Peru with Kids: Central Coast, Arequipa and the Colca Canyon

Peru with Kids: Central Coast, Arequipa and the Colca Canyon

My husband’s mother is Peruvian, making my children 1/4 Peruvian. It’s a big country and despite having visited numerous times, we still have a lot more to see and show our kids.

But, we’ve been there twice with our daughter and so, in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, which kicks off today, I thought it was time to write a post on Peru with kids. I’m also participating in the Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop sponsored by Multicultural Kid Blogs where some fabulous prizes are being given away. Enter the giveaway below, and check out the great collection of cultural and language-related posts.

Nothing says Peru like llamas and alpacas!
Nothing says Peru like llamas and alpacas!

Peru is a great country. The food alone is well worth a visit, even if you aren’t up for sampling cow’s heart or guinea pig (it tastes just like chicken…). There are tons of great dishes and desserts and I’ll eat my weight in ceviche if I have the chance!

Ceviche, fish marinated in key limes, red onion and Peruvian ahi peppers, is one of Peru's most famous dishes. Photo by Don Lucho via Wikimedia.
Ceviche, fish marinated in key limes, red onion and Peruvian ahi peppers, is one of Peru’s most famous dishes. Photo by Don Lucho via Wikimedia.

All trips begin in Lima. When we are in Lima, we stay with family and usually don’t visit the sites because we’ve been to them. That said, if you are going to visit the city, don’t miss the Cathedral and the Museum of the Catacombs (if you aren’t freaked out by numerous human bones laying around), the Gold Museum, and the Mercado Surquillo, for a truly local experience.

The catacombs at San Francisco Basilica in Lima Peru. Photo by Marie Thérèse Hébert & Jean Robert Thibault via Flickr.
The catacombs at San Francisco Basilica in Lima Peru. Photo by Marie Thérèse Hébert & Jean Robert Thibault via Flickr.

You also must be sure to visit local restaurants. Most places are good with kids. Some of our favorites are: Tanta, Astrid y Gaston (fine dining, so bring your kids if they are used to nice restaurants), ceviche restaurants Pescados Capitales and La Mar, and Restaurante Fiesta.

We typically visit Peru in January or February in order to escape winter in the northern hemisphere. It’s a great time of year to be there. Some of my husband’s cousins have beach houses an hour south of Lima where we all gather on weekends.

Our winter is Peru's summer. We love visiting in January and February so we can pack our swim suits!
Our winter is Peru’s summer. We love visiting in January and February so we can pack our swim suits!

The coast south of Lima is dotted with private beach front communities that have pools, restaurants/cafes, a private beach and some cool architecture. While we are lucky enough to have family willing to put us up, you can find places to rent through VRBO, Home Away and Airbnb.

Sunset along the coast south of Lima, Peru.
Sunset along the coast south of Lima, Peru.

We’ve been to Peru only twice since our daughter was born. During those visits, in addition to spending time in Lima, we also headed south to Arequipa and the Colca Canyon.

Smaller than Lima, Arequipa has a slightly less chaotic and a bit more civilized feel to it than does Lima. This makes it easier to just roam and soak up the local culture.

We loved the pop of color on this house in Arequipa, Peru.
We loved the pop of color on this house in Arequipa, Peru.

The cathedral is beautiful and sits on a lovely square where locals gather and socialize. As with any city, there are plenty of good places to eat. We had a great meal at Chincha, owned by Peru’s most famous chef Gaston Acurio (he also owns Tanta, La Mar and Astrid y Gaston, which I recommended above).

The cathedral in Arequipa borders a lovely square where locals gather to picnic and pass away the time.
The cathedral in Arequipa borders a lovely square where locals gather to picnic and pass away the time.

From Arequipa, you are a three-hour drive on a bumpy, dusty “highway” – they call it a highway, I call it a dirt road – to the Colca Canyon.

Traffic jam in the Colca Canyon, Peru.
Traffic jam in the Colca Canyon, Peru.

At twice the depth of the Grand Canyon in the U.S., it is a beautiful and impressive region. The mountain sides are dotted with vicunas (a distant relative of alpacas), local sheep herders in their colorful attire move along the dusty roads and the Andean Condors, with their 10 foot wingspan, take flight.

We couldn't have had a much more authentic experience than driving down the road and coming across this scene of a Peruvian family herding their sheep.
We couldn’t have had a much more authentic experience than driving down the road and coming across this scene of a Peruvian family herding their sheep.

The bumpy drive may make you want to jump out the window but it’s worth it in the end. We had an amazing stay at Las Casitas del Colca, where a guide was arranged to take us out to see the condors and into a local town. Back at the resort, we also participated in a couple of Peruvian cooking classes. The staff was great with our daughter and provided everything we could possibly have needed during our visit.

