The rooms have a huge bed, a balcony to watch the surf (be sure to select an ocean view), a big bathroom with fresh towels. They provide 2 water bottles each day and really good organic beauty products. The room was super comfortable.

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Surfboard room

The Board room is set up well to store a number of surfboards including short boards, long boards and stand up paddle boards. There are also padded saw horses in case you need to repair you surfboard. With Chicama being a cool water wave, a wetsuit is important and they have a drier on spin cycle to help your wetty dry quicker. 

 

Gear hire

From the resort you can hire wetsuits for USD$15 a day. You can also hire boards and the boards on stock are shaped by a local shaper and will suit the waves, they have some chunkier shortboards and longboards on offer.  They are perfect for the wave as it does not pack that much punch. The cost to hire a board is USD$30, which is a little pricey, but the boards are in great condition. 

There are plenty of places around town to hire boards, they are cheaper between S30 – S45. It tends to be a bit of a lucky dip and the boards are little banged up. We mainly hired our boards from The Surf House Hostal, the ladies running the joint were cool and they had an ok selection of boards.

Boat and boat crew 

There is always a solid current running at this surf break. The boat assist is a great option to help you maximise your wave count, especially when the waves are bigger. The crew running the boats are Del Mar and Steve who are champion guys. They will put you in the spot to catch plenty of waves and may even take you out to the cape. A chunky deep water wave, you’ll need some length on your board if it’s bigger.

Restaurant / Bar 

Breakfast is included in your stay, and it’s a great spread. Many types of bread, Jamon, queso, fruits, cereals and yoghurts. There’s also fresh juices. You are able to order one selection off the made to order menu – French toast, crepes or eggs. We had scrambled eggs daily and they were awesome. 

For lunch and dinner you can order off their ala carte menu. We found the prices to be rather expensive, but since there’s not a lot in town (expect the traditional almuzera lunches), you tend to just do it. The food is good; a great variety of salads, ceviche, fish and beef dishes as well as pastas and kids meals are available too. I think some smaller type snack food would be a good addition to crave the hunger bursts, like single empanadas or wraps or even sushi would be awesome. 

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We liked how they took care to make the dining room look fancier at dinner time. 

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The bar sells cocktails, juices and coffees. Cocktails are relatively pricy so be sure to buy them when it’s happy hour (6-10pm). The coffee is just a pod machine so unless you like that, just go for the free coffee.

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We appreciated that they had a hot water, tea and coffee station available for free all day, with regular supplies of biscuits to keep us full between meals. 

Water 

 Water isn’t drinkable so the hotel provides two small bottles each day in your room. You can also purchase a thermos bottle for $15 USD and have it refilled by their filter in an unlimited capacity.

It’s clear that they are keen about being environmental and sustainable, not only with this but with water usage, signage about not washing towels all the time and encouraging locals to collect rubbish in exchange for a coffee. 

Gym 

They have a basic gym downstairs with a set of weights, a few old step riders, 2 old bikes, press up and a boxing bag. They look like the got a set of cables as a recent acquisition which was great. There’s also some mats to use. It’s sufficient to get a routine in, but I would thoroughly recommend a new bike and a pair of boxing gloves to use on the boxing bag and maybe a good skipping rope. 

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Saunas/Jacuzzi

There’s a hot and wet sauna which has some nice aromatherapy scents in there, as well as an indoor and outdoor jacuzzi. These were great and the staff would turn up the temperature if you wanted it. 

Pool

There’s a large outdoor pool overlooking the ocean. It was a bit cold for us to make use of but it’s surrounded by deck chairs and in summer would be great. 

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Entertainment 

Upstairs there’s a pool table (with extraordinarily small ball pockets), table tennis, chess, fuse ball, a frog game ? 

Rooms don’t have tvs so there’s also a tv room with digital / cable tv. Plenty of magazines around the place too.

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In the bar they have a tv playing surf movies daily.

Music is a constant repeat of jazz at breakfast and Jack Johnson / Donovan Frankenteiter for the rest of the time. It makes for good ambience despite its repetition. 

You can also arrange massages in house – some of the best we’ve had on our trip.

Staff 

Manager Ralph does an excellent job, he showed us the full tour when we arrived. He speaks English which made our stay easier. He seemed to always be around when you needed him and he is a good addition to the staffing. 

