In my last post I told you I just got back from an Adventures by Disney guided trip to Peru. In the next week I will describe the experience so you can get a feel of taking a family-oriented tour, and learn about family-friendly things to do in an exotic land.
The first day we arrived at our hotel in Lima, Peru a little past midnight – rather late, and painful because our flight the next morning to Cuzco, Peru required us to be up at 6:30 AM.
Arriving in Lima, Peru after midnight
Even though the Disney Adventure Guides are lively even at midnight, (note photo LOL,) ***my HUGE recommendation to you is to arrive a day early before moving around again. Give yourself and your kids a chance to adjust to the time change. Trust me on this – it sets the tone for the first few days of the trip. It is worth any extra money so you are fresh and alert for the first activities. We were all zombies.
I had never jumped at the idea of an organized tour…but before our flight from Lima to Cuzco the next morning, we gave our baggage to the Disney Adventure guides, and didn’t see it again until we arrived at our next hotel later that evening.
No schlepping – nada. Disney checked all of our luggage through security. Plus one in “Organized Tour” column.
After the hour long flight, we were off to the Andean village of Chinchero, in the mountains of Cuzco, Peru. At 12,500 above sea level, some travelers in our group felt the altitude effects right away. The kids fared very well – we made sure they drank plenty of water. TIP: See your doctor before you visit high elevations like Cuzco or Machu Picchu. I took some altitude meds and felt Uh-Mazing the entire trip.
Center for Traditional Textiles of Cuzco, Peru
At the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cuzco in Chinchero, the ancient custom of weaving is on full display.
We saw demonstrations on how to weave some of the traditional blankets one would associate with the Latin American country.
We saw the alpaca wool being made into yarn… and the whole loom process, still done by hand.
It can take months to make something like the blanket above.
This stop is one of many cultural experience that Adventures by Disney tries to “weave” into it’s trips. The benefit of this kind of family-friendly tour is that the guides try to keep it entertaining for the kids… thus, the parade of Peruvian clothes on everyone. The whole experience was an interesting contrast to the fast-paced, commercially mass-produced life in the United States.
We had a nice catered lunch there under a canopy, another plus for the tour to not have to think about where to eat. We then saw our first torrential downpour – and hail! (Which is what my six year old won’t forget) The Disney guides have ponchos for guests – they are prepared for all conditions.
From there, we were ready to crash after the exhausting travel…but made a trek through the beautiful country side of Peru to our hotel in the Sacred Valley.
The scenery is peaceful… Agriculture is big there… We passed many farms, and many poor houses made simply of adobe and grass roofs. The local guides told us most houses are made of adobe because it can cost only $1000 to build.
Sol Y Luna Hotel, Sacred Valley, Peru
The beautiful Hotel Sol Y Luna, surround by the Andean mountains, was our home for the next four nights.
It is not short on charm, but in a third world country, you can’t always have every amenity when you need it – like internet service. If you take a trip like this, I wouldn’t plan on having much time to be on your computer, but also don’t count on a connection 100% of the time in a remote location like this. I only know because I had to get out one document for business.
That night – we ate dinner in the hotel, which has lively and colorful Peruvian decor.
Dining Room at Sol Y Luna Hotel, Peru
The meal preparation was fascinating – an unorthodox BBQ by our standards, but common cuisine in Peru…
The chefs dug a deep hole in the ground, put all the meat in, then covered with burning hot coals. The coals are then covered with blankets to keep the steam in, and waa-laa! The meat is cooked with a flavorful smoked taste. As entertaining as it was delicious.
After dinner, we watched an authentic Peruvian show, which felt like a performance we would see at Epcot, coincidentally. Credit to Disney to incorporate the local culture. There is never a dull moment on a this tour, but once in a while you may need some down time. The kids were so tired, we wanted to get them back to their rooms to bed. Once again, arriving a day earlier could help you and your kids adjust and not be so tired.
The Sol Y Luna casitas were cozy, and the next morning we were ready for a thrilling river raft down the magical Sacred Valley. Check back in tomorrow….