- Explore the gastronomical wonders of Lima's huariques eateries via bike tour
- Take a wild dune buggy ride across the desert dunes of Huacachina
- Walk among the sacred ruins of the Inca empire at Machu Picchu
- See river dolphins, colorful macaws, and curious monkeys in the Amazon rainforest
|Day 1||Arrive in Lima, Explore||Lima|
|Day 2||Tasting Tour of Lima's Huariques via Bike||Lima|
|Day 3||Bus to Huacachina Oasis, Dune Buggy & Sandboarding||Huacachina|
|Day 4||Boat Excursion to the Ballestas Islands, Transfer to Lima||Lima|
|Day 5||Fly to Cusco, Family Tour of Awana Kancha, Pisac & Markets||Sacred Valley|
|Day 6||Sacred Valley Fun: Ziplining & Via Ferrata||Sacred Valley|
|Day 7||Ollantaytambo Village, Farm Tour, Train to Aguas Calientes||Aguas Calientes|
|Day 8||Guided Tour of Machu Picchu, Return to Cusco||Cusco|
|Day 9||Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain Trek||Cusco|
|Day 10||Self-Guided Cusco Walking Tour, Fly to Iquitos City||Iquitos City|
|Day 11||Muyuna Lodge (Day 1): Jungle Excursion & Nocturnal Animal Tour||Iquitos|
|Day 12||Muyuna Lodge (Day 2): River Dolphins, Piranha Fishing & Village Tour||Iquitos|
|Day 13||Muyuna Lodge (Day 3): Boat Tour, Plant Walk & Nocturnal Canoe Ride||Iquitos|
|Day 14||Muyuna Lodge (Day 4): Remote Lake Excursion, Depart Peru|
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 explore all that the city has to offer. Start at 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, one of the oldest houses in Peru. You can also see the 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. This is also home to the eclectic Parque del Amor (Love Park), which includes a huge statue of a couple kissing and beautiful mosaic walls, and Huaca Pucllana, a large clay pyramid built around 500 CE, with seven staggered levels. Make your way to the uppermost section for great views of the city!
Tonight, take the family 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 2: Tasting Tour of Lima's Huariques via Bike
Take a deep dive into Peru's culinary scene with a guided family bike tour of Lima's huariques—small, local restaurants with menus that are based on recipes passed down through their families. Most huariques are off the beaten path and away from touristy areas, offering some of the best in traditional Peruvian foods. You'll meet up with your guide at the hotel, and after you pick up your bikes, you're off! Bikes and safety equipment will be provided, and the ride is considered appropriate for all ages and abilities.
Begin with a cruise through the Miraflores neighborhood, where you'll see views of the Bay of Lima while enjoying a seafood-tasting menu. After whetting your appetites, you'll continue to more local spots where you'll try dishes such as causa peruana (layered potato casserole) and lomo saltado (stir-fried beef with onion and tomatoes). Of course, no one wants to miss out on dessert, and you'll have the option of trying some delicious homemade ice cream or picarones ( Peruvian doughnuts). Finish the tour with refreshing cold beers for the adults and soft drinks for the kids.
Day 3: Bus to Huacachina Oasis, Dune Buggy & Sandboarding
This morning, check out of your Lima hotel and take a private transfer to the bus station, where you'll hop onboard for the five-hour bus ride to the city of Ica, located in southern Peru. Upon arrival, get settled at your hotel and then head out to the desert oasis of Huacachina. Set amid the sand dunes, this charming village surrounds a gorgeous green lagoon, the waters of which are purported to have therapeutic properties.
Start your desert exploration with a wild dune buggy tour, which takes you on a 4WD excursion across the shifting dunes. Your guides will take you to the top of the dunes, and you and the kids will have a chance to try some sandboarding, carving your way down the "waves" of sand. Take in the desert sunset, watching the sun sink over the dunes, then return to your hotel, where you can relax for the evening or have dinner at a local restaurant in Ica.
Day 4: Boat Excursion to the Ballestas Islands, Transfer to Lima
Take a guided excursion to the Ballestas Islands today, otherwise known as the "Little Galápagos" of Peru. A private transfer will collect you from your hotel after check-out, and you'll head to Paracas, where your luggage will be stored at the tour offices as you continue to El Chaco Port and climb aboard a fully-equipped, luxury speedboat. Your guides will share information about the islands and history along the way, and you'll make a stop to see the Candelabro de Paracas, a nearly 600-foot (180 m) prehistoric geoglyph etched into the northern face of the Paracas Peninsula, only fully visible from the sea.
