A Guide to Family Vacations in Peru
Nestled in the heart of South America lies the diverse and captivating Peru. From Inca ruins and epic rainforests to enchanting coastal towns, Peru is a world-class location that’s perfect for the whole family.
Embark on an exquisite journey through Peru, where ancient ruins, breathtaking landscapes, and unique cultural experiences converge to create the vacation of a lifetime. Thanks to its almost limitless opportunity for discovery and exhilarating adventure, Peru is a stand-out vacation destination for families with children of all ages. That’s not to mention its abundance of intriguing and culturally eye-opening places to visit that further cement a trip to Peru as the ideal family vacation.
Is Peru Good for Families?
Boasting a large number of fascinating ancient ruins, mighty natural wonders, and first-class accommodations, Peru provides the perfect backdrop for a truly unforgettable luxury family getaway. One of the main reasons Peru is a good choice for families is its eclectic mix of interesting cities and historical sites which offer endless opportunities for learning through new experiences.
Cusco is home to gorgeous churches, cobblestone streets, and ancient Inca walls, perfect for spending an afternoon unearthing hidden gems. The Plazas de Armas (main square) has a lively atmosphere and well-preserved historical buildings, and kids will love visiting Cusco's markets, where local traders sell vibrant weavings, leather goods, and knits made from llama and alpaca wool. Cusco's charming attractions make this striking colonial city a stand-out stop on your family vacation to Peru.
Lake Titicaca is perfect for curious minds, with its plethora of man-made floating islands, and boating opportunities. Children of all ages will love spending the day learning about the ancient communities of the lake's famous islands and visiting local people, archaeological sites, and stunning natural lookouts along the way.
The capital city of Lima is a cultural and gastronomical highlight of Peru. With many prestigious museums, greenery-filled parks, and theatrical fountains, along with a mouth-watering culinary scene, you won’t regret a moment spent here.
When it comes to that once-in-a-lifetime experience you can share as a family though, a visit to Machu Picchu is a must when visiting Peru. Just a short journey from Cusco, Machu Picchu is reachable by train (best for kids) or multi-day hikes (perfect for those with teens and older).
Head to the sprawling Amazon rainforest for family-friendly nature hikes, where you can spot all kinds of wildlife, from snakes, monkeys, and turtles to butterflies, toucans, and brightly colored macaws.
For those traveling with young children, our travel specialist, Julie Norton shares her words of wisdom.
"While visiting Peru with young ones can be a little tricky due to all the travel distances and high altitude, there are still lots of fun things for little ones to get involved in, for example, the chocolate making and textile weaving experience in Cusco; the resort-like Tambo del Inka in Sacred Valley that has a kids room with pool tables, board games, and video games; and the magic water light shows in Lima."
Can You Go to Machu Picchu with Kids?
Machu Picchu is one of Peru’s top attractions, though with its large steps and steep slopes, you might be wondering if it’s safe to take your children with you. The good news is, depending on the age of your children, you can still incorporate Machu Picchu into your family vacation to Peru.
Set on a dramatic mountain ridge high above the Urubamba Valley, the spellbinding ‘lost city’ of Machu Picchu is known across the globe for its Incan ruins. What it delivers in cultural fascination is matched only by its sense of adventure and the power of its natural beauty, not to mention the thrill of getting up close with llamas and alpacas!
Please be aware that you must go to Machu Picchu with a guide and secure a permit before visiting - don’t worry though, our travel specialists will help with this.
Before planning your excursion, there are a few essential points to consider, depending on the age and needs of your child:
- Machu Picchu is open to everyone but ideally suited for ages seven and above as there are many large stone steps to climb up and lots of walking involved. There are trails, however, that suit those with lower mobility and in turn, are better for kids.
