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Peru Family Vacation Travel Itinerary (with bonus Tarantula video!)

The stunning library at the Church of San Francisco in Lima

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All things considered, Peru may be the best country for family adventure vacations – at least from the U.S. because of it accessibility.  Adventure, outdoor activities, culture, animals, history and entertainment are available everywhere.  The only thing it doesn’t have (that we saw, anyway) are amazing museums.

And it’s inexpensive, friendly and safe.  What more could you ask for?

This is our final itinerary, which matched our plan pretty closely.  And we selected our favorite 50 pictures from the journey at the bottom.

Going back?

Mini Lily and Giant Lilypads
Peru is so great I even began imagining a return trip.  Here are the things we didn’t get to do in the 2 weeks we traveled.

  • Lake Titicaca, the worlds highest freshwater lake, and nearby city Puno  have some really interesting indigenous cultures to visit.
  • Arequipa is a beautiful colonial city and a base for treks into the worlds deepest canyon Colca canyon, and amazing river rafting.
  • We would probably stop in Nazca again to make the trip of Cerro De Blanco, the highest sand dune in the world, and do the multi-hour sand surf back down.
  • North of Lima is the world tallest tropical mountain range Cordillera Blanca, with its (disappearing) snow capped mountains.
  • Trujillo houses Chan Chan, the largest pre-columbian city in the Western Hemisphere.  The Kuelap ruins near Chachapoya are favorable compared to Machu Picchu.
  • And the Mancora peninsula in the North offers sun and surfing that rivals anywhere in the pacific.
Color in the desert is so vivid.
Peru was really the final chapter in our cancer saga.  It was shortly after we returned from Italy last spring that she was diagnosed.

Trish did great on this trip.  She was definitely weak, but look at that itinerary.  She pushed her body hard, and it responded pretty well.

Next up:  China, Cambodia and Thailand!

Peru Itinerary

You get sandblasted as you surf.
 Day One and Two – Cusco, Moray, Salinas:

Travelled to Lima from Washington, D.C. and overnight in Lima.  The next day we flew to Cusco and drive into the sacred valley, stopping at the salt mines of Salinas and the Moray Inca site before settling in Ollanaytambo.

Day Three – Ollantaytambo, Aquas Callientes:

We acclimated to the air with a morning horseback ride.  In the afternoon we take the train to Aguas Callientes and get our tickets ready for Machu Picchu.

Day Four – Machu Picchu:

Up very early, we bus to Machu Picchu and begin the day with a hike up Wayna Picchu, the sister peak.  In the afternoon we hiked the ruins before returning to Aguas Callientes and the train back to Ollantaytambo.

Day Five – Sacred Valley:

A full-day event, we went rock climbing on the via feratta and back down on a series of zip lines from the top of the Sacred Valley to the Urubamba river.

Looking for dolphins in the Peruvian sunset.

Day Six – Pisaq, Cusco:

We depart the sacred valley and visit Pisaq before getting on an overnight bus from Cusco to Nazca.

Day Seven – Nazca:

Off the red-eye bus, we chartered a plane from the airport to get the amazing ariel view of the Nazca lines.  In the afternoon and evening, we did a 4×4 dune buggy ride with visits to an ancient graveyard, oasis and the some sand surfing.

Those teeth!  I like the spanish word for them:  Sea-wolves
 Day Eight – Nazca, Paracas:  After a great night in hot Nazca with dips in the pool, we traveled to Paracas where we walked the boardwalk of this seaside town, and sampled amazingly fresh Ceviche and fried calamari to a pacific sunset.

Day Nine – Paracas, Islas Ballestas, Lima, Iquitos:

We boarded the morning boats from the Paracas dock and see the most amazing group of islands, the Islas Ballestas, with Penguins, Sea Lions and thousands and thousands of  birds.   We drove from Paracas to Lima airport for our plane to Iquitos.

Day Ten – Iquitos, Amazon

After arriving in the Amazon, we motored down river to our camp, Otoronga lodge where the rains poured and the river swamped the flood plain forest with water.

I think Lily is just annoyed that we made her do pictures.  She would rather climb.

Day Eleven – Amazon Jungle:

Treks into the jungle, and lots of boating kept us busy all day as we fished for Piranha, found pink and grey freshwater dolphins, saw a two-toed sloth, learned of the various medicinal uses of plants and trees.

Day Twelve Amazon Jungle:  Visits to giant lilypads, sighting of big families of monkeys and in the evening, a close encounter with a 6 foot cayman alligator kept us excited.  Here is a tarantula video!

Day Thirteen – Amazon Jungle, Iquitos: Some local monkeys and a little luck fishing completed our stay before we went back upstream for a half-day in Peru’s largest amazonian city: Iquitos.

Day Fourteen and Fifteen  – Lima, Washington DC:  A quick day in Lima.  What did we do first?  Catacombs and skeletons in the San Francisco church.  Then home!

2 thoughts on “Peru Family Vacation Travel Itinerary (with bonus Tarantula video!)

  1. Heather Kilpatrick

    Thanks for doing this blog! We are leaving in a few weeks for a 2 week trip with our 4-yr old son, so seeing what kids get out of this has been a great reading experience. I am in awe of all that you did and saw in such a short trip! We have a much more modest itenarary (sp?) as we are going to visit really only Lima, Cuzco and the sacraed valley area (Machu Pichu of course) and Puno/lake Titicaca. We wanted to go to the Amazon (I’m so jelous), but I wasn’t confident I could handle malaria meds for a 4-yr old, given how awful my experience was with the drugs back in the early 90s, so we are going to the lake instead… anyhow… back on topic, I just hope we have as much fun as you and your family seem to have had! I always end up doing my blogging on trips after the fact, doing it at the same time seems like a great record of the time, and you have inspired me to make the most of my time at internet cafes.

    Thanks
    Heather K

  2. David Post author

    This trip was so packed that I had a difficult time getting the posts out on a daily basis. And being in the Amazon made it impossible to even draft entries on a computer.

    I really recommend recording on a daily basis if you can. There are so many things that disappear from our memories the next day.

    The blog is, at it’s core, a gift to my kids, who don’t yet show much interest, but will (I hope) value it when they are older.

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