Travel

Top things to do in lima with kids

Lima: The legends Park – Zoo

Peru with kids Lima zoo
Kids ready to explore the Legend Park a local favorite zoo

This is the oldest zoo in Lima.  The legends park is an extended park where you can appreciate not only the zoo, also a botanical garden, archeological sites, butterfly rides, playground amusement, restaurants and more. For these reasons is a local favorite spot.

The park is located in the Av. Parque de las Leyendas 580, San Miguel Lima. The unique thing about this zoo is that you can find many birds and animals from South America and Central America.  The entrance costs $2.3 per kids and $4 per adults and It is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Lima with kids
There is a Huaca (pre-Inca building) archeological area inside The Legends Park
Lima with kids in the legends park
More views of the Huaca

One of the highlights of this zoo is that houses lots of animals from Peru. The zoo is divided into geographical regions Cost, Jungle and Andes showing typical animals from those areas and the world.

Remember, It is always better to arrive when they open (9 am) if you want to avoid the crowds, especially on weekends and holidays. You can see llamas, jaguar, cougar, Amazonian monkeys, elephants, zebras, lion, tiger. You can easily spend a half day here looking at the animals and visiting all the areas.

This park is very big and open, so during summer time, it can get very hot. So, you can buy an umbrella at the kiosks by the entrance or wear protection (hat, sunblock). If you have little kids bring a stroller if you can.

 

Peru with kids
Amzonian birds
Peru with kids watching the monkeys
Trying to find the mokeys
A close view of monkeys
Visiting Peru with kids zoo
The fences made hard to see the african penguins
Lima with kids
kids admired the penguins anyway
Lake
We took the zoo ride and saved time. The zoo is bigger than you think. These are the beautiful dolphins made out of grass in this artificial lake. You can rent paddle boats here.
Entrance to the botanical garden
Paddington Bear Lima Peru
The Peruvian bear
Peru paddington bear
We spend lots of time looking at this beauty
He was very friendly
Peru visiting with kids
Kids really appreciate these open spaces
Peru in family
A great Maze

Peru for family

As you explore the park you will notice there is one court food area but many kiosks. On the court food, you can find the famous Peruvian roasted chicken, yummy but not many vegetarians options. There is plenty of candy and snacks on the kiosks.

I hope this will be helpful on your trip!

Lima with kids: walk in Barranco and Bridge of sight

Barranco Lima Peru

Barranco is a little district, well known for its bohemian history. It was home of inspiration of very well know Peruvian musicians, artists, designers, and photographer. The bridge of sight or Puente de Los Suspiros is one its main attraction for local and foreigners. It is a that inspire compositor  Chabuca Grande and photographer Mario Testino. 

I love to show this area to my family we had a great afternoon walking by the Bridge of Sight, looking at the Colonial architecture and admiring the street art, and of course, enjoying the Ocean View and even playing soccer at the little main square.

Bridge of Sight or Puente de Los Suspiros

This district used to be the area of Beach Resort for aristocracy locals. Currently, is very popular among the locals that love to walk to the sea that runs through Barranco.

This is a beautiful Colonial bridge with a bohemian style and it was inaugurated 1876. According to the tradition when you cross the Bridge you are supposed to hold your breath and make a wish. Under the bridge, you can find a path that leads you to a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean where usually street artists sell jewelry and play music.

 

Peru with kids Barranco Lime Bridge of sights
Beautiful view of Bridge of Sights

Lima Barranco Bridge of sightAnother side of Bridge of Sight

Family fun in BarrancoLa Bajada del Puente de Los Suspiros

Lima fun with kids
Kids really enjoyed exploring and touching
Family fun Barranco Lima
Climbing the Chalan statue

Pacific Ocean

In Barranco, you can find art galleries, Contemporary Museums, boutique hotels, Coffe shops, and bars. Its little main square is a good place for kids to run around. After crossing the Bridge of Sight you go to la bajada. My kids really enjoyed walking down the path the leads us to the Pacific Ocean view. Here is the Gallery:

Ocean Path in Lima BarrancoThe way to the Ocean Path

Fun with family in Barranco

Colonial Art and Modern Art

This District is known for its romantic and bohemian feeling with his Colonial Mansions from the 19th Century. It is a mix of modern and Art and Colonial Art. Although is the home of modern art Galleries just walking on its street let you see the work of many modern street artists and their designs. In recent years the graphitic art has increased so much and making Barranco a colorful place.

In Barranco, you can find amazing art street, as well as contemporary art galleries or art gallery as Museum Pedro de Osma.  Colonial style is found also on its streets and if you go to the Museo of Ofma, you will appreciate a great Colonial Art collection.

Peruvian Food

This district is popular among locals for its many bars, restaurants, and clubs. At night it can get very crowded with people looking for parties. During the day is easy to find inexpensive restaurants and expensive ones depending on your budget. Don’t miss to enjoy the traditional “anticuchos” and other Peruvian food.

 

 

 

Lima Peru – Plaza de Armas

Lima Peru – Plaza de Armas is the home of the Government Palace, Lima Catedral, and other important Government buildings. It is one of the most beautiful Plaza de Armas build by Spain in Latin America.

Its beautiful well maintains garden and streets make Lima such vibrant and historical City.  And it is a safe place for adults and kids. Lima Center has changed from being one of the most dangerous places in Lima 30 years ago, to be one of the safest.

