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Category: Destination Stories, Family Trips, South/Central America Destinations

Raising Global Citizens

We believe that a great way to raise our children to be global citizens is to travel together as a family and teach them about culture and wellness along the way. We recently embarked on a comprehensive tour of Peru with our four children – who range from mid-teens to 10 years old. The kids knew virtually nothing about Peru, so we all did some age-appropriate reading before the trip to get a better perspective on what we would see and learn from our guide, a local historian.

Lima, a very large and charming coastal city with incredible restaurants, is the main entry point into Peru. After a couple days biking around town, we made our way to the Andes.

Cuzco, the portal to the Sacred Valley and to Machu Picchu, is an incredible place for all ages. Even the youngest in our family truly enjoyed our city walks and the vast nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman, and our ritual yoga practices. Our kids were also surprisingly willing to try delightful Peruvian specialties such as ceviche, lomo saltado, and plachamanca.

The highlight for all was our full-day, nine-mile hike from the rushing waters of the Vilcabamba River through the Sacred Valley and the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu. Despite a reasonably challenging, often uphill hike, we enthusiastically believed that the astonishing natural splendor and peacefulness of our surroundings made the day extremely worthwhile.

We remained at Machu Picchu the next day to climb Huayana Picchu, the “small” but steep mountain seen in the background on most pictures. From up there, we could see three separate Andean peaks towering over 19,000 feet! The views and sense of spiritual well-being that permeates Machu Picchu must be experienced to be believed.

We had many other adventures on our trip – including horseback riding on trails amidst Andean splendor followed by a lunch that had been just plucked from the chef’s garden, and time spent with a shaman visiting spiritual sites. The memories we and the kids took back from Peru will last a lifetime!

by Elizabeth O’Connor Cole