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Peru with the kids, Inca Trail, the Amazon, Ecuador and Galapagos

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South America is rapidly becoming a top destination for family holidays.

Its mix of adventure, great activities and fascinating cultures take place around dramatic Andean peaks, steamy Amazon rainforest to coastal idylls like the Galapagos Islands, to name a few.

Andean Trails’ traveller Sue Daniels and her two teenaged children Geena (15) and Joseph (13), share their experiences ,and Sue shares her top tips for travelling to South America with teenage kids.

Check their photos on our Facebook page.

 

The teenagers’ views:

Joseph said:  “We especially enjoyed the rainforest and Cusco.

“I got on really well with all of the guides and even played football with them!

“Personally I loved the canopy climbing as it was a real challenge with a great end result (the sunset view) and I also enjoyed the canopy tower as you could see loads of amazing birds and other wildlife.”

Geena added: “Overall it was an amazing experience and I would recommend these Peru and Galapagos to anyone. In Peru we did the Inca Trail, which was really beautiful.

“In the Amazon our room was great because one side of the room was open to the rainforest and it was nice to go to sleep to the sounds of all the animals.

“In the Galápagos Islands we went on snorkelling trips, walked up a volcano, went cycling and went diving. There weren’t any low moments in the trip and it was all great.”

 

The view from Sue

“I’d wanted to travel to South America for years. Work and children intervened and I waited impatiently for a time to go when my kids were old enough and I had sufficient holiday.

The opportunity for me was my 50th birthday. I needed an adventure to celebrate. Top of my travel list were the Galápagos Islands and the Inca trail. So what could I do in Peru kith the kids?

Despite the misgivings of some of my friends and family, and  the holiday was a resounding success, and I would highly recommend my trip to other families with teenagers.

We had an excellent few days at the Amazonia Refugio lodge. Joseph and Geena loved it there. A very exciting place to stay with loads of activities for young kids and teenagers. From the 2 hour boat ride to get there with sightings of monkeys, turtles, caimans and agoutis, to jungle walks, kayaking and the amazing views and beautiful birds across the canopy, we had a great time.

Our guide, Jackson, a big football fan, was very good and got on well with the children. He sat with us at the communal meal times which was  great as it gave a really good insight into his life and the world of the rain forest, and he invited Joseph to play in the weekly staff football match. The food at the lodge was great. It’s amazing how many ways you can serve banana!

 

Going up

The top experience for Joseph was the 40m canopy rope climb. I was very dubious at first as it looked so scary. But they were very safety conscious. Joseph got up there in a respectable 5 minutes – faster than our guide – something we were reminded about every day of the holiday. It took Geena 18 mins, and me, 13 mins, something I was very proud of!

After a chilling out day in Puerto Maldonado and a tour of the small snake zoo, we heading up to Cusco on a luxury bus. The views were lovely and the bus very comfy, but it was a long 10 hours. Thankfully Joseph and Geena were well occupied with iPads, kindle, and card games, plus lots of crisps and biscuits.

Cusco for us was a  real highlight. It’s such a picturesque and endearing place, nestled in the mountains. At 3,200m, it was very cold in comparison to the rainforest. We were glad of our down jackets, and there are ample opportunities to buy hats, gloves and jumpers to keep you warm.

 

Sue’s top tips for travelling with kids and teenagers in Peru  

  • Allow a few days for them to chill and to sleep late. We had a lot of early starts, and they really enjoyed a few lie-ins!;
  • Learn some Spanish. Joseph’s school learnt Spanish was really useful as most people don’t speak English;
  • Take cards – we played cards a lot in the afternoons and evenings, and also good to play with our guide;
  • Make sure your hotels have Wi-Fi for the kids to keep in touch with friends and social networking; and
  • We all took iPads rather than taking loads of heavy books. Much lighter and useful for games and web access. And you need a good book to read on long journeys.
machu-picchu-family-holiday Peru

Machu Picchu family holiday, Peru

 

And Sue’s top tips for trekking the Inca Trail with kids

  • Go on a few hill walks before you go;
  • Do take warm down jackets. It gets very cold when the sun goes down, and also have good sleeping bags (hiring is easy in Cusco);
  • Get porters to take most of the kit… makes the walking much easier;
  • Take or hire walking sticks. Even my kids found them really useful on the downhills;
  • Get up really early on the last day to get to the sun gate first. We slept in our clothes so we were quick to get up. Joseph and Geena loved the adventure and the competition even despite the hour wait at the checkpoint. The first view of Macchu Picchu was amazing;
  • Wet wipes are really useful to keep clean though you will no doubt be given warm water to wash with by your porters;
  • Take toilet paper. Be warned.. The toilets aren’t great!; and
  • Ear-plugs might be useful for the first night. We were kept awake by an orchestra of dog barking, cockerels crowing, pigs grunting.

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