By Allie E. Almario
One of the most popular family destinations in South America is Peru. With so many iconic landmarks in this beautiful country, it’s no wonder that multi-generational families are choosing to travel here. Lima, Peru is just a five-hour flight from Miami and since it is just one hour behind the East Coast, there’s no jet lag for anyone to worry about.
Here are our favorite spots in Peru to recommend for you and your children:
The seaside town of Lima has a lovely “Malecon” (waterfront) where there is plenty of entertainment on the beach. Nearby pyramids, art museums and cathedrals are a great intro to Peru’s capital and culture. Picarones are sugary fun street food snacks that taste just like doughnuts.
2. Cusco and the Sacred Valley
Massive Incan ruins with secret passageways and tongue-twisting names? White-water rafting? Feeding alpacas and llamas? Visiting a local school to bring much need stationary supplies? Yes to all and more! There are even Indian markets where you can bargain for fun trinkets and souvenirs. Once you’re acclimated to the altitude of the Sacred Valley, everyone will be eager to head to the many trails and paths that snake around this lush region.
3. Machu Picchu
After an exciting train ride on tracks carved out of scenic canyons, you’ll arrive at the legendary fortress famous for its Incan myths. Kids can climb all over Machu Picchu trails just as if they were Indiana Jones or Lara Croft the Tomb Raider. This mountain-top, 15th century citadel is where you’ll find roaming packs of alpacas and llamas. Kids are fascinated by the story that in 1911, explorer Hiram Bingham was led up this steep, cloud-hidden mountain by the 10-year-old son of a local farmer. Don’t forget to get the special Machu Picchu stamp in your passport before you exit.
What’s not to love? Eco-lodges will teach your children how to love and respect wildlife and with so many hands-on activities, they’ll never be bored! On any given day, you can try fishing for giant catfish, go on a midnight jungle safari, swing from giant hanging tree vines or floating above the tree tops on a hanging canopy walkway. Perhaps spending time being one with nature, disconnected from outside civilization, the internet and even electricity will be a well-deserved break from modern society?
5. Ica Sand Dunes
Five hours south of Lima is the desert oasis of Huacachina. With majestic palm trees surrounded by miles of blinding white soft sand, the Ica region is fast becoming Peru’s newest adventure hot spot. And why not? Just like mountain snow is the perfect background for snowboarding, the sand dunes in this desert is the best way to experience unique sport of sandboarding and off-roading on dune buggies!