Lima Peru Government Palace

Plaza de Armas

History

Build in 1535 in a baroque style with Carve wooden balconies. The Plaza de Armas was created following the Procedures of the New Cities in the world back in 1535 when the Spains arrived on Peru.

With the new Procedure of New cities after outlining a city’s plan, the growth followed a grid centered on the square shape of the plaza. For this reason, the Plaza de Armas is surrounded by Jiron Junin, Jiron de la Union,  Jiron Huallaga, and the Jiron Carabaya Avenues.

Lima Peru Plaza de armas. Traveling with kids
Wooden Carved balconies

What To See in Plaza de Armas:

Government Palace

The Government Palace is where the Peruvian President lives. It has been rebuilt several times, and the French-inspired Palace was built in 1930.

The Government Palace and Lima Cathedral are located here. If you have time to visit, try to get to the Government Palace around noon to see the changing of the palace guard. You don’t need tickets for this just be on time to be on the front line!

Lima Peru Government Palace. Traveling with kids

Fun places to go with kids. Lima Peru View of Palace
Lima Peru with kids. View of Palace
Lima Peru with kids beautiful view of Government Palace door
Close view of Government Palace. Peru with kids
Fun with family. Lima Peru with kids. Government Palace
You can admire the French Style of Peruvian Government Palace with your family

Lima Peru Cathedral

While Lima Cathedral was built originally in 1600. The Cathedral houses a great collection of art and while the Government Palace access is restricted, the Catedral is open to the public for an admission of $2. Remember if you want to get in they restrict access to people wearing shorts and sandals.

 

Peru with kids, plaza de Armas Lima Cathedral
View of front of the cathedral

Peru with kids: Lima Peru Government Palace

One of the fun things to do in Peru with kids visit Lima Cathedral
My son admiring the Cathedral French doors. It is fascinating by it
Visiting Lima with family. Inside Cathedral
More amazing of the outside is inside the Lima Cathedral. A gorgeous piece of art that you and your family will appreciate.

Choco Museum or Chocolate Museum

On the North side, you find the park of the flag and the “Oidor House” converted to a  Pisco bar and the Choco Museo or Museum of chocolate. In this museum, you can get to make Cholotaes and get free testing of them as well. Kids really appreciate fun things to do. They don’t only get to learn how to make chocolate they test it!

Exploring Lima with kids. Fountains by the Odor House
The Oidor House

Lima with kids. CathedralLima with kids. Chocolate Museum

Lima with kids. Fun activities: Chocolate museum

San Francisco Chruch and Monastery

This Monastery and Church is located on the North Side of the Plaza de Armas. A block from Government Palace and is the house of the Lima Catacombs. You can access to direct guide tour every hour. Check details of this impressive place here.

Honestly, my kids were not ready to visit the Catacombs but we did it. They did enjoy feeding the bird by the front door I think is upon personalities, some kids are fearless!

Lima with kids. San Francisco Church
Located on the right side behind Government Palace
One fun thing to do with kids is show architectural art in Lima Peru: San Francisco Church
I love to show my kids this architectual beauty

 

Lima with kids. San Francisco Monastery
You can get a ride around Plaza de Armas in a carriage in Lima Peru
Places for kids. Lima Peru San Francisco Monastery
Kids really enjoyed feeding the bird
Lima with kids indoor view of San Francisco Monastery
A beautiful and peaceful view of the indoor of the Monastery

 

 

 

This is an amazing place for kids. Catacombs Peru
View of one of many catacombs inside the Monastery

Municipal Palace (City Hall)

Another building located on Main Square is the Municipal Palace (City Hall). While in the South part, you find the magazine Caretas headquarters. Also, Pasaje Olaya where you can stop in one of its many restaurants to enjoy some Peruvian cuisine.

Travel with kids. View of plaza de Armas Lima

Lima with kids. View of beautiful fountain

View of balconies and Plaza de Areas Lima

 

Jiron de la Union

Starting on the south part of Plaza de Armas is Jiron de la Union. Favorite things to do by locals since it has a  public Pathwalk that goes many blocks and ends in  Plaza San Martin.  It has some of the most important post-colonial architecture. It was some of Lima most elegant shopping centers on the lattes 19th century and the beginning of 20th.   At the end of  Plaza San Martin, you can find the Hotel Bolivar, where the famous Peruvian Drink – Pisco Sour was created.

Lima Peru Jiron de la Union one of favorite locals spot

Casa Aliaga is a beautiful building along Iron de la Union
Beautiful building along Jiron de la Union

Fun places for kids in Lima Peru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hotel Bolivar

At the end of Jiron de la Union and by La Plaza San Martin is the Hotel Bolivar. This stunning hotel is where the famous Peruvian drink was created. You have to try it here!

Visit Lima with Kids and explore Gran Hotel Bolivar

Hotel Bolivar entrance
Hotel Bolivar entrance and hall

I hope this information is useful and you enjoy your travel experience!

Putucusi the hidden hike in Machu Picchu

I was lucky to have hiked to Putucusi the hidden hike in Machu Picchu. Putucusi is not a super well know hike although is located across from Machu Picchu. It is a hike that not many people do because everyone focuses on the hike to Mach Picchu. However, if you have a few hours to spend, it totally worth it. Once on the pick, you can get an amazing view of Machu Picchu. However, getting it is not easy.

