On May 30, the southern Peruvian city of Cusco becomes all about the “Papas”; the potatoes. With more than 3,200
different types of potatoes, Peru is for sure the destination for potato lovers. With its diversity and numbers of the
potatoes, it is so easy for Peru to be called the number one potato country in the world.
In the Cusco area alone, you will find around 1200 species of potatoes and that is more than we can have in a single
country. During “Día de la Papa,” various parades and festivities take place and of course all activities have to do with
Peru’s pride; the potatoes.
Peru is the most important potato supplier in South America. You can find the potatoes in all textures, colors and sizes.
Potato has played a very important role in both Peruvian gastronomy and export industries for centuries and that is a
reason Peruvians have created “Día de la Papa” to honer the Peruvian potatoes. In addition to various festivities, Inca
Rail offers travelers the opportunity to visit a number of local potato farms in Cusco area where you can explore the
diversity of potatoes in the region.
A park full of potatoes: Potato Park
In the Sacred Valley, near the former Inca capital Cusco, there is a park called “Potato Park.” Although the word park
normally reminds us a fenced limited small area, this park gives you a total different view of it. The communities
established a protected area of 12,000 hectares to the agrobiodiversity of the region. That region is in fact where potatoes
originally came from and where the deep-rooted local food systems of the Quechua population were taken care of.
Including the residents of the six indigenous farming villages you find in the park, biologists and agricultural engineers are
working to protect and improve local food production. Additionally the park aims to promote rural tourism, too. Not only
potatoes, but other indigenous crops from the Andes, such as Olluco, beans, corn, Quinoa, wheat, Mashua and Oca are
also produced in the park. Get to know the existence of Peruvian farmers in the Andes and learn about their traditions,
culture, knowledge and their lives of solidarity with nature. Fans of agriculture, food, culture and nature all will find Potato
Park the right destination.
Potato starring in Peruvian gastronomy
Peru won the World Travel Award for “Best culinary destination in the world” for six consecutive years and that is of
course not without a reason. The fact potato plays an enormous role in this gastronomic recognition is probably not very
surprising after knowing the history of it in Peru. In the highlands in particular, one cannot imagine a dish without beloved
potatoes. A number of potato dishes you should not miss during your visit to this culinary paradise are “Papas a la
Huancaína (boiled yellow potatoes with a spicy cheese sauce and lettuce)”, “Carapulcra Chinchana (Peruvian potato
stew)”, “Guiso de Pollo y Papa (chicken and potatoes)”, “Papa Rellena (deep-fried stuffed potato)” and “Causa Limeña
(yellow potatoes, a paste of yellow chili pepper, corn, tuna, boiled egg and black pepper)”. It’ll be so much fun trying out
as many potato dishes as possible during your stay in Peru!