Thinking about visiting Peru with kids under 10? This blog is for you!
Traveling with kids requires good planning. Our top tips for Peru with small kids are:
- Pick two or three destinations
- Choose hands-on activities instead of just sight-seeing
- Seek out tour guides who are trained to guide kids.
With kids - you don’t want to be changing locations or hotels every night - it is better to spend longer in destinations that have a variety of activities for your littles.
We recommend creating a balanced mix of culture and nature by visiting Cusco and the Amazon Rainforest! You’ll most likely stop in Lima, which merits two of three days of your time, too. You’ll want to book internal flights to each place - but they are well connected. Cusco is a convenient 30 minute flight from Puerto Maldonado, the gateway to Tambopata - the most accessible and kid-friendly part of the Peruvian Amazon.
Below, we list recommended activities for this Lima-Cusco-Tambopata itinerary!
Lima - 2 Days
You’ll most likely fly in to Lima - and its a vibrant, kid-friendly city - so we recommend you spend two days here.
In Lima, stay in the San Isidro or Miraflores neighbourhoods - find a hotel or guesthouse within walking distance of Larcomar, so if all else fails your kids can run around the modern entertainment area and watch the surfers on the beach below.
Activities in Lima
- Circuito Magico del Agua: is a series of illuminated fountains located in Parque de la Reserva. This isn’t open everyday, so check the website for opening hours.
- Colonial churches: The colonial churches in the center of town may be more appealing to the adults, but the catacombs of San Francisco Monastery are sure to be interesting for the whole family (though it might scare some kids!)
- ChocoMuseo: There are four chocolate museums in Lima! Several have workshops for kids - check their website for dates and times.
- Food Tours: There are a plethora of excellent food tours available in Lima - and well worth your time. It will help your kids learn about Peruvian food, and make them better order-ers for the rest of the trip!
Cusco - 4 days
The region around Cusco is chock-a-block full of archeological sites, but if you kids are like ours, they’ll be happy to see Machu Picchu and move on to more immersive activities - so that’s what we suggest.
Beware of altitude sickness when visiting Cusco - at 3,4000 meters it is quite high, although the chances are that the adults suffer more than the kids! In order for everyone in the family to acclimatize, start your trip in the Sacred Valley.
Activities for Kids in Cusco
- Visit Machu Picchu: There is a reason this UNESCO World Heritage Site is on every travelers buck list. Prepare your kids with an introduction to Incan history before you arrive - encourage them to speculate on how it was built, why it was built and what it all means. The answers to these questions are still mysteries, so their guess is as good as anyone elses!
- Cooking class and market tour: There is a reason that Peru is referred to as the gastronomic capital of Latin America - the food is simply divine. On Airbnb experiences you can find a variety of people offering market tours and cooking classes. You’ll walk through the market to purchase ingredients - the experience is much more immersive when you’re actually shopping for food! And then head cook a meal with a local.
- Horse back riding: this region is home to Peruvian Paso horses and many operators offer rides around the Valley. If your kids aren’t up for long rides, its also possible to walk around the paddock at the Sol y Luna Hotel.
- Hike & Learn Spanish: You will be amazing at the amount of Spanish your kids pick up when they travel - so why not encourage it, and head off the dreaded ‘Are we there yets?’ that seem to come up during any hike. Many providers are offering ‘Hike and Learn Spanish’ tours - a great way to see more of the Sacred Valley, and keep your kids focused something other than the kilometers left ahead of them.
Tambopata, Peruvian Amazon - 4 days
From Cusco, an easy 30 minute flight takes you to Puerto Maldonado, gateway to the Amazon. The Amazon turns into a natural classroom for your kids - where they learn about flora, fauna, science, and conservation.
Take this opportunity to connect with nature, helping them to focus on sounds, smells, forms, colors. And remember that you can maximize their experience in the forest by keeping quiet so they have more chances to spot wildlife along the activities.
At Rainforest Expeditions - we have activities designed especially for kids and guides that are trained specifically to work with kids. We recommend two nights at Posada Amazonas and two nights at Refugio Amazonas:
Activities for kids in Tambopata with Rainforest Expeditions:
- Catch (and release) a baby piranha: When visiting the oxbow lake near Posada Amazonas, Mom and Dad may be more interested in spotting the elusive Giant Otters - but the kids will be kept busy baiting their lines and catching baby piranhas.
- Meet the community: During Ese Eja day, learn what daily life in the Amazon is like with the Native Community of Infierno.
- Visit a jungle farm: a farm in the jungle? You bet! Meet the farmer tending to exotic fruit right in the heart of the Amazon.
- Ethnobotanical walk: Learn about the plants that the native community has been using as medicine for centuries! You’ll learn about one plant that turns you blue and another that numbs your tongue!
- Climb the Tower: Climb to the very top of the canopy tower to get a birds eye view of the whole Amazon Rainforest!
- Discover a new species: Your kids will delight in trapping insects at the light trap - and working with researchers to learn about the different species of moths and insects -and possibly identify a whole new species.
- Nature Walks: Feel confident to send your kids on a nature walk with our highly trained guides - who will bring the forest alive with stories and ‘treasure-hunts’ for your kids.
We hope this list of activity gets you started on creating a kid-friendly itinerary for your trip to Peru! Feel free to ask our team any questions - most of us are parents, so we know exactly what activities your kids will love. For more great tips, download your free guide to Tambopata: