Log off and escape to Peru with this seven-day family adventure that starts in ancient Cusco and follows the Inca Trail through the Sacred Valley to ancient Machu Picchu. Explore the stunning Maras salt mines and Rainbow Mountain as the kids ditch their devices, and you spend quality time together—discovering Peru's culture, colors, and cuisine against a backdrop of towering Andean peaks.


  • Travel back to the time of the Inca as you tour Peru's Sacred Valley
  • Discover a "city in the clouds" at Machu Picchu
  • Hike the many-colored slopes of beautiful Rainbow Mountain

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lima, Fly to Cusco Cusco
Day 2 Family Fun in Cusco Cusco
Day 3 Sacred Valley Tour: Pisac, Salineras de Maras & Ollantaytambo Ollantaytambo
Day 4 Scenic Train Ride to Aguas Calientes Aguas Calientes
Day 5 Machu Picchu Excursion, Transfer to Cusco Cusco
Day 6 Rainbow Mountain Trek Cusco
Day 7 Fly to Lima, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lima, Fly to Cusco

Children participate in local festivities in Cusco
Children participate in local festivities in Cusco's town center

Welcome to the Peruvian Andes! Upon arrival in Lima, you'll catch a short domestic flight to the ancient city of Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire and home to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Take a private transfer to your hotel and settle in after the long flight. When you're ready, discover Peru's sights, sounds, and tastes with a wander to San Blas, the old bohemian quarter famous for its striking white walls, blue doors, and creative artisan community. 

Choose from one of the many local restaurants to settle in and sample traditional Peruvian flavors and cooking techniques, such as crackling pork, pickled and roasted vegetables, and freshly baked bread. Finish with picarones, Peru's famous riff on a doughnut, made from sweet potato, deep fried in batter, and served with a flavorsome sweet syrup; a combination bound to entice the kids!

Day 2: Family Fun in Cusco

Stroll Cusco's colorful streets
Stroll Cusco's colorful cobbled streets

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast with the kids before popping on some comfy shoes and exploring. Start with a visit to the legendary Mercado Central de San Pedro, a thriving market bursting with colorful fruits, various cooked meats, freshly baked bread, and medicinal herb stalls. Don't miss the market's mouthwatering fruit juices, where the kids can try everything from tuna (cactus fruit) to aguaymanto (goldenberry) alongside the more traditional flavors. Pick up picnic supplies for later and continue to the central Plaza de Armas, the town's square, filled with colonial architecture.

Don't miss the imposing 16th-century Gothic-Renaissance Cathedral Basilica, which dominates the plaza and houses a beautiful art collection. There are plenty of ruins to explore, and the jewel in Cusco's crown is Qoricancha (Temple of the Sun), the most important temple of the Inca Empire. Roam the 13th-century complex as the kids discover the smaller temples dedicated to the rainbow, stars, lighting, and thunder.

The religious site of Sacsayhuamán, a ruined citadel on the northern outskirts of Cusco, is an excellent place for a family picnic where kids can unleash their inner explorer among the vast stone ruins. Just next door is the archaeological complex of Q'enqo, a site built to represent the Andean constellations and another fascinating place to ignite the imaginations of your young adventurers.         

Day 3:  Sacred Valley Tour: Pisac, Salineras de Maras & Ollantaytambo

Visitors looking at the Salinas de Maras
The fascinating Salineras de Maras in the Peruvian Andes
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Get ready for the next leg of your family adventure this morning as you transfer an hour northeast to Pisac, one of the most important archaeological sites in the region. The ancient Inca burial grounds and astronomy centers here are a surefire way to fascinate school-age kids. Spend time wandering the ruins before heading to the town at the bottom of the valley, where you'll explore Pisac's famous textile market, full of vivid and intricately-woven goods.

Next, your guide will drive you to the astonishing Salineras de Maras (Maras Salt Mines) toward the northwest of the valley, a geometric patchwork of over 3,000 salt pools carved into the mountainside by the Inca and still used today. The fascinating landscape draws photographers from all over the world while the pools bring to life both science and ancient history for the kids. Hear how the wells are fed by a 110 million-year-old hypersaline underground spring as you spend time exploring. 