- Traveling with younger kids? We recommend taking the train (which is part of the fun) for amazing views of soaring green mountains and the rushing Urubamba River along the way
- Guided treks to Machu Picchu are suitable for older kids, 18 and above, and offer a more adventurous experience. Options include the multi-day Inca Trail or the Jungle Inca Trek (all must be able to ride a bike for this one)
After you tour Machu Picchu, for the ultimate day out, take your children out on the crystal clear waters of the Urubamba River. The calmer section of the river, known as the Piñipampa, makes for some superb canoeing conditions. Younger children can enjoy discovering the small villages in the surrounding Sacred Valley for a true taste of Peruvian life as it used to be.
Our Suggested Peru Family Trip Itinerary
At Scott Dunn, we pride ourselves on curating a completely bespoke and truly memorable itinerary. We'll make sure your family trip to Peru is perfectly tailored to your travel bucket list while also ensuring the age and activity needs of your child are catered to.
Here are some of our expert's top ideas to include in your Peru family trip itinerary:
- Take the kids to visit the clay licks of the Amazon to watch tons of brilliantly colored macaws gather
- Pay a visit to the epic Colca Canyon (which is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon) and keep an eye out for majestic Andean condors
- Hike to Peru's ancient sites in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, such as Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero
- Get a taste of adventure with white water rafting and canoeing on the Urubamba River, mountain biking and hiking in the Sacred Valley, or paragliding over the beach in Lima
- Explore Cusco, one of the most beautiful and family-friendly cities in Peru
- Travel with your children to meet indigenous communities on the man-made floating reed islands on Lake Titicaca
- Treat your little ones to their first taste of top-class cuisine in Lima, a city which has earned its place as one of the gastronomical capitals of the world
Where to Stay On Your Family Vacation to Peru
When booking a family vacation to Peru, we know just how important it is to find the perfect place to stay. Those traveling with younger children can expect friendly locals, a diverse range of activities, and plenty of hotels that cater to younger guests. These accommodations serve special child-friendly menus and offer babysitting so the adults can have some exploration time on their own (or just a little downtime if that's what's needed). Many of them have programs specially tailored to kids, which include activities like yoga and tennis.
When choosing where to stay in Peru with your family, the size of the city will help determine the ideal place to base yourselves while you're visiting this wonderful country. Cusco is an outstanding choice, particularly for younger children, as its compact size means the majority of the main tourist attractions are within walking distance. It's also close to the Sacred Valley and one of the main draws of any trip to Peru: Machu Picchu.
Lima serves as an ideal starting point for exploring Peru on a luxury family tour, as it sits at a lower altitude than cities like Cusco, which should allow you to acclimatize before venturing further out. This exciting city also offers child-friendly attractions, such as chocolate-making workshops at the Choco Museo, and luxurious hotels near beautiful waterfront parks overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Traveling to Peru with Younger Kids
While it’s true that Peru is ideal for thrill-seeking adults and couples, it has so much to offer young children too. It’s an entertaining, educating, all-rounder of a destination. Cities like Cusco have parks and petting zoos where your little ones can meet llamas and alpacas, and even the jungles of the Amazon make for an exhilarating expedition, allowing them to get up close and personal with all kinds of exotic wildlife. These are the kind of experiences that will stay with your little ones forever.
Belmond Miraflores Park is set overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the fashionable Miraflores district. This luxury hotel has an ideal location within easy reach of famous historic sites, plazas, restaurants, cafeterias, boutiques and open-air entertainment, offering plenty of excellent opportunities for family exploration. The hotel also offers morning yoga and meditation sessions, as well as gastronomic tours and cycling excursions. When not out sightseeing, your family can relax by the pool, or play a round of golf or tennis. Children will feel very welcome at the Belmond Miraflores Park, cots and babysitting are available, and there is a children's cinema on the second floor which has regular screenings of children's films and has complimentary snacks including cookies and popcorn.
