For the past few years the enthusiasm for Peru has been such that quotas have been set up to limit the touristic impact on the Incan soil. But some people still don’t know is that the country is as varied as fascinating. From the historical streets of Cusco to the surf beaches in Mancora, passing by the Salinas of Maras and the Amazonian forest, we have concocted a 15-day kids friendly itinerary, the best way to soak into the stunning culture and nature.
DAY 1 / ARRIVE IN LIMA
Arrive in Lima in late afternoon, meet & greet and transfer to your hotel in Barranco.
Two nights in Lima.
DAY 2 / LIMA
The discovery of Lima starts by one of its most emblematic markets. Here you will taste fruits coming from the coast, the mountains and the jungle, such as mango, passion fruit, aguaje, cherimoya… You then head to a local restaurant where you’ll learn how to cook typical dishes with the chef.
In the colonial city, the Plaza Mayor, the Government Palace, the City Hall, the Cathedral and the Archbishop’s Palace are unmissable. Follows Casa Aliaga, one of America’s best-preserved colonial mansions. Facing the Presidential Palace, Casa Aliaga was built in 1535 by Don Jeronimo de Aliaga. 17 generations later, the mansion is still inhabited by the same family.
DAY 3 / PUERTO MALDONADO
Flight Lima — Puerto Maldonado.
After 45 minutes of navigation on River Madre de Dios, you reach the lodge.
Follow your explorer guide on a walk through the Amazonian reserve. This is an excellent introduction to the jungle, its impressive trees and exotic birds and insects.
In the late afternoon, the diurnal animals give way to the nocturnal species. This boat ride gives you an insight on this other world, where owls, rodents and caimans fill the jungle.
Two nights in the Amazonian forest.
DAY 4 / PUERTO MALDONADO
On board of a wooden canoe, you head to the Tambopata National Reserve, where live giant river otters, red howler monkeys, red-bellied macaws, anacondas, side-neck turtles and black caimans.
Canopy Walkway and Anaconda Walk: when ascending the first tower, 29 meters above the forest ground, you begin to encounter with the treetop realm. For about 400 meters, you walk through the canopy on a series of suspended bridges linking eight observation platforms. The expedition lasts an hour and a half and is a great way to observe toucans, woodpeckers, trogons, monkeys and the three-toed sloth. Coming back to earth, a 30-minute walk takes you to the wooden bridge suspended 200 meters above the Aguajales swamps. Here, the ecosystem includes amphibians, birds, mammals, an abundant flora and sea snakes.
DAY 5 / SACRED VALLEY
Peru has the biggest variety of butterflies in the world, with 3,700 species known. Many of these can be seen at the Butterfly House, before heading to the airport.
Flight Puerto Maldonado — Cusco.
Arrive in Cusco and head to the Sacred Valley, which is at a lower elevation than the city, which lets visitors to acclimatize to the region more easily. FYI, Cusco is set at 3,400 meters above sea level.
Four nights in the Sacred Valley.
DAY 6 / SACRED VALLEY
The Inca people used the Moray circular terraces as an agricultural laboratory to study how temperatures used to vary and develop different types of crops. Later, the varieties of grains that resisted the best where distributed throughout the Inca Empire. On the other side of the Urubamba Valley are the summits of the cordillera Vilcabamba and Urubamba.
The city of Maras grew in importance during the 17th century thanks to the salt manufacturing. Cross the Mara Pampas, where the inhabitants cultivate the land and raise bovine and sheep.
DAY 7 / SACRED VALLEY
Pisac’s market was originally a place of exchange for the remote communities that used to come to sell their products. Nowadays, it’s a market for souvenirs and artisanal products. Try the empanadas cooked in the traditional clay ovens.
Amaru community is an Andean people specializing in the tailoring of textiles. The bright colors of the clothes come from natural colorants made of plants and other organic elements.
DAY 8 / SACRED VALLEY
Peruvian horses are known for being very gentle in their movements. From the ranch in Urubamba you will visit some colonial haciendas, farms and enjoy magnificent views of the valley.
Coming back, visit the Ollantaytambo Citadel to check out its fortress. Built in order to protect the entry of the valley and prevent any invasion from the jungle tribes, the citadel is a superposition of terraces that testify of the military, religious and cultural purpose of the Incan Empire.
DAY 9 / MACHU PICCHU
Transfer to Ollanta train station and train ride to Aguas Calientes.
The train has beautiful views over the Urubamba river, going through verdant fields, under the Andean glaciers.
Accessible by bus or by foot, the hike tot the 2,430m top of Machu Picchu remains spectacular. Listed as a UNESCO site, the city-state is one of the seven new marvels of the world.
One night in Aguas Calientes.
DAY 10 / MACHU PICCHU
In the morning, you can go back to Machu Picchu or hike the Huyana Picchu Mountain, which gives breath-taking views to the city-state and the surrounding valleys and mountains. Visit the Inca Bridge, an impressive stone structure that used to be the entry of the city and has a multi-meter hole that used to be covered by two large wooden planks, which let the Incas cut the access to the city in case of attack.
In the afternoon, head to Poroy train station for your train to Cusco.
Three nights in Cusco, at Inkaterra La Casona.
DAY 11 / CUSCO
Discovery of Cusco: start the day by visiting Santo Domingo Monastery, the legendary Korikancha (Golden Temple), the most important Incan temple dedicated to the Sun, which walls are covered in golden leaves. Continue to the Cathedral on Plaza de Armas, Plaza de Regocijo, the old city and the ancient Inca walls. Head to the San Blas for superb views of the city. This neighborhood hosts the most celebrated studios and shops of Cusco, as well as beautiful colonial churches. End the stroll at Choco Museum: discover this incredible fruit and make your own chocolate from the cacao grains. Since 2012, Peru is the first world producer of chocolate.
DAY 12 / MANCORA
Flights Cusco – Lima – Talara.
Four nights in Mancora.
DAYS 13-15 / MANCORA
Mancora is well known for its beautiful surf and kitesurf spots. The small town overflows with artisanal shops and has a cute little fishing port.
DAY 16 / BACK TO REALITY
Flights Cusco – Lima – Paris.