Stop for lunch at Muña Restaurant in Ollantaytambo and dine on locally-sourced food before finishing your tour with a stop at the town's ruins. The highlight is a visit to the vast stone terraces and spectacular Inca sites that rise above Ollantaytambo. The ruins of a vital temple and military fortress mark where the Inca won one of their most significant (but short-lived) battles against the Spanish conquistadors in 1536. It's an awe-inspiring spot with plenty of inspiration for your young adventurers. Afterward, your guide will drop you at your hotel in the town center.

Day 4: Scenic Train Journey to Aguas Calientes

Women and children in local dress in Ollantaytambo
Women and children in local dress in Ollantaytambo

After breakfast, spend an easy morning relaxing in Ollantaytambo. Explore the local area at leisure, and if the kids need to burn off some energy, head back to the town's impressive fortress and hike among the ruins. After lunch, you'll take a transfer to the station and board a train to Aguas Calientes, a small town nestled in the lush greenery at the base of Machu Picchu. The 1.5-hour journey is an experience in itself as you travel through towering forest-clad mountains and deep valleys. 

Settle in at your accommodation, and you have a couple of options: unwind in the hot springs after which the town was named, or grab a drink and watch local life at one of the local cafés. A short fifteen-minute walk will lead you to Mariposario de Machupicchu, a butterfly farm where kids can walk amid the freely fluttering creatures and learn how butterflies emerge from their cocoons. The town's Machu Picchu Museum is a great option to spend an hour or two discovering pieces uncovered during the site's excavation and the ongoing conservation work.

Day 5: Machu Picchu Excursion, Transfer to Cusco

Machu Picchu and a llama
Two of Peru's iconic sights, Machu Picchu and a llama

No trip to Peru is complete without a visit to the 15th-century Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and justifiably one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. A masterpiece of engineering that served as a sanctuary and retreat for the Inca Emperor Pachacutec and his royal court, Machu Picchu is nestled high in the slopes of the Andes mountains at 7,970 feet (2,429 m). Abandoned 100 years after its construction following the Spanish conquest, this breathtaking site remained largely hidden from the outside world until the early 20th century.

It's just a short walk after breakfast to meet your guide for the 25-minute bus ride to Machu Picchu. The kids won't fail to be stunned by the grandeur and majesty of this "city in the clouds" as you take a guided tour of the site and learn about the citadel's fascinating history. Let the little ones roam as you explore the vast complex and look across to the towering forested peaks of the Andes.

Afterward, you'll transfer back to Aguas Calientes and can grab a bite to eat before traveling back to Cusco, where you'll spend your last two nights hotel. Enjoy dinner at one of the local restaurants as you recount your highlights of the trip so far and bid goodnight to the exhausted but happy kids.

Day 6: Rainbow Mountain Trek

Rainbow Mountain
The colorful hues of Vinicunca, Peru's famous Rainbow Mountain

It's an early start this morning as, hot on the heels of yesterday's epic visit to Machu Picchu, you and your family will hike another of Peru's natural wonders: Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain). Pack snacks, and if the kids are too excited to catch some shut-eye while you drive four hours south of Cusco, admire the scenery as you eventually follow the mountain road, passing through traditional villages and fertile valleys. 

On a clear day, you'll see the snow-capped Ausangate mountain, the tallest peak in Cusco Province at a whopping 20,945 feet (6,384 m). As you approach the spectacular striated Rainbow Mountain, you'll see the startling hues of reds, golds, greens, and purples, among others, created by the unique sediment of minerals throughout the area. Even the hardest-to-impress kids will do a double-take as you take in the captivating colors.

You'll start hiking at a manageable height of 14,271 feet (4,350 m) and walk gently toward the top, enjoying the surrounding views. If the kids need extra encouragement, the herds of passing llamas and alpacas will keep them occupied. After 1.5 hours or so, you'll reach the summit, where there'll be plenty of time to take a breather, appreciate the views, and capture the moment with a memorable family selfie. It's an easy hike back down to the vehicle, where you'll enjoy a well-deserved packed lunch. Return to Cusco, and your last night in Peru is yours to spend as you wish.  

Day 7: Fly to Lima, Depart

Goodbye, Peru!
Wave goodbye to Cusco this morning as you catch your flight home

Sadly, your Peruvian family adventure is at an end. After breakfast, you'll catch your domestic flight to Lima, ready for your connecting flight home. Safe Travels!

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Map of Peru Family Expedition: Cusco, Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley - 7 Days
Map of Peru Family Expedition: Cusco, Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley - 7 Days