fun things to do with kids in machu picchu peru   Travel for Kids
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Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu, one of the new seven wonders of the world, right up there with the Great Wall, the Colosseum, Pompeii, and nothing can prepare you for the heady sensation of actually standing in the ruins, situated on a steep hillside, far above the semi-tropical jungle below. Traveling to Machu Picchu with kids is an unforgettable experience for everyone in the family.
Machu Picchu Photo Album

Train to Machu Picchu – This is an amazing train ride that winds through gorgeous territory – high and wide valleys dotted with farms and fields, the Urubamba River rushing through narrow gorges, and spectacular views of snow covered peaks.

Inca trail
  Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – Take the same route the Incas took five hundred years ago. Not for small children, but it's a great adventure for hearty teens and fit parents. Both locals and tourists take this three or four day hike to the ruins in good weather. The trail passes by hillsides covered in orchids, through Andean villages, over high mountain passes, where you'll see hidden waterfalls and Inca ruins.
  The ruins 500 years ago, Machu Picchu was an Inca settlement perched on the mountain ridge, surrounded by steep terraces for agriculture, linked to other Inca outposts by a network of trails through the mountains. The city was deserted before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, and dense jungle vegetation covered the ruins. In 1911, the ruins were discovered and excavated by Hiram Bingham. Today, the superb stonework of the Incas endures, but the whole story of Machu Picchu remains a mystery.
Machu Picchu
    Machu Picchu is a wonderful maze Let your kids explore the myriad of granite passageways and rooms, peering into corners and hiding behind stone walls. Kids can run off a little energy going up and down the steps – there are over 100 staircases!
      Look for plants and animals Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive Andean viscacha, a small rodent that looks like a rabbit, and likes to hide in the dark among the rocks. You'll see lizards basking in the sun, llamas roaming the ruins and many kinds of birds, (if you're lucky, you'll see Cock-of-the-rock, the national bird of Peru). Look for orchids and bromeliads growing in crevices in the ruins.
Machu Picchu
    Inspect the waterworks Machu Picchu has a wonderful series of square fountains and stone channels that carry water through the ruins. If the water is running (the spring that feeds the fountains is sometimes diverted), start at the top at the Fountain Caretaker's hut. Trace the source of the water across the terrace as it flows into the first fountain, then follow the water as it cascades down the hill.
    Short hikes –
    If you have older kids, hike up the trail to Intipunku, the Sun Gate. From Intipunku, there is a spectacular overlook of the ruins and surrounding mountains, and Urubamba River below. It takes about an hour and a half round trip. The trail is well maintained, with a couple of vertigo-inducing spots (not recommended for little kids).
    Rather than take the bus, hike down the hill to the Urubamba River. (The trail starts from the ruins and is well marked all the way.) This is a chance to see the "cloud forest" vegetation that surrounds Machu Picchu – dripping vines, bamboo, big ferns, tropical flowers. You may be passed by local kids (dressed in Inca costumes) who run down the path to beat the bus to the bottom of the hill. Depending how often you stop to admire the vegetation, it takes about an hour. Little kids who are good hikers will enjoy the hike down.
Hot springs in Aguas Calientes – Tired of the ruins? Take a break in the hot springs at Aguas Calientes. It has a resort atmosphere, with a snack bar and shallow pools for smaller kids.
  Tips for enjoying Machu Picchu
Child at Machu Picchu
Spend more than one day We spent two and a half days exploring the ruins, and each day was a different experience. The first day was an overview, the second we saw things we'd missed. On the third day, the boys kicked back and played, my husband snoozed on the grass, I contemplated the mists swirling down the mountains (a true luxury ...)
Toddlers at Machu Picchu – If you have an active toddler in tow, you will want to keep an eye on them. There are places where a small child could tumble off the walls.
Photos and video – Everyone in the family will be snapping photos and videos, at the Intihuatana (hitching post of the sun), Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Three Windows, and wild llamas who roam the ruins (think of them as small, arrogant camels). Be sure to have extra batteries.

Sun screen Bring suntan lotion and wear hats. The ruins are largely outdoors, and you'll be out all day in the bright sunlight. At higher altitudes, the risk of sunburn is greater. (Drink a lot of water too. Bottled water is available at the cafe outside the ruins, but you might want to bring your own along.)

kids books peru
where is machu picchu  
Where is Machu Picchu?
Megan Stine, John O'Brien

Illustrated history of Machu Picchu – who were the Inca, building the palace and stone building complex at Machu Picchu for the Inca king Pachacuti, conquest by the Spanish, discovery of Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham. (Chapter book)



July, 1911. Walk in the footsteps of Hiram Bingham as he tramps through the Urubamba River canyon, beats his way through the tangled jungle, and scales the slippery slopes to discover Machu Picchu, overgrown with vines, but "a city lost in time." Marvelous watercolors capture the breathtaking scenery of Machu Picchu. (Picture book)


Lost City: The Discovery of Machu Picchu exploration kids peru nonfiction
Machu Picchu history childrens books  
Machu Picchu
Elizabeth Mann

Story of the Inca empire, with a special focus on Machu Picchu. A stunning two page foldout and wonderful illustrations bring Machu Picchu to life – you feel as if you're there, 500 years ago. (Picture book)


Lawrence Kovas, Farah Rizvi

Discover the culture and geography of the Inca – history, religion, festivals and food, cities, clothing and textiles, with 25 different projects – make an Inca battle club, miniature rope bridge, herbal tea, dried potatoes, and more. (Activity book)


The Inca Empire  
The Inca Empire
Sandra Newman

Get to know the great Inca civilization – Cusco, the center of the empire that extended 2,500 miles, was ruled by the Inca emperor, the city with amazingly constructed palaces, temples, schools, houses, history and leaders of the Inca. (Picture book)


The Machu Picchu Guidebook
Ruth M. Wright, Dr. Alfredo Valencia Zegarra

Not a kid’s book, this is a super guidebooks for Machu Picchu. Each area of the ruins – gates, temples, building complexes, plazas – are explained in detail, so you can follow a path through the ruins and know what you’re seeing, plus gorgeous reconstruction drawings. (Guidebook)


The Machu Picchu Guidebook
travel for kids | peru | the andes | machu picchu
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