- Take the ultimate family vacation to ancient and mystical Machu Picchu
- Tour Cusco, visit a traditional Andean village, and shop at a Quechua market
- Enjoy an Andean meal cooked underground and learn how to make pottery
- Spend two days exploring the ruins of Machu Picchu with expert guides
For many kids (and adults alike), the name "Lost City of the Incas" conjures up images of a mysterious ruins complex, floating in a sea of mist and surrounded by dramatic emerald peaks. Our exciting Machu Picchu family vacation turns this mystical imagery into a lifelong memory.
Our exploration begins in Cusco, where we learn about the fascinating history and architectural skills of its Incan founders. As we make our way deeper, the Urubamba Valley reveals more Andean treasures. At Pisac market we admire the handicrafts of the Quechua people and kids have fun with a market challenge competition. Later we try our hand at traditional pottery making, creating a piece we can take home. One evening we join a Pachamanca ceremony in a rural Quechua community, where our hosts prepare food underground in the traditional Andean process.
A train ride from the Andean highlands to the cloud forest brings us to Machu Picchu itself, where we spend two days discovering the most spectacular ruins complex on the continent.
Kids get an REI day pack — Kids traveling on our Family Adventures will receive an REI day pack for their adventure! Kids age 8-17 will receive the REI Flash 18 Pack (while quantities last, colors may vary). Learn more about REI Family Adventures.
Not traveling with kids under 18? Check out our other Machu Picchu trips.
Want to make the most of your stay in Peru? Check out our Lima, Paracas & Nazca Lines; Lake Titicaca; Northern Peru; Peruvian Amazon – Sandoval Lake Lodge; Peruvian Amazon – Heath River Wildlife Center and Peruvian Amazon – Tahuayo Lodge extensions.
- Day 1 - Take a walking tour of Cusco's most interesting sites.
- Day 2 - Shop at Pisac market and hike to well-preserved ruins.
- Day 3 - Meet the villagers of Willoc and raft the Urubamba River.
- Day 4 - Explore a traditional Andean town brimming with textiles and pottery.
- Day 5 - Delight in our first views of Machu Picchu and take a guided tour.
- Day 6 - Explore the ruins and hike to the "Gate of the Sun."
- Day 7 - Depart Cusco full of lasting family memories.
Trip Itinerary and Details
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
Day 1 - Take a walking tour of Cusco's most interesting sites.
Our trip begins today in Cusco, Peru. Located high in the Andes at an elevation of 11,150', this beautiful red-tile-roofed city was founded in the 12th-century by Manco Capac, the original Inca considered to be a child of the sun god himself. For almost 400 years, Cusco served as the flourishing capital of the Inca Empire and still retains its centuries-old appeal with numerous sections of original Inca stonework still visible in the streets and buildings. Upon arrival in Cusco, we're transferred to our centrally-located hotel where a brief orientation meeting will be held. There will be time to check into your hotel room and get ready before we depart on a walking tour of the city's most intriguing sites including the bustling Plaza de Armas and the Santo Domingo Church (built atop the great Inca temple Koricancha). Kids and parents will enjoy a stop off at an artisanal chocolate museum where we can learn about the history of the cocoa plant, see how chocolates are made and taste a few as well! Just outside the city we enjoy a short hike to the Temple of the Moon, an Inca ruin with fascinating caves and rock carvings. Dinner tonight will be at a popular local restaurant, within walking distance of our hotel, which includes traditional Peruvian dishes as well as pizza and pasta. Overnight in Cusco. Dinner included.
Walking: ½ mile sightseeing; 1 hour. Hiking: 1 mile; 1 hour.
Day 2 - Shop at Pisac market and hike to well-preserved ruins.