Unfortunately, after a massive flood has kept it close and still need to be repaired. Honestly, I didn’t have expectations when I hike it for the first and only time, because I never hear of it before. It was tough for my fear of heights but totally worth it.

I remember we hiked it on a rainy day without researching about it or asking locals how difficult it was. I honestly thought it is dangerous people won’t go and it will be close,  I was wrong!

The entrance of Putucusi on 2005
First view after stairs

Honestly, who hike this stair on the rain. right? On my defense, it wasn’t raining when we start the hike. we were lucky to have brought ponchos that help us once we were there.

Crazy stair. Seems like a bad idea
No many people agree
the view right away
Getting higher
Right after crazy stair we head to this little path. Where we saw a lady carrying her baby on the back wearing flip flops
Just need to cross this bridge
And climb these stairs

When we started the hike it wasn’t the stiff until this latter came. I really didn’t want to climb but my then boyfriend and his brother put some pressure on me. How can as local couldn’t climb. So, I did it.

Once on the top, the ground started getting flag again, and then stiff and I told the guys. We shouldn’t keep hiking since we didn’t know the way and have no plan or a guide of the area, we could get lost.  Suddenly a lady shows up carrying her baby on her back show up. She was wearing just flip flops and was coming down the path. I didn’t have another option than keep walking following the signs and praying we will find the promised view.

view once on the top
The view kept getting better
One more turn!
It was a crazy hike!

This view absolutely worth the insane hike. Here some pictures!

Then this. Yes, we could see Machu Picchu!

 

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We came back after 11 years with our kids and it was close. This is how gar we could go.

 

Peru for kids: How to Do Nazca Lines with family

Nazca

Seeing the Nazca Lines from the air with kids is no joke. If you are afraid of taking your kids in a little airplane to fly around thousand-year-old geoglyphs, this is not for you. Despite the anxiety that I have of flying in little airplanes, I did it with my family, and I have no regrets. My kids couldn’t believe what they were seeing!  It was really a blast seeing the wonder on their little faces – and the best part is they didn’t puke!  Here is how we did it and how much it cost.

WHAT ARE NAZCA LINES

Nazca is one of Peru’s many treasures. It is a small town, the home of an amazing thousand-year-old civilization, very well known for the giant lines drawn on the sand. They were created approximately between 500 BCE and 500 CE.

These geoglyphs expand in an area of around 75,358.47 ha. Every Individual figurative geoglyph designs measure between 0.4 and 1.1 km that means about.2 and .7 mile across! It is amazing just to think about it.

The whole length of all the lines is over 1,300 km that means 808 miles. Some people think they can see them by land. There are few spotting sights on a road, but I’m telling you don’t set your expectations high if you do. You can’t see the whole enchilada, believe me, I tried once!

Peru with family: Nazca Lines
Nazca dessert. This one of the picture we took from the air

HOW WE GOT TO NAZCA

We went to Nazca by bus and it took us 6 and a half hours to get there from Lima. There are many bus lines you can take, but we chose Cruz del Sur. We chose their Cruise Suite Service that cost $40 per person. Seats were comfortable which is important for traveling with kids. It includes food, however, the food wasn’t the best.

You will think seven hours is a way to long ride for two littles. My kids are used to long rides. But in Peru, the buses come with a bonus of electronic board entertainment. They look forward to it.

STAY IN NAZCA

Nazca is a little town and there is not much exciting to see but we wanted to grab the first flight the next day so we stayed there for a day.

We chose the Hotel  Casa Hacienda Oasis. It cost around $100 per night, of course, you can find cheaper places. We stayed here because the pool and hotel were pretty. Although you probably won’t spend much time on there, to be honest. The restaurant was pricey, and the pool was full of bugs during the night. No swimming at night.

After our flight, we used the pool. It’s early summer in January so the weather was perfect for us. It was a perfect day.

FLYING THE NAZCA LINES: THE FLIGHT

We got our tickets to fly through Nazca Flights from its good reviews on Trip Advisor.  The cost was of $102 per person with an additional $10 per person airport tax.

Travel with kids: Nazca Lines
Ticket to fly Nazca

They picked us up from our hotel around 7:30 am and took us to the airport. At the airport, we got weighed and our documentation was checked (everyone had to have a passport or DNI, the Peruvian ID card).  After all that was done, we waited 20 minutes to pass through a simple security check. Then waited about 10 minutes for our airplane.

We were greeted by a friendly co-pilot that gave us the safety information. The kids couldn’t have been more excited to ride the small airplane. We took some pictures, and the co-pilot was nice to take pictures of us and provided us with maps and an explanation of what we will see and when we will see them. The little map with the route of what we will see was very helpful when in the air.  They sat us according to our weight to balance the plane, and everyone had a window seat.

Family fun: Nazca Lines with kids
All of us, ready to go

Peru with kids: Flying Nazca Lines with kids

The tribulation, using a map, explained to the kids and us what we were about to see. The order of the lines

Nazca Lines
Here is the map!

Once in the air we were able to see for the first time the whale draw on the sand. I had flew the Nazca lines before, but is the first time I saw the whale. Finally! and  pretty amazing. Check the pictures of the fly:

DURING THE FLIGHT

The astronaut geoglyph was one of the most impressive. This figure is located on a mountain it was hard to spot. Although we flew in circles several times, my husband and 7 years old kid couldn’t see it. It was right there! I took pictures for them.

