- See vibrant macaws, Andean pigs, and giant anteaters in the Amazon rainforest
- Wander among the sacred ruins of the Inca empire at Machu Picchu
- Scale the brilliantly-colored slopes of Ausangate's Rainbow Mountain
- Embark on a family-friendly three-day hike between comfortable mountain lodges
- Take a deep dive into Peruvian cuisine on a guided foodie tour in Lima
|Day 1||Arrive in Lima, Explore||Lima|
|Day 2||Fly to Tambopata Province, Journey into the Amazon Rainforest||Tambopata|
|Days 3-4||Refugio Amazonas Lodge Excursions||Tambopata|
|Day 5||Fly to Cusco, Guided Hike in the Sacred Valley||Sacred Valley|
|Day 6||Tour of Ollantaytambo Village, Bus to Machu Picchu||Machu Picchu|
|Day 7||Return to Cusco, Visit Maras & Moray||Cusco|
|Day 8||Family Hike to Sacsayhuamán Fortress, Cusco City Tour||Cusco|
|Day 9||Transfer to Ausangate, Hike to Anantapata Tambo Lodge||Ausangate|
|Day 10||Rainbow Mountain Family Trek||Ausangate|
|Day 11||Hike Through Ausangate, Return to Cusco||Cusco|
|Day 12||Fly to Lima, Guided Family Foodie Tour||Lima|
|Day 13||Free Day in Lima||Lima|
|Day 14||Shopping Excursion, Depart Lima|
Day 1: Arrive in Lima, Explore
Welcome to Peru! Your flight lands in the capital city of Lima, a vibrant metropolis and one of Peru's largest cities. Your driver will collect you from the airport and transport you to your hotel, and after your family has a chance to regroup, you're free to get out and start exploring all that the city has to offer.
You can start by making your way to the Plaza Mayor de Lima, located in the historic center. Here, you'll find notable sights such as the Government Palace, where Lima's president resides, and Casa Aliaga, an interesting combination of Renaissance, Baroque, and neoclassical architecture that's one of the oldest houses in Peru. You can also stop in at the nearby Municipal Palace, Archbishop's Palace, and the stunning Lima Cathedral.
Let the kids peruse the pre-Colombian artifacts at the Museo Larco, then head to the cliffside walking paths of El Malecón de Miraflores. This is a great place for the whole family to stretch their legs after the long journey, and there are bike rentals available, as well as guided bike tours. The Miraflores district is also home to Huaca Pucllana, a large clay pyramid that was built around 500 CE, with seven staggered levels. Make your way to the uppermost section for great views of the city! Later tonight, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant before relaxing at your hotel.
Day 2: Fly to Tambopata Province, Journey into the Amazon Rainforest
Head back to the airport this morning for a quick, 1.5-hour flight to the city of Puerto Maldonado, the gateway to the Amazon rainforest. On arrival, your driver will collect you from the airport, and you'll head into the heart of Tambopata National Reserve to reach your accommodations at Refugio Amazonas Lodge. Once you've checked in, you and the kids can choose from various activities to begin your rainforest adventure.
Adrenaline junkies in the group might like to start with a guided mountain bike ride through the jungle. This exhilarating and physically challenging tour takes you through lush greenery and narrow trails, ending at an overlook that offers incredible views of the mighty Río Tambopata. Bikes and safety gear are provided, but adults in the group should keep in mind that this tour is appropriate for teens and older kids, with no child-sized bikes available.
Later this evening, take a relaxing sunset cruise along the river. You'll board a local lancha (boat) with a guide, making your way down the river as the sun slowly sets. Enjoy the breathtaking views as the kids keep their eyes peeled for wildlife, such as capybaras and macaws, then return to the lodge in time for dinner. If you're not too tired, you can end the day by attending one of the lodge's nighttime lectures, where your family can learn more about rainforest research.
Days 3-4: Refugio Amazonas Lodge Excursions
These next two days will be action-packed as you and your family take advantage of the many excursions offered by the lodge. The wide range of activities can accommodate just about any interest or ability, with options that include trail hikes to educate visitors on the jungle's medicinal plants, a guided climb up one of the lodge's canopy towers, where you'll get a birds-eye view of the forest canopy and the animals that live there, and the evening "Circle of Fire," where the kids can hear stories and legends about the rainforest.
