Sometimes families coming to visit Peru aren’t sure what sites are good for children. The truth is, many popular tourist sites are great fun for children, however, some places offer more action for kids than others. If you’re considering a family trip to Peru, you may want to keep these tips in mind:
The grand daddy of Peru tourism. While a visit to Machu Picchu can be done in one day (from Cuzco), you should plan on taking 2 days for maximum fun with minimum stress. Kids will love the train ride to Aguascalientes (also known as Machu Picchu City). Take an early afternoon train to Aguascalientes; the morning trains are packed. Relax over night in the town and hit Machu Picchu early the next morning. This will allow you to be there before the morning trains bring scores of day tripper tourists in, crowding the site in the afternoon. Head back to Aguascalientes shortly after noon, and catch an early train back to Cuzco.
What NOT to do: Do not attempt climbing Huayna Picchu with younger children; its steep steps with no handrails are far too dangerous for young ones.
Whether you decide on a lodge in the northern jungles near Iquitos or stay more to the south near Manu or Puerto Maldonado, kids will love staying in a jungle lodge. The best advice is to find out as much as you can about the lodges under your consideration and make sure that they will offer things like guided jungle hikes and the opportunity to see wildlife. Something else to ask about: whether they have a 24 hour generator. Some lodges only provide electricity for a few hours a day, meaning that bed time is shortly after dark. Look for a lodge with a game or recreation room that provides activities for the kids such as board games or pool tables, and don’t forget to bring the handheld video games.
The best way to see the famous Nazca lines is via airplane, and in recent times there have been several accidents and a hijacking that make me loath to recommend the flights for all but the most intrepid tourists. If you do decide to take the flight, anti-motion sickness medicine is recommended for anyone who is even slightly susceptible to nausea. It is possible to see the lines via a large staircase that’s been built expressly for this purpose. While the town of Nazca is fairly boring for kids, there are some other kid friendly activities in the area. The Chauchilla Cemetary offers a chance to see real mummies, which can be very interesting or very terrifying, depending on your child. If you’re traveling with older kids or teens, they will probably be thrilled to take a side trip up Cerro Blanco, the world’s tallest sand dune, for a day of sandboarding.