Paddy’s Irish Pub: Cusco, Peru

Paddy’s Irish Pub: Cusco, Peru
By Neil Conway

I was able to check off an item on my Bucket List a couple of years ago. At first, my plan was just to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Machu Picchu. However, as I started to become more serious with this venture, I found a number of experiences in my research that were just too good to pass up. That, coupled with other Bucket List items around the world I wanted to pursue, I knew the likelihood of my returning to Peru was not very high.

What started out as a quick visit to Machu Picchu became an eight-day journey. This included a few days for altitude acclimation after touching down in Cusco (11, 152 feet above sea level), a four-day, 42km hike up the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, passing through Dead Woman’s Pass at 13,828 feet, and a visit to various sites throughout the Sacred Valley.

There is an old Irish saying about “Saving the Best for Last,” and if it isn’t an old Irish saying, well, it should be! I found that there is one other way to be on the top of the world; it was a stop on my last day in Peru, to Paddy’s Irish Pub (11,156 feet above sea level), which is the world’s highest 100% Irish owned pub, and probably the closest one to Heaven too!

The Highest Pub in Ireland
As part of a previous visit to Ireland, I made a trek to Johnnie Fox’s, so I could have some bragging rights back home in the states about having been to the highest pub in Ireland. Now, however, I’ve found that there might be a pub (The Ponderosa Pub) that’s even higher, so another trip there might be needed.

But I digress. As I climbed the steps up to Paddy’s Irish Pub, every step took me further away from my experiences and physical presence in Peru, and closer to the feeling that I was about to enter a pub somewhere in the Emerald Isle. The sign at the top of the stairs was welcoming and comforting, but as I turned the corner into Paddy’s, I knew, I just knew.

Everywhere I looked in the pub, from the décor to the Jamieson’s on the shelf just whispered and shouted “Sláinte!” There was no doubt. I was in Ireland. A little distance of 6,007 miles from Cusco to Dublin was easy, in my mind, to overcome.

The Winter Solstice of the Sun (Inti Raymi) in June was a few days away (their Winter is our Summer and vice versa), so despite the cool weather, Cusco and the surrounding areas were busier than usual with tourists. To add to the midday, bar enthusiast interests, a live FIFA World Cup Match with Argentina vs France was on all of the televisions; Paddy’s was especially crowded and with a European flavor. I was somewhat disheartened as I entered the bar, but, an Irish Blessing occurred, a place opened at the bar and I was able to stake my claim.

What to order?  Well … that was easy … Guinness, Meat and Potatoes (which were actually a Hamburger and Fries) and, of course another Guinness. There is something to be said for having a Guinness “buzz” at this altitude, so I think I stopped at having two beers; I think …

This was my last day in Peru and I was still feeling somewhat exhausted from the strenuousness of the hike. The experience at Paddy’s Irish Pub was worth the wait, and the icing on the cake for my trip.

I brought home a poster (20”h x 14”w) from Paddy’s Irish Pub in Cusco; if anyone is interested in having it for their Man Cave, Pub or whatever, please let me know. We’ll make arrangements to get it over to you.

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