Peru: How to Please Three Generations, Even Teenagers

Just try to get the whole family; kids, parents and grand-kids together. Lots of luck if they are over 15!!

It’s almost impossible but tell them you’ll take them to Peru to climb the Inca Ruins, ride ATV’s to temples, picnics in the jungle, pet Llamas and suddenly there is some interest that results in a possible date all can get together.

Of course, it has to happen in 6 days or less during Spring Break or a short vacation. No matter what the limitations, it can work!!

We flew from LAX to Lima and immediately on to Cuzco. Met by an amazing guide, Melissa, who was to travel with us for 6 days, she keep everyone fascinated with history, activities, games, hikes and stories. To fit all the important sites into short time frame, we started with a picnic by the side of the road on the way from Cuzco to the Sacred Valley – not just a regular picnic but a gourmet picnic from Michelina, a great restaurant in Cuzco. Sitting on a cliff overlooking a gorgeous view of the Sacred Valley.

Then, with energy restored, even though we’d been on an overnight flight from Los Angeles, we continued to a llama and weaving demonstration and then on to Sol Y Luna, a wonderful lodge with individual casitas for each family. A lovely garden, pool and comfortable beds welcomed all 12 of us. Smarter than ever, the kids quickly discovered that I had a casita with hot tub – and conveniently invited themselves over.

It was Good Friday, so the Inka Terra Hotel concierge arranged a transfer to the cathedral in Urubamba for church!

It was fascinating how the Catholic church still incorporates the Inca traditional cultural practices into the religion of the Spanish priests who came to convert them. On the terrace of this magnificent cathedral were priests dressed in white robes inviting people to mass. Two open fires burned on the terrace in front of the church while traditionally dressed women carried baskets of candles, selling them to the parishioners to take into the cathedral for the Good Friday Mass. We purchased candles, lit them from the fires and went inside. A beautiful organ and a most unique ceremony was a cultural immersion on the most local basis.

Next day, after a transfer out to the countryside, we met our guides with 12 ATV off road vehicles. Even the kids could ride and drive. Helmets, instructions and off we went. Stopping at an ancient temple not yet totally excavated and a terraced farm with natural altitude variations to grow multiple crops.

Sol y Luna has a great stable of horses performing dance routines in a arena on their property while we had a delicious dinner al fresco.

Early morning we took a transfer to the train going to Aguas Calientes, the small village at the base of the Machu Picchu mountain. If you are really an enthusiastic hiker, get off at mile 104 for a 5 hour hike ending at the Sun Gate at the top of the ruins.

If not, stay on the train to the small station in Aguas Calientes, your bags will go to Inkaterra Machu Picchu while you get on a bus to climb the mountain to the gate of the famous Lost City of the Incas.

We hiked into the amazing stone ruins which they believe were a sacred temple to the Inca Sun god, walking among the ancient walls, archways and terraces is truly mind blowing. The history, traditions, culture of the Incas comes to life!

Hiking the ruins both in the afternoon and the next morning gives ample opportunity to have good weather for photos and allows for one of the special hikes to either the Sun Gate which is pretty easy or Huayna Picchu which is much steeper.

After a lovely dinner in the Inka Terra dining room, we gave the grandchildren each $10.00 to spend in the Aguas Calientes village market to get a present for their parents. They practiced their Spanish, bargained and pooled their funds to buy!

After a second visit to the Machu Picchu complex the next morning and a hike to the Sun Gate, we boarded our train to Cuzco, the Imperial Capital of the Inca Empire. It’s the most ancient urban settlement in the Americas, with ceramics found over 3,000 years old.

We then toured the Plaza de Armas and absorb the history of the Spanish conquerors. Finally we had to leave on our to Lima and then home – a fantastic journey in a few quick and energetic days.

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