This condor had a wingspan of approximately seven to eight feet! It was soaring nearly 4,000 feet above the canyon floor.
This condor had a wingspan of approximately seven to eight feet! It was soaring nearly 4,000 feet above the canyon floor.

In addition to the aforementioned activities, we also could have gone hiking, fishing and horseback riding, but our daughter was too young at the time. Truly one of the nicest places we have ever stayed, both my husband and I would LOVE to return – if not for that pesky three-hour drive.

These alpacas and llamas freely wandered the property of Las Casitas del Colca and had no fear of getting up close and personal!
These alpacas and llamas freely wandered the property of Las Casitas del Colca and had no fear of getting up close and personal!

We can’t wait to go back to Peru; our next visit will be our son’s first. We love keeping up our kids’ connection to their heritage (and being able to eat a lot of ceviche, of course). Next time we hope to head north to the beaches on the Ecuador border and into the Amazon jungle. Stay tuned.

 

* This post was also featured on Walking on Travels , where you can find more inspiring travel posts and tips.

**Below is some more information on the Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month blog hop along with an opportunity to win some great prizes.

heritagemonthWelcome to the Third Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop, hosted this year by Multicultural Kid Blogs and 22 of our member blogs! Don’t miss our amazing giveaway, and share your own posts at our linky!

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15 every year, “celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America” (from HispanicHeritageMonth.gov)

Be sure to visit all of the participating blogs (listed below) and follow our related Pinterest boards:

MKB HHM Twitter PartyDon’t miss our Twitter party “Celebrating Hispanic Heritage with Kids,” Tuesday, September 23, from 9 – 10 pm ET! Follow #mkbhhm to participate!

MKB Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop: Participating Blogs

Multicultural Kid Blogs

All Done Monkey

Spanish Playground

Kid World Citizen

Mommy Maestra

Inspired by Familia

Entre Compras y El Hogar

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

Spanglish House

Crafty Moms Share

Toddling in the Fast Lane

Mama Tortuga

Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Our Whole Village

Changing Plate

A Life With Subtitles

Spanish Mama

Pragmatic Mom

Daria’s Music

My Favorite Multicultural Books

Trilingual Mama

Mundo Lanugo

The Good Long Road

Ana & Zelli

Hispanic Heritage Month GIVEAWAY!

This year to celebrate we are giving away fabulous prizes! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post for a chance to win!

Please note that there are shipping restrictions on some prizes. In the event that the winner lives outside of the shipping area, that portion of the prize will be added to the following prize package.

Grand Prize Package

Smart Play PadSmart Play Pad (SRP $ 24.99): Interactive tablet like electronic toy makes early learning fun and exciting for little ones. More than 30 touch sensitive keys teach language and pronunciation skills to help prepare children for school. Bilingual feature helps kids learn in English & Spanish. Lightweight and truly portable for on-the-go learning. Ships to US and Canada only.

Traditional Mexican toys and games.

A basket of fun from Escuela Falcón in Guanajuato, Gto., Mexico. This prize includes educational games, ceramic Day of the Dead skulls, a hand-painted ceramic box, wooden toys, and a certificate for 5 hours of Skype Spanish lessons with Escuela Falcón.

LanugoA basket from Lanugo that includes Lanugo’s new book, “Lula la Consentida,” a limited edition “Latino de Corazón” infant apparel, and Seventh Generation’s earth conscious baby product essentials. US shipping only.

Spanish games for kids.

A Spanish edition of the award-winning game Bananagrams.

DVD of Spanish music videos from Rockalingua.

DVD of Spanish music videos from Rockalingua.

Bilingual poetry book from Lee and Low.

Spanish poetry book for kids from Lee and Low.

A Movie in my Pillow and Poems to Dream Together – Books of poetry in English and Spanish from Lee and Low.

First Prize Package

Peru prize basket - Kid World CitizenA child’s sweater and bag from Peru courtesy of Kid World Citizen. The handmade, wool sweater is typical from the Andes and might fit a child ages 2-4. The little backpack is also handmade with gorgeous details typical of the region.

Spanish games for kids. A Spanish edition of the award-winning game Bananagrams.

Spanish songs for kids.

Chocolalala – CD of songs in English and Spanish from Mister G.

Spanish songs for kids from Mariana Iranzi.Hola Hello – A CD of children’s songs in English and Spanish from Mariana Iranzi.

Spanish poems for kids.

Mis primeros poemas – A book of poems and audio CD for Spanish learners from All Bilingual Press.

Spanish color activities from Mundo de Pepita.

Digital download of Spanish Colors Activities Pack with printable minibooks, games and activity pages from Mundo de Pepita.

