Visiting Machu Picchu with children is a worthwhile travel alternative. The citadel of the Incas, known for being crowned as one of the seven wonders of the modern world, is visited daily by more than 3,000 tourists from all over the world.
Visiting it involves some prior planning, since we must choose dates appropriate to our travel itineraries to Cusco and issues such as weather, the number of tourists depending on the season and train schedules to the town of Aguas Calientes.
Given the logistics, the length of the train ride and the conditions at the archaeological site, many people might be discouraged from traveling with children to Machu Picchu.
But the truth is that traveling with children in general is to give them unforgettable experiences, and even more so if it is a place as special as Machu Picchu, which will definitely not go unnoticed in their childhood memories.
Machu Picchu summary
The citadel of Machu Picchu is located in the department of Cusco, about 80 km from the city at 2,340 meters above sea level. It is said that it was a religious sanctuary, or one of the resting residences of the Inca Pachacutec, but the truth is that its incredible architecture located on the slopes of the Huayna Picchu mountain, takes our breath away thanks to its magnificent beauty and grandeur.
The citadel discovered and spread to the world by the American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911, has been since then, the most important reference of Peruvian archaeological tourism, and one of the most visited historical sites in America.
Traveling to Cusco with children
The first thing to think about when traveling to Cusco with children is their well-being. We must make sure that the altitude of the city does not make them dizzy or give them the annoying soroche. Avoiding it is easy: a good rest upon arrival from the airport, light food during the first day and sugar candies to give them extra energy if they lack oxygen.
In the city everything will surely arouse their interest, but if we spend a few days there prior to the trip to Machu Picchu, you can organize a trip to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman or visit on horseback the X Zone, full of caves and rock formations fun for children.
A visit to the Colcamayo hot springs can also be a very pleasant and different experience for children.
Traveling to Machu Picchu with kids
Machu Picchu with children is usually a very positive experience if you are cautious and take into account several factors such as the weather (a storm could be uncomfortable or not pleasing to them), or the hikes that are often tiring if they do not rest or become boring for them.
We think it is best to get creative from the beginning and start this trip awakening their curiosity with visual stimuli such as videos and funny stories related to the citadel of the Incas, to stimulate their desire and curiosity to explore this amazing place.
Tips for traveling by train with children
For many children, the train ride can be a moment to look forward to as much as the destination itself, especially for those without much experience in boarding trains. If this is your case, the trip is sure to start with a great and positive energy.
For those who are not very enthusiastic, or get bored more quickly, it is advisable to start stimulating their imagination in a very visual way, with stories about the Incas and their constructions, take maps and trace the routes so that they start to get excited about what they will see. Drawing with them is also a way to connect with the stories and stimulate their fantasy.
The trip to Machu Picchu from Ollantaytambo lasts about 1 hour and 40 minutes, so any child could get bored sitting in the same place. We suggest you to walk around the wagons with your child, and invite him/her to look through the windows at the scenery. That way he/she can get a better idea of what awaits him/her and not think about the time left to arrive.
Machu Picchu with kids train ride
Tour guide: Machu Picchu for children
Upon arrival, it is advisable to hire a tour guide in Machu Picchu that uses an appropriate and understandable language for children, and that the visit is entertaining. This will make the tour more enjoyable and agile, as they could easily lose interest.
Children will be able to find some llamas in the citadel, which can be fun for them. If we get more creative (and we are with several children) we could even organize a visual “treasure hunt” where the kids can go through some sections of Machu Picchu in an adventurous way.
The ideal is to start the tour early in the morning, so that the children have a good breakfast, and so that they finish before their lunch break in Aguas Calientes. It is recommended to bring plenty of water for them, snacks on hand and sunscreen and hat in case they get a very sunny day. Machu Picchu with children will be an experience of adventure, culture and activity for the whole family.
If you are interested in traveling to Machu Picchu with children, make a reservation here on one of the trains that depart from Cusco to Aguas Calientes. You will find several options where your children will travel safe and happy.