After a while, by the time we spotted most of the lines,  my 7-year-old was feeling the altitude of the flight. He started resting his head and keeping it straight to stop the dizziness.  It was great that the crew kept an eye on everyone constantly, so that was helpful. Luckily he didn’t puke and we were able to land without any incident, but in case your kid does there are bags for it 😉

How did the Nazca people create these amazing geoglyphs? I still have no clue. There are many theories out there of how and why, but the only thing I know is that they are spectacular!  After landing, we hydrated getting some food from the little store on the mini airport and got some souvenirs at a good price ( t-shirt for $4 and little 3-key chains for $1, an example). Then, we were able to use the pool at the hotel and the weather was perfect at 10 AM when we returned. Next our next stop Dunas of la Huacachina!

Trip ItemCost
AdultsKidsecond Adult
Bus Lima to Nasca on Cruise Suite Service *$40$40
Hotel one night for a family of 4 **$100
Nasca Flight$102$102
Airport tax$10$10
total cost  per family of 4$708
* you could get other services for $20 but they do stops and seats are different
** but this for one of the more expensive end this included taxi from bus station to the hotel

Finally, I hope you find this information helpful when planning your trip!

 

 

Universal Packing Checklist for International Travel

For years when I traveled, I got overwhelmed with the task of packing. But finally I learned how to make it easy – the hard way.  After numerous experiences packing for travel abroad, I mastered the art and nowadays, packing for a long trip comes naturally and easy to me. So today, I’m sharing with  you my universal  packing checklist for International travel.
Now, let’s get this packing thing done right! You don’t want to learn the hard way, as I did. Here is my shortlist to get the suitcase for your needs, pack light and have fun.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

What I learned after years of packing is to follow a basic rule: do not overpack!  Bring only what you really need – after all, if you leave something critical behind, you’ve just found a great excuse for a shopping trip!  You don’t want to pay extra money at check-in for overweight suitcases; make sure you know what the weight limits are and weigh your luggage before you leave for the airport. If you’re only bringing a backpack you don’t want to hurt your back, so be careful there. Believe me, I know what it’s like to hurt your back from carrying too much on it, and it’s no fun!

I have found there is an easy way to avoid overpacking:  make a packing list!  We all tend to  wait until the last minute to pack.  Life is busy, right?  If you’re like me you’ll probably wait until the last minute  to actually pack, but I can often find the time to write up a list plenty of time ahead.  It doesn’t take long!.   Just grab your phone and write it down in the Notes app or wherever you prefer and create your own master packing list – or just copy and paste this.

MAKE SURE YOU DON’T FORGET THE ESSENTIALS

First things first. You need to make it simple, especially if you go abroad. Also, you don’t want to find out you left valuable items at home after landing thousands of miles away. Sometimes what you bring or forget can make or break a trip!  While shopping is great fun, let’s be real:  you don’t want to spend time and money on some mundane items like socks and underwear you already have a home.

Passport

Although this is pretty obvious, you should check to make sure that your passport is current, right after you get your ticket. When it comes to international travel, make sure you check and double check that you have your passport on had and ready to go. So go ahead and double and triple check the expiration date of the passport of every family member or whoever you are travel with. Be aware that most countries will require that your passport be valid for at least six months after your arrival date!  If you need to get a new passport, it can take six weeks unless you want to pay huge “rush” fees.

Credit Card for foreign transactIon

Don’t forget to tell your bank that you are traveling overseas, and consider getting a credit card for foreign transactions. Getting your credit card blocked because your bank is trying to save you from fraud is no fun when you’re far from home!  Also, stay updated on the exchange rate for U.S. dollars where you’re going, as well as how much your bank charges for foreign transactions.

Money belt travel

Courtesy of Amazon

Depending on where you go, a money belt may be an essential, or not. It’s still important to keep your valuables close and safe when you far from home, regardless of where you travel to. The money belt is a time tested way to hide your cash, cards and important documents. This is especially the case when you’re traveling through airports. Do not hesitate to use it if you want to be one step ahead of pickpockets and other opportunists.

 

 

And you should know that today’s money belt isn’t like grandpa’s!  They are super cute looking, comfortable and convenient. The best recommendation from amazon costs less than $20. It has enough space to carry your passport and even six credit cards.

Standbaxh has made one that can be use for running as well, made from Lycra material. It’s comfortable to wear, whether you are running or traveling around. You can wear them under your clothes and go unnoticed, without worry. Remember: out of sight brings peace of mind.

Medication

Among  the basics you need to bring are your medications, or anything you need that you will be afraid of buying in a foreign country.  I usually bring basic medication for kids like for cold and sinus remedies.

Essential oils

Essential oils have been around a while but today they are becoming more popular. I really became a believer in them after our last trip to Machu Picchu. My husband’s cousin who came with us used them a lot and she did great with the altitude and walking for hours with a bad knee.  I will write about her essential oil regimen and the brand she uses: St John Wort Oil   .

Filtered pured water BOTTLE:

I usually don’t bring water bottles but this is a must have for a water filtration system. You can safely drink water from any contaminated water source world-wide. Drinkable water can be accessible with  technological breakthrough in filtration design thanks to Puritii.

This is non-toxic, chemical free (no BPA or phthalates) and available in in portable sweat-less stainless steel or durable plastic ($139), with new technology that not only keeps you hydrated on the go, but gives you peace of mind, too. You’ll want to make sure you snag enough filters to get you through your travels.

When you’re traveling with kids, it’s very important to make sure they get clean water to drink because nothing ruins a trip faster than a bad case of diarrhea – or worse!

BASIC GADGETS

Besides your tablet and/or laptop, mobile phone, and headphone, here is the list of gadgets you may need to bring along as well:

Portable Battery CHARGER

Don’t forget your batteries and bring those that take up less space. A great battery that doesn’t take  much space and you can re-chargeable is Jackery Bolt , and another good choice is the Amazon nailed basic. 

Adaptor

When you need to bring your devices abroad this days, it’s important to bring an adaptor where you plug in all your devices. So you don’t need several pieces. You can find a variety of them, but this is great recommendation by amazon for superb value.

 

WIFI hotspot

courtesy of Amazon

WIFI Spot  has become a new must have specially for those who travel, but still need to get business done while away from home. If you need to stay connected and you can’t miss any e-mail.  You simply make a one-time purchase of the device and you won’t get stuck with slow Airport WIFI service.

This device just works and  you get it fast. You link it to your G3 to a GlobalMe account, deposit money and use it to buy a data package valid for the country you’re traveling to. Then you just boot up the device. It finds and connects to a local cell network and creates a password-protected WiFi hot spot you can log into with your phone, tablet, laptop, etc. You’re good to go. You can find it in Amazon for $165

TABLET/ ipad/device for kids

This days you don’t always need to bring devices many airplanes have them on every passenger seat but if that or your phone is not enough for your kid. You should  bring wherever devices he plays with including a great case. However, if you kid is happy with one thick “Harry Potter book” yes bring it! He can pass it on check in carrying it.

Luggage Scale

This  is such a important accessory and if you use it you can end up saving maybe hundreds of dollars. Sometimes you can come back from a country with so many gifts that your luggage weights much more on the outbound flight than when you arrived.

 

THE BASIC TRAVEL LIST

FOR PARENTS
Clothing
  • Usually for 2 weeks of traveling I bring  4 or 5 tops that go according to the season of the place I’m going.  I add 1 top per a week of the trip but I have never needed more than 6. The less you bring the more space you have in luggage to bring gifts for the folks back home.
  • I like to bring 2 shorts and 2 pants in summer and when staying more than 2 weeks. In other seasons I bring  3 pants.
  • 1 black dress or a dress that you can dress up and down.
  • A suit or semi-formal outfit for man
  • One pair of undergarments per day as well as socks
  • A set of exercising clothes.
  • Two sets of pajamas
  • One jacket for cold nights according to season winter or summer.
  • A rain jacket is always a good idea for places that rain
  • A pair of tennis shoes
  • A pair of sandals you will need for beach or bathroom (sometimes if better to be safe and they don’t take much space)
  • A set of comfortable travel shoes that you could dress up and down with style. My favorites are Ferrel and Naturalizer.
  • A swimming suit.  Reversible swimming suits can help you feel that you brought two.
  •  If heading to the snow, bring powder pants and jacket as well as snow boots and googles. You need to evaluate if renting is more convenient than bring them and taking up space and maybe paying for the extra weight.
ACCESORIES
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat for summer or winter
  • Set of jewelry
  • Handbag
  • Gloves for winter
  • Headphones
  • Neck pillow
TOILETRIES
  • Toothbrush
  • Deodorant (my favorite brand is Schmidts)
  • Shampoo and conditioner is a must. I have to bring mine because my hair is used to my products so I bring travel sized containers of it. You can bring a  T.S.A. size-approved toiletries on your carry on or just put them on your suitcase. I always put them in a suitcase inside a ziploc’d bag so air pressure doesn’t make them spilled all over the place. It has happened too many times already!
  • Make up in a small traveling bag
CARRIERS

If you are a parent traveling with littles don’t forget your Ergo, I used to travel with my kids and carry them on my Ergo or in the Moby wrap. Latter we fall in love with the Kelty Carrier when they get heavier is a must have for hikes, but we never brought such a big carrier overseas. You can hike with kids to Hawaii or Machu Picchu and make it easy breezy with the right carrier. If you are nursing a nursing blanket is need it. There are great on the market.

 

FOR KIDS
CLOTHING
  • Hat for sun or winter hats
  • 4 to 5 tops or 3 pants, or
  • 2 dresses and 2 pants
  • 7 sets of underwear
  • Training shoes
  • Rainy coat
  • A set of semi formal clothes
  • Backpack, our favorite is North Face they know how to build them.
ACCESORIES
  • Sunglasses if your kids can keep them mine hate them. They get always lost
  • Hat for summer or winter
  • Gloves for winter
  • Headphones.  Kids love to use the airplane devices and you don’t want to pay for headphones( some airlines charge for them)
  • Neck pillow
TOILETRIES
  • Toothbrush,
  • Shampoo and conditioner is sometimes hard to find them on different countries Im use to one line T.S.A. size-approved toiletries. I put them in an extra bag in case the air pressure make them explode on air. You never know and you don’t want surprises.

Make planning for your trip easier with these packing lists, Now I’m ready to pack!

Good luck and Happy travels!

Back in the Redwoods – My first hike after breaking my ankle

Last week I was back in the redwoods, on my first hike after breaking my ankle in the summer of 2018. However, I didn’t realize how much I missed the forest until I was there. Nisene Marks Park, is a great place to visit and explore for hikes and I will explain to you why.

During the summer I broke my ankle I didn’t want to go into many details and make it  a big negative thing. Although there are many things I learned from the experience, I wanted  to focus on recovering and being positive. You can easily fall into depression if you just focus on the negative part of injury. Being dependent sucks.

Talk about a Surf Break

I broke my ankle learning to surf.  To make a long story short, after two hour of catching waves on the cold Monterey water and numb feet, I rolled my ankle on the sand. Although for the two hours before that I was having the time of my life. I couldn’t believe it was broken and it took a while to swallow the bad news and get used to my new temporary living arrangement.

Anyway, after 6 months (ten weeks in a cast, four in a boot and four in an ankle brace  and lots of physical rehabilitation) I finally feel strong enough to hike again. My hike started after a rainy day and I promised myself I wouldn’t go near the water, but I couldn’t help it.

Nisene Marks State Park

If you ever come to Santa Cruz, go explore the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, you can see the redwoods without going too far into the mountains. The park charges $10 per car for parking. If you want privacy and a beautiful jog or hike, this is your place. Many people go on bikes although the trails are closed to bikes (they can go on the main fire road though). You can still drive for portion of it, which is nice for people who can’t go on their own to far. I’m know how it is when you are mobility challenged. The trails are easy to follow and while trees are not as tall as they are in, say, Big Sur – it is still a gem in the wilderness.

Before I came here to Santa Cruz California, I had never hiked in a forest with redwood trees. I lived in Lima and to visit a forest I needed to travel by airplane or in a bus for 8 or 12 hours. The forests in Peru are located in the jungle. Forest in Peru’s jungles are beautiful, but humid and scary! It’s more like a Hawaii feeling were creatures can be anywhere. Also bugs..many bugs in the Peruvian jungle.

I remember going into a Santa Cruz forest for the first time, I wasn’t too excited. I was skeptical when I was told there were no bugs. But I kept adventuring and going deeper on hikes and seeing more and more colors, the smell and something about redwood trees and their height that captivated me.

Later on, seeing my kids exploring it just makes my heart dance and now, I can’t get enough adventures when we visit. If you ever close to the Santa Cruz mountains it is a must visit. Enjoy my gallery 😉

Never tired of collecting stuff

Anniversary Ideas – Carmel by the Sea

 

When you’re looking for anniversary ideas or valentines getaway, Carmel by the Sea on the central coast of California is a wonderful option.  If you have a November anniversary like I do, you know that in most of North America, November can sometimes be rainy, chilly, or even snowing – so your options may be limited for domestic trips that time of year.  Therefore, this year we wanted to do something mellow and fun, so we took a drive down to Carmel by the Sea for the weekend.  It did not disappoint!

Why Carmel by the sea

Carmel by the Sea is a small, charming town with a mind-blowing signature Carmel Style, reminiscent of European villages of old.  If you’re running out of ideas of good places to go for an anniversary or special occasion, I strongly recommend you check it out. We are lucky to have Carmel very close by – and grandparents available to baby-sit. Carmel by the Sea is a town that has so much for all your senses.  Yes, the beautiful artwork, clothing, and baubles in the shops are expensive but you don’t need to buy anything – just enjoy window shopping!

 

 

 

 

What to visit

Our first memorable stop was for lunch at Hog’s Breath Inn, a bar/restaurant that used to be owned by the legendary Client Eastwood. Its atmosphere and food is good, and it isn’t a tourist trap.  Most importantly, the drinks didn’t disappoint us. 🙂

Carmel by the Sea is a seaside jewel and is close to a lot of other great things to see.  One of the famous sights in the immediate vicinity is the beautiful Carmel Mission.  You can also get to Big Sur in few hours. Actually we ran into many many people who wanted to run the Big Sur Marathon 2018, but couldn’t because it was canceled due to the air quality, due to all the wild fires that affecting California that month.

Our next stop, was the Cheese Shop located in Carmel Plaza (lower level). They are savvy merchants, offering free tastings of a wide variety of cheeses they have from around the world. They also have wine tasting there too to go with the cheese, but the wine isn’t free alas. It is a heavenly experience, so long as you are not a vegan or lactose intolerant!

 

A great selection of cheese to choose from

 

Their employer were super helpful

 

We stayed at the La Playa Hotel. Just standing outside, I was sold on the place even before we walked in the door.  Being in the heart of Carmel’s shopping district, we visited tons of different shops, and we found this great little sea glass jewelry shop, Robin’s Jewelry, located inside the “Doud Craft Studios” on Ocean and San Carlos. Her pieces are stunning and since I’m a big fan of sea glass I was excited to find out that Robin does custom jewelry. With her little workshop upstairs from her shop, she let me design the dolphin for my necklace and pick the sea glass. The final piece was beautiful and it’s a great memory of the trip.

Robi’s pieces

 

Robi’s pieces
We got magic wands as an extra present from Robin’s

Where to stay

After that, we left our stuff at the La Playa Hotel. I was so impressed with the mediterranean style of the hotel and gorgeous ocean views, located few blocks from Carmel beach. We dropped our bags and went to Carmel beach and enjoyed the amazing sunset on its pristine white sand. The sunset was enhance due to the smoke from all the wildfires and it was dramatic.

Happy Campers

 

 

 

 

Carmel Beach

 

 

Where to eat

We had dinner at Seventh and Dolores – what amazing food, everything there was good!  Our  favorite was beef tartar with foie gras – such a delicacy! We ate so fast sorry pic is not pic but we highly recommend it. 🙂

Locals recommended this restaurant and it was a totally scored
waiting area
bar area

 

 

 

 

It was a truly wonderful and memorable weekend.  I highly recommend you give Carmel by the Sea a try for your next weekend get-away!

Family Trip to McWay Falls in Big Sur

Months back, we decided to take a family trip to McWay Falls in Big Sur. We needed to decompress and don’t have a huge budget to travel. I have been to Big Sur just few time for camping and hiking and it never disappointed me.  We research and decided to head to McWay Falls at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park , a place I hadn’t visited. It was a spur of the moment decision, now after six month since I broke my ankle break I don’t regret.

Our trip to McWay Falls in Big Sur just took few hours from home. So, we pack and hit the road.  We made short stops to get snacks from the fruit kiosks. Fruits Tatar’s good and is always good to support local farmers.

The beautiful scene helps you forget about the time you spend on the car. When you get there The Mc Way Falls is a short hike. I’d seen many pictures before -and you may have, too- of  the 80′ waterfall that pours onto the sand of the beach below, getting lapped up by the stunning aquamarine sea.

Unfortunately, they don’t actually let you go down and splash around under the McWay falls.  It’s a steep climb down some almost vertical cliffs to get there, and they have yet to put in an elevator.  It may be possible to access it via rubber dingy or something from the ocean, but as a tourist arriving by car, the best you’ll do is to gawk at it from a trail which runs along the northern side of the inlet, a few hundred yards away form the falls themselves.

But that’s OK.  I can’t help but feel that if people were allowed to go tromping around the falls, it wouldn’t maintain its majestic beauty for long.  Certainly the sand wouldn’t look so pristine for picture taking.  Speaking of the sand, I learned something interesting when I was there – not long ago, there wasn’t any sand there whatsoever.  A massive landslide in the 1980’s poured gazillions of tons of dirt, sand, and rock into the water, and a lot of it ended up washing up into the inlet and forming the beach.  The beach we see there today is very new, and they say some other geologic event might cause it to be washed away again one day.

Getting to the view of the Mc Way Falls took about 5 minutes on the trail. The Tunel that connects the trail from across the street fascinated the kids. When they stop playing there they did enjoyed the beauty of the view that is Just breathtaking. So go check it out while the getting is good!

Looking back I’m so thankful I didn’t hesitate taking this trip, because just two month after that I broke my ankle. We had great fun as a family on the trip. I know that as a parents sometimes you try to plan ahead everything because little people depend on you. However, sometimes the best  memories are made when you just follow your guts.

I’m so thankful for our planet and I’m glad Big Sur is so relatively  close to us. When I see the recently Catastrophe that is happening in California. I can’t help to reflect on the world that my kids know now, and the world we are leaving to them. Therefore, I commit to show my kids more of the beauty of the world. As well to  teach them more ways to help the planet: recycling, cleaning beaches, and  in general consuming less plastic. I hope you too.

I hope you enjoy a selection of photos from our outing.

 

 

Family Trip to Peru: What to see in Sacred Valley – Ollantaytambo with kids

Cusco Peru Sacred Valley in Family – Itinerary

Travel to Peru with kids: Cusco Sacred Valley
Beautiful View of Sacred Valley

Our visit to the gem of the Sacred Valley was the perfect warm up to Machupicchu for our family. Visiting Ollantaytambo with kids was the highlight of this day. What to see there? I will tell you now:

Sacred Valley – Urubamba

The Urubamba Valley or Sacred Valley is impressed, not just for the natural beauty, also because it has one of the prettiest cities build by the Incas – Ollantaytambo. This town was the royal estate of Inca Emperor and it was built with sumptuous constructions and undertook extensive works of terracing and irrigation in the Sacred Valley.

Sacred valley with kids views
Kids got amused by the view
Sacred Valley Peru with kids
This is the view of Sacred Valley on July

Sacred Valley in family

 

 

Exploring Sacsayhuaman with kids

Our next stop, on our way to the Sacred Valley, was Sacsayhuaman, a place where Incas constructed walls with huge stones. On this place, the workers carefully cut the boulders to fit them together tightly without mortar. The most amazing part is that Sacsayhuaman was built on the shape of Puma looking from high. It is a labyrinth made of beautiful huge stone that kids love to admire.

kids in Sachsayhuaman
Sometimes this happens when you travel and is the best feeling

family in Peru: Cusco Sacsayhuaman

Visiting Sacsayhuaman with family
This is a drawing of one the theory in how Incas put those rocks on the places they are now, but not one certainly knows
Travel with kids to Sacsayhuaman Peru
Sacsayhuaman is an amazing Inca ruin even that it never got to be finish
Sacred Valley with kids
It is impressive the way they match rocks to stay together for so many years resisting earthquakes natural erosion.
Fun with kids in Sacred valley
This is the unfinished part of Sacsayhuaman and is used as slides for local and tourist. A natural playground

Sacsayhuaman ruins Llamas in Cusco

Next, we made a quick stop at a local market, to get some snacks as well as suveniers and pictures of course:

Cusco souvenirs  for kids

 

Cusco Colors

 

Sanctuary Animal Cochahuasi

Then, we visited the Sanctuary animal Cochahuasi, which is an organization that has dedicated itself to the Rescue of Animals that have been abused of or come from the Illicit Traffic of Wildlife. Therefore we found many species of beautiful animals like Lama, Alpaca, Vicuna, a Puma, Andean geese, flying condors, guinea pigs. Therefore, most of them are rescued and we enjoyed learning about their rescued stories. Most important we were very grateful for the labor of love of this organization. And the best part was when  Condors flew over our heads! so impressed!

