Posts Tagged ‘Peru’

September 8, 2015

Our 10 Favorite Llamas in Peru

One of the best parts of any family vacation is getting to know the locals and making connections that you could only make through traveling. This holds true no matter where in the world you travel to. One place that we can’t get enough of, and neither can our traveling families, is Peru. Between our Friends Across Borders program, meeting Quechuan weavers, and sharing lunch with a local family in Cuzco, there are plenty of people to people opportunities in Peru. What about the other locals? What about a people to llama experience? These are also just as great. Here are 10 of our favorite llamas we’ve seen during family vacations in Peru.

1. This little llama family getting a snuggle in on Machu Picchu

llama on machu picchu, as seen on a family vacation to peru

2. This solo llama who goes out and grazes on her own

llama grazing for food, as seen on a family vacation to peru

3. This llama who stayed out too late last night

sleeping llama, as seen on a family vacation to peru

4. This philosopher llama sitting in deep thought

llama on a cliff, as seen on a family vacation to peru

5. This llama that loves to take selfies

girl taking a selfie with a llama while on a family vacation to peru

6. This ‘two-toned’  llama

brown and white llama

7. This suspicious llama

a skeptical llama

8. This llama that took over the screen, and probably everything else he does

photobombing llama

9. This tiny baby llama in a tiny purple hat

baby llama wearing a hat, as seen on a family vacation to peru

10. This llama who needs a haircut

llama with long hair

You can make all kinds of friends in Peru, whether it be locals, fellow travelers, or llamas. No matter who you meet, this is one of the best places for your next family vacation! Or you can see all of these reasons not to go to Peru… 

August 18, 2015

20 Reasons Not to Go to Peru

Peru is obviously a terrible place to take a family vacation and we don’t know what good things to say about it, if there are any.

1. There’s nothing beautiful or magical about Machu Picchu

beautiful Machu Picchu - a perfect family vacation destination

2. Really, there isn’t anything worth seeing

Machu Picchu

3. Everything is old, who likes finding ancient Incan ruins anyway?

Incan Ruins

4. Llamas aren’t cool or fun animals at all

Llamas in Peru

5. And why would you ever want to meet one?

up close with llamas on a family vacation to peru

6. The weaving isn’t colorful or artistic

Peruvian art

7. There isn’t anything good to buy in the markets

shopping at the markets while on a Peru family vacation

8. The fruit doesn’t look appetizing either

delicious looking fruit at a market in Peru

9. San Blas seems like a drag and unoriginal

San Blas

10. All of the cities seem pretty bland

Peru City

11. The churches aren’t beautiful by any means

a church in Peru

12. Or unique

Peru churches

13. Nothing exciting, fun, or different ever happens

a performance in Peru

14. No one ever has fun river rafting

a family river rafting while vacationing in Peru

15. Or taking mountain valley train rides

riding the train while on a family vacation in Peru

16. All of the birds are boring

Colorful birds in Peru

17. And who would want to see this?

Peruvian reed boats

18. Or hike here?

hiking in Peru

19. Or sleep next to this terrible view?

a family camping in Peru

20. There is also no way your family has fun

family having fun while on vacation in Peru

Check out these Peru itineraries to see what you won’t be missing out on!

June 19, 2015

Photo Contest Winners Donate Prize Money to Peruvian Community

Chan Family in Peru

In every destination and on every Thomson Family Adventure, we care deeply about the relationships we’ve formed with you, our travelers, as well as the people we interact with around the globe. After all, you’re part of our family — and we want to offer you the many wonders of the world. We also want to “give back” to each culture and country we work with and visit. It makes us very proud when our traveling families share the same philosophy. The Chan family of Wayne, PA, is one of them.

Edward Chan, his wife Shobana Sood, their 12-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son visited Peru last December with us. When they returned, they entered — and won — our photo contest, and with it a $500 prize. Rather than use the money to treat the family to something special, the Chans very generously decided to donate their winnings to a Peruvian community that touched their lives.

On April 4, 2015, the remote Cachicata community in Peru received the Chans’ $500 donation. The small neighborhood is located near the quarry where the Incas extracted and carved the boulders used for the construction of some of their fortresses, such as Ollantaytambo. Although off the beaten path, Cachicata is an easy hike out of Ollantaytambo, and en route during our Peru Family Trek, that winds its way up the mountain and past some half-finished stones. However, in its heyday, Cachicata was abuzz with activity when hundreds (or maybe thousands) of Incan men worked relentlessly to construct their amazing works.

Community leaders in Cachicata haven’t determined the final use of the money, but they have the authority to decide what to do with it. Ideas being considered are maintenance of the trails that give access to the quarry and camping areas or opening trails to homes that are close to the main path to the quarry. That would give visitors better access and the opportunity to see the homes and learn a little more about Peruvian life.

Thomson Family Adventures has donated to Cachicata in the past; contributing money for things such as school books and supplies, pick axes, shovels, and irrigation canal maintenance.

