A family trip to Peru can be an experience of a lifetime, memories made on a luxury family vacation can be shared for years to come. Why not take your children on a vacation to learn about new cultures and hear about ancient history, what better way to teach your children and give them valuable life experiences than to take them on a luxury family trip to Peru.
In Peru we have many different zones a family can visit, the coast, the highlands and the jungle. Why not start on the coast with the capital of Peru, Lima. Lima has many attractions for a family to visit. The ruins of Pachacamac located south of the center of Lima, was built as a ceremonial center in the Wari culture in around 100 AD, when the Spanish arrived some 1400 years later Pachacamac was a thriving Inca town. In the center of Lima there is plenty to keep you occupied, like the Plaza de Armas. Every day at 12 noon you can witness the pomp and ceremony of the changing of the guard, taking place at the Palacio de Gobierno, a handsome building now serving as the Presidential palace, or visit the cathedral of Lima with the inside being of neo classical style and filled with impressive art and paintings. Just a short walk away is the San Francisco Monastery, a beautiful bright yellow church most famous for its bone filled catacombs, where you can have a guided tour and hear about the history of this famous burial site, not forgetting also to visit the impressive library with more than 25,000 ancient texts. A visit to Lima would not be complete without sometime spent at the incredible Museo Larco, a museum displaying the best collection in Peru of ceramics from the Cupisnique, Chimu, Chancay, Moche and Inca Cultures, as well as an impressive array of textiles and erotic ceramics.
Lima is also filled with lovely little barrios like Barranco with its lovely plaza and many restaurants and Miraflores which has the impressive Larco Mar, a seaside shopping complex built into the side of the cliff, full of lovely shops and a variety of restaurants with the most amazing views, well worth a visit.
Leaving Lima and travelling down the coast you will arrive at the seaside resort town of Paracas, there are several luxury resort hotels to be found and is the starting point for tours to the Ballestas Islands. These Islands are famous for their bird life and to see this wonder you will need to take a boat ride from Paracas port. Also nearby in the town of Pisco a short drive from Paracas you can take a short flight to Nazca to view the mysterious Nazca Lines. Spread across 500 sqkms of desert, the lines remain one of Peru´s greatest mysteries. Consisting of more than 800 straight lines and 70 wonderful figures of plants and animals that can only be viewed from above. A wonder that everybody should see.
Further down the coast and inland is the beautiful white city of Arequipa. Surrounded by volcanos, the city is built with a white volcanic stone, with a temperate climate and almost no rainfall all year this makes Arequipa the perfect city to visit. Among the notable attractions is the beautiful Santa Catalina Monastery. Located in the heart of the city it is filled with religious art, period furnishings and is a maze of twisting passage ways and is one of the most fascinating religious buildings in all of Peru, a must see on any visit to Arequipa. The Plaza de Armas is also a pretty place to pass an hour or two, with well kept gardens and lovely balconies well worth the time spent. There are plenty of activities in the surrounding areas of Arequipa which include trekking to the volcanos, river rafting, mountain biking and mountaineering all available for the adventurous. A few short hours from Arequipa you will arrive at the sleepy little town of Chivay famous as the gate way to the Colca Canyon and for its incredible hot springs. An afternoon spent in the hot springs is well worth the time, with incredible views of the surrounding mountains and pools that take away any aches and pains. Take a short drive from Chivay and you will see the most spectacular canyon anywhere in the world, the Colca Canyon. Deeper than the Grand Canyon, this marvel of nature comes complete with the magnificent Condors, that will put on a show that you will never forget. Rising up from the canyon in the thermal breezes, the condors will glide past you for an excellent photo opportunity.
Continuing south and inland you will arrive at the lakeside town of Puno, Puno has many attractions, built around the beautiful Lake Titicaca Puno has expanded over recent years to accommodate the luxury tourist market, with many luxury hotels and resorts catering for the market. The town of Puno has a nice little plaza complete with a church which is well worth a visit. Just outside Puno you could spend a day at the Pre Columbian site of Sillustani, a burial site for the nobility, with an impressive view of the lake. A visit to Puno would not be complete without a day or two visiting the lake islands, these islands are famous all over the world for their peace and tranquility and most notably that the islands are made completely out of totora reeds that grow in and around the lake. Not only are the islands made out of the reeds also the homes and boats are also made out of reeds, these ornate vessels are completely waterproof and carry the people from island to island and the children use them to go to the local school. You can also pay the local people to take you on a short trip around the islands for a small fee. The Islands have adapted to tourism selling local handicrafts made from the reeds and also handwoven textiles.
No trip to Peru is complete without a visit to the Imperial city of Cusco. Set in a valley Cusco is surrounded by beautiful snowcapped mountains. Most people stay near the Plaza de Armas with a wide range of hotels on offer, from luxury 5 star hotels to backpacker accommodation everything for the tourist market. The plaza and surrounding areas are also packed with restaurants and bars to cater for every taste. Located on the plaza is the Cathedral with its incredible collection of art featuring a painting of the last supper complete with guinea pig for main course. Unusually there is another church in the plaza which is La Compañía, equally as beautiful it is the baroque style.
Two blocks behind the plaza is the San Pedro Market, here you will mix with local people and find a wide range of produce and handicraft to buy, be careful of the pickpockets that sometime roam through the market. Just outside of Cusco you have the wonderful ruins of Sacsaywaman, Tambo Machay & Puka Pukara, all well worth an afternoon visit. Outside of Cusco at around an hour’s drive is the beautiful and scenic Sacred Valley of the Incas, a full day visiting the valley and its ruins and markets is a must see on any tour to Peru. From the Inca fortress town of Ollantaytambo you can catch the train to the must see of all Peru, Machu Picchu, declared a wonder of the world, Machu Picchu is a must see and is on everyone´s bucket list. Take a guided tour to learn the history of this magnificent place known as the lost city of the Incas.
Finally, a short flight from Cusco is the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado gateway to the beautiful and luxurious lodges that line the Madre de Dios river in the Amazon Basin, you can spend several days walking different jungle trails seeing many different species of wildlife and vegetation. Take a boat ride at night and see animals sleeping on the banks of the river. Just a taste of the many different things to do on your family vacation to Peru!!!!!!!