We set out this morning for the Sacred Valley of the Incas and famous market village of Pisac (approximately one hour's drive from Cusco). En route to Pisac we will explore the imposing hilltop ruins of the monolithic Sacsayhuaman fortress. Considered by many to be one of the greatest examples of stonemasonry in human history, the 60-ton limestone boulders used in the construction of the fortress walls fit together so perfectly without mortar that even a blade of grass can't be inserted between them. We will make a short stop at Awanacancha, a weaving cooperative, where we can get up close to alpaca, llama and vicuña animals roaming the grounds. Next it's on to Pisac where fun shopping and photographic opportunities abound at one of the liveliest outdoor markets in South America. This region is well-known for its local crafts including hand knit wools, ceramics, leather goods and jewelry. Children will enjoy purchasing hand made wrist bands, key rings and small musical instruments. This afternoon, we hit the trail for an uphill hike to the nearby Pisac ruins. One of the most important and well-preserved ruins in the Sacred Valley, our guide helps us identify the various structures at the site including the fascinating Temple of the Sun, used by the Incas as an astronomical observatory. We climb to the top of the ruins to take in the spectacular views of the terraced countryside before heading back down the trail to the parking area where our bus awaits. We spend the next three nights in our own private bungalows at the lovely Sol y Luna Hotel (8,850'), where we are surrounded by beautiful gardens and great views of the Andes, all within a secluded 25 acre oasis. All meals included.
Hiking: 2 ½ miles; 2 hours.
Day 3 - Meet the villagers of Willoc and raft the Urubamba River.
This morning we head to the mountain village of Willoc, home to the original Inca Trail porters from the last 100 years to present. Most of the villagers still wear the traditional and colorful red Incan clothing and the women are outstanding weavers known for producing some of the highest quality textiles in the Sacred Valley. Here we have the unique opportunity for cultural immersion as our guide will facilitate an activity that we can enjoy with the locals. It's fun to try out the Quecha words we have learned from our guide. After lunch in a local restaurant we head to our put in point for rafting on the Urubamba River. We meet our rafting guides who will provide a safety briefing and paddling instructions. After donning our life jackets we paddle down river parallel to the Sacred Valley of the Incas where we encounter the class III rapids of Ollanta. The section of the river we raft provides equal time for paddling and downtime for sightseeing along the bank of the river. The landscape surrounding the Ollanta Section is breathtaking. Pre-Inca cities such as Ollantaytambo, ancient farming terraces and pristine sandy beaches make for a remarkable backdrop. The river valley is also teeming with bird species. Many elusive and exotic birds can be seen in the river valley including the Blue-mantled Thornbill and Giant Conebill along with various types of brightly hued hummingbirds. After our rafting adventure we drive up to the Maras salt mines which were used by the Inca as a mineral source and still visited by local residents today. From the salt mines we have a one hour gradual downhill hike to the Sacred Valley. The terrain is a classic Andean gorge—dry, little vegetation and a bit rocky and dusty, but offering great views of the Valley and some of the nearby high peaks. We make our way back to the Sol y Luna with time for kids to cool off in the outdoor swimming pool and parents to enjoy a Pisco Sour in the lounge. Tonight is make your own pizza night in the hotel's kitchen. All meals included.
Rafting: 2 hours; Hiking: ~ 1 ½ miles, 1 hour.
Day 4 - Explore a traditional Andean town brimming with textiles and pottery.
Today we visit Chinchero, a high Andean town (12,335') that once served as a country estate for Tupac Inca, one of the early Incan rulers. Known for its commanding views of the surrounding snowcapped mountains and traditional centuries-old houses, Chinchero's inhabitants continue to honor their Inca ancestors by passing their weaving skills from generation to generation and dressing in traditional Quechua clothing. After observing these skilled artisans at work we return to the Valley for lunch at a local restaurant before we begin our pottery workshop on the grounds of the Sol y Luna. Local potters will assist us as we create our own piece- a lasting memory and unique souvenir to take home with us. We have some down time in the afternoon to enjoy the beautiful gardens of the hotel, go for a swim, or play some games from the REI family game bag. In the evening we meet up for dinner and a show at the Wayra restaurant. Show options are varied and may present an Andean Gods theatre production or Peruvian paso horse riding demonstration. All meals included.
Day 5 - Delight in our first views of Machu Picchu and take a guided tour.
