An Exceptional Active Family Trip Seeing Spectacular Peru
(Included meals as indicated in parentheses: B,L,D)
Arrive to Lima, former capital of the Spanish empire in the Americas. Your family will be met at the airport by an English speaking representative for transfer to your first class hotel in Miraflores, Lima’s main cultural and commercial district. This is a great area for strolling around and is home to many of Lima’s best restaurants. A less than 10 minute stroll down one of the city’s most vibrant streets takes you to the Malecon, Lima’s premier city park, which extends for almost 3 miles along the cliffs and includes playgrounds, bike paths, ocean views, sculptures, and restaurants serving up that renowned Peruvian food.
If you are interested and time permits, we can arrange activities the kids will enjoy, including a boat tour out to the nearby Palomino Islands, where there is abundant marine life (including penguins, sea lions and dolphins). We can also arrange a surfing class on the Pacific Ocean, a biking tour along the coast, and a visit to the Magic Water Circuit (a water and light show that is sure-fire family pleaser). Adjoining rooms are available at the hotel for your family’s convenience.
Fly over the Andes to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incan Empire. When you land in Cusco you will be met at the airport by a local representative who will transport your family into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a long fertile river valley surrounded by snowcapped peaks that lies between Cusco and Machu Picchu. For the next 4 nights you’ll come to know this colorful region in depth, with a wide range of activities that you can do at your family’s own pace.
On the way into the Valley you will stop at the Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary, a family-run organization that rescues and cares for injured or endangered animals, including the majestic Andean Condor, pumas, monkeys, and llamas… kids love it! Next you’ll have the chance to visit remarkable Incan sites and small towns near Pisac, where you’ll also stop for lunch. Your private guide will be there to help your family make the most of the entire experience. Family suites are available at the hotel.
Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L)
In the morning you set out for nearby Pachar. Here, you will scale a dramatic rock wall using a Via Ferrata, a system of embedded steps and handholds that creates a safe, established route with the use of harnesses. This activity requires no prior climbing experience and allows you to move through spectacular mountain scenery as you ascend over 980 feet. At the top you will enjoy a picnic lunch while taking in the sweeping views of the surrounding area. After lunch you will descend via a series of five ziplines totaling over 6,500 feet, flying you over and through the beauty of the Sacred Valley. In the afternoon you can visit and walk the streets of Ollantaytambo, one of the few towns to survive in its current layout from Incan times. In Ollantaytambo you’ll visit a local house to see how families in the area live. Kids will enjoy seeing their ever present guinea pigs!
(Please note: alternative options abound in the Sacred Valley, including day treks, rafting, horseback riding, visits to Incan ruins, and more.)
Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L)
Today you will explore lovely Piuray Lake, where preparations will be underway for a Pachamanca. This is a traditional way of cooking in the Andes, where an oven of hot stones is created in the ground and layers of vegetables, potatoes, meat, fruit, and corn are carefully wrapped and placed in the oven.
While your feast is cooking you will head out on the lake in kayaks or on stand-up paddle boards to take in your surroundings: lush green hills, farm terraces and forests, and snowcapped mountains. You will return to shore for your delicious and traditional lunch and the kids will get a hands on immersion in this most traditional of Andean culinary rituals. After lunch the day is free for relaxing on the lake, doing some more paddling, or exploring the area trails by hiking or biking. At night you will see the stars come out over the Sacred Valley as you settle into your camp and enjoy a campfire.
Camp at Piuray Outdoor Center (B,L,D)
Today you will continue your trip with one of the best one-day mountain biking trips you could find anywhere. Non-technical and almost all downhill, you start near the town of Chincheros and descend past the unique Incan site of Moray and the village of Maras, and finally past the ancient salt pans below Maras, to the valley floor. Not just for serious mountain-bikers, this is an accessible but still excellent mountain biking experience, visiting some off-the-beaten-path locations. (If your children are younger or you prefer a less strenuous biking option, you can also opt for an easy ride along the shores of the river.)
