This classic family itinerary through Peru—perfect for first-timers of all ages—is just what the parents ordered. Kick-off in Lima with a guided food tour followed by a day trip to the Peruvian Galápagos, where you'll see sea lions and penguins. Next, fly to Cusco for your entry into a range of historic sites in the Sacred Valley alongside fun classes like chocolate-making and painting. You'll even take a scenic train ride to Machu Picchu for a private tour of the famous Inca citadel to complete the adventure.


  • Walk along Lima's cliffside parks overlooking the Pacific on your first night
  • Take a day trip that combines boating to islands and sandboarding in the desert
  • Let a local guide show you around Machu Picchu during a two-hour tour
  • Experience a range of top archaeological sites in the Sacred Valley
  • Enjoy a free day in colonial Cusco to visit markets and a chocolate museum

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lima, Free Day Lima
Day 2 Lima City & Food Tour Lima
Day 3 Day Trip to Paracas: Islands, Wineries & Sand Dunes Lima
Day 4 Fly to Cusco, Sacred Valley Expedition: Chinchero & Urubamba Sacred Valley
Day 5 Explore the Sacred Valley, Picnic & Painting in Maras Sacred Valley
Day 6 Full-Day Tour of Machu Picchu Cusco
Day 7 Tour of Cusco's Ancient Sites, Cooking Class Cusco
Day 8 Free Day to Explore Cusco's Cultural & Culinary Delight Cusco
Day 9 Fly to Lima, Free Time Lima
Day 10 Depart Lima  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lima, Free Day

Let the kids stretch their legs after the flight at the waterfront of Lima's Parque del Amor

Welcome to Peru! Your family adventure begins in the country's capital and largest city, Lima. Upon arrival, your driver will pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel. When everyone has had time to rest and settle, step outside and start exploring at your own pace. With its seaside location on the Pacific Ocean and mild desert climate, Lima is ideal for leisurely walks.

If you're staying in the upscale Miraflores or Barranco neighborhood (where many of Lima's hotels are located), you'll have plenty of options. For family-friendly culture, step into the heart of residential Miraflores, where you'll find an archaeology site called Huaca Pucllana. This important ceremonial and administrative center served as a hub for the advancement of the Lima Culture, a society that developed on the Peruvian Central Coast between 200 CE and 700 CE. The site consists of seven adobe pyramids and clay platforms that are interesting to explore.

Then take a walk to the coast and look for paragliders floating in the distance. A good place to start is the eclectic Parque del Amor (Love Park) on the cliffs of Miraflores, where you can admire a huge kissing statue and beautiful mosaic walls. From here, walk north along the Malecón, the scenic clifftop walk, to get to the Marine Lighthouse—a great backdrop for family photos. Just past here is another green space called El Principito Park, with a children's playground where youngsters can burn off energy. Enjoy the sunset before dining at one of the neighborhood's casual restaurants.

Day 2: Lima City & Food Tour

Explore Lima's colorful markets and introduce your kids to exotic fruits

Wake up feeling rested this morning and enjoy breakfast at your hotel. Save some room, though, because today, you'll embark on the ultimate Lima food tour and city experience with visits to markets, unique restaurants, trendy districts, and top, must-see attractions. Good news for parents: The itinerary can be tailored to meet the needs of your family's age range and dietary restrictions.

In total, you'll make five stops spread between three districts, which may include an organic Peruvian coffee shop (with chocolate for the kids) and a traditional market where you'll meet vendors and taste local fruits like lucuma (a dry-flesh fruit that looks like mango), chirimoya (a green tropical fruit akin to an apple), and pitahaya (a bright yellow or red fruit with white speckled flesh). You'll also try creatively prepared local dishes with the freshest ingredients while adults can indulge in one of the many varieties of Peru's flagship cocktail, the pisco sour.

Afterward, return to your hotel and enjoy a relaxing dinner. Make sure to get a good night's sleep for tomorrow's exciting day trip! 

Day 3: Day Trip to Paracas: Islands, Wineries & Sand Dunes

Finish this epic day trip with a dune buggy ride in the Sahara-like desert

Early this morning, you and the family will embark on a day trip to explore the desert wonders of Paracas, a city south of Lima located on the coast. Since you're departing extra early, you'll arrive in Paracas just in time to tuck into an authentic Peruvian breakfast cooked in a wood-burning oven while watching fishing boats coming and going in the bay. Following breakfast, board a boat tour around the uninhabited Ballestas Islands, often called the Peruvian Galápagos, where your kids can see penguins, friendly sea lions, unique seabirds, and the renowned geoglyph called Candelabro.