Hacienda Concepcion, in the Southern Amazon, is nestled within more than 2,000 acres of lush rainforest, it’s home to rich ecozystems, tropical plants and wildlife. This family-oriented lodge offers special accommodations, such as additional beds, or bed railings; as well as highchairs, child-friendly guides, a children’s menu, and a child’s explorer kit with a flashlight, cap, colored pencils, magnifying glass, and granola in a belt bag. Treasure hunts are organized for children from 5-12 years. All excursions here are led by bilingual guides, with some being specifically recommended for children. While here, your family can observe giant river otters, blue and yellow macaws, dusky titi monkeys, agoutis, two-toed sloth, peccaries, prehistoric-looking hoatzins and black caimans. In addition to wildlife experiences, your family will also be able to learn about the lodge's history and its botanical gardens featuring local medicinal plants.
The Libertador Paracas, overlooking Paracas bay, is the most luxurious hotel on Peru's coastline and makes an ideal base for visiting the Nazca Lines as well as exploring the Ballestas Islands with their amazing diversity of marine wildlife, from sealions and flamingos to dolphins and penguins. Families are well taken care of at Libertador Paracas. There is a children's club, playground, family pool and a children's menu on offer in the restaurant. Cots can be provided and connecting rooms are available. The Balcony Suites and Solarium Suites both have a sofa in the living room, which can sleep two children up to the age of 10 years. Babysitting can also be arranged on request, giving adults some much needed relaxation time by the pool.
Traveling with Older Kids and Teens
Peru offers the ultimate destination for those with older children and teens. There’s an abundance of activities in Peru that are tailored for tweens and teens. Adventure seekers will relish in activities such as white water rafting near Cusco or canopy ziplining in the Sacred Valley.
On the desert coastline, your teens will adore sandboarding down magnificent dunes, or if your kids are more culturally inclined, Lima and Cusco are bursting at the seams with engaging museums, stunning architecture, and upbeat markets, as well as high-end accommodation for some much-needed relaxation.
Exotic yet reachable, Reserva Amazonica sits in a private reserve on the banks for Madre de Dios River, an unforgettable introduction to this amazingly biodiverse region. The 35 jungle cabanas and suites are illuminated at night by lanterns, have beds shrouded with muslin and hammocks swinging in the porch ways. The sound of the jungle in the background adds to the magical and enchanting ambience. The lodge features one of Latin America’s largest tree canopy walkways, comprising a system of towers and hanging bridges high in the forest canopy. Carefully camouflaged, it allows your family to watch and interact with species. The reserve also features the ‘Anaconda walk’, a series of raised platforms at ground level to make exploring the forest floor easy. You can also take to the river for a sunset cruise to explore deeper into the amazing Amazon jungle, accompanied by an expert bilingual guide. All excursions can be tailored to your children’s interests.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas is home to some of the best Inca sites, and is a great place to start your visit to Cuzco. The Valley generally has year-round good weather, stunning landscapes, picturesque villages, folk arts and crafts and friendly indigenous people, offering a real authentic Peruvian experience for your family. Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba is set against a breathtaking mountain backdrop, surrounded by wild flowers and trees and is the perfect place for mental and physical rejuvenation. Popular with outdoor lovers, this is a great place for eco-friendly activities such as trekking, horseback riding, rafting and mountain biking. Discover ancient Andean traditions on the ecological farm tour, take a trail walk at twilight while learning about the importance of astronomy in the Andean world, go on an educational tour learning about the medicinal uses of plants, and sample indigenous food and drinks. With a variety of excursions on offer in the Valley and its surroundings, this is a perfect retreat for families.
Peru for Multigenerational Families
If you’re traveling with multiple generations, you’ll be pleased to hear that Peru has a little something for everyone. Most of the activities can be tailored to every age and ability, so all members of your family from children to grandparents can participate in your Peru family vacation. Think world-class museums and markets, wine tastings and local delicacies, spa days, and ancient ruins. For comfort, ease, and convenience, stay in luxury accommodations close to major attractions, such as the wondrous Titilaka, found on the shores of Peru’s renowned Lake Titicaca.