Upon arrival at the islands, your boat will cruise around the caves and rock formations carved by the wind and sea, as you and the family watch lounging sea lions and seals sunning on the rocks, Humbolt penguins and Peruvian boobies going about their day, and a wide variety of seabirds such as gulls and terns. While landings on the island are not permitted, you'll definitely get close enough to take plenty of photos, and you might even get some curious seals swimming near the boat! Return to the pier for lunch afterward, then your driver will collect you for transport back to Lima, where you'll overnight.
Day 5: Fly to Cusco, Family Tour of Awana Kancha, Pisac & Markets
Your next destination is the city of 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. You'll take a private transfer to the airport this morning for the quick hour and 20-minute flight. Upon arrival, your driver will collect you, and you'll head into the Sacred Valley, home to amazing Andean landscapes, wildlife, and archaeological sites.
Your first stop along the way will be the Awana Kancha Llama Sanctuary, a farm initiative that was established nearly 20 years ago, providing care and protection for various species of camelids, and preserving the creation of traditional Andean textiles. You and the kids will meet the llamas and alpacas, and watch a weaving demonstration by local craftspeople.
Afterward, you'll make your way to the lookout point of Taray, which offers incredible panoramic views of the valley, then continue to Pisac, one of the most important archaeological sites in the region. Explore the ancient Inca burial grounds, irrigation systems, and astronomy centers as your guide explains the history behind each site, then end in the town of Pisac, located at the bottom of the valley. This village is famous for its bustling textile market, and your family can select from a wide assortment of colors, styles, and designs of souvenirs to take home with you.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Sacred Valley Fun: Ziplining & Via Ferrata
Satisfy the adrenaline junkies in your group with a visit to Sector Pachar, a mountainous area that offers some of the best rock climbing in Peru. Your guide will collect you from your hotel in the morning, and you'll head out. After receiving a safety and equipment briefing, you'll begin the 1,300-foot (400 m) climb up the via ferrata—a series of metal steps built into the wall here. Enjoy a box lunch at the top, then descend via zipline, arriving safely at the valley floor! While children over the age of eight are welcome, families should keep in mind everyone's individual fitness levels, as this can be a challenging activity.
Day 7: Ollantaytambo Village, Farm Tour, Train to Aguas Calientes
Head out of the city this morning and head to Ollantaytambo village and the Ollantaytambo archaeological site, home to ancient Inca stonework that is only seconded by that of Machu Picchu. The village is quite walkable, and you'll have time to take a self-guided tour, checking out the local markets, and getting a bite to eat. Afterward, visit the archaeological site and ruins, where you'll see the ancient storehouses and temple, and climb the stone steps for incredible views of the valley.
This afternoon, take a tour of nearby Pachamanca Farm, where you'll learn about the organic farming techniques here, as well as making a visit to their cañazo (sugar cane liquor) distillery and coffee roasting facility. The kids can visit with the farm animals, and after the tour, you'll all sit down for a Pachamanca lunch, a traditional Inca meal that is cooked on hot rocks. Enjoy various local meats and vegetables, accompanied by chicha morada—a corn-based beverage that is bright purple!
After lunch, you'll make your way to the Ollantaytambo train station and board the scenic Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu, a ride of about 1.5 hours. The train features large, panoramic windows that offer an amazing immersion into the countryside, and there are complimentary snacks and drinks on board. Overnight in Aguas Calientes, relaxing at your hotel as you all prepare for your Machu Picchu visit tomorrow.
Day 8: Guided Tour of Machu Picchu, Return to Cusco
Today you'll see one of the most well-known symbols of the Inca empire: Machu Picchu. Departing your hotel, you'll board a bus that takes you from Aguas Calientes to the site, a 25-minute ride. Upon arrival, meet with your guide, who 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 see 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.After the tour, take the bus back to Aguas Calientes and have lunch in the picturesque town center, then hop back on the train to return to Ollantaytambo, where your private transfer will be waiting to take you back to Cusco.
Day 9: Palcoyo Rainbow MountainTrek
While many travelers might have heard of the famous Vinicunca, or "Rainbow Mountain," its smaller sister, Palcoyo, is just as vibrant and colorful, offering a less-strenuous hike and fewer crowds—making it a perfect option for families. Your guide will pick you up from your hotel in the morning, and after a stop for breakfast, you'll make the 3.5-hour drive to the trailhead. Along the way, you'll stop at the impressive Red River (known locally as Palquella Pucamayu) so the kids can stretch their legs and you can enjoy the views of the countryside.
Upon arrival, you'll begin your hike, which takes you along a relatively easy and flat path to the summit. Tell the kids to keep their eyes peeled for llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, and other wildlife, as you all take in the incredible colors and expansive panoramas of the mountain. Relax at the top for a bit while the teens in your group take advantage of this vibrant landscape's very social-media-friendly photo ops!
