At the local supermarkets, I stocked up on dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate to bring on the Inca Trail. It’s imperative to stay not only hydrated to reduce the possibility of altitude sickness but to stay well-nourished too. Small markets and minimarts surround the central area of Cusco and are easy to find, such as Orion, a chain supermarket. Inside I was able to find gluten-free products and brands to snack on during my stay in Cusco.
My Inca Trail trek was a four day, three-night experience that culminated with exploring the historic site of Machu Picchu. There are numerous tour groups and companies that offer guided treks along this magnificent path, and I chose Alpaca Adventures. I had a close friend who took the same trek with the company and highly recommended Alpaca. Also, they focus on helping their porters and local Quechua families, and are extremely careful and cognizant of food allergies! I spoke to multiple representatives before my trek to ensure they understood my celiac diagnosis, and it turned out to be no issue at all. If you are planning to do a similar trek, make sure to speak to your tour guide and company about your food requirements to see if they can accommodate you safely.
Alpaca Expeditions and our guides, Jose and Filio, went above and beyond to ensure that everything offered to me was safe to eat. The chefs that accompany the hikers, porters, and guides on Alpaca Expeditions treks are specifically trained not only in high-quality cooking, but about dietary needs, allergens, and proper protocols. Everyone in our group commented that the food was one of the best aspects of the trek, along with meeting new friends from all over the world, experiencing the magnificent beauty of the mountains of Peru, and learning about Quechua culture.
I was overwhelmed with the amount of gluten-free food that was offered to me daily. For each meal, we had plates and plates of various foods and drinks. I received separate plates (for me only!) of gluten-free meals, including, eggs, bread, cookies, rice porridge, and fruit for breakfast, rice, vegetables, chicken, guacamole, corn, soup, sandwiches, and potatoes for lunch and dinner. Those are just a few of the meals we enjoyed on our four-day trek! Every afternoon we had a non-alcoholic happy hour with popcorn and tea. Coca tea quickly became one of our favorite drinks to help combat altitude sickness while also warming us at high elevations.