PERU TRAVEL PLANNER
Traveling with children
South Americans hold the family unit in high regard and
children are central to this, but outlined below are some pointers to help
prepare for a family visit to Peru.
Consult your doctor before leaving home regarding health issues . Sunscreen is
an important consideration, as are sun-hats (cheap and readily available in
Peru) and even a parasol for the really small. Conversely, it can get cold at
night in the Andes, so take plenty of warm clothing. In the mountains, the
altitude doesn't seem to cause children as many problems as it does their
elders, but they shouldn't walk too hard above 2000m without full
acclimatization. In Lima, where the water is just about good enough to clean
your teeth but not to drink, the issues for local children are mainly bronchial
or asthmatic, with humid weather and high pollution levels causing many
long-lasting chest ailments. This shouldn't be a problem for any visiting
children unless they already have difficulties. The major risk around the
regions is a bad stomach and diarrhoea from water or food. There are ways to
avoid and treat this; the only difference where children are concerned,
particularly those under ten, is that you should be more ready to act sooner,
particularly with rehydration salts. In the jungle, the same precautions for
adults apply to children.
The food and drink in Peru is varied enough to appeal to most kids. Pizzas are
available almost everywhere, as are good fish, red meats, fried chicken, french
fries, corn-on-the-cob and nutritious soups, and vitamin supplements are always
a good idea. There's also a wide range of soft drinks , from the ubiquitous Coca
Cola and Sprite to Inka Cola. Some recognizable commercial baby food (and nappy
brands) are available in all large supermarkets. Restaurants in Peru cater well
to children and some offer smaller, cheaper portions; if they don't publicize
it, it's worth asking.
Like restaurants, hotels are used to handling kids. They will sometimes offer
discounts, especially if children share rooms or beds. The lower to mid-range
options are the most flexible in this regard, but even the expensive ones can be
helpful. Many, hostals included, have collective rooms, large enough for
families to share, at reasonable rates.
Prices can often be cheaper for children. Tours to attractions can occasionally
be negotiated on a family rate basis and entry to sites is often half price or
less (and always free for infants). Children under ten generally get half fare
on local (but not inter-regional) buses, while trains and boats generally charge
full fare if a seat is required. Infants who don't need a seat often travel free
on all transport except planes, when you pay around ten percent of the fare.
Travelling around the country is perhaps the most difficult activity. Bus and
train journeys are generally long (12 hours or more). Crossing international
borders is a potential hassle; although Peru officially accepts children under
sixteen on their parents' passports , it is a good idea for them to have their
own to minimize problems.