It’s a fact of life that planning a trip for the whole family can be a tricky affair. However, for those with South America in mind, Peru offers exciting adventures for kids and big kids alike – even the country’s historical sites are spectacular enough to captivate all generations. Here’s our guide to the best vacations in Peru with kids in mind.
Cusco is such an amazingly beautiful place that kids of all ages will be fascinated by the city. Simply walking the streets will keep the whole family entertained: the interesting people and their bright outfits and the buildings are like nothing you’ve seen before. Then, of course, there’s Machu Picchu. No matter how old you are, you’ll be blown away by the spectacular sight of these ruins. Kids may not want to do the Inca Trail because of its lengthy duration and the absence of good cell phone service, but train and bus services make getting to the famous Inca ruins fairly simple.
The capital of Peru has more than enough to keep any kid entertained and happy. There’s El Circuito Mágico del Agua which is a water park that has timed water fountains that shoot up from the ground, a water bridge, and a water light show at night, while at the Miraflores boardwalk you can paraglide over the upscale beach city and the Pacific Ocean – if the sun is out, you’ll have a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean and Lima’s beach neighborhoods. There is also the Choco Museo which is an excellent hands-on experience for the entire family and certainly will be delicious.
Choco Museo – Avenida Diagonal, Diagonal 344, Miraflores, Lima, Peru, +51 977 197 560
El Circuito Magico del Agua – Jr. Madre de Dios, Cercado de Lima, Lima, Peru, +51 1 3310353
Arequipa is a beautiful colonial town in the south of Peru, and is the country’s second-largest metropolis. Stunning colonial architecture and a volcano for a backdrop make this city a must-see. There’s also the Cañón del Colca which might be the most naturally beautiful place to visit in Peru – the canyon is 62 miles (100 kilometres) from end to end, and more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. The area is also rich with ruins from pre-Incan and Incan societies, as well as numerous Spanish structures.
Considered Peru’s best beach town, Mancora offers surfers year-round waves and is perfect for beginners. The left-hand reef break is a magnet for north swells, which hit the coastline consistently throughout the summer. The water hovers around 69°F (21°C) and is even warmer in the summer time, offering the only stretch of coastline swimmers won’t need a wetsuit to hang out in the water. You can also take the kids swimming with turtles in Nuro, which is only a short bus ride away, or take a whale watching tour.
Take a jungle boat cruise through the Amazon. This opportunity will give you the chance to catch glimpses of rarely-sighted jungle animals like the Amazonian pink dolphin and tons of birds. Going to the Amazon is an experience no one in the family will ever forget.
Giant hills of sand awaits the family in Ica – the orangey hillocks seem to roll on forever in every direction. Three hours south of Lima lies the small desert oasis town of Huacachina, surrounded by sand dunes. Here you can take a dune buggy to surf the steep sand faces, or try your hand at sandboarding. In Ica you can stay at the small desert oasis town of Huacachina, which the kids will love because it is like something out of a cartoon: it really is a desert oasis in the middle of rolling sand dunes.
Islas Ballestas and Reserva Nacional de Paracas
Located just south of the city of Pisco, this nature reserve offers visitors spectacular red beaches, lively marine life and ancient archaeological sites. Enjoy Reserva Nacional de Paracas’ unique coastline and maybe a trip to Islas Ballestas, also (somewhat unfairly) known as ‘the poor man’s Galapagos’.