Best 7 Day Itinerary In Peru With Teens (2023)


Last Updated on November 12, 2023 by Nicole

We took our 15 and 13 year old sons and 11 year old daughter for a week’s vacation in Peru during summer break. We thought the highlight would be Machu Picchu. Don’t get me wrong, it truly was a remarkable site to visit and one that should be on everyone’s bucket list. However, everything that we did on our 7 day holiday in Peru was truly incredible. Our days effortlessly blended exploring amazing cities and places like Lima, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley; touring exquisite Inca sites; visiting traditional villages and markets; seeing incredible natural beauty; and eating lots of delicious food. Our children loved our time in Peru. Here is our fantastic one week itinerary in Peru with our teens.

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At A Glance

I know you are busy. If you only have a couple minutes to spare, here are the key takeaways from this article.

  • Peru is a fantastic destination for families with teens.
  • Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley offer exciting adventure, interesting culture and amazing food that your teens will love.
  • Machu Picchu is mesmerizing and should definitely be on your bucket list.

If you can find more time, try to read my full article. It explains my suggestions, gives you details about experiences that you will have, and provides travel tips.

Wild llamas were on top of Machu PIcchu when we visited.
Harrison getting friendly with the local alpacas.
Exploring Pisac Ruins in the Sacred Valley, Peru
Exploring Pisac Ruins in the Sacred Valley.

One Week Adventure In Peru With Teens

This week had everything that I always hope to have when I create an itinerary for my travels with my family – culture, history, adventure, and, most importantly, authenticity.

I worked with Kouda Travel, a local Peruvian travel agency, to help us build our itinerary. They were exceptionally helpful before we arrived and were amazing guides in their beautiful country.

Below is our day to day schedule.

Days 1 and 2- Lima

On the first day, we arrived in the late afternoon in Lima. We stayed in Miraflores, a fantastic location in Lima. We relaxed and recovered from our long day of travelling.

In the morning, we explored the Miraflores area on our own and did a little bit of shopping.

In the afternoon, we were picked up at our hotel for a very interesting private tour of Lima. We went to:

  • The historic centre of Lima, and saw San Martin Square and the Bolivar Hotel;
  • The Local Market in Surquillo District and tried Peruvian fruits, vegetables and delicacies;  and
  • The Plaza Mayor and visited the Cathedral of Lima, the Archbishop’s Palace and Pizarro House.
Visiting Lima before heading to Machu Picchu.
The main plaza in the historic centre of Lima, Peru.

We also toured Casa Aliaga, a special experience as it is one of the oldest mansions in the New World and has been occupied (to this day) by the same family since 1535.

We walked from there to the Traditional Bar-Restaurant Cordano, where we tried “Chica Morada”, a typical beverage, and other Peruvian dishes that were delicious.

In the evening, we did the Magic Water Tour at the Parque de la Reserva, which was beautiful and surprisingly fun! With 13 fountains, the Magic Water Circuit is the largest water fountain park in the world and recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. After dark, lights, music and other interactive elements are added, turning them into showpieces. We spent a couple of hours discovering all the fountains and their amazing light and sound shows.

After, we ate a lovely dinner at La Tiendecita Blanca in Miraflores.

Impressions And Recommendations

Lima was fantastic. We spent two nights but only ended up having one full day to tour. 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 learning about history and culture, and having fun.

The evening at the Magic Water Tour at the Parque de la Reserva was a fabulous way to finish the day.  

I really liked Miraflores area where we stayed. 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 and bars and it was safe to walk around and explore.

Lots of llamas and alpacas near Machu Picchu, Peru.
Getting up close and personal with some local characters!

Days 3 – Sacred Valley

In the morning, we were picked up at our hotel and transferred to the airport. We boarded a plane for our short flight to Cusco.

Upon arrival, we were picked up by a private car and guide, and our adventures in the Sacred Valley began.

Our hotel, Casa Andina Private Collection Valle Sagrado, was 1 1/2 hours away from Cusco. We sat back and enjoyed the spectacular scenery on the drive through the Sacred Valley.

Half way through our journey, we stopped at the Living Museum of Awanakancha where we watched traditional weavers at work. We had fun learning about and feeding the llamas and alpacas. Afterwards, we explored the shop filled with luxurious and fashionable alpaca items, tempted to make many purchases.

llamas and alpacas near Machu Picchu, Peru
Lucas feeding the alpacas at the Living Museum.

