- Watch penguins and sea lions on a boat trip to the Ballestas Islands
- Ease into Cusco's high altitude with a family-friendly Peruvian cooking class
- Take an exhilarating ATV tour of famous Inca sites in the Sacred Valley
- Learn all about the history of Machu Picchu on a private guided tour
|Day 1||Arrive in Lima, Free Time||Lima|
|Day 2||Full-Day Adventure in Ica||Lima|
|Day 3||Fly to Cusco, Family Cooking Class||Cusco|
|Day 4||Cusco City Tour||Cusco|
|Day 5||Standup Paddleboarding Tour, Picnic & Painting in Maras||Urubamba|
|Day 6||Via Ferrata & Zipline Experience at Pachar||Urubamba|
|Day 7||ATV Tour of Moray & Maras, Transfer to Aguas Calientes||Aguas Calientes/ Machu Picchu|
|Day 8||Machu Picchu Tour, Transfer to Cusco||Cusco|
|Day 9||Hike to Humantay Lake||Cusco|
|Day 10||Fly to Lima, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Lima, Free Time
Welcome to Lima! Upon arrival at the airport, your driver will pick you and your family up and take you to your hotel. Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru, home to a third of the country's population. After settling into your room, and depending on how much energy you and the kids have after the flight, take the opportunity to explore at your own pace. With its location on the Pacific Ocean and mild desert climate, Lima is a great place for leisurely walks.
If you're staying in the Miraflores or Barranco neighborhoods (where most hotels are located), the Malecón is just a few steps away. This scenic path along the clifftop is filled with parks that draw families with kids who want to let loose. Another good family option is Kennedy Park, which offers a relaxing and tranquil atmosphere. Stroll through the grounds and admire the beautiful flowers and trees, or sit and enjoy the sights and sounds of the central fountain. The park is also home to a range of local vendors selling snacks as well as crafts and souvenirs.
Day 2: Full-Day Adventure in Ica
Wake up rested this morning and enjoy a full breakfast at your hotel. You and the kids will want to stay energized as you begin a full-day tour to Ica, a Peruvian city south of Lima that's surrounded by desert and towering sand dunes. After your guide picks you up, your first stop is Paracas, a coastal town inland from Ica. Admire the views of the fishing boats in the bay, then hop on board a boat for a tour around the Ballestas Islands. Your kids will love seeing a range of birds and wildlife in their natural habitat, including penguins and friendly sea lions.
Back on land, have lunch at the oldest winery in South America, founded in the 1540s when grapevines were introduced to the Ica Valley. Parents can take a tour of the winery and sample some wines and pisco, Peru's favorite spirit that's made from distilled fermented grape juice. Kids won't feel left out, as they can sample soft drinks.
From here, continue to the desert oasis of Huacachina, an amazing spot that looks like it came right out of a storybook. The Laguna de Huacachina Ica is surrounded by massive sand dunes, where you and your kids can go wild on a dune buggy adventure in the desert before returning to Lima.
Day 3: Fly to Cusco, Family Cooking Class
After breakfast at your hotel in Lima, you'll be picked up for the transfer to the airport and fly inland to Cusco, in the Peruvian Andes. This ancient city is the former capital of the Inca empire, which reigned from the 13th to 16th centuries. After settling into your hotel, head out to explore the city, albeit at a slower pace due to Cusco's altitude of 11,152 feet (3,399 m), which takes a bit of getting used to.
In the mid-afternoon, learn about Peruvian cuisine while enjoying a local feast made with your own hands. Your culinary experience starts with a visit to the local market with a chef, followed by a cooking class in a beautiful kitchen studio in the center of Cusco. Learn to prepare nutritious and healthy dishes using Peru's most key ingredients under the guidance of a professional Peruvian chef. After, sit down to a well-earned family meal that includes refreshments, a four-course tasting menu, and, of course, a pisco sour cocktail for the grown-ups.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 4: Cusco City Tour
Hopefully, you and the kids have adjusted to the altitude by now and can embark on some more energetic activities today. Begin a guided city tour with a visit to the vibrant San Pedro Market, where locals shop for fresh produce daily. Your kids will certainly want to try a sample of the endless selection of dried fruits and fresh fruit smoothies while here.Next, visit the Sun Temple, or Qoricancha, the most important temple of the Inca Empire. Spend some quality time admiring the intricate and well-preserved architecture. Inside the temple, notice the smaller temples dedicated to the moon, rainbow, stars, lightning, thunder, and more. From Qoricancha, you can walk to the nearby citadel of Sacsayhuaman, which boasts immense stones. While the site was religious, the Spanish regarded it as a military fortress due to its location and construction. Kids will enjoy posing for photos next to the enormous edifice.
