Take your children along with you, and have a great time together. Through travel, we are transformed by our experiences. To travel well, we should know that we don’t necessarily need to go somewhere new, or even to see the popular attractions. Instead, traveling well means that we’re bridge connections with new people, and with different cultures. It means we’re spending time in reverent silence with great natural landscapes. It also means that we engage in ways that our children can have meaningful experiences as well. Here are some great ways to do this in Peru.
A bit of orientation in Peru
The Andes mountains run from the North to the South of Peru. In the South, you’ll find the country’s main tourist destinations, such as Cusco, Puno, and Arequipa. The most impressive mountains are in Central Peru, where you’ll find the Cordillera Blanca. The Amazon basin can be found in the North.
On the sea
Peru has more than three thousand kilometers of coastline, defined by two great currents: the cold Humboldt current that flows from the south, and El Niño, the semi-annual phenomenon where warm water flows from the north. Dotted along the coast are islands, there are protected natural areas with enormous marine biodiversity, sand dunes, endless surf spots, and wild but accessible beaches. Along the coasts, there are many options for family travel.
Gastronomy workshops are available in the country’s most important destinations, such as Lima, Cusco, and Lake Titicaca. Most workshops use locally-sourced ingredients that can easily be found in nearby markets. The result: a lot of fun and new knowledge about food in Peru, as well as dishes that you can learn to make for yourself.
The Colca Canyon, the Sacred Valley, and Nazca all have planetariums where you can explore the stars and constellations of the Southern Hemisphere. You can also learn about the cosmovision of ancient Peruvian cultures who guided their entire lives by keeping track of the heavens. In addition to multimedia displays that explore ancient knowledge and modern astronomy, there are also possibilities to do stargazing through high-powered telescopes.
At the Cusco Planetarium, you can take a guided tour of the skies, and learn all about the Inca, and their relationship to the stars. This is the largest and established planetarium in Peru, and it makes a great place for family visits.
Location: Fundo Llaullipata, Carretera a Sacsayhuamán Km2.
Teléfono: 084 231710
Maria Reiche Planetarium
A small space located inside of Hotel Nazca Lines. Here there are occasional talks about the Nazca. Wari, and Chincha cultures, and how their culture and archeology were shaped by the stars. There are often evening presentations that last about 45 minutes. Location:
Location: Jr. Bolognesi N° 147. Small entrance fee.
Colca Canyon Planetarium
Get to know a traditional indigenous community
There are great, and often overlooked places to visit in the Sacred Valley, such as The Potato Park. This is an area of autonomous indigenous land where a handful of communities have united in order to protect, and promote their traditional way of life. You can learn how to weave, buy impressive textiles, and even learn about traditional farming methods that are founded on ancient rituals and song. There are several thousand varieties of native potato that grow in the park.
Also, a family can never go wrong with a visit to the hot-springs of Ausengate, in the small village of Pacchanta. Here you will quickly fall into a very different way of living that is slow, sacred, and mind-blowingly beautiful. As long as you don’t mind bearing the cold high-Andean nights, this can be a great place to go, and to ground yourself for a few days, without needing to book an organized tour.
Ceramic classes in the jungle
If you’d like your children not only to bring home a souvenir but also to introduce them to the world creativity, ceramic workshops are a great way to do this. There are family-friendly ceramic workshops offered in Lima, Nasca, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley.
More than 65% of Peru is covered by the jungle, including the precious cloud forests, which span from the high Andes to the low jungle. The Amazon basin is a world of rivers. It’s also home to over fifty indigenous groups, many of who maintain their traditional way of life. Despite its reputation by many to be a world of danger, discomfort, and chaos, the jungle can actually be a great place to bring your family.
Peru’s biodiversity favors one of the most attractive experiences to children: Discovering wild animals and plants. These experiences include nature interpretation walks, boat trips to see birds and seals, and visits to orchid and butterfly sanctuaries. Paracas, Lima, Los Organos, Tambopata, and Pacaya Samiria are the best places for this type of activity.
MARKETS AND POPULAR ART
Peru possesses enormous cultural wealth, thanks to its widespread native populations, principally in the highlands and jungle. One way to discover this, is to visit markets and museums. Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Lima, Tambopata, Iquitos, and Colca are ideal locations for this.
Credit: Ultimate Journeys