Blog Peru Reflections

Peru And Machu Picchu With Kids: Would We Do It Again?

In the summer of 2016, we took our 15 and 13 year old sons, and 11 year old daughter to Peru for a week. It was an amazing experience. I thank Kouda Travel for helping me create an exceptional itinerary. I shared our itinerary in an earlier blog called Machu Picchu For Kids: A Week in Peru. If you are interested in a more detailed account of where we went and our day to day activities, please take a look at that blog.

 

Exploring Pisac Ruins in the Sacred Valley, Peru

Exploring Pisac Ruins in the Sacred Valley.

 

 

In this article, I am going to highlight what I loved about our trip and what I would do again. Further, I will tackle what I didn’t like or how I would have changed our week.

With any holiday that I plan and take with my family, I am always trying to find the right balance between providing experiences that are cultural and historical, with having fun. I want my children to leave our holiday with new knowledge and respect for a country and its people. But, I also want them to tell me that an adventure that we had, like horseback riding in the mountains, was the best thing ever and they wish they could to do it again.

I’m pretty sure that I accomplished my goals on this trip. We learnt a lot about Peru, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, and the incredible people that live there. We also had some pretty amazing and fun experiences. I felt very lucky to have spent this week in Peru.

 

Lima, the Capital of Peru

Lima was fantastic. We spent two nights there but only ended up having one full day to tour as we arrived late the first day. I would have liked to have one more day to walk around, shop and explore on our own. The tour that we did was very informative and provided a really nice balance between the educational – visiting historical sites and churches – and enjoying ourselves by tasting treats at a local market and a restaurant. The evening at the Magic Water Tour at the Parque de la Reserva was a fabulous way to finish the day.  It was actually magical!

 

Inside the Cathedral of Lima, Peru

Inside the Cathedral of Lima.

 

The Cathedral of Lima in Peru

Caskets buried beneath the Cathedral of Lima.

 

I liked staying in the Miraflores area of Lima. We picked up gorgeous leather shoes for a ridiculously low price. We stumbled upon some original art studios with some inexpensive and cool art. There were lots of great restaurants, like Tiendecita La Blancafrom which we had to choose. I would not recommending staying at our hotel, Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores. The customer service was repeatedly bad, and one of the rooms that we had smelled very bad.

 

Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley far surpassed everything that I was expecting. It was spectacularly beautiful. Our guide and driver provided by Kouda Travel were two of the best that we have ever had.

We had three full days in the Sacred Valley and it was the perfect amount of time. We stayed at Casa Andina Private Collection Valle Sagrado which was a beautiful hotel set below the mountains. Everywhere we went, the food was delicious.

 

A native women weaving in the Sacred Valley, Peru

A native women weaving in the Sacred Valley.

 

 

Our itinerary superbly blended historical and cultural visits with fun and relaxation.   I would do everything again!

  • Hang out with llamas and alpacas.
  • Watch and learn how the Peruvians colour and weave the alpaca wool to create exquisite items.
  • Visit the Inca Ruins in Pisac and shop at the local market.
  • Horseback ride in the Sacred Valley surrounded by the beautiful mountains.
  • Spend an afternoon trying to create beautiful pottery.

We loved exploring the local community of Umasbamba Community, learning about the daily lives of the native people and visiting a home. Kouda Travel organized the teacher and the local children of this community to come meet us on a Saturday! We appreciated seeing their school and hearing about all of the children’s accomplishments that may take them beyond the small remote village in which they live.

 

Visiting the local school in Umasbamba Village, Peru

Visiting the local school in Umasbamba Village.

 

 

Machu Picchu

I’ll be honest with you. It was my husband who wanted to see Machu Picchu more than anything else on a trip to South America. 

I wasn’t opposed to visiting it, but I envisioned a tourist trap with swarms of people making it a packaged experience. But, I was completely wrong! I am so grateful to have visited Machu Picchu, hear about its amazing history, and take in the breathtaking sites. It is an absolute must see.

 

Exploring Machu Picchu in Peru

Having fun on top of Machu Picchu

 

 

I really enjoyed walking around Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu, and would have been happy to spend a night there. However, I thought that one day visiting Machu Picchu would be enough. For our family, it was.

I loved the train ride to and from Aguas Calientes.  The windows allow you stunning views of the mountains and the valleys.  On our return from Machu Picchu, we were highly entertained by the train’s staff with a mini play with full costumes and a fashion show in the aisles.

 

A view from our train ride to Machu Picchu in Peru.

A view from our train ride to Machu Picchu.

 

It was a very long day. We started around 6:00 am at our hotel in the Sacred Valley, and ended our day in Cusco around 10:00 pm. However, the days leading up to this very long day were filled with mid morning starts, relaxing tours and adventures, and days that ended around 4:00 pm. My children thoroughly relished the day and did not complain about its length.

Cusco, our final stop in Peru

We adored Cusco. Our family spent two nights and 1 1/2 days there and felt that it was enough. We stayed at the JW Mariott El Convento Cusco which was beautiful.I would be happy to stay there again. The restaurants we went to had delicious and sophisticated food.

The first full day there, we had a tour of the City, and visited more Inca Ruins at Sacsayhuaman just outside the City. Cusco is a beautiful and intimate city. There are many narrow streets with cobblestone paths that lead to cool little shops or cafes. There are many high end stores selling beautifully crafted alpaca ponchos, sweaters and scarves, among other things.

 

In front of the main plaza in Cusco, Peru

In front of the main plaza in Cusco.

 

 

We enjoyed touring the City and visiting the churches. However, we were less interested in Sacsayhuaman and the other Inca Ruins that we saw.  I could see my children were half listening to the guide, if at all. Based upon their horsing around, they clearly needed to blow off some steam after the long day at Machu Picchu. Consequently, I believe that had we seen these ruins before Machu Picchu, or a couple of days after, this tour would have been more successful.

After the tour, we had a couple of half days to ourselves. We spent them delving into the narrow winding streets, looking for alpaca sweaters and other treasures. Our boys headed back to the hotel for some relaxation and screen time before our long journey back home to Canada.

 

Conclusion

By the time we left Peru, everything that I hope to accomplish on a family holiday was accomplished. We were relaxed, spending lots of time together laughing and sharing our experiences. We all left with impactful memories of different sites, flavours and people.

Peru was a fabulous place to visit with our children. We felt safe and found many conveniences that we have in our day to day lives at home. The people were friendly. Nothing felt touristy. We met very genuine people who were keen to share their history, daily lives and their special skills. Peru offered us an exquisite blend of history, culture and fun.

If you would like to save this article for future use, please click on the “Save” button on the photo below. Have a great day!

 

We spent a week in Peru visiting Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. We visited small villages and watched artisans at work weaving works of art. We were even taught a lesson on how to create amazing pottery. We horseback rode in the mountains and ate delicious meals.  We explored Inca Ruins including the incredible Machu PIcchu. Would we do it again? If so, what would we have changed?

 

 



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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Althea
    November 16, 2016 at 5:51 am

    I’ve always wanted to do the Machu Picchu; it’s on my bucket list! But because I’m still young, I didn’t know if I needed to rush it to happen ASAP or if going with a family was a good idea too. But reading through your experience, I thought I could do this! Thanks for the insight and travel tips. Now I’m FOR SURE booking a flight to Peru.

    • Reply
      nlhunter
      November 16, 2016 at 4:24 pm

      It is an amazing place to go. There are lots and lots of young people backpacking and hanging out, especially in Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu. You would meet lots of people from all over the world if you went without your family.

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