Cafe Ayllu is one of Cusco’s oldest and most traditional cafes. Ayllu first opened its doors in 1970 on Cusco’s main square or ‘Plaza de Armas’ by local couple Manuel and Zeila who lovingly tended to clients. Zeila made all the cakes and desserts herself and created a special atmosphere where each customer was treated with love building up a loyal clientele over the years. Fast forward 44 years to Calle Marques and Calle Almagros where their son Pericles now runs the family business.

The word ‘Ayllu’ means family or community in the local Quechua language and this is what the family have tried to preserve – a sense of family, community and tradition. Pericles tells me that most of the waiters have worked there for years and love it so much they don’t want to retire! The decor is simple and the menu consists of the famous house pastries (Try the delicious lengua de suegra and apple strudel pastries!), their famous pork sandwich and of course their coffee. The still use the same recipe developed over the years by Zeila to roast their coffee which involves orange peel, raw onion and sugar to get their particular house blend.

This cafe is a favourite with locals and at peak times (10 – 12 am and 4 – 6 pm) you will find the three locales packed with local Cusco residents in for a coffee and a chat. Don’t expect to find Italian espresso machines and fancy coffee menus here as this is old school, traditional Cusco at its best and is definitely worth a visit if you want a glimpse into local culture and a great coffee or snack to boot.

Best of Peru Travel Recommends:

  • To kick-start your morning try the traditional ‘Cusqueño’ breakfast – which includes a delicious (but heavy!) bread served with cream and hot chocolate.
  • House pastry favourites are the  famous ‘lengua de suegra’ pastries – a delicate pastry filled with ‘dulce de leche’ or caramel… Delicious!
  • Visit mid-morning or late afternoon to get a real feel for the local Cusco coffee culture.

Click here for more great cafes in Cusco