There’s a hotel right next to the entrance of the Machu Picchu archaeological site called the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge. It’s the only hotel that’s actually on top of the mountain, not a bus ride away, and is therefore very expensive. We stayed in the town of Aguas Calientes below but our tour package did include a buffet lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge’s Tinkuy Buffet. We went to the buffet after the guided portion of our tour. Since we had been walking around the ruins all morning and into the early afternoon, we were starving and pretty happy that we didn’t have to go too far to get lunch.
The restaurant is huge, which is good because it was really busy but there were still plenty of tables. The buffet itself, however, isn’t really that extensive. There were two sides to the buffet but both seemed to be serving mostly the same thing, with maybe just a slight variation on side dishes.
We nabbed a table next to a window and Josh watched our stuff while I got on one of the lines. There were salad items in the front so I picked out a few things to try first. There were beets, which I always love, pasta salad, caprese salad, fish ceviche, and roast beef. While the pasta salad and roast beef were pretty standard, the ceviche was surprisingly delicious, especially for a buffet. It was light and refreshing, with a nice acidic brightness. It may not have been as sophisticated as some of the ceviches we had at Alfresco but I enjoyed it a lot, even going back for seconds. The caprese salad was good too, even though it wasn’t made with fresh mozzarella, but there was plenty of fresh basil pesto on top.
For the main entrees, there was osso buco and roasted chicken. The osso buco was tender but a bit fatty, and the sauce was kind of bland. The chicken was a much better dish – moist, tender, and flavorful. We ate it with rice and some roasted potatoes on the side.
There were a few more salad options, and oddly enough, spaghetti with meat sauce, but that was basically the extent of the buffet. There was dessert too but we weren’t in the mood. While the food wasn’t bad overall, it wasn’t that great. The Tinkuy Buffet is definitely a convenient option, but I’m not sure it’s worth it. The cost is about US$35 per person, which is pretty steep. It does include unlimited soda though, which was a bonus. We were really thirsty from all of the walking so we definitely took advantage of the soda fountain. If it comes as part of your tour package, that’s great, you’ll enjoy it, but I don’t think you should go out of your way to eat there.
If you plan on spending the day at Machu Picchu, I suggest packing a light snack to tide you over until you go back down to the town where prices are more reasonable and the food is better. They say you can’t bring food or drinks into the archaeological site but that wasn’t really true. No one checked our bags, and you definitely need tons of water to get through the day. We saw lots of people just sitting down on some rocks and having a snack. The scenery is unmatched. Obviously just don’t litter, and whatever garbage you end up with you have to take back out with you because there are no garbage cans anywhere. We ended up eating some pound cake at the top of Huayna Picchu the next day and it was one of the best experiences of our lives. While the buffet was forgettable, that view definitely was not.
Tinkuy Buffet at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge
Machu Picchu, Peru