Restaurant staff are excellent. They don’t speak English, but they understand our basic Spanish and are very efficient. Joi in the bar always remembered your name and regular order. They clear plates away quickly and always do a great job.  

The staff constantly seem to be working and the maintenance men are always busy, turning lights off if not in use, gardening, painting and cleaning so it constantly feels like they care about the place and want it to look it’s best.

Jorge, the security man, is a breath of fresh air. His outgoing personality made for a fun stay, every time we went out to surf. 

We loved our stay at Chicama and would recommend it to anyone who loves a good surf. 

 http://www.chicamaboutiquehotel.com/

 

Astrid y Gaston, Lima – Peru

We booked here upon reading about it on the Worlds Top 50 restaurants. We got a booking easily and opted for the ala carte menu. We appreciate that there is ala carte on offer and not just a tasting menu. This means the restaurant is financially more accessible.

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We arrived at the beautiful mansion that is the restaurant and made our way into the dining room where the chefs are at work.

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There are numerous rooms with big tables, large doors and nice art. The room we sat in also has some awesome upside down plants.

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We both ordered some good cocktails as the wines were a bit expensive and there weren’t many by the glass.

We began with a bread basket for one (which easily served us both). Being a connoisseur and lover of restaurant bread, this did not disappoint. The charcoal bread with fruits was flawless and the the savoury scone was delightful, just to name a few.

We ordered two small plates to share: the “tacos de chicarron de Limeno” which were two small quinoa tortillas with beans, sweet potato and aji peppers. The flavour on these was superb.

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The other dish was Dim Sum Cuy which was guinea pig dim sum cuy on beetroot buns with Chinese mushroom salsa, criolla and sweet and sour chifa vinaigrette. These also had really nice flavour combinations.

We were intent on ordering one of their special
Desserts so we decided to share a main meal.
We ordered the Tortellinis De Arracha which is quite possibly one of the nicest pastas we’ve ever had. It was Arracha (beef) filled tortellini with sage, tomatoes, pecans and an Andean cheese emulsion. We thoroughly recommend this. They also sell large meat based plates, fish and seafood and skillets to share. The Tasting menu is also a good option if you want a bit of everything in smaller versions.

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The piece de resistance was the chocolate dessert ball. A thin tempered chocolate ball, which, when cracked reveals a dessert full of beer ice cream, caramel and more surprises.
This was fantastic. It was huge and could easily feed 4 people.

Overall the food here was incredible and in particular the portion size is generous and and reasonably priced for such a fine establishment. We thoroughly suggest you pay this restaurant a visit.

Where to go in the Sacred Valley: Ollantaytambo, Peru

We were told this town in the sacred valley was interesting and worth a stop on the way back from Machu Picchu, so we opted to get the Peru Rail train there and stay a night.

When we hopped off the train from Machu Picchu, we were expecting to find a small
Archaeological town, which it is, but it is also a thriving little tourist village with cafes, bars and markets.

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The following day we secured a taxi back to Cusco, but you could book the train again the following day if you prefer. It’s much of a muchness in price. Since we had some other sites to visit on the return trip, this suited us.

Where to visit

El Albergue

Upon hopping off the train, we were met with a fabulous looking coffee shop, restaurant and hotel. A few questions later, and we found the had a farm and distillery too. The lovely Stephen showed us around. He was extremely enthusiastic about the brand and highly knowledgeable about everything on site.

Hotel

El Albergue has a hotel and although we didn’t stay here as it was out of our price range, we had a tour through and it’s a good high end option.

This is a property right at the train station with beautiful rustic styling, large rooms and it is built around a garden. With an attached vegetable farm and distillery (where they produce Cana Alta on site), it’s really a lovely place to stay.

Part of this complex is also a cafe: Cafe Mayu and a restaurant: El Albergue farm. You can also have a wonderful Pachamanca lunch for US$40 (we explain this in further detail later). This accomodation is considered to be expensive for the town, between $150-$200.

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They also support a school called Kuska on site to promote education amongst local children.

Mayu Torrefaccion and Cafe Mayu

The site has a workshop for roasters and we had the opportunity to see their roaster, beans and learn about their selection and roasting process. These beans are used at the Cafe and you can order your preferred coffee; an espresso, latte or Americano. The cafe also sells beers, wines, snacks and especially a delicious choc chip cookie!

