Upon the suggestion of a well informed traveler (from the exotic lands of California) that we had met at our hostel, we went to eat guinea pig – or cuy as it referred to in Peru. We had to fill our stomachs with nourishment before the debaucheries of New Year's Eve began. We were surprisingly open-minded considering our dining fiascos in Miraflores but we were not disappointed.
The presentation of guinea pig in Peru is the part you have to get over as it's served fully resembling the once happy little creature filled with wonder and excitement about the wild Peruvian world from whence it came. But once you peel back the fried skin and stick your fork a chunk of meat you get over it. It's slightly difficult to navigate through the small amount of sustenance hiding within the carcass but when you get it the flavor is excellent. Well seasoned and served with a side of potatoes and corn, it was a unique way to start the night!
As for the countdown to midnight, the place to ring in the New Year in Peru is Plaza de Armas in Cusco – which is coincidentally exactly where we found ourselves on Dec 31st. The reason we happened to be there was simply logistical as we were making our way to Machu Picchu and planned to arrive there from Cusco. But after a little online research and speaking with a few locals we discovered that we were in for a memorable celebration!
Our first foreign faux pas was having nothing yellow to wear for the night. In Peru they wear yellow on New Year's Eve believing that it brings good luck for the year to come. Yellow underwear especially. Having left all our yellow thongs behind, we had to make to with some quick purchases of yellow leis and yellow 2013 glasses to fit in.
We joined the masses filling the open spaces of the Cusco Plaza de Armas for the celebration. There was a stage with live music, fireworks being set off in questionable spots and bottles of beer being sold amongst the party goers. It was packed with tourists and locals alike and therefore a great place to meet travelers from all over the world while you look forward to all the new experiences the following year will bring – even though it'll inevitably start with that familiar hangover.
Scroll through photos of Cusco here!