Exploring Peru with children or teenagers offers a noticeably different experience compared to traveling alone or as a couple. In this article, we will provide you with suggestions for planning an unforgettable family trip to Peru. This country is revealed as an exceptional destination for family trips, a decision that will be eternally appreciated by your children and parents.
Here we provide you with the most valuable recommendations about how to approach a trip to Peru in general, the most outstanding itineraries for your adventure in this wonderful country, so you can focus on packing without forgetting any necessary details.
Traveling in Peru with children or teenagers.
Is Peru a good destination to visit with children?
Many adults who dream of a trip to Peru ask themselves this question now that they are parents. Don’t worry, Peru is a great country to travel with children which will be a unique experience for all family members, whether young or old.
Peru is legendary, a GREAT destination for a family trip to South America. Peru offers a spectacular family vacation for all ages with beautiful nature, adventure, fascinating animals, friendly people, beautiful Inca archaeological sites, colorful markets and great food. So keep reading and get ready to travel through Peru with children or teenagers.
Benefits of traveling as a family
Few experiences match the fun of remembering a magnificent family vacation through photographs. Travel, with its many benefits, strengthens family ties and creates priceless memories. Immersing yourself in an adventure in a place as special as Peru gives rise to beautiful moments shared with the family. Dare to make indelible memories in this country that will last a lifetime.
Travel offers a range of benefits in terms of education, cultural awareness and future prospects for children. Those who have had the opportunity to travel develop a greater tolerance and respect for other cultures and people, as well as a willingness to explore the unknown. Additionally, traveling can boost open-minded children’s self-esteem, independence, confidence, adaptability, and interpersonal skills when interacting with other children. In this article, you will find valuable tips for exploring Peru with children and teenagers.
Peru with children: Book your excursions in Peru
Anticipating and booking your excursions, flights and accommodations in Peru is one of the best tips we can offer you. This applies, first of all, to the excursion or hike to Machu Picchu, which must be planned in advance. Likewise, it is advisable to ensure that other essential tours and accommodations, as well as main tickets, such as entrances to Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu, the Inca Trail and the train to Machu Picchu, are booked in advance. This precaution will save you a lot of time and energy that you can dedicate to enjoying the trip with your children and, of course, yourself.
Opting for a fun itinerary when you travel with your little ones or teenagers will be a source of satisfaction, as opposed to regretting not having planned more ahead. Plus, you’ll enjoy yourself much more if you’re relaxed and carefree, rather than wasting time searching and comparing tour prices on your phone with a poor internet connection.
Organizing hotels, excursions, flights and tickets will make your trip smoother and more pleasant. Some travel agencies, like Dos Manos Perú, usually offer discounts for children and students on excursions and hikes. Additionally, having a local contact is beneficial; In case of problems, having an agency’s WhatsApp emergency number will allow you to solve any problem, receive assistance and manage last-minute adjustments with ease. Of course, your agent is intimately familiar with Peru and will help you plot the best route for your family trip in this country.
When is the best time to visit Peru with children?
There is a lot to say about the climate in Peru, especially since Peru is such a varied country with different climate zones. In general, the best time to go to Peru is usually between April and October/November. Although it can be cold at night in the Andes, especially in May and June, the sky is usually clear blue and there is not much rain.
April is usually a beautiful month; everything is green after the rainy season (the rainy season in the Andes Mountains occurs from December to March). And the chance of rain is considerably less than in previous months. It is also less cold than in the following months (May, June). July and August are peak season months due to summer vacations in the US and Europe; As for the weather, these months are good. September and October are usually pleasant, less touristy, relatively dry and the weather is a bit spring-like.
Also choose the best months according to your destination within Peru. If, for example , you want to spend most of your time on the Peruvian coast during your trip to Peru, then choose summer (January/February); but this period is the rainy season in Cusco, Machu Picchu, Arequipa, Puno.
Peru with children: the best places to travel with children in Peru
What are the best places to visit in Peru with children? Below we have included the best destinations to travel with children. We also give you some tips on where to go and what to do in each destination in Peru. In general, Peruvians love children and people will welcome you anywhere in Peru. Peru can be considered a child-friendly country.
1) Cusco with Children
Cusco is one of the main tourist destinations in South America because it is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, textiles, luxurious dances and music, colorful festivals, culinary delights, engineering wonders. ancient and architectural styles. Cusco, Peru, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The ancient city of Cusco is situated in the southeastern part of Peru, located in the Andes Mountains at an impressive elevation of 3,400 meters (11,155 feet) above the sea level.
Cusco is surrounded by beautiful hills and extends into a river basin known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas. There are good cafes and restaurants within the town and a couple of museums with activities that children will enjoy. The city center is small; If your accommodation is in the center of Cusco, (almost) everything will be within walking distance.