Start one of your mornings with a visit to the Chuncho macaw clay lick, which, due to its nutrients and salt content, attracts a wide variety of birdlife. Your guide will escort you to a hidden area near the lick, and as the sun rises, you'll hear and see colorful macaws, parrots, and parakeets as they descend to feed on the licks—a cacophony of noise and activity that is a huge thrill for all ages! And if you'd like to learn more about rainforest agriculture, tour a local jungle farm, where you can meet the farmers, and the kids can even sample some of the delicious organic produce they grow.
If your family loves the macaw clay lick, you can also visit the nearby mammal clay lick, where you'll see jungle pigs, deer, or even the occasional shy anteater or jaguar feeding on the rich clay. And any budding entomologists in your group will want to take the guided "World of Butterflies" hike, where you'll scout for the more than 1,000 species of butterflies that call the jungle home. Relax each evening at the lodge, revisiting your adventures of the day while you enjoy dinner.
Day 5: Fly to Cusco, Guided Hike in the Sacred Valley
This morning, you'll transfer back to Puerto Maldonado via boat and head to the airport for your flight to your next destination, Cusco. Once the capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco is known for ancient architecture that showcases the history of the region, combining Inca ruins with Spanish-colonial buildings. Upon your arrival at the airport, your driver will collect you, and you'll head out for a family hike in Cusco's Sacred Valley.
Day 6: Tour of Ollantaytambo Village, Bus to Machu Picchu
Today begins with a tour of Ollantaytambo village and the Ollantaytambo archaeological site, home to ancient Inca stonework that is only seconded by that of Machu Picchu. You'll meet with your guide and head out, an early morning start that means you won't run into the large groups that arrive in the afternoons. The village is quite walkable, and you'll be able to stroll around, visit the local markets, and perhaps grab a bite to eat. Afterward, you'll visit the archaeological site and ruins, where you'll see the ancient storehouses and temples and climb the stone steps for incredible views of the valley.
Your next stop is one of the most well-known symbols of the Inca empire: Machu Picchu. You'll board a train at Ollantaytambo train station, which takes you to Aguas Calientes. From here, it's a 25-minute bus ride to the site. Upon arrival, your guide will provide a detailed history of the citadel, explaining how the Inca people used the nearly 200 structures that make up the site, then begin your walking tour.
Visit the Royal Residence, the solar clock at the Intihuatana Pyramid, and the Grupo del Cóndor temples, where religious ceremonies were conducted. Let the older kids climb to the terraced agriculture areas and visit the huts where farmers likely lived, as well as fountains, squares, and larger residential houses. Additionally, Machu Picchu is home to wildlife such as Andean foxes, deer, and pumas, more than 400 species of birds, and one of the largest collections of wild orchids in the world. Your tour ends late in the afternoon, and your family will overnight at lodgings near the site.
Day 7: Return to Cusco, Visit Maras & Moray
After breakfast, take the train back to Ollantaytambo, where you'll meet your driver for the two-hour drive back to Cusco. Along the way, you'll visit two other Inca sites, Moray and Maras. Moray consists of three groups of circular terraces built on a natural depression and descending 490 feet (150 m), creating an incredible view against the backdrop of the towering Andes. While there is some debate as to why the Incas originally built the site, it's believed that the ruins were once an agricultural research station where the Incas studied irrigation, altitude, and the effects of temperature on crops.
Continue to Maras, a salt-extraction complex composed of hundreds of small ponds. Walk around the hundreds of pure white pools and see the accumulated salt. Local people here still collect and sell salt, creating a variety of products made from this precious spice, even chocolate! You'll have some time to explore, then finish the drive to Cusco, where the rest of your day is free.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 8: Family Hike to Sacsayhuamán Fortress, Cusco City Tour
Have the family lace up their walking shoes for a guided hike through Cusco's countryside and an accompanying walking tour around the city. You'll meet up with your guide and start with a visit to the northern outskirts of the city and the archaeological site of Sacsayhuamán, a massive Inca fortress overlooking the city. Built by the Incas in the 15th century, this was considered a sacred place and offers amazing views of Cusco and the nearby mountains. From here, make an easy descent along an old Inca road, eventually arriving at the neighborhood of San Blas to begin your city tour.
Walk through Cusco's main square and stop at the Cusco Cathedral, which was actually built with stone blocks brought from Sacsayhuamán and features incredible examples of Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance styles. Nearby you'll also find the ruins of Qoricancha (Temple of the Sun), once an important Inca religious center. Your guide will share interesting facts about each site, and you and the kids will also have a chance to stroll through various neighborhoods, with stops at local markets for souvenirs or a snack. End your day back at your hotel, where you can relax or have dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 9: Transfer to Ausangate, Hike to Anantapata Tambo Lodge
Today you'll depart Cusco for the Ausangate region, home to the mighty Ausangate mountain, the fifth-highest peak in Peru. Your driver will meet you in the morning and transport your family to the village of Checacupe, a drive of just over two hours. You'll stop in town to let the kids stretch their legs and make a visit to the impressive colonial church here, then continue driving along the Pitumarca Valley and through the spectacular Japura Gorge to the town of Chillca, where the real adventure begins!