Lingua ToysSpanish activity book with an audio CD with listening exercises for kids between 3-10 years old (value: 12€) from Lingua Toys.

Bolivian GuiroHand-crafted guiro (traditional instrument), hand-carved from a gourd in Bolivia with a sun and moon pattern. Great instrument as well as a piece of folk art. From DARIAMUSIC. US shipping only.

Second Prize Package

Handwoven scarf from Nicaragua.

Handwoven scarf from Nicaragua courtesy of Spanish Playground.

Spanish ABC book from Libros Arellano.

Spanish book for kids from Libros Arellano.

¡Las letras! and Señorita Bienvenida en el aeropuerto – Two children’s books in Spanish from Libros Arellano.

Spanish songs for kids from Mariana Iranzi.

A CD of children’s songs in English and Spanish from Mariana Iranzi.

Children's songs in Spanish from Mister G.

ABC Fiesta – CD of songs in English and Spanish from Mister G.

High frequency words books in Spanish.

Digital download of 6 printable Spanish high frequency words books from Custom Literacy.

Guatemala purse - Alarcon RestaurantsHand woven and leather Guatemala coin purse, a fun and vibrant gift. Given by www.AlarconRestaurants.com – from their Gift Gallery in Antigua Real Restaurant, Mukwonago WI.

Bonus Prize: France Shipping Only!

Las piñatas de LalyBeautiful piñata created especially for this contest by Piñatas de Laly.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Link Up Your Posts Now it’s your turn to share your posts! The linky will be open through October 15, so come back and share throughout Hispanic Heritage Month!

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Post Discussion

12 thoughts on “Peru with Kids: Central Coast, Arequipa and the Colca Canyon

  1. Lisa Goodmurphy

    It sounds like Peru would be the perfect country for us to consider visiting during our winter holidays! I know my kids would be thrilled to see llamas wandering around!

    3 years ago Reply

    1. Kara Suro

      Lisa, let me know if you go (this year, or any time in the future). I can make some additional recommendations as well as some in Cusco and in the Machu Picchu area. It’s a very cool country!

      3 years ago Reply

  2. Michele {Malaysian Meanders}

    Now you have me dreaming of Peru for our Christmas break. Getting a dose of summer in the middle of our winter would be wonderful. I like that there’s both city sites and natures sites to visit, although I will have to think about that bumpy 3 hour drive.

    3 years ago Reply

    1. Kara Suro

      It’s such a great time to be there. Not only is it warm but people are all in summer mentality so every is in a good mood. Yes, that 3 hour bumpy ride is a bit of a killer. The place was well worth it but it was a bit torturous!

      3 years ago Reply

  3. Mary {The World Is A Book}

    Great post, Kara. I learned many interesting things here and I admit I don’t know much about Peru other than some posts I’ve read of Lima of travelers on their way to Machu Picchu. That catacombs at San Francisco Basilica looks so interesting. I think I can endure the bumpy ride to participate on all those activities and see the beauty of Colca Canyon. Glad to see there are so many diverse family-friendly activities there.

    3 years ago Reply

    1. Kara Suro

      There is so much more to see in Peru than Lima (though the restaurant scene is worth stopping over for a few nights) and Machu Picchu. That said, Machu Picchu is incredible and we can’t wait for our kids to be old enough to go. Plus there’s tons to do in and around Cusco on your way there.

      3 years ago Reply

  4. Frances

    Perú looks like a fascinating country to visit, and thank you for a virtual tour! Nothing better than to see a country through the eyes, of those who have visited there. 🙂

    3 years ago Reply

  5. Elisabeth Alvarado

    So enjoyed reading this! I lived in Peru for two years and met my husband there, and we took our baby to visit for the first time last year. I have never been to Arequipa and reading this makes me want to go– I lived in the (highly recommend it for a visit!!), and would love to get to know other parts of the country better. Such a big part of my heart now!

    3 years ago Reply

    1. Kara Suro

      Glad you liked the post. I’d love to live there for a short while. What a great experience you must have had!

      3 years ago Reply

  6. Leanna @ Alldonemonkey

    Thank you for this virtual tour! I have been able to visit Peru twice, but both times only briefly en route to Bolivia. There is so much more to explore! I hope I can take my kids there someday. Thanks for these great tips of where to go! I do remember the hair-raising highways in the Andes very well!

    3 years ago Reply

  7. Sophie

    I would love love love to visit Peru! It’s been at the top of my list for years but I’ve not had the time/money to go. This amazing post has just meant I need to seriously consider booking my trip. Thanks for the amazing tips!

    3 years ago Reply

    1. Kara Suro

      It’s such a great country and so worth a visit. Let us know if you book a trip. We have been to Lima, Cuzco and Machu Picchu as well and can pass on some tips for those locations too!

      3 years ago Reply

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