Family Holidays to Peru
It’s half term in many parts of the country now and I’m sure many parents will be taking a holiday with their children. As a passionate travel professional and a native of Latin America ensuring my daughter received as much experience discovering the delights of other cultures was always high on my list. She is 17 now and studying hard for her exams so we haven’t had a faraway holiday for a couple of years. The one I would like to write about today is a trip back to Peru when she was just 8 years old. Although we had travelled many times with her back to visit my parents in Lima, I felt like this was the right time to introduce her first hand to some of the cultural icons of our country. This blog will run through the top 5 suggestions for a family holiday to Peru.
Firstly, Lima as I mentioned is a city that I had visiting many times with my daughter. If you are arriving from the UK this is most likely your first entry point. Its child-friendly personality make this one of the easiest capital destinations on the continent. The Peruvian culture, in general, is family orientated and if you are a traveller from any part of the world the people will often delight in engaging in conversation with you and your children. This vibrant colonial style city situated on the Pacific coast has a multitude of activities for kids of all age.
Miraflores, a residential district of Lima is the perfect place to stay for families. Full of shops and restaurants and not far from the Magical Water Circuit where the children and parents alike will be wowed by the evening water and colour show. For the older children, the Huaca Pucllana ruins may also be of interest. For visitors, adult or children, Lima will never fail to draw you into its delights.
Approximately 4 hours by bus South of Lima lies the Paracas National Reserve and beach, a spectacular bay where you can include a visit to the Ballestas Islands. Accessible by boat and visited by an array of water wildlife such as sea lions and Humboldt penguins, this is a real treat for the kids. Stay at one of our favourite hotels in the area such as the Hotel Paracas Luxury Collection
It’s always best to check with us the ideal time to visit Paracas or other alternatives for a beach option in the north
There are only 2 ways to reach Machu Picchu, one is hiking the famous Inca trail for 4 days and another by train, taking us on a spectacular journey through the Andean foothills. Naturally, with my daughter being small at the time I opted for the second route and this was the part she enjoyed the most. I had more than a twinge of disappointment at the time that she was not interested in the impressive ruins of Machu Picchu, now one of the 7 New Wonders of the World but in retrospect I understand how she found the history lecture of the Incas and the citadel boring compared to some of the other sensations that the country had to offer. I was hoping that a connection would be forged between her and her culture there at Machu Picchu, in the way it was always reignited with me on my journeys back.
Whether or not your child has a persuasion for the ancient Incas or not you cannot leave Peru without visiting this region and what may be lost at the ruins is always more than made up for at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel with plunge pools, remarkable cuisine and that countrywide Peruvian hospitality. The hotel also has beautiful gardens with hummingbirds and additional trails (just in case you haven’t walked enough). I took the Orchid Trail with my daughter which plays host to the largest private collection of orchids worldwide and we even took a peek at Paddington, the extremely rare South American Spectacled Bear.
The Sacred Valley
We arrived at the Sacred Valley, with me feeling ever so slightly deflated from the reaction to Machu Picchu. The valley has been considered a place of spiritual restoration since ancient times and this was certainly the case with my daughter. Within moments of seeing the local Andean women dying the wool in the valley she was transfixed and here was that connection that I was so desperate to see between her and our culture. It was not at the ruins of Machu Picchu, as it was with me time and time again but in the sacred valley where she was able to feel a sense of belonging and togetherness with Peru. Mesmerised by all she saw, the bright hats and colours of the Andean Women, their pens of guinea pigs and their ways of cooking and living, this was undoubtedly her highlight.
At one of the most beautiful hotels in the Sacred Valley, a lodge called Sol y Luna we watched the Andean horses, the Caballos de Paso on one of their daily shows. Once again, my daughter was drawn into the sights and sounds; happy and content she couldn’t take her eyes off the animals and this was truly the place of her connection.
The Amazon Basin
Although we didn’t take the trip on the Amazon on this journey this option is hugely popular with families that book with me for Peru. If your children are wildlife fans then a journey into the Amazon jungle, through the waterways or the Amazon canopy will be an unforgettable holiday. Stay at one of the many beautiful eco-lodges along the way.
The Amazon is a true frontier, wild, untamed and mysterious yet accessible to tourists. Full of exotic and brightly coloured animals and insects of a seemingly limitless variety, the tropical rain forest is loved by kids and adults alike. Filling an area larger than Western Europe the Amazon basin is called by some the “lungs of the planet.”
Northern Peru: The Pacific Coast
And finally, a wonderful add on to the end of any Peruvian journey is some time spent at the beach with the children. Just to re-iterate that Peru is one of the most child-friendly holiday destinations in all of the world and family’s are welcome with open arms and warm hearts. I’ve already mentioned the coastal city of Lima but in the far north of the country. If you managed to catch last weeks’ blog about the Top 7 Beach Holidays in Latin America you would have seen Mancora on the list.
For some parental relaxation and tranquillity to more active options for the whole family, such as swimming, horse riding or surfing, this is a fabulous location to visit. With a gentle northern culture and more than a dose of ceviche (the Peruvian national dish), this is a fabulous destination.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog about family travels through Peru. If you are considering a family holiday to Peru or anywhere in Latin America please get in touch to see how Tambo Travel could help you.