Next, head inland to relish a delectable lunch at the oldest vineyard in South America while enjoying the panoramic views. You'll also take a tour of the winery and partake in a tasting of the local wines (youngsters can try local juice or soda). To cap off the day, head to the Huacachina desert oasis for an exhilarating ride on dune buggies and to try your hand at sandboarding (like sledding on sand). Return to your hotel in Lima in the evening.

Day 4: Fly to Cusco, Sacred Valley Expedition: Chinchero & Urubamba

Check out the different terraces and viewpoints of Chinchero

Now that you've seen Peru's desert, it's time for the next leg of the adventure! After breakfast at your hotel in Lima, you'll be transferred to the airport for your morning flight to Cusco, a city surrounded by the Andes mountains (in other words, snag a window seat if possible). Upon arrival, you and the family will be picked up by your guide to start your exploration of the Sacred Valley.

Locals will tell you it's better to transfer to the Sacred Valley upon arrival since Cusco is located at an altitude of approximately 11,150 feet (3,400 m) above sea level, which can cause altitude sickness for some adults and little ones. The Sacred Valley, on the other hand, is located at a lower altitude, ranging from 8,900 to 10,170 feet (2,700 to 3,100 m) above sea level. Staying in the Sacred Valley for the first few nights can give your body time to acclimate to the high altitude.

Your first stop in the Sacred Valley is the village of Chinchero, believed by the Inca to be the birthplace of the rainbow. You and the youngsters will see extensive Inca terraces and several small colonial-era churches before exploring Chinchero's famous textile production and weaving crafts. Tour a weaver's studio and learn about the process of cleaning and producing the wool, then browse the selection of vibrant textiles for the perfect handmade gift.

Next, your guide will take you to Urubamba, a scenic town nestled in the heart of the Sacred Valley. Here you'll visit the Urubamba Market, where locals come to buy and sell fresh produce and handicrafts. This experience provides a unique opportunity to absorb the daily life and culture of the region. Let your kids say hello to the friendly vendors and their accompanying children, who are often colorfully dressed.

Day 5: Explore the Sacred Valley, Picnic & Painting in Maras

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Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Meet some friendly llamas and alpacas on today's Sacred Valley tour

This morning, you and the family will start the day by heading to one of the most important archaeological sites in the region, Pisac, to see Inca burial grounds, ancient irrigation systems, and religious centers. After a few hours here, head down the valley to explore the town of the same name. Here, you'll walk through the cobblestoned streets to the plaza to see locals selling produce and souvenirs in their stands. Take some free time to browse and do some shopping.

Next, head to the village of Maras and explore its Salt Flats, with over 3,000 salt pools carved into the mountainside. Young ones will be amazed to find out that each pool is filled daily with a stream of water. In midday, you'll dine at Mountain View Lodge, an experience that connects diners with nature and the local lifestyle. Enjoy a delicious lunch with a wonderful view of the Andes and the lodge's furry creatures like llamas and alpacas. Of course, there will be an opportunity to meet them, too!

Finish the day back in Maras with a two-hour painting session. Situated between the area's inspiring mountains and fields, an art instructor will help you and the kids explore your creative side while enjoying a delicious picnic.

Day 6: Full-Day Tour of Machu Picchu

Today's family outing includes a private tour of Machu Picchu

If your kids like trains, they're in luck! Following breakfast in the Sacred Valley, hop on the local train to reach Aguas Calientes, the main starting point for most Machu Picchu expeditions. There is no shortage of scenery as the train traverses through a stunning valley and into a canyon before entering a cloud forest.

Your private guide will welcome you at the train station, and you'll proceed to the shuttle bus, which will take you to Machu Picchu's entrance in 25 minutes. This 15th-century Inca citadel, situated at an elevation of 7,970 feet (2,430 m), is an engineering marvel that served as a haven and retreat for the Inca Emperor Pachacutec and his entourage. Machu Picchu, meaning "Old Mountain," is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven New Wonders of the World.