With your guide, your family will trek toward the red sandstone formations of the Nevado del Inca peak, with views of the south face of Ausangate, making the slow ascension of about 3 miles (5 km) until your reach the lodge at Anantapata Tambo. Sitting at the top of the Alcatauri Gorge, at an altitude of more than 15,000 feet (4,750 m), the lodge offers incredible views of Ausangate alongside glacier lakes and the snowcapped peaks of Mount Tacusiri.
Day 10: Rainbow Mountain Family Trek
Today's trek takes you to the breathtaking landscape that is Vinicunca, otherwise known as Rainbow Mountain. After breakfast, your family will load up your gear and hike over the mountain passes, descending past Laguna Kayrawiri and taking in the colorful rock strata all around you. Continue to the hill of Laya Grande, passing along the massive Glacier of the Inca and eventually arriving at the colorful Rainbow Mountain. You'll break for lunch here, relaxing a bit and taking advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime family photo-op!After refueling, make your way to Huampococha Lodge to overnight. Your guide will take you past the cliffs of Anta, where you're likely to see hundreds of nesting Andean geese and the flatiron formations of Apu Labrayani, ending at the lodge. Located at one of the most scenic locations on the route, the lodge offers panoramic views of Laguna Huampococha and Nevado del Inca. Tonight, enjoy a delicious dinner under the clear night skies while local alpaca herders regale the kids with stories and myths about Andean heroes and deities.
Day 11: Hike Through Ausangate, Return to Cusco
Enjoy the final leg of your trek as you depart the lodge and make your final ascent over Anta Pass, gradually descending toward the trail's end. The landscape changes as the red sandstone cliffs are replaced by eroded karst limestone that forms a unique stone forest—a perfect habitat for cute vizcachas, part of the chinchilla family, and a fun sight for the kids!
Day 12: Fly to Lima, Guided Family Foodie Tour
It's back to Lima today, as your driver collects you from your hotel and takes you to the Cusco airport, where you'll catch your flight. Upon arrival, check in at your Lima hotel, then head out to explore some of the city's best cuisine and local culture with a foodie tour. This guided walking tour takes you through the bohemian district of Barranco, where you and the kids can experience colorful street art, historic mansions, museums, and of course, amazing food!
Day 13: Free Day in Lima
Make the most of your last full day in Peru by seeing some of the sights around Lima that you might have missed earlier. Lima's breezy location on the Pacific Ocean and mild desert climate make it the perfect city for exploring on foot. Start by strolling the Malecón in the Miraflores neighborhood, where, if you didn't make it there during your first days in Lima, you could visit the eclectic Parque del Amor (Love Park), which includes a huge statue of a couple kissing and beautiful mosaic walls.
If your family wants to get out on the water, take a tour to Isla Palomino, where you'll have the opportunity to swim with sea lions! Head to the pier and board your boat in the morning, cruising along Callao Bay and the island of San Lorenzo while your guides share information and history about the region. Arrive at Isla Palomino in time to don wet suits and, after a safety briefing, jump in the water with the curious colony of sea lions that call the island home. After this swim of a lifetime, you'll enjoy a light lunch before returning to the pier.
This evening, take the kids to see Lima's Magic Water Circuit. The park has 13 different fountains that incorporate lights, music, and other interactive elements and is considered the largest water fountain park in the world. See the light and water shows, with shooting streams and colored lights that are all timed to "dance" with the music. The show also includes lasers that project various symbols pertaining to Peruvian culture, offering a virtual tour of Peru's history. End the night mingling with locals downtown, where you can grab a bite to eat at one of the many award-winning restaurants.
Day 14: Shopping Excursion, Depart Lima
Your adventures in Peru come to an end today, but not before you take some time to explore Lima's vibrant shopping scene. You'll have the chance to walk through the bustling markets with a local expert to help you navigate the best spots to find souvenirs, artisanal crafts, and local delicacies. The kids can find some last-minute gifts for friends, and you can all enjoy a meal or snack along the way.
After your shopping adventure, a driver will pick you up and transfer you to the airport as you begin the journey back home or to your next destination. Safe travels!
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