From Motherhood to Machu Picchu: How To Navigate Family Travel To South America

From Motherhood to Machu Picchu_ How To Navigate Family Travel To South America

From spending time with your partner to caring for your little ones, one of the greatest joys in life is the ability to make memories together, and what better way to make them than family travel to South America? Imagine spending a sunset overlooking a volcano with your partner, or watching the joy on their face as your little one gets up close and personal for the first time with a rare blue-footed boobie in the Galapagos Islands. Moments like this are what fuel us, and with seemingly infinite choices on where to travel nowadays, choosing a local experience curator can truly make a difference in your travels with a personalized itinerary tailored towards family travel to South America.

In order to get a better perspective of what family travel entails for both first-time and seasoned travelers, we spoke to a longtime Kuoda guest, Lianne Zarazoga. Having traveled to three different countries with us – Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador – she gladly shared with us her experiences traveling throughout South America, first with her husband, and then with their newly welcomed little one – enjoying personalized service and experiences beyond merely beach days and museums.

If your family is eager to look into planning a memorable family vacation, reach out to Kuoda and read on to learn firsthand about the best way to enjoy family travel to South America.

A Romantic Getaway To Bolivia and Peru

A Romantic Getaway To Bolivia and Peru

Couple in front of the citadel of Machu Picchu after having longed to visit it for years.

Lianne’s curiosity around South America started with the otherworldly salt flats of Salar De Uyuni which she had seen all over social media. Looking for a travel company that specialized in private experiences that allowed her to go at her own pace and comfort, she contacted Kuoda for this journey, telling us all about her and her partner Kevin’s dreams of travel. In March 2020, they took off to Bolivia on an epic couples’ journey to the world’s largest salt flat, enjoying an intimate sunset dinner in Salar De Uyuni, which Lianne considers one of her most cherished memories while traveling.

“We loved everything about it. It was romantic, adventurous, and unforgettable,” she said.

Coming back to South America for a second time in July 2021, Lianne and Kevin had their eyes set on Peru, initially seeking to get a glimpse of Machu Picchu, but later becoming completely awe-struck at the beauty and richness of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. One of her favorite memories of her trip, and of South America as a whole, was hiking through the Sacred Valley on their custom tour and seeing the long-awaited gates of Machu Picchu for the first time after longing to visit for years.

“There is nothing like walking up to the sun gate and seeing Machu Picchu for the first time after a long day of hiking,” Lianne said.

Like many looking to visit South America, its Incan history, towering Andes mountains, and jaw-dropping greenery called Lianne to Machu Picchu. She confessed that was caught off guard when discovering that the region offered more than just awe-inspiring views of the citadel of Machu Picchu. She fell in love with the Andean culture and towns in the Sacred Valley, from Ollantaytambo and Pisac, as well as traditional villages, vibrant markets, and Quechua culture – she found that the region had so much more than carefully curated Instagram reels or professionally taken guidebook photos, making the trip one to remember.

Baby on board to The Galapagos Islands

Baby on board to The Galapagos Islands

On the way to see wildlife in the Galapagos Islands

In late 2022, Lianne and Kevin welcomed a tiny addition to their family. It wasn’t long before she began thinking of what new experiences they could have as a trio. Imagining their baby interacting with exotic local animals first-hand excited the two, as they reached out to Kuoda once again, this time for their first international trip to Galapagos Islands in Ecuador with a baby on board.

“It was our first time traveling together as a family of three and we really wanted a place where my baby would be able to experience wildlife,” she said. “He absolutely loved it.”

In anticipation of her big trip, Lianne had many hesitations when it came to traveling as a new mom. Everything from flights and airport transfers to meals, accommodations, and more had to be taken into account now that the little one had arrived, and the two knew their travel experience would be much different from their first South American adventure to Bolivia as a couple.

“We did not know what to expect, it’s our first child and he was six months old. However, I figured if I was going to travel, there was no other way to do it than with Kuoda.”

Starting in the city of Quito and later departing for the Galapagos, Lianne and her family set off for what would be the trip of a lifetime.

“Seeing all of the animals up close in the Galapagos was such a unique experience”, Lianne said. “It’s so hard to find that anywhere else in the world and it was just unforgettable. We had so much peace of mind with having a trustworthy driver and guide, as well as a team ready to help us with any special requests or needs.”

Though the thought of traveling with a six-month-old to a new country can be daunting for some, Lianne reassures mothers that it’s not impossible with a travel planner who keeps mothers in mind and a customized itinerary that accounts for all of the little stops along the way needed for both mother and baby.

“The whole experience was amazing,” she says. “They (Kuoda) catered to our needs, making sure all of the experiences were feasible with the baby, but still showing us all that each place had to offer.”

From feedings to diaper changes – sightseeing with a baby proved less of a challenge when you’ve got the support you need. A chance to create meaningful and authentic experiences while keeping her routine with the baby went hand in hand with Lianne during her trip.

“The flexibility we had with a private guide was invaluable traveling with a baby,” she said. “I breastfeed and the guide stopped any time I needed to do that or change diapers. I breastfed in churches, volcanoes, and even small planes. This is definitely something that would have been very difficult in a group tour.”

Family travel doesn’t have to mean skipping out on the exclusive and indulging experiences of traveling in comfort. Even with a baby in mind, sitting down for a splendid meal or sunbathing by the pool overlooking the ocean was an experience in itself.

“The hotels recommended by Kuoda are always top notch and the food is always incredible,” she said.

A Custom-Tailored Adventure, Every Time

A Custom-Tailored Adventure, Every Time

A romantic moment captured at sunset in the Salt Flats of Uyuni, Bolivia.

As adventure-seekers, new parents, and wildlife enthusiasts – Lianne’s number one recommendation to fellow travelers is to choose a travel company that caters to your highly personalized needs. Whether you’re traveling with toddlers or teens, looking for adventure or culture – invest in a tour agency that invests in you. Be open about what really moves each member of your party, so that your itinerary is custom to you, your needs, and your destination of choice.

“Every country is so unique and we fully enjoyed and loved our time there,” Lianne said. “Kuoda made a world of difference. I worked closely with our planner and they always include everything I want to see plus additional experiences that I would have never known about planning on my own.”

As for future travels, Lianne isn’t quite done with South America yet. She plans to return again next year, this time setting her sights on an even more adventurous family vacation.

“We’re planning on going to Argentina and Patagonia next year with Kuoda – we can’t wait. We love their itineraries, and the attention to detail – we just feel so well taken care of and so safe,” Lianne said.

 “We wouldn’t travel to South America any other way, we just wish we could travel all over the world with Kuoda.”

Reach out to Kuoda if you’re planning to embark on your own family adventure to South America.

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