The first stage of an exciting family adventure in Peru involves acclimatization to the high altitudes of the Peruvian Andes. If you experience the symptoms of altitude sickness in the highest regions, the best remedy is to consume plenty of water and rest. Adaptation takes time, so it is not advisable to plan an extensive hike or a full day of travel immediately after arriving in Cusco.
If you want more information on how to quickly acclimatize to altitude and avoid altitude sickness, we invite you to read our article dedicated to this topic.
Tours in Cusco with Children
Some see Cusco primarily as the starting point for a visit to Machu Picchu. Still, Cusco and the Sacred Valley have much more to offer, especially for families traveling with children!
- Take the City Tour in Cusco, or explore the city yourself. Don’t miss the Temple of the Sun, the great Cathedral and the nearby archaeological complexes.
- Even if you took the Cusco City Tour (and have already briefly visited Sacsayhuaman ), you can come back and spend a relaxing afternoon in Sacsayhuaman . It is a half hour walk from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco. Did you know that you can slide down some rock walls inside the ruins? Great fun for kids! They are the so-called rodaderos, in which the whole family can have fun.
- Stroll through the streets of the San Blas neighborhood, visit the small artisan shops and the picturesque cobblestone streets.
- Take a Day Tour to the Sacred Valley or go on your own. There is public transportation (or you can hire a taxi) to explore the picturesque towns of the Sacred Valley. You can visit traditional markets, have a picnic by the river and enjoy time together in this beautiful valley. Town to explore: Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Urubamba, Calca.
- If you visit Pisac independently, there are excellent walks to and from the Pisac ruins. The trail is well marked, but contains some challenges for younger children. First, you will pass through an Inca gate where you can spend as much time as you want exploring the ruins. After that, continue downhill to see the irrigation canals and enjoy the beautiful landscapes.
- Visit the Maras salt mines.
Fun activities for children and teenagers in Cusco:
- Volunteer in Cusco to help your children see the realities of the local population and make a positive impact.
- Join a Cusco cooking class with the whole family, or have the children do a cooking class for them.
- Visit some of the local markets. Take a break from tourism, visit the San Pedro Central Market or the Cusco market, mingle with the locals and try delicious fruit juices in the ‘juice section’.
- Join a chocolate workshop at the Chocolate Museum ( ChocoMuseo ) and learn how to make ‘bean to bar’ Peruvian chocolate. This hands-on display is always a hit with the kids.
- A one-day introduction to Spanish or a short Spanish immersion for children.
Travel to Machu Picchu with children
Cusco is the gateway to the Seventh Wonder of the New World, the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu. “Are there things to do in Machu Picchu for children?” “Is it safe to travel to Machu Picchu with children?”, “How to go to Machu Picchu?” These are just a few of the many questions you will have when planning your trip to Peru.
How to travel to Machu Picchu with children
First of all, Machu Picchu is an epic wonder that is interesting for all ages. If your children are 8 years old or older and are energetic lovers of the outdoors, we recommend considering an exciting hike to Machu Picchu, such as the Classic Inca Trail or the Inca Jungle Walk (Please note, for the Inca Jungle Walk , children must know how to ride a bicycle).
However, if you are traveling with younger children or if hiking is not your thing, a great and adventurous option is to opt for a train trip to Machu Picchu. It is advisable to take seats on the left side of the train to enjoy the best views of the changing landscapes, ranging from the majestic Andes to the lush jungle lands of higher altitudes.
There is no age restriction to visit Machu Picchu. However, since the Inca Citadel involves walking through terrain constructed entirely of hand-carved stone, with large steps and considerable distances, it is generally considered more suitable for children aged seven and up. It is important to note that children under 3 years old have free entry.
What to do in Machu Picchu?
Since 2019 it is no longer allowed to walk in Machu Picchu without a guide, so the guide will take you and show you the highlights of the citadel. First, of course, there is time for the classic family photo at the famous Puerta del Sol of Machu Picchu, at the entrance to the Urban Sector. One of the best things about Machu Picchu for children are the llamas and alpacas everywhere, grazing freely.
Important note: there are no bathrooms inside Machu Picchu
Drink enough water and make sure you (and the children) drink enough
It is not allowed to bring bags into the ruins; There is a place for you to store your things near the entrance.
Be sure to get the Machu Picchu stamp in your passport when you leave Machu Picchu. This is a fun souvenir for kids to show their friends at home.
Extra hike in Machu Picchu: visit Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain
Do you want to go the extra mile with your teenagers?