Titilaka is a contemporary style lodge which offers a luxurious refuge from which to explore this mystical region of Peru. Wrap around terraces create a privileged vantage point for breathtaking sunrises and peaceful sunsets. 18 fully serviced lake view suites feature heated floors and spa bathrooms, with oversized tubs and massage showers and an array of amenities for a comfortable stay. There is also a fantastic restaurant serving local specialties such as trout and alpaca steak. The hotel is a haven for re-energizing after a day excursion by boat or by 4x4, mountain biking, kayaking, and hiking. Explore the Andean communities on the islands of Taquile, Amantani and Uros, among others, visit the archaeological sites of Sillustani, Inca Anatawi, Aramu Muro, Tiahuanaco and the Sun Island, as well as the splendid colonial churches of Lampa, Juli and Pomata, or simply absorb the spirit of the region.
Belmond Sanctuary Lodge is just steps from the entrance to the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu mountain. The hotel’s privileged location allows guests to enjoy magical sunrises and sunsets in relative solitude at the ruins before and after the majority of other visitors have arrived or departed. Of course, the main highlight of a stay at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge are the tours and treks around Machu Picchu, Huanya Picchu, the Sun Gate, the Temple of the Moon, Putucusi and the thermal baths in Aguas Calientes. The trekking is challenging at times and goes to high altitude, so participants should have a good level of fitness. Other activities include a Pachamama tribute ceremony, coca tea leaf reading, star gazing with a resident astrologist, meditation and yoga, and for younger guests, treasure hunts in the hotel's gardens. After a day spent exploring, your family can unwind with a massage using traditional Inca techniques or in the relaxation space for yoga and meditation.
Hotel Sol y Luna’s forty-three individual casitas, including some that are perfect for families, are located 1km outside Urubamba between the famous market of Pisac and the Incan archaeological site of Ollantaytambo. They offer the perfect base for exploring one of the most intriguing parts of the Andes. Your family can enjoy a range of activities here including horse riding, trekking, rafting and mountain biking. Additional hotel facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, gift shop and Yacu Wasi spa. The spa features a fully-equipped gym, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, and Spanish bath. A wide selection of spa therapies are offered including facials, wraps and masks, along with newer treatments such as music therapy, and energy therapies such as Reiki. Massages include traditional Swedish massage, shiatsu, aromatherapy and reflexology massages. Classes or personal sessions in yoga and tai chi are also available.
Active Family Vacations in Peru
Peru is a country full of diverse ecozystems creating ample opportunity for active adventures in Peru. Accommodations in the Sacred Valley include mountain lodges with spectacular views, and hotels offering organized group activities, such as trekking and mountain bike riding for the whole family.
The countryside around Arequipa has emerged as a top contender for nature enthusiasts and those looking for an adventurous family vacation in Peru. Take the kids hiking or white water rafting, and don’t miss the opportunity to discover Colca Canyon, where you’ll be rewarded with spell-binding views of jagged mountain ridges and huge, circling Andean condors.
The Mountain Lodges of Peru Lares Adventure offers a fabulous 4-night itinerary through the Lares Valley in the Sacred Valley of the Incas outside of Cuzco. The trek offers unique adventures, ideal for a variety of hiking levels and abilities. At the end of the day, relax in a comfortable lodge with wonderful amenities —it’s the best of both worlds! Expert guides travel with the group for the entire journey and share their knowledge of natural history, culture, and local traditions. The trek includes exploration of the breathtaking Inca sites of Pisac, with its remarkable stone structures, Ollantaytambo, where the rebel Inca leader Manco Inca defeated the Spanish in battle, and incomparable Machu Picchu. Comfortable mountain lodges serve as deluxe “basecamps” for daily hikes bringing you to remote passes with views of a panorama of waterfalls, snow peaks, and turquoise glacial lakes, with the occasional condor soaring above, and to tiny Andean highland communities unchanged for centuries, where your family can meet local weavers...
