A fantastic base for exploration is Cuzco. This beautiful colonial city offers gorgeous churches, cobblestone streets and ancient Inca walls. The main square, the Plazas de Armas, is a fun atmosphere for children and features well-preserved historical buildings. The markets are also a must for any family while in Cuzco. Your kids will be overjoyed by the selection of vibrant weavings, jewelry, leather goods and knits made from llama and alpaca wool.
Some of the best-preserved Inca ruins are a stone’s throw away from Cuzco. Your children will love playing pretend in the grassy fields which are cut by massive stone walls in Sacsayhuaman. One of the biggest perks of family travel in Cuzco is that the majority of the main tourist attractions are located in a small area of the city, making them easy to journey between, which is especially important when with younger kids. Cuzco is also a short distance from the Scared Valley and one of the main attractions of any trip to Peru, Machu Picchu.
The awe-inspiring “lost city” of Machu Picchu is set on a high mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley. For younger children, we recommend taking the train, which is part of the fun. We find that kids love trying out new forms of transportation and the views during the journey are amazing. Your family will be treated to soaring green mountains and the rushing Urubamba River. For more adventurous families, go on a guided trek up to Machu Picchu, you won’t regret it. The whole family will love taking selfies with alpacas as the iconic Incan ruins provide the perfect backdrop, making for some seriously envy inducing photos.
And for a taste of local culture and Peruvian life as it used to be, the nearby Sacred Valley is home to small villages where locals walk around in colorful traditional dress and there are tons of manageable craft markets overflowing with souvenirs to peruse.
If after exploring Machu Picchu you've caught the adventure bug, then the Amazon is a perfect next stop. Easier to access than the Brazilian portion of the Amazon, the rainforest is an area of profound natural beauty and fantastic wildlife viewing. On nature hikes and walks, your family can spot snakes, toucans, butterflies, monkeys, turtles, lizards and brightly colored macaws.
Lake Titicaca is another great place for outdoor lovers. The world’s highest navigable lake is dotted with dozens of islands, including the famous man-made floating reed islands of the Uro Indians and Taquile. Your family can spend the day learning about these ancient communities and their expert weaving techniques, or spend the day exploring the area around the lake. Travel around the Chucuito Peninsula and Acora by bike or on foot, visiting local people, archeological sites and stunning natural lookouts.
If all of the outdoor adventure of Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and the Amazon has worn your family out, Lima is a perfect city break. Kids will enjoy the many parks like Parque del Amor, which provides lovely vistas overlooking the ocean, and they'll be mesmerized watching the fountains at Ciculto del Agua, where shooting streams of water are choreographed to music and light.
Lima is also a cultural and gastronomical highlight of Peru. There are many prestigious museums in the city, including the Larco Museum, which features the finest gold and silver collections from ancient Peru. And what kid wouldn’t love a trip to the ChocoMueseo? Your family can take a bean to bar workshop, where you’ll learn the ancient process of producing hand made chocolates. It’s a real treat. For the foodies in your family, delve into Lima’s incredible culinary scene. A local chef will take your family to the Surquillo Market and the San Isidro Fish Market to pick your fresh ingredients for the day. Then, you’ll head to his kitchen classroom to learn how to create an authentic Peruvian meal, and for the adults, mix the perfect pisco sour. Your family will undoubtedly have an unforgettable time in the City of Kings.