Day 5: Standup Paddleboarding Tour, Picnic & Painting in Maras
Burn off some energy today while exploring more of the Sacred Valley. Drive about 45 minutes from your hotel in Cusco to get to the tranquil Huaypo Lake, surrounded by the Andes. Grab your gear for a fun standup paddleboarding tour on the lake. No experience is necessary, so every member of the family can join in. You'll likely feel hungry after this activity, and a picnic will be served on the lakeside with some truly spectacular views.
After lunch, head to Maras, a town known for its patchwork of 3,000 salt pools on a hillside, which have been used to harvest salt since the Inca times. Artistic kids and parents—and even those who aren't artistic—can have a go at painting this vibrant landscape with an art lesson in the afternoon. The best part is that you and the kids will leave with your own souvenir to display back home.
Day 6: Via Ferrata & Ziplining Experience at Pachar
Today is an adventurous day full of unexpected views and fun challenges. Start in the archaeological site of Pachar, where you'll climb 1,312 feet (400 m) up the side of the cliff on a via ferrata, a series of metal steps built into the wall. It's easier than rock climbing but still a fun challenge. From the top, descend into the valley on a series of exhilarating ziplines as you glide through the landscapes.
You'll then have a boxed lunch while enjoying the beautiful views of the Sacred Valley. After lunch, descend the same way you came up by ziplining or rappelling. You and your kids will exercise all the muscles in your body while facing any fears of leaping into the unknown in a safe way. After this exhilarating adventure, return to your hotel in Cusco.
Day 7: ATV Tour of Moray & Maras, Transfer to Aguas Calientes
More outdoor adventures lie in wait for your family today. This is your chance to tour Peru's Sacred Valley, with its rugged mountains and cliffs, on ATVs—a fun way of seeing the sights while feeling the wind on your face. With your guide leading the way, you'll ride on the all-terrain quads to get to the archaeological site of Moray while enjoying views of snowcapped Andean peaks, lush yellow fields of wheat, and small, traditional villages, along the way.
When you and the family arrive, you'll climb the three amphitheater-like terraces of Moray, which were made centuries ago by the Inca. These terraces, which are carved deep into the earth in the shape of a bowl, were thought to be used to determine the optimal conditions for growing crops. You'll also have the option to continue to Maras, the salt fields you painted earlier in the trip, if you want to have another look from an ATV. After the tour, return to your hotel and transfer to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu.
Day 8: Machu Picchu Tour, Transfer to Cusco
Today may be the day you or your kids have been waiting for as you'll finally experience Peru's most famous attraction: Machu Picchu. Your guide will first meet you at your hotel in Aguas Calientes in the morning and walk with you to the bus station. This is where you'll take the easy 25-minute bus ride up to the entrance of Machu Picchu.
The 15th-century Inca citadel is located at 7,970 feet (2,429 m), and it's a masterpiece of engineering that served as a sanctuary and retreat for the Inca Emperor Pachacutec and his royal court. Machu Picchu, which means "Old Mountain," is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Kids and adults alike will be amazed by the architecture and the vantage point on a steep mountain—with the occasional appearance of a llama or alpaca. Your guide will share all of their wisdom about the complex so you can learn more about its history and significance.
After the tour, take the bus back to Aguas Calientes and then board the train to Poroy. Kids will especially enjoy riding the train, which provides a nice change of pace from traveling by car. Upon arrival in Poroy, you'll be transferred a short distance to your hotel in Cusco.
Day 9: Hike to Humantay Lake
Get back into nature today with a moderately challenging yet fun day hike, which ends your family tour on a high—literally! After you make an early start, you'll head to the small town of Mollepata, located in the lush Río Apurimac valley. Have breakfast in a local café before continuing to the small town of Soraypampa, where you'll start the guided hike to Humantay Lake. The trail is steep and challenging at times but gorgeous, with views of snowcapped mountains and deep glacial lakes along the way.
The trail is shadowed by Salkantay Peak, one of Peru's most sacred mountains, towering 20,600 feet (6,280 m) above sea level with its spectacular sheer and snowy face. It is only matched by the equally impressive Humantay Peak, rising 19,412 feet (5,916) m). Keep an eye out for shamans who often give hikers blessings when they safely reach the crystal-clear waters of Humantay Lake, located at 14,100 feet (4,300 m).
Once you reach the lakeshore, your family can relax, enjoy a snack, go for a swim (if you dare in the cold water!), or give thanks to Pachamama (Mother Earth). When you are ready to hike back down, descend to Soraypampa and have lunch while enjoying the panoramic views of the snowy peaks. Drive back to Cusco and spend the evening relaxing in the hotel.
Day 10: Fly to Lima, Depart
It's time for your family to say goodbye to Peru! This morning, head to Cusco's airport for a transfer back to Lima, where you'll catch your onward flight home or to your next destination. Safe travels!