Designed in line with its surroundings, Explora Valle Sagrado has traditional hacienda décor combined with modern fixtures and fittings to promote the feeling of luxury and comfort. There is no Wi-Fi or television in rooms to encourage guests to withdraw from everyday life and maximize the opportunity to relax in peace after a long day of exploration. All of the 20 outdoor adventures on offer have been carefully designed to make the most of the extraordinary surroundings. All are included with your family's stay and are guided in small groups (private excursions can be arranged). Activities range from treks in the surrounding mountains and villages where you can enjoy biking through the countryside and visits to markets and Inca ruins, including Machu Picchu. The excursions focus on archaeology, history and local culture and ensure an intimate experience, off the beaten track in one of Peru's most stunning regions. Yoga packages can also be arranged for those family members who want to focus on wellness.
Mountain Lodges of Peru's Salkantay Trek is a 6-night lodge-to-lodge itinerary that culminates at the sacred city of Machu Picchu. You will cross high Andean pastures and rocky passes, walk along Inca staircases and through cloud forest in the shadow of snow-capped peaks, and have the opportunity to see a wide range of wildlife, from hummingbirds to condors. The route lies far from civilization, which means that the people you meet are interested in welcoming you into their way of life and making sure you have a wonderful experience. One of the route’s highlights is the recently restored Inca citadel of Llactapata, which affords rarely glimpsed views of Machu Picchu. Groups are small, with a maximum of 12 participants, with a highly experienced team of guides and mule trains to carry your luggage, so that you can enjoy each moment fully. At the end of each day’s walking, relax in comfort at your lodge. Very comfortable ensuite rooms await, as well as excellent cooking using fresh local ingredients, a well-stocked bar and hot tubs...
Relaxing Activities for Families
Though Peru is known for its exhilarating pastimes, it’s not all about the thrills. Luxury family vacations in Peru can center around relaxation – a chance to unwind and spend quality time together, whether that’s the whole trip or simply a day’s break before your next adventure.
Sensational hotels set in stunning vistas, indulgent spas featuring ancient Inca treatments and medicinal plants, and a world-famous food scene are the cherry on top for a spectacular family vacation to Peru.
Relaxing activities provide a lovely balance to all the adventures of Peru: try stargazing on Lake Titicaca or unwind in thermal baths. From internet-free remote lodges offering the perfect place to disconnect, to laid-back beach-side villas with fresh seafood and lots of lounge time, Peru is a great place for families to find a bit of peace and quiet and return home feeling completely refreshed and rejuvenated.
Arennas Mancora boasts plenty of beautiful outside space, with direct beach access, a large palm garden and a relaxing pool area. Guests can also indulge in spa treatments and tuck into delicious cuisine at the restaurant which serves an elegant fusion of Peruvian cuisine mixed with international dishes and favorites. Plenty of fresh seafood and ceviche also features on the menu and the cocktail list is extensive. Explore nearby Mancora for a laid-back evening out and plenty of other fantastic dining options.
Belmond Hotel Monasterio combines the decor of a colonial monastery with the luxury, elegance and comfort of a modern five-star hotel. Just off Cuzco's main square, the hotel is set around a shady courtyard surrounded by graceful arches. It is steeped in history, dating back to 1592 and has been sensitively designed to reflect the building's story as well as offering beautiful modern touches. Many of the guest rooms and suites afford fabulous views of the city and its colorful rooftops and guests can enjoy exquisite cuisine at the Illariy and El Tupay restaurant, the original refectory, where Inca dinners are held with live folkloric music and dancing.
Children will love the many cultural tours offered in and around Cuzco particularly the more active activities such as mountain biking, horse riding and rafting (only suitable for older kids). Other activities include archaeology and agriculture programs, botany and weaving. At the end of a day of epic exploration, you can relax with a massage or jump in a hot bath...
The Colca Lodge is a rustic-style lodge set at 3,250 meters above sea level and 3 hours from the city of Arequipa in the heart of Peru's famous Colca Valley amongst ancient Inca terraces and overlooking the Colca River with its thermal springs.
This calming and quiet space is inspired by the Inca world and offers a range of treatments using indigenous products from the Colca Valley and the highlands of Peru. Children are sure to enjoy the numerous adventure activities on offer.