Traveling with children opens their minds and expands their horizons. whether historic, exotic, or geared toward the great outdoors, these trips top our list of adventures your kids will never forget.
1. MACHU PICCHU
The ancient city of the Incas, Machu Picchu stands nearly 8,000 feet above sea level in the middle of a mountain cloud forest.
Geography, history, culture, and archaeology converge to make it one of the most fascinating sites in Peru and around the world.
Still, given its ruggedness and high altitude, the Inca citadel might seem a counterintuitive choice for a family trip.
But for children and adults alike, Machu Picchu presents endless riddles and puzzles: How did the Incas chisel and move those colossal monoliths that somehow fit together like Tetris pieces? They farmed potatoes up here? Those llamas and alpacas climbed to the top of the mountain? And how did the city get “lost” for three centuries until Yale University professor Hiram Bingham (argued to be the real-life inspiration for Indiana Jones) discovered it in 1911?
Fauna and flora add another dimension to the layers of history and culture.
Latin America-based Blue Parallel specializes in bespoke itineraries to the region, including Machu Picchu, and will tailor activities based on how much or how little your family would like to trek at the site.
The company also arranges treasure hunts and nature walks (you might spot a golden-headed quetzal or a green-and-white hummingbird) in the surrounding cloud forest, as well as visits to see the endangered spectacled bear (the only bear species in South America) and the conservation efforts of the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Spectacled Bear Project. -BY TANVI CHHEDA
TAKE AWAY: Depending on the age of your children, it might not be possible to do a multiday hike, but you will be engaging with nature and Incan ruins nonetheless, exploring together and opening your minds. Isn’t that why we travel, after all?
TIPS: Practice taking children, especially if they are young, on short hikes and nature walks to help prepare them for the experience.
• Build in time to just sit and soak in the magical and mystical feelings that Machu Picchu evokes. This also serves as a good break for children who’ve been on their feet.
STAY: At the foot of the mountain, Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is an ideal base camp for families, from the spacious lodge-like two-bedroom villas with private terrace and plunge pools to activities like picking and crushing green tea leaves at the tea house to looking for orchids and butterflies along the surrounding trails. All young adventurers receive an explorer’s kit, complete with flashlight, compass, hat, and colored pencils. Villas from $527.
Visit inkaterra.com or call (866) 242-2889 to book a reservation.