By María Elena Tord for El Comercio
Translated by Alix Farr
There are many activities in the Sacred Valley that are suitable
for family members of all ages.
Cusco is becoming an ever more popular destination for families.
The charm of the city that so delights the adults can also be
something to please the kids, though they may not immediately
realize it. Once there, your family will see that the number of
activities for children is on the rise.
It is recommended that the first stop of your trip, after arriving in
Cusco, be Urubamba, because it is at a slightly lower altitude,
which can help prevent altitude sickness.
Children love walks to the river and through the valleys. A little
bit of fresh air is always nourishing, especially for those who
live in the city.
One outing that the kids always like is to the salt-evaporation
ponds of Maras, where wells of salt create a sea of white
surrounded by mountains. This is where salt is extracted and t
hen sent to the regional markets. Those who extract the salt
come on foot or by car in the dry season.
Not far away are the circular terraces of Moray, which served as
an agricultural laboratory during Inca times. Today it is a fun place
to visit. The kids can run around, up and down, through the terraces.
Also near by, only 20 minutes by car from Moray, is Chinchero.
When there, ask for the textile workshops, where local women
do demonstrations of the weaving process. These textiles are known
as being the most beautiful of the region, and they preserve the
ancestral techniques that you will be able to appreciate in a class.
In Chinchero, you can also visit the church and the archaeological
complex located next to the main plaza.
An option for the afternoon is Wayra, which is part of the
Sol y Luna Hotel. It offers a number of different experiences for
those in the Sacred Valley, including many that would appeal to young
people. The concept of Wayra is to introduce the culture and art of
the local people to children by way of workshops in ceramics, textiles
In Wayra, as well as in other rural centers in the area, there are
opportunities to go horseback riding, as well as go on mountain biking
and kayaking expeditions. In Pachar, Natura Vive has alternative
adventures in scaling a 300-meter rock wall that are suitable for
children, from 6 years old.
In the valley, there is a chicken restaurant called Wallpa Wasi,
which is a nice country-style restaurant, in the style of Lima’s famous
Granja Azul. Kids will be able to enjoy pollo a la brasa and play
on a playground. This is a great lunch option.
In the city of Cusco there are also many options for the youngest
members of our families. Just outside the city is the archaeological
complex of Sacsayhuaman, where there are a number of natural
rock formations that are used as slides.
If you would like some fresh-air activities, you can ride horses to
“Zona x” where you can explore the mysterious caves.
In the city, you can also take tours that start at the Plaza de Armas.
In the afternoon, what could be better than something sweet in a
place full of toys? In Cusco there exists such a place, called Yanapay,
which has a “village” for children. There are tables and chairs
sized just write for the kids, as well as games, desserts, and storytime.
Another option is El Hada where Alessandra Pinasco, inspired by the
culinary passion that she inherited from her grandfather, offers artisan
ice cream in 40 flavors, which are 100 percent natural. Options include
lavender, baked apple, Doña Pepa, vanilla and “suspiro.” And for the
adults in the group, there is also coffee.
The Choco Museo is another great option. Visitors here can learn
about the process of preparing cacao and chocolate. For kids, there
is the workshop called “From the Tree,” which includes two very
fun hours where they will make their own chocolates and have a
dozen flavors to choose from. This is recommended for children 8 years
old and up, and the experience can be shared with parents.
For the smaller children 4 years old an up, there is a mini-workshop
that takes 45 minutes. Kids will mold their own chocolates with flavors
of their choosing. And at night, what better than a pizza? In the San Blas
neighborhood, you will find Pacha Papa, a great restaurant with a big patio.
From the clay ovens come pizzas of a variety of flavors.