After an early breakfast we drive to Ollantaytambo and board the daily train to Machu Picchu. The route allows us to see the transition from Andean highlands and valleys to lush cloud forest, following along the Urubamba River where we rafted just a few days earlier. We arrive at the village of Machu Picchu at the base of the Lost City in mid-morning and take a shuttle up to this spectacularly perched archeological treasure. Our knowledgeable guide leads us through the center of the site and to the Inca Bridge, recapping Machu Picchu's rediscovery by Hiram Bingham in 1911. We have lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge by the entrance to the ruins. Later this afternoon, we'll return to the village of Machu Picchu and check into our private bungalows at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel. This hotel is ranked as one of the 10 finest hotels in South America and situated in 13 acres of cloud forest gardens along the Vilcanota River. Parents might like to indulge in an Andean massage which can be booked in your own room or at the spa. Family members can also relax in two of the large outdoor hot tubs or log into the free internet stations and email their friends and family back home. We meet our trip leader for dinner in the evening and enjoy a delicious meal at the hotel's restaurant overlooking the Urubamba River. All meals included.
Hiking: up to 2 miles, 1 ½ - 2 hours.
Day 6 - Explore the ruins and hike to the "Gate of the Sun."
Today we have the opportunity to return to the ruins for a few hours, perhaps catching one of the first shuttles of the day to the complex before the crowds arrive. Our hotel is just a brief ride via shuttle to Machu Picchu. We can hike the "Gate of the Sun" trail for a bird's-eye view of Machu Picchu or just explore the ruins on our own. For those not returning to the ruins there will be the option to visit the Spectacled Bear Conservation Project. The spectacled bear, the only bear species in South America, was once prolific throughout the Andes and is now critically endangered. This project is managed by The Inka Terra Association (ITA) and the Peruvian National Institute of Natural Resources (INRENA). Their goal is to rescue injured bears and reintroduce them into their natural habitat. We will get to see a few bears up close and learn about the challenges they face to survive in today's changing world. Paddington Bear, the children's book character who came from "darkest Peru", must have been a Spectacled Bear!
We have lunch in town at a local restaurant before boarding the train to Ollantaytambo, connecting there with our private van to Cusco and arriving back in the city at approx. 5 p.m. We have time for some last minute souvenir shopping before joining our guide for a final celebration dinner. Overnight in Cusco tonight. All meals included.
Hiking: up to 2 miles; 2 ½ hours.
Day 7 - Depart Cusco full of lasting family memories.
After breakfast, we transfer to the Cusco airport for our return flight to Lima. All airport transfers, regardless of flight time, are included today. Breakfast included.
Extend Your Stay Extend your visit to Peru with an incredible jungle lodge adventure in the Peruvian Amazon!
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, the itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including weather and terrain conditions.
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
Hotel accommodations with private bath for 6 nights; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; bilingual guides; all ground transportation within Peru as noted including airport transfers upon arrival/departure; all sightseeing and activity excursions as noted (including daily admission to Machu Picchu).
Air transportation to/from Cusco; 1 lunches; guide gratuities; excess baggage charges; alcoholic beverages; airport taxes and items of a personal nature such as souvenirs, laundry fees, immunizations or insurance of any kind.
This trip is rated Easy Active . Participants should enjoy hiking/walking and arrive in good physical condition. Daily hikes/walks will be on-trail and may include some short, steep ascents and descents and climbing numerous flights of stairs at various ruins complexes. There is no experience required for rafting but participants should be able to swim. Please keep in mind that we spend all of our time at moderately high altitude (7,800' -12,500') where most trip members will feel the effects of the thinner air, especially during the first few days. We highly recommend a conditioning regimen consisting of activities such as hiking, jogging, stair-climbing or cycling beginning several months prior to departure to get in shape for the adventure. The better shape you are in, the more you will enjoy all this trip has to offer!
Average daytime temperatures in and around Cusco generally range from 55° - 75° F with Andean evenings cooling down into the 40s and 50s. Much of the itinerary takes place in the mountains where weather can change very quickly. During the months of May-October, days are typically clear and pleasant, with afternoon clouds occasionally building and leading to small amounts of precipitation. While rainfall is more common during the months of December-April, all-day rain is unlikely.
