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Have you ever asked yourself, should I take children trekking in Peru? Here we give you some guidelines to determine if it is possible to trek with your kids in Peru.
Every child is unique and every family is different. Most importantly, each trek is different and for different reasons. Sometimes it is the altitude and sometimes it is due to the steepness of the terrain. In this blog we refer to kids aged about 6 to 12 years old, often referred to as tweens or even pre-tweens!
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The 4 Key Questions If You Are Considering Taking Children Trekking In Peru
If you are considering doing a Peru trek with tweens, these are some standard questions you can ask yourself!
- Are your children fit and relatively athletic? They need to be fit and physically able to trek in Peru. Hiking with kids can be challenging at any time, but add in the cold and altitude, and it can be a hard experience.
- In addition to fit, are your children focused and resilient? For example, lots of 8-year-olds are quite fit but might complain bitterly about trekking for several hours straight. That is, they are not focused nor have the mental stamina to keep trekking.
- Are they well-behaved/will they follow the guide’s instructions? This seems like a simple thing, but you don’t want rebellion or attitude on the trail
- Have your kid’s done long distance treks? Did they trek for a full day recently?
- Have they camped before? Will they be comfortable using squat toilets and other basic facilities? What about going without electricity for days? While trekking in Peru with kids with most likely only have basic facilities.
If you answer Yes to most of these questions, read on. If you answer NO to most of these questions, then put trekking in Peru on your ‘in a couple years’ bucket list. Or perhaps head out for a day in your local National Park and see how your kids fare with some trekking! In many cases, waiting a couple of years for this Peru bucket list adventure will make it a more enjoyable outing for everyone! the way I see it, if you force your kids to trek too early you may ruin it for life.
If you are looking for advice specific to the Classic Inca Trail, look at trekking the Inca trail with Kids.
Trekking in Peru With Children – Things To Include In Your Plan
- Ask your travel consultant for their advice on the easiest treks in the Cusco region. Make sure you are comfortable that the travel agents are actually familiar with the Andes and can give you some ideas about what are the best options. Remember – travel agents are a fairly generalized profession and the most don’t have much or any specific experience. For specific suggestions, read onto the next section.
- In order to have the most successful trek with kids possible, acclimatize for a minimum of 3 plus days in Cusco. 4 days are even better in our opinion. Also read Tips For Acclimating To Altitude With Kids
- While acclimatizing there is so much to do in the Cusco region… There is a multitude of activities to do in Cusco for Kids and the Sacred Valley Peru for kids and families!
- Consider doing a private trek where it is just you and your guide and trek team. This will mean that you can go at your own pace with plenty of stops for kid’s questions and interest in the world. If you are on a group trek there is a lot less opportunity for going at your own pace and you can be rushed along, which is when kids can feel the pressure. You can also feel pressure if kids are being silly at the end of the long day and other trekkers in your group are looking for solitude.
- Let the kids know that it is OK to turn back because their safety and health is the most important thing in the world. This is also the advantage of doing a private trek or ensuring that there are two guides with you.
- If you are doing an alternative trek, talk to your company about having an emergency horse/ mule. These walk alongside you and can totally save the day on steep sections when little legs are following. We’ve seen on many occasions the horse get to the top and then go back down for the next person that is struggling. The ability to have an emergency horse (not available on the Inca Trail) is one of the ‘deciding’ aspects of doing Alternative Trek vs the Inca Trail. Some families have opted to have two emergency horses so a couple of children can ride at the same time. All reputable trek agencies will be able to organize this for you.
- How sensible are your kids? Especially on the Inca Trail (but some alternative treks also) the drops are very steep and the path is very narrow. The kids need to be old (and wise) enough to understand the need to stay away from the edge without you holding their hand. Can they remember to stay away from the edge when you are not there? An 8-year-old might get distracted, but by the time they are 10 they have a better sense of self-preservation! This totally depends on your child.
- Depending on their age, once children are about 10 years old, they can carry their own backpacks. However, remember that even a couple of kg at altitude make things more difficult. Having their own backpack means they can carry their own water bottle, layers of clothing (which you need), rain jacket and snacks.
- Take snacks that the children like from home, especially in the case of picky eaters, so they can keep their energy up on the trail.
Trekking in Peru with Kids – which is the best trek
Take a look at our post about Trekking the Inca Trail with Kids if you think that the most famous Peru trek is for you. In our opinion a minimum of 10 years of age is necessary for the Inca Trail, but that other treks are suitable for children much younger.
For the youngest children, we recommend the Huchuy Qosqo trek because it is short and relatively “flat” (by Andean standards) or a variation of the Lares Valley Cultural trek We like Lares as it can be adapted to 1, 2 or 3 days and is also not extremely high altitude in most places. Also, it provides lots of opportunities for interactions with local people and not so much focus on Incan ruins.
Which treks should I not take my kid trekking In Peru?
- Our post the Rainbow Mountain with Kids explains why we don’t think that a visit to this highly popular attraction is suitable for children.
- The trek to Choquequirao is not suitable for tweens, this is one of the hardest treks in the region and is difficult for even the fittest and hardiest adult. We would consider it only for about age 13 and up
- We haven’t experienced the tweens age as a parent, we are just entering into this phase.
- Mumma traveler has operated a Peruvian Trekking agency for over 10 years and worked with many parents on a range of treks and bases this advice on feedback from those parents!
- All ages are “arbitrary’ suggestions – children come in all shapes, sizes and abilities. If you know that your child is super fit and hardy, done loads of trekking then sure you can trek the harder treks -but if your child is average… and doesn’t have a lot of experience, don’t turn them off for life. Put your Peru trek with Kids off for a few years!!!
Thinking About Taking Children Trekking In Peru
Consider asking a travel agents help for some of the logistics. Apus Peru Adventure Travel Specialists have plenty of experience in offering treks with young people!
Looking For More Peru Family Travel Advice
Here is our list of tried and test tips for Visiting Machu Picchu With Kids.
Where should you stay in Machu Picchu? We have a fantastic list of Machu Picchu hotels, which we have stayed in ourselves. Take a look at the Best Family Hotels In Machu Picchu
One of the major things about Machu Picchu is that you need to book really early. Check out Book Your Machu Picchu Family Holiday Early – 6 Reasons Why!
If you are looking for more information on traveling in Peru check out our favorite guidebooks and maps below. Click on each one for current prices.
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