Afterwards, you’ll head to Tikapata, an innovative local primary school that draws students from very diverse backgrounds, from local indigenous children to the children of expatriates who have settled in the Valley. The school puts an emphasis on environmental awareness and is a great way for your kids to mingle with local children while enjoying lunch.
In the afternoon you will head to the Sacred Valley Honeybee Sanctuary and Project for Sustainable Beekeeping. Here, your family can don beekeeping suits and participate in a fascinating workshop on sustainable beekeeping, seeing the project’s 15+ hives up close and learning about conservation efforts to save threatened honeybee species.
Alternate activity: you also have the option of a morning horseback riding excursion through the Sacred Valley, with lunch at a local restaurant before visiting the bee sanctuary.
Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L)
Today you will start your 2 day/1 night trip to Machu Picchu. In the morning you will catch the train toward Machu Picchu, but will disembark at Kilometer 104, where you start your 5-6 hour hike to Machu Picchu along the last part of the Inca Trail (6-7 miles in total).
You hike upward at a gentle grade for a couple hours, passing the large Incan site of Winay Wayna. After about 2 more hours of hiking along the classic Inca Trail, you will find yourself at Intipunku, the Gate of the Sun, where your family will have a magnificent first view of Machu Picchu.
After descending to the ruins along the final stretch of the Inca Trail, you will catch a shuttle down to the town of Aguas Calientes for the night. Your hotel in Aguas Calientes is one of the most highly regarded in South America, and offers some of its own great activities, such as the Inkaterra Spectacled Bear Project, an effort designed to recover bears that have been negatively affected by human impact and reintroduce them into their natural habitat. Several of these extremely rare and endangered bears are on site and can be seen and appreciated by the kids. Family suites are available at the hotel.
Alternative activities: If you are interested in an easier going hiking option or taking out the hiking altogether, that’s no problem. Your family can also visit another site in the Sacred Valley this morning, or do a shorter hike (such as hiking to Purmamarca) and then take the scenic train all the way to Aguas Calientes. Rest assured we will customize the itinerary to match any family’s activity level and it can be adjusted along they way as desired!
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (B,L,D)
Today you will return to Machu Picchu with your guide to experience the site at your family’s own pace. If you take the earliest shuttle up to the site, you can be at Machu Picchu at dawn. If you prefer to sleep in, you can visit the Spectacled Bear Project in the morning and then head up to the ruins.
Adventurous kids also have the chance to hike with their parents up to the top of Huayna Picchu, the mountain that towers above Machu Picchu (about 2 hours roundtrip), or even down through the cloud forest a short distance to the Cave of the Moon.
After visiting the ruins, you will head to the train station for your afternoon train back to Cusco, where you’ll be dropped off at your hotel. Adjoining rooms are available at the hotel.
Today you’ll have a privately guided exploration of Cusco, making sure to go at a pace that works for your family. Your excursion includes a visit to Sacsahuaman, the massive Incan fortress on the hills above the city, where you enjoy views out over Cusco and the entire surrounding area and where there is space to run around. In the afternoon you will visit the ChocoMuseo for a fun (and tasty!) chocolate workshop, where your family can participate in making candy and taste some superb Andean chocolate sourced from the highest quality local cacao beans.
Cusco is another of the highlights of a trip to Peru, a fascinating city built on the foundations of the former Incan capital. Filled with lively markets and almost-daily parades and celebrations, the city has a vibrant atmosphere and many excellent restaurants.
Palacio del Inka (B)
In the morning your family will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight to Lima. Upon arrival to Lima you will have assistance at the airport in making your connecting flight home.
If you have extra time before your international flight, we can arrange a driver for your family so you can go out to eat and see some more of Lima before your flight. Another option we can arrange is to use the pool and spa at the adjoining (and very pleasant) airport hotel until your flight departs.
More time on the Inca Trail: See our Inca Trail to Machu Picchu itinerary for information about hiking the whole trail over several days. If your kids like to hike and you enjoy camping, there are few experiences that could be better with your family than hiking the entire classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. You carry only a daypack, the camp is set up for you, and great meals are served.
Contact us to learn about more options for designing and customizing the perfect trip for your family!