5 Best Cultural Experiences in Peru For Kids

5 Best Cultural Experiences in Peru For Kids

From ancient civilizations to modern city life, adding a few cultural experiences in Peru is an amazing way to become immersed in this amazing destination and connect with the people that live here on a deeper level. This type of experience is an amazing way to teach kids about the world while giving them a fun, exciting adventure at the same time.

At one time, Peru was the home to the far-reaching Incan Empire; at another, a Spanish-ruled colony celebrated for its abundant resources. Today, the nation is at a beautiful crossroads of indigenous and Latin American communities. Tradition and modernity are woven together harmoniously, making it a wonderful destination for families who want an educational trip filled with exciting activities. The following cultural experiences in Peru are perfect for kids of all ages and would make an excellent addition to any family vacation.

1. Visit Arequipa To Learn About Peru’s Colonial History

Visit Arequipa To Learn About Peru’s Colonial History

Begin your visit to the historic center by visiting the Plaza de Armas of Arequipa.

Known as the White City thanks to the stunning volcanic stone used throughout the city’s architecture, Arequipa is a breathtaking destination with some amazing places to explore. The modern city was discovered in the 16th century, and before becoming a colonial city it was home to a pre-Incan tribe related to the Tiwanaku culture. Here, travelers can peel away the layers of history and culture the more they explore.

Start your Arequipa tour far in the past with an excursion to the nearby Sumbay Caves. Archeologists estimate that this cave was inhabited by the first hunter-gatherers in Colca approximately 5,000 years ago. Additionally, we can tell that settlers from the Paleolithic age had a connection to this cave, thanks to the art that dates back somewhere between 6,000 and 8,000 years ago. If you want to get a holistic understanding of Arequipa’s entire history, the caves would be an amazing place to begin the journey and learn about some of the very first settlers in the city.

Jumping a bit further into the future, get ready to explore the colonial architecture of Arequipa. Start in the historic center of the city by visiting Plaza de Armas. Arguably one of the most beautiful main squares in all of Peru, the impressive church is surrounded by ethereal white architecture that sits in the shadow of two imposing volcanoes on the horizon. Another must-see spot in Arequipa is the Santa Catalina Monastery. At one point, over 400 nuns lived in the monastery which was completely closed off from the public. Today, just about 20 nuns maintain the space and invite travelers to explore the inside of this walled city within a city, taking in the beauty of this peaceful sanctuary.

2. Discover Chinchero, A Town Frozen In Time

Discover Chinchero, A Town Frozen In Time

Immerse yourself in the local Chincheros community and learn about handcrafted Peruvian textiles.

One of the most unique cultural experiences in Peru is going off the beaten path and diving into the local community of Chinchero, located in the Cusco region. Known as the “birthplace of the rainbow,” this is a place where tradition is being kept alive thanks to the dedicated locals who are fighting to preserve their culture.

Visit one of the “awanas”, loosely translated to a workshop, and see the art of textile weaving unfold before your eyes. This ancestral practice of creating colorful, complex patterns is one that many travelers don’t witness in person. Often people purchase a Peruvian textile and don’t even know where the souvenir was made. But here, you and the kids can watch one of the women crafting their work by hand before purchasing a souvenir as a special memory.

Chinchero is also home to an Incan archeological site – the remains of the palace of Túpac Yupanqui. The unique trapezoidal niches form an impressive terrace that once protected the palace and are located right next to Chincehro’s main square. Around the archeological site, you can also see the remains of several enclosures and walls that kept Túpac Yupanqui’s palace secure up until the 16th century.

3. Add A Few Days Of Volunteer Work To Your Family Trip

Add A Few Days Of Volunteer Work To Your Family Trip

Experience volunteering in places like the Amazon to have a positive environmental impact.

Although it is a less typical addition to a family vacation, volunteer work is one of the best cultural experiences in Peru. Being able to contribute something physical to a local community is extremely beneficial, and allows kids to learn the importance of being a responsible, respectful traveler who is willing to leave a positive impact on the destination you are visiting.

Volunteer experiences are especially good for kids who are a bit older since they’ll be able to get their hands dirty and more deeply understand the value of this experience. There are many different types of programs to choose from depending on your kids’ interests and abilities. If your kids love architecture and physical work, join a construction project that works on building classrooms, homes, and even healthcare facilities in smaller Peruvian towns. Do some positive environmental work by helping with deforestation recovery in the Amazon. You can even find English-teaching programs to volunteer at, which would be great for young adults who want to be as hands-on as possible with the locals.

4. Visit During One Of Peru’s Festival Seasons For A Spectacular Showcase

Visit During One Of Peru’s Festival Seasons For A Spectacular Showcase

The Festival of Virgen de la Candelaria is held in Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

Arguably one of the most fun cultural experiences in Peru is attending one of the several different festivals that take place throughout the year. Huge celebrations like Inti Raymi or Virgen de la Candelaria are filled with opportunities to encounter authentic Peruvian culture. People from all over the country come out for these celebrations to observe traditional dances, music, theatrical performances, parades, and more!

Experience the largest celebration in Peru, Inti Raymi, when you visit in late June. This event honors the sun god recognized by the Incan culture and is definitely a bucket-list-worthy spectacle. Families interested in experiencing Inti Raymi should visit Cusco for the ultimate celebration. Over 800 performers participate in the ceremonies surrounding this event, featuring music, dance, dramatic showcases, and welcome the new Inca year with beautiful displays of Andean culture.

The Festival of Virgen de la Candelaria is a different type of Peruvian celebration held in Puno and brings folkloric traditions to life on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Thousands of musicians and dancers come together in traditional garments to honor the patron saint of Puno, “Mamacha”. It occurs every year in February and is an amazing place for travelers to be completely surrounded by indigenous culture.

5. Uncover The Amazonian City Of Chachapoyas

Uncover The Amazonian City Of Chachapoyas

Walk to the Gocta waterfall and learn about the myth of the beautiful mermaid.

Tucked away on the edge of the Peruvian Amazon is a city called Chachapoyas, a hidden gem that is often overlooked by travelers. Here, kids can discover the mystic archeological sites of this Amazonian region and add some adventure activities to their itinerary.

One of the can’t-miss destinations near the main town is Kuelap, a walled city that dates back to the 6th century A.D., and while nothing is quite like Machu Picchu, this site is often compared to that ancient citadel due to its unique architecture and stunning views of the canyon. Travelers can choose to hike to the site, or if you have some younger kids there is a new cable car that allows you to access the destination quite easily.

Another unique cultural experience is one that’s mainly focused on nature but sheds light on one of the ancient myths amongst the Chachapoyas people. Hike to Gocta Waterfall and learn about the myth of the beautiful mermaid who lives at the bottom of this humungous, freefalling water tower.

Any family excursion to South America will be filled with unforgettable adventures that teach you and your kids a little more about the communities that make up this diverse part of the world. Including some cultural experiences in Peru on your trip will allow kids to connect with communities they’ve never encountered, learn about history up close and personal, and gain a deeper appreciation for the world that surrounds them. Talk to one of our travel experts here at Kuoda and start planning your family getaway to Peru today.

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