As you explore the site, your guide will share all kinds of interesting facts and stories suitable for families. For one, Machu Picchu was designed as a seasonal residence for the Inca royalty and was rarely occupied by more than 800 individuals. After the citadel was abandoned 100 years after its construction, it remained mostly undiscovered until the early 20th century. Following the tour, return to Aguas Calientes to catch your train to Cusco, where you'll stay overnight now that you're all acclimated to the high altitude.

Day 7: Tour Cusco's Ancient Sites, Cooking Class

Start today's tour with a trip to the Sun Temple

Wake up in Cusco this morning and have breakfast at your hotel. Before you explore this fascinating city (that's tomorrow), you'll first experience a cultural journey through the heart of the Inca Empire, starting at the magnificent Sun Temple, also known as Qoricancha. Here, you'll observe the intact architecture, with smaller temples dedicated to the moon, rainbow, stars, lightning, and thunder, among others. Although the Santo Domingo church stands on top of the temple today, you can still witness the impressive legacy of the Inca Empire.

From there, your guide will take you to the significant site of Sacsayhuamán, featuring immense stones that are a testament to the incredible engineering skills of the Inca people. Next, visit Qenqo, a site built into a natural rock formation that represents the Andean constellations and the concept of the three worlds, each one representing sacred animals: the condor, puma, and snake. Your final stop is Tambomachay, where the Inca practiced religious traditions tied to water to rejuvenate the land. Witness the intricate stonework and the impressive water management system used by the Inca people. 

In the afternoon, join a fun, family-friendly culinary class to learn more about Peruvian cuisine. The experience starts with a visit to the local market, where you'll learn about a diverse number of ingredients from the different regions of Peru, which compose an important part of the local diet. You'll then be taken to a beautiful cooking studio located in the center of Cusco to learn how to prepare nutritious and healthy dishes under the guidance of a professional chef. Celebrate your accomplishments with a four-course tasting menu to finish the experience.

Day 8: Free Day to Explore Cusco's Cultural & Culinary Delights

Mingle with friendly and colorful locals in the cobbled streets of Cusco 

Today is the chance to immerse yourselves in the historic and vibrant city of Cusco and its fascinating surroundings. Take a leisurely stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets, or venture out for a short hike in the hills surrounding the city. For a scenic and colorful experience, explore the charming neighborhood of San Blas, a popular spot for both locals and tourists. Another idea is to visit the Coco Museo (Chocolate Museum), where you can learn about the production of cocoa. There's also a 45-minute chocolate-making class. 

In the afternoon, check out the 16th-century Cusco Cathedral, the most imposing monument in the central Plaza de Armas and a repository for Cusco's colonial art. When hungry, take the opportunity to enjoy a Peruvian lunch with items such as crackling pork, pickled vegetables, and bread baked in earthen ovens. Finish the day at a café and have a hot beverage with sweet donuts while watching the street action.

Day 9: Fly to Lima, Free Time

Stop for some sweet treats on today's explorations of Lima

Take time this morning to walk through Cusco's legendary Mercado Central de San Pedro, a large, diverse market for snacks and souvenirs, before you depart. At the appointed time, you'll be met at your hotel for a transfer to the Cusco airport, where you'll catch your flight back to Lima. Upon arrival, take the rest of the day to explore more of the capital at your own pace.  

Perhaps you want to start with a scenic tour of Lima's colonial downtown, which emanates from the main square, Plaza de Armas. Stroll over to the 16th-century cathedral, which took 80 years to construct and was built in the grandiose style of the Spanish Empire. You can also visit the Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion granted by chief conquistador Francisco Pizarro to Jerónimo de Aliaga, one of his captains, in 1535. This is the only house from that era that still belongs to the same family.

Then take a stroll around the Pueblo Libre district to the privately-owned Larco Museum of pre-Columbian art, housed in a beautifully restored viceregal mansion built over a seventh-century pre-Columbian pyramid. The museum boasts a vast pre-Colonial collection of gold and silver artifacts. Finish your self-guided tour back at the main square, where you can dine at an outdoor café for your last night. 

Day 10: Depart Lima

Spend your final morning taking a stroll through Lima
The day has come to say goodbye to Peru! Depending on the hour of your departure, you and the kids might have time to visit one more café and do some people-watching. At the appointed time, your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you directly to Lima airport for your departure flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Classic Family-Friendly Tour of Peru: Lima, Cusco & Machu Picchu - 10 Days
Map of Classic Family-Friendly Tour of Peru: Lima, Cusco & Machu Picchu - 10 Days