A hub for solo travelers, backpackers, and adventure seekers, visitors flock to Cusco by bus and plane before making their ascent to Machu Picchu. But seeing Cusco with kids should be more than a quick stopover on your Peru family adventure. The city boasts kid-friendly activities your whole family will enjoy.
That said, at 11,000 feet above sea level, you’ll want to take it easy. Here are a handful of fun things to do with kids in Cusco at a leisurely pace.
1. Check Out Museo de Inka
Cusco boasts numerous museums and art galleries, but kids will love Museo Inka. A steep block northeast of Plaza de Armas, the museum boasts a large collection of artifacts including metal- and gold-work, jewelry, textiles, pottery, queros (ceremonial wooden drinking bowls crafted by the Inca), and even mummies.
What makes this museum fun for kids? Little ones will love the colorful textiles and shiny jewelry. Older ones will be fascinated by the macabre mummies, and kids of all ages will be impressed by the museum’s massive stairway guarded by sculptures of mythical creatures. In the courtyard, you’ll find Andean weavers giving live demos and selling traditional textiles. For a small fee, you can hire an English-speaking guide to translate the museum’s interpretive information for your family.
2. Explore the Natural Slides of Sacsayhuamán
The Inca citadel of Sacsayhuamán sits atop a hill north of Cusco. Its name translates as “satisfied falcon” in Quechuan. Sections of Sacsayhuamán were first built by the Killke culture around 1100 AD, and the Inca later expanded the site in the 1200s. It was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and is constructed of massive boulders cut with incredible precision.
What makes the site kid-friendly—particularly if you’ve already toured a number of Inca ruins? Sacsayhuamán features natural rock slides that your kids and teenagers will relish. But they can be a bit tricky to find. Ask your tour guide to point you in the right direction, and then take a ride down the smooth rock face. Prepare your kids to use their hands to create friction and slow their descent before giving the slides a try.
3. Enjoy the Culture and Views at Plaza de Armas
Once the heart of the Inca capital, today Plaza de Armas remains the center of action in Cusco. Not only is it one of the prettiest squares in South America, but it offers a great vantage point for people watching. As the magnet for festivities and local events, don’t be surprised if you catch music or entertainers there, too. It’s a local gem you’ll love when exploring Cusco with kids.
After you’ve spent some time enjoying the view, take a leisurely stroll down the streets fanning out from the plaza. They offer a vibrant mix of Inca and Spanish influences from architecture to textiles to artisanal crafts. A fun place to shop for souvenirs, your kids will find colorful dolls, miniature stuffed Alpacas, and more to decorate their rooms post-trip.
4. Learn to SUP
Learn to stand up paddleboard on scenic Lake Piuray backed by the dramatic pyramid-shaped Nevado Veronica and snow-capped peaks of Salkantay. Just 40 minutes from the city of Cusco, you and your family will love this thrilling mountain lake adventure.
At 9,800 feet above sea level, you’ll have spectacular views of mountains scattered with agricultural platforms known as “Inca Andenes” and the traditional town of Chincheros. The lake offers excellent conditions for water sports with no wind and waves. So, your boards will remain stable. It’s a great way for the whole family to unwind and see Cusco from a different angle.
5. Chocolate-Making Workshop
Have you and your kids ever wondered how chocolate gets from cocoa beans to delectable bars? Or, are you one of those people who enjoys chocolate like it’s going out of style? (And, honestly, who isn’t?) Then, a chocolate-making workshop is the perfect family-friendly activity.
You and your family will learn all about the chocolate-making process, from the Peruvian cocoa tree to the finished product. And you’ll leave with your own sampling of milk or dark chocolates (120 g). There are few more delightful ways to spend an afternoon while teaching your kids about local ecology, food, and Peruvian culture. So, get ready for some lip-smacking good fun!
Cusco with Kids
Whether you’re looking for ancient mummies, massive stairways guarded by mythical creatures, or natural rock slides, Cusco with kids is an adventure. It’s a spectacular city where kid-friendly activities abound. Just be sure to rest up and stay hydrated as elevation sickness is no joke. At 11,000 feet, your body needs to adjust, so take it easy on this Peru family adventure!
Family fun in Peru doesn’t stop with the museums and plazas of Cusco. They’re just the beginning. Interested in learning more about a Peru family trip? Check out our 11-day Peruvian Family Adventure.
At Our Whole Village, we create tours carefully designed for families who want to create lasting memories. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its peoples, and cultures. Contact us today to learn more about the unforgettable experiences that we handcraft for families just like yours.