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Join us in Peru to open new windows of understanding, knowledge, and wonder for your family. Introduce your children to history and archaeology in an exciting way at the famed “Lost City of the Incas,” Machu Picchu. You’ll learn about the construction of this mountain citadel, have the chance to hike to the sacred summit of Huayna Picchu for stunning views, and explore other Incan sites such as Pisaq and Ollantaytambo.
You and your family will also experience unique cross-cultural opportunities, such as meeting a renowned Peruvian ceramicist who works with traditional techniques and designs. Learn about the importance of llamas and alpacas to the Peruvian way of life at the Awanacancha Llama Center. Cuzco, with its blend of Inca and Spanish architecture, promotes further historical discussion, plus, you’ll meet with a local family who shares secrets of Peruvian cooking. Travel by chartered boat out on Lake Titicaca to the magical floating reed islands of the Uros people, where you can explore the islands and meet with the local families who live there. Spend an afternoon at the remote and bucolic village of Charcas, where the local people still gather potatoes and grow quinoa on the shores of Lake Titicaca, much as they have for centuries. Our local guides provide insight throughout your vacation, as well as take care of all the details so that you’ll have time to relax and enjoy being with your family as you create lifelong memories. Our family adventure to Peru is geared for families with kids ages 10 and older.
Day 1 — Arrive Lima
Upon arrival in Lima, your family is met and transferred to the hotel. Rest and relax after your long journey. Overnight: Ramada Costa del Sol
Day 2 — Lima to the Sacred Valley
Start the day with an orientation and welcome breakfast at the hotel, then return to the airport. Fly to Cuzco, ancient capital of the Inca Empire, where your first stop is the Awanacancha Llama Center, where you can learn about llamas, alpacas, and other New World camelids, which have been important to the way of life here for centuries. Continue to the Sacred Valley, with an in-depth walking tour of Pisaq ruins. This site is known for its meticulous stone terrace, its aqueducts, Sun Temple ruins, and one of the largest known cemeteries from the Empire, yet no one fully understands what its original purpose was. Overnight: Casa Andina Private Collection
Day 3 — Sacred Valley
Spend this morning visiting the ceramic studio of Pablo Seminario, whose work is dedicated to rediscovering and preserving the ceramic techniques and designs of ancient Peruvian cultures—an important part of this area’s cultural heritage. After, set out to explore the Ollantaytambo ruins, village, and surroundings. The village is the best surviving example of classic Inca town planning. Many of the original Inca walls, compounds, and irrigation channels date back to the 15th century or earlier. Ollantaytambo is so well preserved it serves as a veritable replica of a typical community during the reign of the Incas. Be sure to stroll along the river and take a peek in the buildings, a unique glimpse into the life of this long-lost culture. Lunch is at the Kuchuwasi restaurant, a quiet haven in a shaded back street of Ollantaytambo that is operated by a local family. After lunch, walk down the street to the train station to board the train to Aguas Calientes, at the foot of Machu Picchu. Enjoy spectacular views of the valley and of the Urubamba River as the train winds its way to Aguas Calientes. Overnight: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel
Day 4 — Sacred Valley
Spend a full day at the citadel of Machu Picchu. The guide will work out how this day unfolds based on the interests of the group. Together the group will hop the shuttle bus up to the ruins for exploration of the trail system and surrounding ruins. After a tour and explanation of the ruins, the guide will offer an exciting hike up to the sacred summit of Huayna Picchu, the rocky knoll overlooking Machu Picchu. The trail is steep, at some points protected by guardrails, and at one point you pass through a natural cave just before emerging at the summit. The view from the top is extraordinary.
Those who seek a less strenuous route are encouraged to hike back along the famed Inca Trail to Machu Picchu to the Inti Punku, the Gate of the Sun. This is a walk of one mile distance, and approximately 1,000 feet vertical gain. The view down to Machu Picchu from the ceremonial platform here is a classic. The remainder of the afternoon will be free at leisure; the park closes at 5:00 p.m. Overnight: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel
Day 5 — Sacred Valley to Cuzco
Return to Ollantaytambo and drive to the Maras region to explore its fascinating salt mine terraces, operated since early Inca times. Then, continue to the small, adobe Andean village of Chinchero. Here you can enjoy a traditional highland huatia—potatoes roasted in an earth oven, served with other food that is traditionally offered when family members join together to harvest the new crops. Visit the Cuzco Traditional Textiles Center, where a local expert gives a one-hour talk and demonstration of Andean backstrap weaving techniques and discusses the meaning of weaving in the local economy. Meet some teenage girls who are learning to make wool sweaters, and learn how the CTTC fits into their world-view. Late this afternoon return to Cuzco, where dinner is on your own. There are many wonderful restaurants to choose from! 2014 Overnight: Hotel Picoaga, 2015 Overnight: Hotel Libertador Palacio del Inka
Day 6 — Cuzco
The temples and buildings of Cuzco once shimmered with gold, but the Spanish conquest left its architectural mark, wiping away any traces of richness. Your city tour begins this morning with a visit to the Koricancha temple, the Incan temple that was dedicated to the worship of the sun. Transfer to the San Pedro market, Cuzco’s largest, to meet Cristina Olivera, who supports her family by preparing meals for the many popular street festivals in Cuzco. Here you spend one hour assisting Cristina with her shopping amid the bustling aisles and mountains of produce. Then continue to Cristina’s house in the San Cristobal neighborhood, where you can meet her family and participate in a lesson in Peruvian country-style cooking. Dinner is included tonight at the Tunupa Restaurant, with its lively music and dance show. 2014 Overnight: Hotel Picoaga, 2015 Overnight: Hotel Libertador Palacio del Inka
Day 7 — Cuzco to Puno
This morning explore Cuzco by walking to the Plaza de Armas, the Hatun Rumiyoq stone, and artisans’ shops in the San Blas neighborhood. Enjoy leisurely wanderings and discover the tempting souvenir treasures in Cuzco. Lunch and the afternoon are on your own today to enjoy a little family time. Late this afternoon fly south to Juliaca, the largest trade center in the Puno region. Transfer to your hotel in Puno, where you can check in and enjoy dinner. Overnight: Hotel Libertador Isla Esteves
Day 8 — Puno
Head to the port to board a small chartered boat to cruise out onto Lake Titicaca. Your destination is a floating reed island Uros community in Puno Bay—this lively visit is very popular, and you will have time to explore these unique islands and talk with some of the residents. Returning to port, drive southeast, leaving the main highway to follow a secondary road over a low range of hills and down to the lakeshore. Here, in tiny valleys tucked between folds of wind-eroded sandstone, the members of the community of Charcas farm, fish, and raise a few animals. Hike to a ridge-top viewpoint, meet some local villagers, and make the most of the spectacular rural surroundings. Return to your hotel this evening for dinner. Overnight: Hotel Libertador Isla Esteves
Day 9 — Puno to Lima
Return to Lima by plane this morning. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel in the Miraflores district, where you can rest, relax, and enjoy some lunch. This afternoon you may opt to visit the Mercado Indio, a popular open-air market which features the best of folk art from all over the country. Your farewell dinner is at Rosa Nautica. The compass-rose-shaped restaurant, located on Pier 4 above the Pacific, is famous for its wonderful food and for the dramatic waves that roll and break among the pilings below. Overnight: Casa Andina Private Collection
Day 10 — Depart Lima and arrive U.S.
Families are transferred to the airport for their departing flight. (Note that flights often depart Lima shortly before or shortly after midnight, in which case families would be transferred to the airport after the farewell dinner.)