 

Sacred Valley for kids what not to miss
Baby Alpaca rescued
Baby Alpaca Sacred Valley
He wasn’t sure about the baby Alpaca to be the close
Peruvian Condors Cusco Peru
We got to see the Condors this close. They flew around us
Sacred Valley Sanctuary Animal Cochahuasi
More animal rescued
Peru with kids Sanctuary Animal Cochahuasi
Rescued Bear
Sacred Valley Puma
Seeing this Puma is better in real life
Peru with kids Sanctuary Animal Cochahuasi
Falcon
Exploring Sacred Valley with kids
Kids love to see so many guinea pigs together
Peru with kids Sanctuary Animal Cochahuasi
This shows how is that they get the colors from the plants
Peru with kids Sanctuary Animal Cochahuasi
We sat under the Condor!!! Is amazing how well train they are to stand there for a family pic
I great example of Recycling!!

Qantus Raqay

Following our trip on the Sacred Valley, our next stop was Visit Pisaq Qantus Raqay.  This was a small town where the working class used to live, we found a terrace where the Inca people used to grow a different kind of food for their daily needs

Sacred Valley with kids
Qantus Raqay view
Sacred Valley Qantus Raqay
Qantus Raqay

Sacred Valley Qantus Raqay with kidsSacred Valley Qantus Raqay

Ollantaytambo

 

Ollantaytambo with kids
Ollantaytambo View

Finally, we arrived in Ollantaytambo and kids were right away impressed by the terrace!

the highlight of our visit to the gem of the Sacred Valley – Ollantaytambo is known as an ancient Inca fortress built around the middle of the 15th century and is the second most well-preserved ruin in Peru. It was built with terraces for farming and irrigation system. This terrace is called fortress or temple Hill. The town was home of Inca Nobility. originally built for religious purpose became the center of battle when Inca Manco chooses to retreat from Spanish invasion for its strategical location. Unfortunately didn’t last long.

Division

Ollantaytambo is separated into 4 distinct areas: The ancient town, the temple hill, the ceremonial area, and the agricultural sector. You probably will need the whole day to visit ruins, but since we were with kids we respect the altitude of 2,792 meters and we took it easy. The terrace is taller and wilder of the average man, and when in the top you find the Temple of the sun, The wall of the six monoliths and the Enclosure of the ten Niches.

Ollantaytambo with kids

Six Monoliths

We took our time hiking to the top. The severe height will take away our breath and we need several stops. The views around you are just so beautiful. At the top, the wall of the Six Monoliths will dominate the view.

Ollantaytambo with kids
Six Monolites
Ollantaytambo with kids
Diez Normanidas

 

We got a great tourist guide

 


Terraces of Pumatallis

Ollantaytambo is surrounded by mountains, and the main access routes run along the Urubamba Valley. The Incas built roads connecting the site with Machu Picchu to the west and Pisaq to the east. The terraces where the Inca once had planted corn and potatoes. which start at the bottom of the valleys and climb up the surrounding hills.

The Andenes permitted farming on otherwise unusable terrain; they also allowed the Incas to take advantage of the different ecological zones created by variations in altitude. Terraces at Ollantaytambo were built to a higher standard than common Inca agricultural terraces; for instance, they have higher walls made of cut stones instead of rough fieldstones.

Ollantaytambo with kids

Terraces of Pumatallis 

Ollantaytambo with kids
Ollantaytambo with kids

My kids thought that climbing mountains were super fun

 

Pinkullyuna

Pinkullyuna is the hill with Incan storehouses overlooking the town and facing the main ruins. They made the access to the storage hard due to the value of food for low temperature on a high hill and for military purposes. It is impressive how the build in such a steep hill.

To get to the path up to these ruins, follow the road closest to the base of the hill. After a short but steep hike, you can admire the breathtaking scenery of the Sacred Valley, the mountains that surround the town and the Inca ruins. Pinkullyna Hill is really a perfect viewing point.

The purpose of the storehouses was to store the food items harvested from the terraces. The grains were poured into the windows and the high altitude and windy conditions produced a microclimate that helped to prevent the decay of crops. The storehouses even had their own ventilation systems – holes in the appropriate places in the walls created drafts that dried the agricultural products.

Pinkullyuna hill on the left. You can see the storage and the steep path that lead you there. of course, this guy was meditating by the temple of The sun

Templo del Sol

We finally reach the  Templo del Sol – a temple to worship the sun. Each stone is said to weigh more than 50 tons. How these monoliths were transported to this spot from the quarry in one piece remains a mystery. This area is unfinished and there are several theories for it, but nobody really knows what on when they stopped it.

 

The sun temple. Thanks to its strategic position the theory it was used as a sun temple, but it seems undeveloped
feeling the energy
He felt the energy
what a view for mediation

Temple de Aguas

Going all the way down we visit the artificial channels and fountains to the  Templo de Aguas. There is a deeper story to the hydraulic masterpiece the Incas created here.

So much to see, the next day we were ready for Machupicchu!