At Thomas Family Adventures, we believe that travel wields incredible power and offers countless opportunities, a myriad of perspectives and lifelong memories. It’s also one of the greatest gifts you can give your family and yourself. Engaging, entertaining and educating families with kids of all ages through travel is something we feel is essential to enhancing our travelers’ experience in a destination.

Every time we — and our traveling families — make a connection with local residents, we not only learn about them, but we learn a little more about ourselves. For our children in particular, it means exposing them to different ideas and ways of life, making them much more aware and respectful of our multi-cultural world.

We thank you, Chan family, for being part of our family and touching the lives of others.

June 16, 2015

Machu Picchu: What You Need to Know

There is a reason that Machu Picchu is on the bucket list for almost all travelers- it’s quite marvelous. The stone architecture of this deserted city is fascinating and after you remember that this entire complex was built before the invention of any machinery, it becomes that much more impressive. Although a well-known site, here are a few things you should know before embarking on your trip to Peru and the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu


Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca site found just outside of Cuzco on the edge of the Sacred Valley. The complex was abandoned around the 15th century and remained hidden until 1911 when an American historian, Hiram Bingham, came upon the ruins and spread the word about what he had just found. There is no definitive answer as to why the city was abandoned or what it was used for in the 15th and 16th centuries. All we know is that the mystery is part of the fun when exploring the ancient grounds!

Be Ready for an Early Start

Waking up early to start your exploration of Machu Picchu is essential to making the most of your time there. Machu Picchu is popular and gets very crowded throughout the day. The earlier you can get there the more you’ll be able to see before the congestion gets too bad. Don’t get set on the idea that you and your family will have the ruins to yourselves, but getting there early does give you more options and less of a crowd!

Sites Not to Miss

There is a lot to see in Machu Picchu and it’s good to go in with a plan because it can be easy to get overwhelmed. A couple of the main sites you won’t want to miss are Huayna Picchu and the Gate of the Sun. These are two of the more popular landmarks that are sure to be full of people. If you want to see incredible sites that see a significantly lower amount of traffic…


How to Get Away from the Crowds

You can hike Machu Picchu Mountain or go to the Temple of the Moon. Machu Picchu Mountain is at the end of the complex opposite Huayna Picchu and sees fewer visitors. This is because the trail is a tougher climb and at 1,640 feet, the peak is twice as high. For those inclined and able, this is an opportunity that should not be missed! The Temple of the Moon on the other hand is tucked away in a set of caves hidden away from the main site. Taking the time to find it will give you a unique Machu Picchu experience that not many people have.

Now you have the basic information to get excited about your next family vacation to Peru where you and your family will make the memories of a lifetime hiking around Machu Picchu!

June 5, 2015

6 Great Family Hikes

There are many great reasons to go hiking. Hikes are great for both physical and mental health, it’s simple to do, it’s low-maintenance, and hiking is also a great activity for kids. Hiking is a good way to get your kids off of the computer and out into nature! The best family bonding happens while everyone is unplugged and hikes are a fun and effective way to do just that. Here are six of our favorite places to hike that are perfect for all types of families.

Irazu National Park

A couple of kids gazing into the Irazu Crater

A couple of kids gazing into the Irazu Crater

A favorite from Costa Rica, the Irazu Volcano is the tallest volcano in the country. There are few trails here and they aren’t very long or arduous- typically a vehicle takes people up most of the way. These trails are very good for young kids and grandparents who may have difficulty with long hikes. The trails all offer great views of the volcano’s crater which holds an acid lake that has changed size and color over time.

Isabela Island

The hiking on Isabela Island in the Galapagos is beautiful and leaves little to the imagination. Many of the animals you’ll see traipsing around the different paths can only be found in the Galapagos making this an extremely unique experience. Whenever on Isabela Island, we always recommend taking a short boat ride out to the smaller island of Las Tintoreras for a hike. Here, your family can hike shark canal and get amazing up close views of resting white tip sharks. You also can’t go wrong with hiking along the beach!

Macchu Picchu

A family poses for a photo in Machu Picchu

A family poses for a photo in Machu Picchu

One of the more famous destinations on our list, Machu Picchu, is popular and famous for a reason. The history and mystery of Machu Picchu leaves all of its hikers in awe. We love this hike for families because the educational aspect is almost unmatched anywhere else in the world. This massive city hidden in the mountains was abandoned for an unknown reason. The mystery of the ruins will make your kids curious and engaged through the whole hike!


This national park in Costa Rica was called “the most biologically intense place on earth” by the National Geographic Society. This gives hikers ample opportunity to see beautiful and rare animals in their natural habitat. The jaguar, tapir, scarlet macaw, and red-eyed tree frog are all locals in these jungles and seeing them in the wild is an education your kids can’t get anywhere else. With a countless number of trails you can find one suited best for your family’s experience level.

