Summer and winter breaks are a great time to unwind for families, but many parents struggle to balance pool time with the kids on vacation with activities that keep kids mentally acute in the weeks or months they’re not in school. While your dream vacation to Peru is sure to be filled with an epic adventure, delicious food, and unforgettable memories with the family – Kuoda wants to make sure your kids are making the most out of their experience and learning about the culture, landscapes, and wildlife found in the Andes, Amazon and other regions of the country that make a family trip to Peru such a unique and educational experience. Our expert travel curators are here to provide tips to make the most out of a family-friendly itinerary for your family trip to Peru with these, and more, custom experiences that can be added to your tailor-made itinerary:
1. Go Museum Hopping in Lima
With favorites like Basílica y Convento de San Francisco de Lima, ChocoMuseo, Larco Museum, and more, get ready to discover a world beyond textbooks and learn first-hand about the fascinating culture and history of Peru.
A few of the kid-friendly museums in the city include:
– Parque de la Imaginación
The Parque de la Imaginación (Park of the Imagination) is an interactive space where children can learn more about science and technology, in an immersive way. The various interactive exhibits allow children to explore such things as the principles of electricity and mechanics, experiment with sound and light, and learn about the human body and the world of water.
– Basílica y Convento de San Francisco de Lima
Although it might be a bit scary for younger children, the catacombs beneath the San Francisco Monastery (Basílica y Convento de San Francisco de Lima) are a truly fascinating place to visit with older kids. Located in the Historic Center of Lima at Plazuela San Francisco, these extensive catacombs are the final resting place for over 25,000 bodies, neatly organized to form geometric patterns. The catacombs were used for burial up until 1808—when the city cemetery outside Lima was built—and were rediscovered in 1943. Visitors can also explore the extensive library of the cathedral, which features over 25,000 volumes of texts dating back to the 15th century.
Lima is a city for the senses and a visit to the Choco Museo lets kids get a taste. Though the museum is more of a chocolate shop, there is an educational component if you take the time to read through the displays or sign up for a chocolate-making workshop!
Popular with kids is the 45-minute “Make your own mini chocolate bar” class where visitors can learn about the history of chocolate in Peru and sign up to make their own chocolate bars from scratch.
– Museo Larco
Think the kids won’t enjoy a trip to an art museum? Think again. The Museo Larco in Lima represents a great archeological collection of ancient Peru, including gold and jewelry treasures as well as pottery. The museum is situated in an 18th-century mansion surrounded by lush gardens with plenty of space for kids to explore and roam around. The museum offers programs specially designed for families with children from 3 to 12 years old: interactive activities, challenges, and games that everyone in your family will love!
2. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the City of Cusco
Cusco should undoubtedly be on any family’s list for a family vacation to Peru – the city is steeped in a rich and complex history and is crawling with fascinating museums, gorgeous churches and palaces, and Incan ruins. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and has plenty to do for kids.
Visit one of the many churches and learn about the Spanish invasion or travel back thousands of years in time and learn about how the city represented the geographical and spiritual center of the Inca empire. Meet one of the hundreds of textile and pottery makers in the region who come from generations of craftsmen, or take the kids to a cooking class to try their hand at making Pachamanca, a hot stone Peruvian dish that has been eaten for centuries. Take the kids to one of the city’s many Spanish schools to help them brush up on some words that they can teach their friends after the end of their vacation. The possibilities in Cusco are endless.
Today you can explore this city and enjoy the best of both worlds: the Spanish architecture that is present in the city as well as the ancient monuments and historic value of this place that once was one of the most important cities for the Inca civilization.
3. Learn about the Incan Empire at Machu Picchu
Visiting Machu Picchu is undoubtedly the highlight of any family vacation to Peru. The Incan citadel in the Andes mountains was brought to worldwide fame by Hiram Bingham in 1911, who coined it to be the Lost City of the Incas. The site has over 150 structures divided into farming areas, residences, royal sites, and sacred zones. It was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 1993. In 2007 it was voted 1 of the 7 new wonders of the world.
Visiting the citadel of Machu Picchu may seem like a great pursuit, but it’s incredibly manageable for kids of all ages, as well as parents with babies in a carrier. With paved pathways, the citadel itself is a historic site with limited hiking needed.
