If you want to head to Peru with kids then it goes without saying that you’ll also be making your way to the breathtaking Incan city of Machu Picchu. I have some happy memories back when I trekked the Inca Trail (read here about the trek) for four days. The reward was watching the sun rise over this ancient citadel. Even now the memories make the hairs stand on the back of my neck. It was one of those ‘once-in-a-lifetime experiences’. But could I replicate it with my kids? I think so – especially after Victoria Westmacott from Far-Flung Lands did Machu Picchu with kids and made it look easy!
Machu Picchu With Kids
She shares her jam-packed trip to Peru with kids and the variety of activities she got up with her family and proves it really is possible to adventures with kids in tow…
What do you look for in a holiday?
I’m definitely more into outdoor adventure and sight-seeing than lying on a beach. I get very restless just sitting in the sun. I am a terrible cook so eating well is also a priority (for everyone!) when we’re on holiday.
Where did you go?
Peru with kids.
Myself, my husband and our two children aged 7 and 6 at the time.
Where did you stay?
I couldn’t have been happier with our choice of hotels, which was just as well because I spent months researching this trip! To kick off our holiday, we treated ourselves to three nights in The Sol y Luna Lodge & Spa in The Sacred Valley, which I now rank as one of my favourite hotels in the world.
We also discovered a wonderful mid-range hotel chain called Tierra Viva which has properties in many of the key tourist destinations in Peru including Machu Picchu and Cusco. I usually lean towards small hotels that can offer a more personal experience, even if that means compromising on child-friendly facilities (sorry kids).
Were there plenty of activities for the kids?
Tons! I don’t think we’ve ever had such a jam-packed itinerary on holiday. I had no idea there would be so much to see and do on the way to Machu Picchu. The Sacred Valley is full of archaeological wonders and we spent a lot of time exploring these. The children also enjoyed a visit to a weaving cooperative where they learnt about Peru’s textile traditions; a visit to Mario Testino’s MATE exhibition in Lima where they sniggered at photos of Giselle’s bottom; a ride on a Peruvian Paso horse – a unique breed to Peru known for its unusual gait; a tour of the Choco Museo where they learnt how chocolate is made from cacao beans and – their favourite activity – hugging every passing llama!
Your most memorable moment/s of the trip?
I want to say the moment we first saw Machu Picchu as it is quite the heart stopper but I do have one other memory that makes me smile every time I recall it: watching my son giggling as he petted a baby alpaca. It made him so deliriously happy. I guess it’s one of those mama moments that warm the cockles.
Was Peru with kids good value for money?
The Machu Picchu circuit isn’t a cheap holiday, particularly if you are travelling in comfort e.g. private car vs bus, mid-range – luxury hotels, train vs the Inca trail, but it was one of the most rewarding family holidays we’ve ever had, and certainly an unforgettable experience that will stay with us forever.
Your top tips for Machu Picchu with kids…
A lot of classic itineraries start the Machu Picchu circuit in Cusco (where the airport is) but at 3400m Cusco is very high (1000m higher than Machu Picchu) and altitude sickness can be an issue. After flying in, we headed directly to the Sacred Valley (2800m) where we spent a few days acclimatising first and saved our time in Cusco for the end of our trip. This worked out really well for us.
Which photo is your favourite and why?
I have a few snaps of the kids facing the camera in front of Machu Picchu but it was this one with their backs facing the camera that really stood out for me. I think it captures the awe they felt for this mysterious cloud-capped Wonder of the Modern World.