Peru, a beautiful and mysterious country, can make a great setting for trip-of-a-lifetime family holidays with older kids, who are best equipped to deal with the long flight, jetlag and high altitude involved, especially in the high Andes, land of llamas and alpaca.
Things to do with kids in Peru
Don't miss Machu Picchu, which will enthrall adults and kids alike. These spectacular ruins with their incredible setting in the mountainous jungle are still shrouded in mystery – this was clearly an extremely important Inca settlement yet was overlooked by the Spaniards and not rediscovered until 1911. If your family is fit and can spare four days, you can get there along the breathtaking Inca Trail. Alternatively, take the train from Cusco (or Qusqo, South America’s longest-established city, inhabited permanently for more than 3000 years and well worth exploring, with great shops and cafés) to Aqua Calients and hike for a day.
Marvel at the Nazca Lines – another as yet unexplained phenomenon – from a light aircraft over the desert. Amidst hundreds of lines, some up to 19km long, you'll spot giant pictures of an ‘astronaut’, hummingbird, monkey, spider and other shapes. Again, though they were ‘drawn’ several hundred years ago, the lines were not rediscovered until the 1930s. The fact that you can’t truly appreciate them from the ground only adds to the mystery, as it’s reasonable to assume that their creators did not have access to light aircraft. Numerous existing theories (including that they were giant runways for spacecrafts) and perhaps one or two of your own will stir up debate among your family.
Discover Arequipa, Peru’s second city, also known as 'the White City' since almost all its buildings are in a white volcanic stone. This beautiful city enjoys a great year-round mild climate from being more than 2000m above sea level in the Peruvian desert.
Visit the Colca Canyon, the world’s deepest at 3000m, 3hrs north of Arequipa. Lovely in its own right, it’s most famous for being home to majestic giant condors.
Head for Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigated by large boats, at 3800m above sea level (bring sunblock).
Explore Lima, the capital, with an enchanting old town, a worthwhile gold museum and catacombs.
Head to Puerto Inca for sand and sea, plus penguin-viewing.
Take a Sacred Valley tour, visiting Sacsayhuaman Fort, browsing in Pisac markets and trekking to or from Pisac ruins.
Explore the ancient Moche capital Cerro Blanco with its Huaca de la Luna and Huaca del Sol - the remains of ancient adobe temples of the sun and moon.
Go white-water rafting, or consider extending your trip and travelling down to the Amazon jungle.
Macaws licking clay
Peruvian meals generally include rice or potatoes, chichen, pork, lamb, and fish, often accompanied by one of the different kinds of aji, or Peruvian hot pepper.
Costa Verde de Miraflores
When to go to Peru
Though Peru is in the southern hemisphere, it's also close to the Equator so variations in the seasons are not extreme. At or near sea level it can get hot, while in the mountains temperatures are mild during the day and drop considerably at night.
When planning family holidays in Peru, bear in mind that you need to spend at least 2–3wks here, partly because it's a long way and partly because there's so much to see, spread out across a large country.
Peru is not a place for inexpensive family holidays, with flights costing £400–700pp depending on the time of year.
An example of an escorted adventure price is £660pp for adults with a 20% discount for children up to and including 15, plus a ‘kitty’ contribution of US$510pp payable to the leader on arrival for all group activities and food on truck and in hotels.
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Flying time15.75hrs All flight times are based on flights from UK London airports, to the capital or nearest destination airport.
Carbon footprint11.95 CO2 Estimated tonnes of CO2 produced for return flights for a family of four.
Cruise on the Amazon River
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Huaca de la Luna
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