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Lost Incan cities, Jurassic size bugs creeping through the vastly unexplored Amazon rainforest, tribal traditions filled with dancing and color…these are just a few things that make Peru an adventure come true for kids. In south central Peru, the incredible town of Cusco (also spelled Cuzco) is where civilizations crashed and the history of the Spanish and the Incas is still present here with ancient temples topped with colonial churches. Nearby, the Sacred Valley hosts small villages where villagers walk around in colorful, traditional dress and craft markets are filled with artistic treasures.  A train ride (or three day hike) through the Urubamba Valley lands visitors in Aguas Calientes, the base town for explorations of the famed Incan lost city of Machu Picchu.  In eastern and northern Peru, the Amazon River starts from tributaries flowing from the Andes. Kids will love hiking through the forest finding huge insects and monkeys swinging through the trees.

More information on Peru with Kids: http://www.travelwithkids.tv/destinations/peru/

Dates of your choosing
Begin your journey in the wilds of the Amazon jungle. After spending the night in modern Lima, the Amazon will seem worlds away. Fly into Puerto Maldonado and then take a motorized canoe a short ways down the river to your lodge in the rainforest. Spend days hiking through the forest spotting animals like monkeys, capybara, wild boar, otters and more. In a very unique experience, Travel With Kids families will have the opportunity to meet a local family who lives 8-days up-river (upon availability) and will teach you their traditional way of life. Plus, visit a local farm to learn about the fruits, vegetables and traditional herbs that grow here and their medicinal uses. Next, hop a short flight from the basin of the Amazon to the highlands of Central Peru and the UNESCO World Heritage city of Cusco. Here, you will see villagers from the surrounding Sacred Valley in traditional dress strolling with their llamas down the cobbled streets. Peruse the colorful markets and stroll the town square with the locals in the evenings. From Cusco, hop a train (or if you are feeling ambitious we can add on a 3 to 5 day hike) to Aguas Calientes, the base to explore the infamous ruins of Machu Picchu.

Day 1:
Arrive in Lima.

Overnight at 4-star Lima hotel.

Day 2:
Fly Lima to Puerto Maldonado, located at the confluence of the Tambopata and Madre Dios rivers, tributaries of the Amazon River, where we will be picked up for transfer to our Amazon rainforest lodge. Rustic, yet comfortable, the lodge is located deep in the Amazon rainforest. Rooms have one wall open to the rainforest so guests can feel immersed in the jungle surrounds – yet safe and comfortable in their pampered space.

Spend time in the late afternoon and evening at your leisure getting to know the lodge and the jungle surrounds. After dinner, enjoy a night walk around the lodge where we hope to spot saddle-back tamarinds, brown capuchins, pacas, and other wildlife.

Overnight Corto Maltes Rainforest Lodge or similar. (B, D)

Day 3 and 4:
Awake to the fabulous sounds of the birds and jungle coming to life. After breakfast, head out on hikes to observation platforms or a lake where we will board canoes to scout the banks and waters for wildlife. On the return, keep your eye out for howler monkeys
and capybara.

On another day, visit a local farm or tribal group where you may get your face painted to show you are part of the tribe.

Return to the lodge for lunch and a free afternoon. Opt to sit on hammocks or take a dip in the cool swimming hole, visit the tree platforms for a bird’s eye view of the forest or a nearby working plantation. On another day visit Monkey Island…notorious for its…you
guessed it, monkey population!

The night’s adventure will take place at river’s edge, scanning the shores with headlamps and flashlights to catch the red gleams of reflection from caiman eyes or taking a night hike looking for the mysterious creepy crawlies that inhabit the Amazon.

Overnight Corto Maltes Rainforest Lodge or similar. (B, L, D)

Day 5:
After breakfast, board a boat for transfer back to Puerto Maldonado to catch our flight to Cusco. Once settled in your hotel in Cusco, meet in the town square to explore on your own or opt to hop a trolley to tour the town. Pass by Santa Domingo Church where you can see the church built on old Incan stones, take in views over the town from the Statue of Christ and catch your first glimpse of ancient Incan civilization at Saqsaywaman.

Back in the town square, enjoy lunch on your own and an afternoon strolling the square, visiting churches and museums and perusing Cusco’s colorful market at your leisure.

Overnight at Siete Ventanas or similar. (B)

Day 6:
After breakfast, we board a train for a ride through the lush valleys and mountains en route to Aguas Calientes at the base of the mountain which hid Machu Picchu from view for so many centuries. Enjoy lunch or snacks (not included) on the train as we travel along a bubbling river and pass by colorful towns with a backdrop of the Andes Mountains! (If you feel the call of the Incas and would like to hike to Machu Picchu, we can arrange a 3- to 7- day hike as well)

After unpacking, and relaxing in your hotel, enjoy the colorful markets and dramatic scenery around the town of Aguas Calientes.

Overnight at Casa Adina or similar. (B)

Day 7:
After breakfast, a fifteen minute bus ride will deliver us to the entry to the ruins where we will be met by our guide for a half-day tour of the ruins. Learn how the ancient Incans used the sun to predict celestial events and how the royals lived in the massive Incan Empire. If you would like, hike to the Sun Gate and the end of the infamous Inca Trail!

Board a train back to Cusco in the late afternoon.

Overnight at Siete Ventanas or similar. (B)

Day 8:
Spend the morning at your leisure exploring the town of Cusco and perusing the markets.

In the afternoon, visit a local school. Spending time volunteering with your family offers a major bonding experience. Getting to know the less fortunate kids of Peru, many of whom start working at the ages of seven or eight, will be insightful to kids and by performing a volunteer project they will feel empowered to make a difference in the world.

Overnight at Siete Ventanas or similar. (B)

Day 9:
Enjoy the morning in Cusco before flying to Lima. Option for a traditional dinner.

Overnight at 4-star Lima hotel. (B)

Day 10:
After breakfast, board a flight to your onward destination. (B)

Amazon Activities
Activities in the Amazon are included in your itinerary including half-day hike and canoeing on lake, nature walks around the hotel, visit to Monkey Island (or similar), visit to local farm, cultural interaction with Amazonian family (when available).

Cusco City Walking Tour
Depart your hotel with your guide and get a feel for this ancient city as your guide points out Inca walls, sometimes buried by Spanish walls built on top of the Inca foundations. Stroll the narrow cobblestone streets as you learn about the city’s history and end in the massive town square where your guide will point out the churches and other attractions as well as the best places to eat and shop.

Machu Picchu Guided Tour
Awake early in the morning for sunrise over Machu Picchu (depending on entrance line for buses). Hike to the Sun Gate (if desired) to see the end of the Inca Trail and get an amazing overview of the city from the mountain surrounds. Learn about how and why Machu Picchu was built and about the early explorer who re-discovered the “lost city”.

School Visit
Spend an afternoon getting to know local families at a school visit or afterschool program. Learn what the community is doing to help those less fortunate and give a lending hand. The volunteer time as a family not only helps children feel empowered to make a difference, but provides family bonding opportunity.

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