Distillery Andina

The property also has a distillery on farm, producing Cana Alta. We had a tour to the distillery and learnt about their artisanal distilling methods and also tried a number of different Cana Alta Canazo flavours.

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Chuncho

This is not on site at El Albergue, but a sister store. It is located more in the main town of Olltaytambo, which is less than a km from the train station.

We were recommended to visit here for dinner since we were staying in the town, and we were encouraged with free drinks! Newly opened, their rustic styled restaurant is on the upstairs of the property overlooking the main square in Ollantaytambo. The atmosphere and ambience here is cool and casual and the staff made it a great experience. It is a bar and restaurant selling food based on native ingredients sourced from their farm and flavours from the area. The food offered changes based on the season. Drinks are inspired by the Cana Alta flavours.

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Food is designed to be shared, and using your hands to eat. We were recommended to share a banquet since it was generous portions. This was great advice since there was so much food!

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The banquet involved a number of tasty dishes to share, the food having a rustic style and plenty of flavour. The appetiser was some maize, salt and herbed sauces followed by an entree with potato crisps, cream cheese, potatoes and a tasty vegetable salad. Then came a mixture of nicely seasoned roasted meats including lamb and the local delicacy: cuy(guinea pig). With this was a few salads and quinoa pancakes. The banquet completed with a trio of Andean desserts such as a beetroot chocolate truffle, quinoa rice pudding and poached tomato. You will be so full by this point, you will need to channel your dessert stomach for this.

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The bartender/cocktail designer made some brilliant cocktails based around the Cana Alta including the “Quillabandida”: Cana Alta, pineapple syrup, passion fruit, Tahiti lime, garden mint and also their creative version of an old fashioned “Mosoq”: Cana Alta, house bitters, wild mushroom butters, brown sugar, aperitif and wild mushrooms.

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We were surprised to find a restaurant of this calibre in a small archaeological town and it made the visit even better.

Pachamanca lunch

The highlight of our El Albergue visit was the day on the farm where we experienced the traditional Pacahamanca lunch. It was $40 per person and and you learn about everything from farm to table.

The Patchamanca involved heating rocks using wood, once the rocks hit the right temperature, the marinated meats; lamb, chicken and pork are placed on top and with a hiss, the meat sizzles on contact with the rocks, then some potatoes, sweet potatoes and beans are added. This is then covered with a wet cloth and dirt to retain the heat, sealing the food with in a primitive oven. 15 minutes later the food is ready and the layers are removed to reveal a simple exquisite meal.

The meat served on a long table set nicely, in a serene setting, on the farm where many of the ingredients were source and with tranquil surrounds of the Andean snow covered mountains.

The meal delivered to the table in rustic earthenware, perfectly suited to the meal being served. The meal is served with a mixed salad of ingredients sourced literally meters away, simply not possible for it to be any fresher. Another tasty side of quinoa cheese and vegetables cooked in a sealed cast iron crockpot also provided a great dish. Then there were the inviting chunks of super tender meat served on the bone, very succulent with the skin charred and crisp. This cooking method instils a magnificent flavour to the meat. To wash this down, a jug of their refreshing house made beetroot cordial. It is also possible to order beer wine and spirits to accompany the meal.

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Where else to stay

Valle Inca

We chose this cheaper hostel style accomodation for our one night stay. Right in town, just off the main square. Check in was easy and a lovely staff work they. They were super eager to assist with anything. Room is a decent size, large bed with warm blankets, TV, charging ports and a cupboard. Hot shower and soap provided. We didn’t need it, but the room doesn’t have a heater. You need to climb stairs and they have a terrace where you can buy breakfast. It’s pretty quiet, though if street side, you hear the running water of the aqueducts. For $25 it’s a bargain.

Where to visit?

Archaeological site

You can enter this site at 130 peso as part of your 4 pass ticket if you purchased it with other sites in the sacred valley. However, it’s otherwise 70 peso entry. Your other option is to visit the free site, overlooking the city. It doesn’t give you as many ruins, but certainly a good option if you’re not spending as much time or money.

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Cerveceria Del Valle Segrado (Sacred Valley Brewery)

About 5 minutes out of Ollantaytambo, you can visit this brewery for a taste of some of their local brews. We tried a sampler of 5, but you can also try them all if you like. It was reasonably price and they also sell food. Unfortunately they were out of the pale ale when we visited.

We highly recommend a stopover to Ollantaytambo.