For most travellers, Peru’s defined by Machu Picchu. In reality it’s one of the most diverse, intriguing and culturally rich countries in the world with over 11 different eco-regions and 84 of earth’s 117 life-zones within its borders.
Two thirds of the land mass is Amazonian Rainforest and many of the national reserves, parks and historic sites are only accessible with registered tour operators. Don’t let any of that put you off. Peru is an amazingly welcoming country and makes it wonderfully easy to enjoy every fascinating corner and crevice. Visit with care and respect, plan everything in advance and it’s possibly the most amazing family holiday you’ll ever have.
The home of the great Inca civilisations is immersed in ancient history and home to several world icons including Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and the Colca Canyon.
Peru is the 17th most megadiverse country in the world and has over 1700 bird species. Two thirds of Peru is Amazonian Rainforest and there are a total of 75 nationally protected areas covering almost 16% of the country.
Peru has hundreds of beautiful beaches and beach resorts but over 3000km of the long, narrow coast is desert. Peru is the third largest South American country and over 50% of the population live in the western coastal regions.
Temperatures on the coast rise to 30˚ in summer with low levels of humidity and little rain.
A wide range of family accommodation includes luxury city centre hotels, beach resorts, cruise boats, home stays, guesthouses, national reserve lodges and camps and even trains.
The capital of Peru sits at the centre of the country’s long, west coast overlooking the Pacific. It’s a brilliantly, lively and engaging city with a lovely historic centre and makes a fascinating pit stop for a few days with older kids and teenagers.
The ancient Greeks believed Delphi was the navel of the world, in Peru, it’s Cusco. Whichever wins the title, there’s not doubt in anyone’s mind that this historic city, high in the Andes, is in a spectacular setting. It’s also base-camp for the legendary Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and where most people spend a few days getting used to the altitude.
Ringed by snow-capped volcanos, Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru and the best base for visiting the Colca Canyon, Salinas and Aquada National Reserve and Manu National Park.
You can hire a car and explore the north and south west of Peru by road. But taking into account it’s the third largest country in South America, hot in summer and with very high altitudes, it’s understandable why most visitors choose to travel by train or plane.
Some of the country’s sites can be visited independently but many more are only accessible with a tour guide. Several UK companies now specialise in Peru for families. If you’re travelling with children a holiday with pre-arranged travel and accommodation is worth considering.