Peru Family Fun: holiday ideas with kids in Peru

by on 24th May, 2013

Family fun in Peru

All you need to know about a family holiday to Peru, from a family that went…

Sarah was aged four and due to start school. Her mum Alison McDonald decided that the best preparation for Sarah was an adventure in Peru.

Alison recalls a fantastic family trip (organised by Andean Trails) made richer by experiencing such a diverse country alongside her ever curiouser pre-schooler, with some great photos on Facebook.


Alison writes:

We set off from a grey Glasgow around 11am, finally touching down the next morning into a hot and busy Cusco.

We were met by Kathy and her son Lewis and whisked by taxi through the cobbled streets and up the hill to settle into our homely guesthouse, where we would be based for most of our two and a half week visit.

Apart from being pretty tired from the flight, it took a couple of days to acclimatise to the thinner air, and taking our first walks up the hilly streets and lanes of Cusco had to be done slowly.

When it came to the local fayre, Sarah discovered new tastes for chichi morada, a drink made from black corn, and ‘mummy corn’ as she called it, corn on the cob with bigger niblets. There is a range of food choices in the city, and we discovered an Indian restaurant in the old town, Maikhana, with a delicious buffet, where she tucked into the coconut chicken. I have yet to cook that at home, though I know she will enjoy it again. That restaurant also ran a food aid programme to the villages surrounding the city. Quinoa, the grain used in many dishes in Peru, was enjoyed with relish for breakfast with apple.



We were joined by Bolivian friends who had travelled from La Paz, and Day 3 saw us all head to an Andean Lodge, nestled in the Chillca valley at 4,300 metres, and staffed by local villagers as a ecological community tourism project. Once again, it took a day to get used to the altitude, and Sarah was rather pale at first, however she was recovered next morning for her first trek on horseback, gently guided along by the patient horseman, Francisco.

Later, I strolled near the lodge through fields of llamas and alpacas, in clear view of the Mount Apu Ausangate, the sacred mountain of the Incas.  It was a new experience being in such thin, clean air, with views of nothing but huge mountains  and a river ribboning through the valley, where the kids had a go at fishing with rods.

After a freshly prepared and finely presented evening meal, we danced with the hotel staff to traditional music sung and played on the charango, the Peruvian guitar. The lodge has no electricity, and a candlestick and hot water bottle are presented to you as you make your way to your bedroom, which added to the atmosphere.


Ausangate lady in colourful native dress Ausangate Lodge Trek

Ausangate lady in colourful native dress


Back to Cusco

After our two night stay, we  shared our minibus with the staff, dropping them back at their village as we continued back to Cusco. Sarah had been made a great fuss of by the charming villagers, I think she was quite a novelty.

Another day, we again took a minibus, winding through the villages and mountain scenery, dotted with fields of potato plants with rugged valleys and rushing rivers, to the Sacred Valley and the village of Pisac. The colourful artisan market there was a souvenir hunters’ delight, and Sarah acquired her own cuddly llama. We visited the large indoor pool at the Royal Inka Hotel there, with views to the surrounding mountains.

I was lucky to have friends to look after Sarah at several points during our stay, allowing me to take the train alone to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu, as well as a day tour of the historic sights of Cusco and a trip rafting on the river Urubamba .


bike sacred valley paucartambo peru

Sacred Calley, Paucartambo, Peru


Easter celebrations

For the rest of our visit, we filled our days in Cusco with a variety of jaunts. The markets in the city were busy and colourful, full of Quechuan handicrafts and alpaca scarves, gloves, socks, ponchos, throws and rugs. We bought a traditional doll made of cloth to compare with the Peruvian Barbie (with full wardrobe!) acquired during a visit to the vast El Molino indoor market in Cusco, where just about everything –  electronic, toy, or household item – can be found.

We were fortunate to be in the city during Easter week that sees the city hosting a number of events.  In the main square, Sarah was mesmerized by traditional dances performed by groups from rural communities.  We also had the opportunity to watch the annual Easter Monday procession. A statue of Jesus has been carried out from the cathedral and carried through the crowds of faithful gatherers every year since 1700.

Despite the rain pouring harder than people can remember, it didn’t dispel the crowds and Sarah wore her waterproof poncho with gusto.  As the statue finally passed back through the doors of the cathedral, showered with blossom and holy water, the police cars and ambulances in the square activated their sirens, wailing into the darkness – unforgettable!

Another highlight was the chance to visit cousins of the manager of the guesthouse, where Sarah played with their children in a home very different from our own, and I could try out my very basic Spanish!


Positive experience

The streets of Cusco are easy to negotiate with a young child, and don’t inhibit your enjoyment of the city.  I had only positive experiences of the citizens, folk were friendly and helpful.

The photos of Sarah holding a lamb in the market at Pisac and standing beneath the Cristo Blanco statue on a hill looking over Cusco bring back the essence of our trip.

While I only saw a small corner of a fascinating country, the chance to see it through the eyes of my pre-schooler and share the sights, sounds, tastes and culture that were new to both of us added to the experience.

Sarah took it all in her stride, and casually describes her time meeting llamas in Peru and how guinea pigs were a tasty treat (although we didn’t get that far!) to her Primary 1 classmates…..


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