Doi Inthanon National Park

Just taking a break by the waterfall!

Just taking a break by the waterfall!

Bringing you out to the Far East, Doi Inthanon is an amazing hike in Northern Thailand. Parts of this hike can be difficult but, as all of our recommended family hikes, there are options available here to adapt the hike to your family’s needs! Doi Inthanon is a great place to hike not only because it is the tallest mountain in Thailand but the paths are accompanied by beautiful forests and waterfalls for you to get the perfect family picture in front of!

Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley is another great place in Peru for a family hiking vacation. We’ve included it on this list because it’s important to note that Machu Picchu isn’t the only good area to hike in Peru! The Sacred Valley is full of lesser traveled routes and beautiful landscapes that are begging to be explored. Your family can have quiet stretches of trail all to yourselves and have great conversations along the way!

Hiking can be the best way to spice up any family vacation and create great memories. With Thomson Family Adventures we make sure that you get just that- great memories at every turn!

January 29, 2014

The Power of Soccer Balls


The soccer balls arrive in Peru!


Soccer is a universal game around the world; we see it everywhere we go.  Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Brazil – soccer is a language that needs no translation. (In Tanzania the kids often use an old balled up sock for a ball, and even barefoot they can score the heck out of the American kids).  So it is no wonder when guests of Thomson Family Adventures traveled to Peru in August they saw a huge need for decent equipment.

On their return to Maryland, Karen Druffel and the Elkridge Youth Organization (EYO Sports)  began a fun project to deliver their generous donations to the village they visited. Due to issues of customs and taxes we knew we couldn’t just send 10 soccer balls in one batch – and so we parcelled them out to our future travelers to take them in suitcases  to our local colleagues in Peru, who then took them to the kids. Thank you to everyone for your part in this glorious gift of generosity.

See their joy!




January 21, 2011

Quinoa and Peru

No matter how many times you see it, this is amazing

Machu Picchu. Yes, it is amazing

KEEN-WAH. Yes, that’s how you pronounce QUINOA and if you are not yet familiar with this super food, let us tell you about it. Quinoa is gluten free and wheat free, and is very high in protein – and a complete protein at that. It’s a hardy grain-like plant with tasty nutritious seeds that are easily cooked like rice or couscous. Here is one of my favorite quinoa recipes .

OK, how does this relate to family adventure you might ask? Well quinoa, along with corn and potatoes, was a staple food of the Incas (who considered quinoa to be sacred) and is still a staple in Peru. And Peru happens to be one of my favorite places on this earth.

2011 is a big year for Peru, as it marks the centenary of Hiram Bingham’s ‘discovery’ of Machu Picchu. Admittedly many knew of its existence before him – but he was the one who brought this to the world. On July 24, 1911 he climbed up from his camp at Mandorpampa to discover for himself these magnificent ruins that he was really not so interested in until he saw them – and became inspired. He writes: “In the variety of its charms the power of its spell, I know of no place in the world which can compare with it.”

This will be true of most people arriving at Machu Picchu for the first time (or maybe even the second and third!) You know about it, you’ve seen photos – but you can’t quite imagine the reality of it. It is simply breathtaking.

I was lucky enough to see these ruins (can we really call them “ruins”????) up close and front on, but also from a unique back-view on an awesome trek. No, not the “Inca Trail Trek” as you know it (crowded! Littered! Hard to get permits!) – but something really special. Let me know if you want to know more about this.

So come this summer, at the 100th anniversary of Hiram Bingham’s discovery. Summer 2011 is a great time to reflect on the explorers of the olden days, while doing some exploring of your own.

Oh, by the way… you’ll find quinoa in Ecuador too, another amazing spot to visit….

January 28, 2010

Heading to Peru soon? Here is what we are thinking…

I am writing to you to provide you an update on a weather situation in
Peru that is currently impacting the Cuzco and Machu Picchu areas.
Earlier this week the region had three days of non-stop heavy rain. It
is normal to get rains in the January and February period but these
rains were beyond what they’ve seen in 15 years. The flooding from
these rains has caused damage to the infrastructure in the area and
mudslides on the train tracks to Machu Picchu. The trains connect Cuzco
to Machu Picchu so the rains have stranded many tourists in Aguas
Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu. As of this morning many
of these tourists have been taken out of Aguas Calientes by helicopter
but there are a lot more to evacuate.

As of now our expectation is that by March/April the conditions in the
region will have improved and we will be able to run your adventure.
Once the rains subside there will be evaluations of the damage, work
begun to fix what needs to be fixed and alternative routes developed
where necessary. Peru is accustomed to dealing with heavy rains and
flooding and we expect that they will be able to this year as well.
Since our first priority is your safety we are monitoring the situation
daily with reports from Cuzco. If in the next month the damage is
such that your trip can’t be run safely then we will take the necessary

Please feel free to call us if you have questions.


Jim Kackley
General Manager
Thomson Family Adventures