Afterward, you'll hike back down, and your driver will take you back to Cusco, making a stop for lunch en route and getting you back to your hotel in plenty of time to enjoy the rest of your evening.
Day 10: Self-Guided Cusco Walking Tour, Fly to Iquitos City
See more of Cusco today with a self-guided walking tour. Start at the city's main square, Plaza de Armas, and the Cusco Cathedral, which was built with stone blocks brought from Sacsayhuaman and features beautiful 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.
From here, head to the neighborhood of San Blas, an old bohemian quarter known for its stunning white walls, blue doors, and creative artisan community. Walk up the steep streets and stop to rest at the Plazoleta de San Blas, a beautiful square where you'll find the Coca Museum, the Hilario Mendivil Museum workshop, and the San Blas Temple. San Blas also has a wide assortment of restaurants and cafés, making it a great place for lunch or a snack.
Afterward, make your way back to the city center and to your hotel, where you'll check out and take your private transfer to the airport, catching a four-hour flight to your next destination, Iquitos City. Located in the Loreto region, this port city is the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon and is considered a gateway to the jungles and lodges of the northern Amazon. Upon arrival, you'll be transferred to your hotel, where you can rest and regroup.
Day 11: Muyuna Lodge (Day 1): Jungle Excursion & Nocturnal Animal Tour
Your Amazon jungle adventure begins today, with your driver collecting you from your Iquitos hotel and transporting you deep into the rainforest to reach Muyuna Lodge—a small, exclusive lodge within the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Reserve and your home for the next few days! The fun begins right after check-in, with a guided jungle excursion and a search for the tiny pygmy monkey. Your guide will take you into the forest, sharing information on the enormous variety of plants and trees here, with potential sightings of pygmy monkeys and other wildlife.
This evening, have dinner at the lodge, then take an exciting nighttime boat tour that offers your family the chance to see some of the Amazon's elusive nocturnal animals in their natural habitat. Enjoy the night sounds of the jungle, from calling monkeys to evening birdsong, as your guide takes you to the areas where you're most likely to catch glimpses of these night-loving creatures. See caimans, deer, or even big cats like jaguars!
Day 12: Muyuna Lodge (Day 2): River Dolphins, Piranha Fishing & Village Tour
Get up close and personal with the pink dolphins of the Amazon River, taking a dip in the waters and watching the dolphins at play. Amazon river dolphins are considered the largest species of dolphin in the world, and their equally large brains make them one of the most intelligent. Your expert local guide will take you out in the morning, and you'll have a chance to cool off in the river while observing the small groups of dolphins that live here. The kids might even get a personal greeting from one of these curious creatures!
If a swim doesn't sound appealing, you can also try out your fishing skills on a guided piranha fishing excursion. These big-toothed little fish are actually quite delicious, and your guide will take you to a popular fishing hole on the river. You'll be provided with poles and bait, and if you'd like, have your catch served up to you as a meal.
For those families interested in learning more about the culture and history of the Amazon's human residents, spend the afternoon at the village of San Juan de Yanayacu. You'll have a chance to meet the local residents and see how they live and work, and the kids can join in on a game of soccer! Tonight, step out for a night walk with your guides for sightings of giant frogs and tarantulas.
Day 13: Muyuna Lodge (Day 3): Boat Tour, Plant Walk & Nocturnal Canoe Ride
Birders will be amazed at the abundance of bird species in the Amazon, and there's no better way to see them than with a morning boat excursion to the nearby lagoons of Juanachi and Moena. Your guide will take you out in the early hours, gliding along the river and to the lakes as you search for parrots, herons, kingfishers, panguana, and other birds. At Moena, you're also likely to see monkeys in the nearby trees, as well as slow-moving sloths.
Later today, take an educational forest walk and learn more about the plants of the Amazon, many of which have medicinal properties. Your guide will show you which plants are used to treat various ailments, while also sharing the history and legends behind them. This evening, make the most of your last night in the jungle with a nocturnal canoe ride. Just after sunset, your guide will take you along the river, allowing you to listen to the eerie, mysterious jungle sounds made by the insects and animals that live here.
Day 14: Muyuna Lodge (Day 4): Remote Lake Excursion, Depart Peru
Your final morning at the lodge takes you on a boating excursion to a remote rainforest lagoon. The location isn't easy to access, but the journey is worth it, as you and the kids will see plenty of jungle creatures and have a chance to explore the area on foot (water levels permitting) or by boat. Return to the lodge in time for a quick lunch, then transfer back to Iquitos City, where you'll catch a flight home or to your next destination. Safe travels!
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