Impressions And Recommendations

We loved our hotel. We were nestled in the hills and had large luxurious rooms. We were also a reasonable distance to Pisac and the other activities that we did.

We have had many wonderful adventures in Central And South America with our teens. For more information about other destinations and our experiences, please see:

Day 4 – Pisac

The next morning, we explored the Inca Ruins at Pisac. It was breathtakingly beautiful on top of the mountain with 360 degree views. We loved walking around these ruins and hearing about its history.

Inca Ruins at Pisac, near Machu PIcchu.
Exploring the Inca ruins of Pisac.

In the afternoon, we strolled through the native village of Pisac and its artisan market. We found many traditional crafts and hand-made textiles that we purchased.

There were also many opportunities to watch the locals and their children go about their daily lives in the market. They were friendly and proud of their market, and it was really fun to explore this village and their crafts.

We also had a pottery class with the owner of a long standing family pottery business. We each did our best to create something that didn’t make him cringe! It was very amusing and surprisingly relaxing. Our creations were left to be baked in the kiln, and were delivered to our hotel in Cusco the night before we left Peru.

At the end of our day, we stopped at a local kiosk and tried one of the official delicacies of Peru – guinea pig! No one was able to do more than have a nibble or two. It is cooked and eaten in its original form, so not the easiest thing to eat when you are not used to this.

Guinea pig is a local delicacy in Peru and offered at restaurants in Machu Picchu
Watching the locals cook guinea pig at a road side stand.

Impressions And Recommendations

This day was fantastic. Our kids loved visiting Pisac, learning about the Inca history and seeing the astounding views. Shopping and exploring the market in the afternoon was a great compliment to the morning as it allowed them to relax, search for amazing souvenirs, and people watch.

Visiting Pisac Village near Machu PIcchu
Juliet delighted hugging the lamb in the market.

The pottery lesson was pretty cool. You really get an appreciation for the craftsman’s talent when you produce truly awful results! As for my kids, for the rest of our trip, they looked at pottery with a whole new keen eye.

Day 5 – Horseback Riding And Visiting A Local Village

In the morning, we had a guided horseback riding tour on the rural paths below the mountains. We peaked over fences and met locals going about their business. It was quiet and beautiful, and we didn’t want it to end.

We had fabulous lunch at Hacienda Huayocari, the restaurant attached to the ranch. This was an extraordinary meal and a beautiful family restaurant with its own museum.

Horseback riding in the Sacred Valley near Machu PIcchu
An amazing morning horseback riding in the Sacred Valley.

After lunch, we visited a remote local village called Umasbamba Community. We toured a traditional family home and watched the women do their extraordinary weaving.

A beautiful day visiting Umasbamba Village near Machu Picchu.
Women weaving at Umasbamba Village.

Afterwards, we spent time at the local school which offered after school programs for the children of the village. We met with the teacher and students and gave them school supplies that we brought on our trip.

They did a little show and gave us artwork that they had created. It was a pretty memorable experience.

Umasbamba Village is a town not too far from Machu Picchu.
Hanging out with the children of Umasbamba Village at their school.
Visiting the local school in Umasbamba Village, Peru
Visiting the local school in Umasbamba Village.

Impressions And Recommendations

The horseback riding was incredible. We really got to explore a different part of the Sacred Valley, all the while being continuously captivated by the stunning mountainous views surrounding us.

Visiting the traditional homes and school in this tiny village on the outskirts of the Sacred Valley was very special. Nothing is more eye-opening to kids than seeing how other less privileged children live and what they have to do to try and make a life different from their parents. We were also thrilled to learn that our visit helps fund local projects to help all the families in the village.

Day 6 – Machu Picchu

In the morning, we woke up early and checked out of our hotel. Our guide and driver picked us up and drove us 20 minutes to Ollantaytambo for our 2 hour train ride to Machu Picchu. Like every other place in the Sacred Valley, the scenery was stunning.

When we arrived at Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu, we lined up and took the 15 minute bus ride up the mountain to Machu Picchu.

This was a terrifying ride. The road was barely wide enough for one bus and yet, buses going up and coming back down had to share it. There was a sheer drop hundreds of feet/metres to the ground below without a fence or barricade in sight. I just closed my eyes and prayed!