In addition to petting and feeding alpacas, learning about Incan history, and running around the wide open spaces of the site, on-site guides are trained to point out the aspects of the site that are most interesting to kids, making it an immersive learning experience they will love.
4. Discover The Culture of the Uros People in Lake Titicaca
One excellent reason to take a family tour to Peru is the enriching cultural experiences you and your children will receive learning about cultures other than your own. Travel gives us the opportunity to learn and grow by getting to know the world around us. When kids get to meet new people and see what life looks like in other communities, they learn how to embrace the world around them with confidence!
These cultural experiences also allow you and your family to give back to local communities while traveling. When you visit the indigenous community living on top of Lake Titicaca, you directly impact the lives of those who live there for good, while helping preserve an irreplaceable culture.
The Uros Floating Islands are certainly one of the most alluring reasons to visit Lake Titicaca. For over 500 years, the Uros people have built islands out of totora reeds, creating a community that provided a safe home. Today, travelers can visit the Uros people and learn about their customs and daily life. When you take a tour of the Uros Floating Islands, your financial contribution goes directly to the indigenous community and allows them to maintain their customs!
5. Visit Pisac Market and Ruins
The market in the quaint town of Pisac has become so popular that it is now held daily. The market is a wonderful opportunity for kids to see local Peruvian market culture as well as learn about the varieties of potatoes, maize, and local produce that is grown in the region. The market also has a wide selection of souvenirs made by hand by artisans. Kids will love all of the colors, sights, and aromas from the market in a sensory experience sure to please everyone in the family. After visiting the market, next on the agenda is visiting Pisac ruins – The Pisac ruins are among Peru’s most extensive archeological sites in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Located on the long crest of a nearly 10,000 ft. high mountain overlooking the Southern end of the Urubamba Valley or Sacred Valley, Pisac is just 20 kilometers Northeast of Cusco. Despite the altitude, this is a fairly easy ruin to visit with kids.
6. Discover unique plants and wildlife in the Amazon Rainforest
If you have nature lovers in your family, there is no place more magical than the Amazon Rainforest.
Exploring this diverse biological wonder is a true bucket list experience, but knowing where to go with kids can be tricky. Luckily, the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is a family-friendly spot that’s impeccable in terms of biodiversity. This reserve is the second largest in Peru, home to over one thousand animal species and hundreds of wild fauna including pink river dolphins, red-faced spider monkeys, jaguars, caimans, white egrets, and more. During a tour of the reserve, children and parents are bound to be in awe of the unique life forms that have evolved in the Amazonian climate!
Beyond Pacaya Samiria, kids will also love Tambopata. Deep in the Madre de Dios region, this oasis introduces travelers to the wild side of nature with vibrant colors, sounds, and unusual creatures roaming about. The biodiversity of Tambopata makes it an exceptional destination for nature lovers looking to get up close with strange species. Parrots and macaws sing from the treetops, while black caimans and giant otters swim around in Amazonian lakes.
7. Experience the mystery of the Nazca Lines
Does the thought of getting in a propeller plane with the little ones scare you? Don’t let it! Visiting the Nazca lines is one of the most enriching and incredible experiences for older kids (ages 8+) to experience in Peru. Nazca is one of Peru’s many treasures. A small town home to an amazing thousand-year-old civilization, it is very well known for the giant lines drawn on the sand that were created approximately between 500 BCE and 500 CE. These geoglyphs expand in an area of around 75,358.47 hectares. The whole length of all the lines is around 808 miles long. When geologists first discovered the Nazca lines, many people believed that they were designed by aliens! Nowadays, scientists agree that aliens had nothing to do with the mysterious Nazca lines, as we now know that the Nazca people created them thousands of years ago. The speculation and history make for a fun history lesson for the kids, and one unforgettable plane ride for the family.
Some families prefer to spend their vacations simply unwinding, while others crave activity and adventure. If you are looking to do more than just relax or sightsee on your next vacation, consider adding an educational component to your trip to enhance your children’s experience of a destination. This will not only foster curiosity about different people and places, but your kids may end up learning a thing or two about the world around them that they would have not learned otherwise in school. Peru is the perfect destination to explore, learn and provide children with an educational experience, and a bucket list vacation. Contact us today at Kuoda to start planning the trip of a lifetime for your family.
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