If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the single supplement fee. There is no single supplement fee for those willing to share accommodations, and we will assign you a roommate of the same gender if possible. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single accommodations available.General Information
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
Machu Picchu Family Adventure Gear List
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary—this will help you and the field staff.
- Wetsuit for rafting
- Valid passport
- Airline tickets
- Birth Certificates (for kids – see "Things to Consider" below)
- Duffel bag or soft-sided suitcase
- Daypack – approx. 1,500 cu. in. for carrying camera, water bottles, extra clothing
- Luggage tags and luggage locks
- Passport pouch or money belt
- Rain jacket, lightweight and breathable
- Rain or wind pants
- Lightweight, waterproof hiking boots, broken in, aggressive tread
- Comfortable shoes for travel and evening wear
- Water shoes for rafting
- Bring a few lightweight, easily washable items for travel and evening wearwear
- Midweight fleece or wool sweater
- Lightweight thermal underwear top and bottom, synthetic or wool
- Hiking pants
- Hiking shorts
- Long-sleeve shirts
- Hiking socks
- Liner socks
- Casual socks
- Sun hat
- Wool or fleece hat
- One 1-quart water bottles or hydration system
- Small towel for drying off after rafting
- Watch with alarm or travel clock
- Sunglasses and retainer strap
- Sun block and lip balm
- Toiletry kit
- Baby wipes
- Hand sanitizer gel
- Hand sanitizer gel
- Small first-aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Camera and spare memory card/batteries
- Small dry bag for camera gear while rafting – highly recommended
- Electrical adapter plug
- Spare contact lenses or glasses
- Reading and writing materials
- Ear plugs
- Favorite energy snacks or drinks
- Travel games
- Pocket knife or pocket tool
- Sewing kit
- Knee supports
- Travel pillow
- Hiking staff or trekking poles
Things to Consider
- Please remember to always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, a change of clothing, hiking boots and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.
- The Peru Rail luggage size and weight restrictions listed in our materials are accurate at time of printing. The restrictions can change with little or no notice. At our group orientation in Cusco, the trip leader will advise the group of the most current policy and assist with gear and packing questions.
- Copies of birth certificates – It's become quite common these days for a family to have more than one surname. Perhaps a mother has kept her maiden name or perhaps the children are from different unions. Whatever the reason, you'll want to be able to prove that, yes, these kids are yours. (Even if you are the nuclear family, birth certificates aren't a bad thing to have along if your passports are lost or stolen.)
- Parental permission – If you're traveling with your kids without your spouse, you may need proof that the absent parent has given permission for the child to travel with you. It's simple enough to write up a letter, sign it, have it witnessed and notarized.
- Cotton is wonderful in hot weather or in the evenings. However, once it becomes wet, it will drain your body heat. Bring wool, or polyester fabrics such as Capilene® or MTS®, which will insulate even if they get wet.
- Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
- Make sure boots are broken-in. Bring moleskin for foot treatment. Thin liner socks worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. The liner sock should be synthetic, not cotton. Test your sock combination before you go on the trip.
- Stuff sacks are great for sorting gear. Use different sizes/colors to differentiate contents.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.
Reviewed by 2 customers
Displaying reviews 1-2
- Activity Level
- Exceeded Expectations
- Once in a Lifetime Experience
- Quality Equipment Provided
- Well Organized Itinerary
Comments about REI Adventures Machu Picchu Family Adventure:
Amazing views, incredible guide Earnesto, once in a lifetime experience, loved the food and the hiking.
- Activity Level
- Exceeded Expectations
- Once in a Lifetime Experience
- Well Organized Itinerary
Comments about REI Adventures Machu Picchu Family Adventure:
The scenery was some of the best I've ever scene. The food on the trip was amazing, the guide was incredible. The hotels were very nice with amazing grounds, but they did lack technology (2 didn't have televisions). This was a very minor setback, and I would definately recommend this trip.
- What was the highlight of your trip?:
- All of the hikes were incredible, resulting in a new like of mine.