Peru for kids is a hot destination for family travel for several reasons.
- Peruvians are family-oriented and love children, so there are no worries when making reservations at hotels and restaurants. Most are happy to accommodate kids, especially if you make requests in advance.
- Landmarks, like Machu Picchu, which have historical importance to you, also stoke adventure fantasies for kids.
- Peru is for nature lovers. The Amazon rainforest, for instance, delights kids who are bug and bird lovers, fantasy crocodile hunters, and naturalist wanna-be’s.
We’ve planned active traveling to Nepal, the Galapagos, and Myanmar. All of these trips are designed to give children memorable and unique cultural experiences, but one of our most popular destinations for families is Peru. We recommend it often for families with one or more children age 7 and older.
Top 10 Travel Tips for Peru for Kids
One of our favorite travel experiences for kids is “Machu Picchu and Beyond,” because it goes beyond touring the 600-year-old Inca ruins to meeting the fascinating people of Peru’s small rural villages, markets, and towns. It’s an adventurous mix of wonder, mystery, and real-life experiences in Peru. Even better, it’s a gentle way to expose your children to a foreign culture, especially if it is their first trip abroad.
The ruins at Machu Picchu capture children’s love of fantasy, and the people they meet throughout the country will open their hearts. With so much experience designing Peru for kids trips to the country’s most iconic highlights, we’ve picked out the best tips for anyone heading there with children.
Give your child a variety of real-life in Peru experiences.
Visit a rural school and allow your family time to be spontaneous with the local children. (Parents often find it interesting to talk with teachers, too.) Before you go, learn and practice a few words of Quechua with your children. This is the ancient language of the Incas that is still spoken today. If your child is able to say “hello” (or rimaykullayki in Quechua) and “how are you” to a Peruvian child, they will be rewarded with smiles and giggles. Bring useful gifts like notebooks, pencils, dried milk or bread to the Peruvian school.
Tell hotels and guesthouses what you need in advance.
Are there any particular food requests or sleeping arrangement while you’re on your Peru for Kids trip? Will your child have a birthday while in Peru? Do you want cots, or are pullout couches okay? If your kids are picky about food, check ahead about what familiar foods will be made available at meals.
Ask for guides who work specifically with families and let them know your preferences in advance.
At Myths and Mountains, we interview each family about their preferences for everything from specific foods to travel style, and we pass the pertinent information along to our Peruvian guides before you arrive. This helps us ensure your Peru for Kids trip goes well. Does your 7-year-old need an afternoon nap? Does your 8-year-old girl prefer physical activities? Is her teen brother easily bored? Does your family prefer to start the day after 9:00 AM or a bit earlier? Guides tend to customize daily activities to pace the trip specifically for each family.
Bring small show-and-tell items from home.
Photos of your child’s daily life are best. Sharing pictures with local schoolchildren encourages cross-cultural interaction on your Peru for kids trip. Take along photos of your pets, your child’s classroom, even the neighborhood playground. Having familiar pictures of your backyard and your child’s furry best friend and playmates also helps her avoid feeling overwhelmed in the new “foreign” surroundings and language.
Ask about small hotels on your Peru for kids travel.
Peruvian hotels rarely have family rooms or connecting ones, so a small hotel allows you to have two rooms near each other. Also, since small local hotels lack the anonymity of large, bustling ones, kids and parents feel more at ease. Since Peruvians tend to be family-oriented, you might feel like the staff “adopts” you during your stay. Take the time to learn the names of the hotel staff and encourage your children to say hello and politely address them by name.
Say yes to activities you and your children have not done before.
With help from your private guide, let children safely explore the hidden dungeons of Machu Picchu, ride horses to a rural village, feed llamas and alpacas, and go fishing for piranhas in the Amazon jungle. No child who is allowed to do things will ever be bored.
Try a new experience, especially when exploring Peru for kids.
Don’t just watch the weaver using a backstrap loom, let your child try it. Join a cooking class as a family, using organic food and unfamiliar ingredients grown on the farm you’re visiting by horseback. Learn how to track animals on a night safari hike in the Amazon. Try white water rafting on the Urubamba River. Go bird watching and make a list of birds you see – and of course, don’t forget binoculars. Create a fun journal with daily entries and drawings. (These are examples of activities we can arrange ahead of time.)
Don’t cram too many activities into a day.
In fact, keep some days entirely free of scheduled plans. Allow a day or two in the itinerary to just hang out in a village to people-watch or relax and play at the hotel pool. Children are not inexhaustible and enjoy having time to do whatever they want to do…. or to do nothing but take in the views, sounds, and smells of Peru.
Be prepared for last minute changes in plans.
The best-laid plans can go awry if a child becomes unhappy, ill, or is simply tired, so we build flexibility into the itinerary. We always work with guides who always have an alternative plan if schedules don’t work out.
Consider your child’s physical abilities and limits.
We recommend kids be at least seven years old for a Peru for kids trip. Why? We want to make sure they can handle the excursions we plan for them and can listen and heed the guide’s safety recommendations. For any overnight trekking trips, it’s best for kids to be at least 12 years old and able to handle six-hour daily hikes. (Do some hikes at home before you go to test your child’s interest and strength.) If they’ve camped at home before, great! We try to pace the trip so your family can adjust to altitude easily before heading to the higher elevations on your Peru for kids treks.