I was delighted when Erynn at Tropic of Candycorn, a wonderful family travel blog, asked me to write a destination post. Of course, I was then faced with the hard decision of picking a place to write about. Having crisscrossed the globe in a number of ways – through study abroad programs, on a shoestring in college, and on Knowmad exploratory trips with Jordan to name a few – I felt like I was venturing into the future writing about a destination through the lens of family travel.
Let me explain. Almost a year and a half ago now, I embarked on my biggest adventure yet – that of motherhood. There are no words that can describe it as any mama knows, and as amazing of a ride as it’s been thus far, my travels have become much more localized these days and I’m packing (and repacking) a diaper bag for the most part.
Now that we’ve moved onto solid foods and full nights of sleep, however, I’ve got my eye on our next trip….with Trey in tow, of course. This chance to write about a great destination for family travel couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. It really gave me the chance to reflect on all the places I’ve been and envision how a child would see them. I chose to write about The Sacred Valley in Peru – one of my favorite places on earth and one we can’t wait to share with our son. Read the full Sacred Valley of the Inca destination post on the Tropic of Candycorn blog and see our Peru Active Explorer itinerary below, that includes traveling to the Sacred Valley and is perfect for active families.
Peru Active Explorer: Traveling to the Sacred Valley & More
DAY 1 • LIMA
Arrive Lima. Visit the city’s sites, museums and restaurants.
DAY 2 • LIMA – CUSCO – SACRED VALLEY
Fly Cusco. Explore Incan stone terraces at Sacsayhuaman, subterranean altars of Kenko, the water temple Tambo Machay, and Puka Pukara fortress. Continue into snow-capped Andean peaks to your oasis in the Sacred Valley.
DAY 3 • SACRED VALLEY VILLAGES AND THE WEAVERS OF AMARU
Visit the isolated Amaru indigenous community in the Andes. Gather plants used as natural dyes and see the Amaru’s colorful textiles brought to life. Lunch with community leaders – or picnic amongst Pisac ruins – and hike down the mountainside to the region’s most vibrant market to bargain for wares.
DAY 4 • MOUNTAIN BIKING THE ANDES TO COLONIAL VILLAGES AND SALT MINES
Mountain bike through colonial villages, down the Andes, to an ancient Incan laboratory, and amidst pre-Columbian terraced saltpans. Good for experienced and beginner riders alike.
DAY 5 • INCA TRAIL EXPRESS TO MACHU PICCHU
Day hike the Inca Trail through Andean cloud forest leading you to the Sun Gate and the magical Lost City of Machu Picchu.
DAY 6 • MACHU PICCHU
Revel at the sunrise from Machu Picchu and make the morning climb of Huayna Picchu mountain. Enjoy a complete guided tour of the site with time to explore on your own as well.
DAY 7 • MACHU PICCHU – OLLANTAYTAMBO – CUSCO
Hop the train to Ollantaytambo and see a vast complex of Incan ruins on the mountainside.
Enjoy lunch at an authentic colonial-era hacienda and a relaxing evening in Cusco.
*Optional horseback riding on Peruvian Paso horses through hacienda and colonial town.
DAY 8 • CUSCO
Enjoy the day at your leisure exploring Cusco – a city where traditional Andean cultures, the colonial Spanish, and modern Peru fuse into one. Visit Korikancha – Temple of the Sun, shop at Andean markets, enjoy savory Peruvian cuisine and see colonial cathedrals built atop Incan foundations.
*Optional whitewater rafting or culinary adventure.
DAY 9 • FLY LIMA AND RETURN HOME
Fly to Lima and depart.
Un Beso, Tara
Tara is the Co-Founder, Marketing and Operations Manager at Knowmad Adventures, a company dedicated to creating unique, private and custom trips in South America. She first traveled to South America in college and is endlessly inspired by the cultures, food, colors and idiosyncrasies she discovers there. Read Tara’s biography and more about the Knowmad team.