The day was already remarkable, filled with astonishing views, and we had not even reached Machu Picchu.

We spent an amazing day exploring Machu Picchu.
A beautiful day in Machu Picchu.

We spent the day at Machu Picchu with our guide. It was truly spectacular and fascinating. We walked, climbed and explored the ruins as we pleased while learning about its unique history. We loved it there.

In the late afternoon, we took the bus back down to Aguas Calientes and had a very good early dinner in town. We boarded the train for the 3 1/2 hour ride to Cusco.

Upon arrival in Cusco, our driver collected us from the train station and delivered us to our gorgeous hotel, the JW Mariott El Convento Cusco.

It was a very long day, but it was filled with extraordinary experiences.

Impressions And Recommendations

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 thankfully, 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 on any trip to Peru.

In addition, I really enjoyed walking around Aguas Calientes, 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 large windows allow you stunning views of the mountains and the valleys.  

On our return from Machu Picchu, we also got entertainment! There was a mini play with full costumes and a fashion show in the aisles.

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 other days on our one week Peruvian holiday were much more relaxed. We had mid morning starts, relaxing tours and adventures, and days that ended around 4:00 pm. Overall, my kids loved this day and did not complain about its’ length.

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

Day 7 – Cusco

In the morning, we had a private tour of Cusco and the surrounding areas. We visited the Santo Domingo Monastery and the colonial cathedrals in the Plaza de Armas.  

We went to Cusco after visiting Machu Picchu, Peru.
The city of Cusco

In the afternoon, we visited the ancient fortress of Sacsayhuaman, the temple and amphitheater of Q’enko and the red fortress of PucaPucara.  We also shopped and purchased many gorgeous alpaca sweaters, shawls and scarves. It was a fantastic day. The following morning, we left Peru.

In front of the main plaza in Cusco, Peru
In front of the main plaza in Cusco.

Impressions And Recommendations

We adored Cusco. Our family only had two nights and one full day, but felt that it was enough.

The city is beautiful and intimate. There are many narrow streets with cobblestone paths that lead to cool little shops or cafes. In addition, there are many high end stores selling beautifully crafted alpaca ponchos, sweaters and scarves, among other things.

The JW Mariott El Convento Cusco was beautiful and the restaurants in Cusco offered delicious and sophisticated food.

Last Word

Peru was a fabulous place to visit with our teenagers and we thoroughly enjoyed our 7 day itinerary. We felt safe and found many modern conveniences. The people were friendly and 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 and I would highly recommend a visit with your teenagers.

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Machu Picchu and Peru are amazing places to visit with your family. This blog provides a 7 day itinerary that takes you to Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. There was incredible food and restaurants, cultural sites, and activities, including horseback riding, pottery classes and exploring Inca ruins. | alpaca, family vacation ideas, horseback riding, Inca, Lima, Magic Water tour, Miraflores, Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Inca ruins, Sacsayhuaman, weaving, Aguas Calientes
Machu Picchu and Peru are amazing places to visit with your teens. This blog provides a 7 day itinerary that takes you to Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. This itinerary includes incredible food and restaurants, cultural sites, and activities, including horseback riding, pottery classes and exploring Inca ruins. | alpaca, family vacation ideas, horseback riding, Inca, Lima, Magic Water tour, Miraflores, Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Inca ruins, Sacsayhuaman, weaving, Aguas Calientes
the authorNicole


  • What an amazing experience! I’m so jealous. My uncle had invited me to go with him and a few of my other cousins to hike Machu Picchu this past September. Alas, I couldn’t make it work with my work schedule. I don’t think they spent much time on other activities and visiting communities, but after reading all the activities you did, I definitely be adding a few more things on my must-do list for when I finally get to travel to Peru. Thanks so much for the share!

    • The hike to Machu Picchu looked amazing. We opted not to do that because it wouldn’t work for all my children. So, there would have been lots of complaining. But, hiking around Machu Picchu, once you get there, is also awe inspiring.

  • What a wonderful adventure, I adopted 3 kids when my 4 where just reaching the travel age so as a family of 10 we stuck to road trips & camping (I’m running out of patience waiting for grand-kids) when the Grandbabies finally come I am hoping I can do some greater adventures with them.

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