If you haven’t done enough hiking yet, there are some additional hikes you can do inside the Machu Picchu Sanctuary. The most popular is a hike to the top of Huayna Picchu. Although this is not a very long hike (approx. 45 min to the top), you cannot do the Huayna Picchu hike with small children (minimum age: 8 years). Even with other children (10+), we recommend that you evaluate whether your children are active, not afraid, etc. It will depend on how fit they are (and how well acclimatised) and whether they will enjoy the walk or not. The climb is steep, the steps are huge and there are dizzying drops on both sides of the trail. However, once up, the views are incredible. Tip: You should book Huayna Picchu tickets several months before your arrival in Peru.
Another alternative if you are interested in hiking with children is Machu Picchu mountain. This trail is longer than Huayna Picchu (3 hours round trip), but it is less steep. It takes you in the direction of Intipunku , the Puerta del Sol. Even so, it is not an easy walk.
Practical tips for traveling with children in Peru! Prepare for your family trip to Peru:
– Pack in advance
When packing for your trip, you should do it in advance and make lists so you don’t forget anything at the last minute. You can start gathering your clothes, toiletries, passports, airplane games, and other essentials to leave on time for your flight. Sit down with your family, especially if you have teenagers, and make individual lists so everyone can stay on track.
– Allow your older children to take photographs or keep a travel journal
A camera or notebook will help your children focus more on what they see around them, including people, landscapes, clothes, architecture, and beauty. A journal will help your children reflect on the day, what they liked, what they didn’t like, and how to process the new reality they are exposed to. A journal or photos will also help your children remember their travel memories in the future.
– Strategically plan your flight schedules
If you can get tickets for a red-eye flight that starts right at your child’s bedtime, he or she may sleep the entire flight. Letting your kids sleep when their bodies want to relax will make them happier when it’s time to fly and will make it easier for your kids to get on and off the plane.
– Always have snacks on hand.
Traveling with children can be a difficulty when it comes to food. Meal times will not be followed, children may not like Peruvian food and may have trouble finding a restaurant or their tour may be delayed. In all of those cases, snacks are an easy way to solve meal dilemmas.
– Pack extra sets of clothes and diapers.
You or your children may need additional clothing due to rain, accidents, food or drink spills or other liquids, or getting dirty. Always have extra clothes on hand and easy to access. You can also bring a zip-lock or plastic bag to store dirty clothes. You should also travel with extra diapers. Having a few extra diapers is better than having too few at the end of the day.
– Make sure you take extra time into account
Typically, when traveling with children, you need to double the amount of time it would take as a solo adult. Imagine tiny legs walking, bathroom breaks, unexpected naps, tying shoes, going through airport security, meltdowns, snack time, diaper changes, and food or drink spills.
– Explain the trip to your children
Give your kids an idea of where they’ll be going, how long, and what they’ll be doing.
– Remember that regular daily routines are suspended during the holidays
You and your family may suffer from jet lag, miss nap time, or your children may receive food differently than they did at home. Therefore, be sure to give yourself time to adapt, follow the customs of the place you visit, and be flexible. Remember that your standard household rules may not apply, since traveling is the definition of exploration outside of the ordinary routine. For example, your children may not need to go to the bathroom before leaving the hotel; They may not want to eat at the usual dinner time or go to sleep right at bedtime.
– Push your child’s limits
One of the benefits of traveling is experiencing and learning about a new culture. Help your children get out of their comfort zone, face their fears, try a new cuisine, walk a little more, listen to new music, play with local kids and challenge themselves. Of course, you should respect your child’s unique personality and interests.
– Schedule some free time in your itinerary
No child wants to visit many tourist sites or museums all day. As a parent, you should create a flexible schedule with time to play, read a book, explore freely, eat, rest, and go to the park, zoo, children’s museum, or events—especially for kids! When you are freely exploring the city, you may come across artwork, a musical performance, a parade, a beautiful viewpoint, some cute animals, or a street vendor with fun toys. Before you go on vacation, you can also do some research with your kids, create a rough itinerary, and have your kids fill in the blanks with what they want to see and do.
– Don’t lose track of your children
With all the hustle, bustle, and distractions of traveling, your kids have plenty of time to wander and get lost. So always make sure you know where your kids are (easier said than done). Attach your child’s contact information, including their name, email, phone numbers, and where they are staying.
– Research what documents you need before traveling
Some countries need not only a child’s passport, but also their birth certificates or travel permits from both parents so that the immigration office knows that you have the right to leave or enter the country with the children.
– Pack a medical kit
Be sure to pack essential medications for your family, such as medications for diarrhea, nausea or stomach upset, medications for colds, congestion, headaches and altitude sickness if you are traveling to high altitudes such as in Peru. Don’t forget alcohol wipes, bandages, anti-itch cream, and insect repellent.