A mother-daughter trip to Machu Picchu in Peru
My 21-year-old daughter Annalyse draped her arm around my shoulder and I melted into the magic of the ethereal moment. Breathing heavily in the thin air at 8,000 feet, we were acutely aware of being intensely alive: oxygen rushed to our lungs and blood pulsed through our heads. We stood in awe and silence as witnesses to a vanished civilization. Picchu has been at the top of our “Bucket List” for years. Last August my daughter and I finally made that dream come true with the help of Adventures by Disney. We joined other families with young and older kids to visit Lima and the heart of the Incan Empire in the Sacred Valley where the World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu is located along with a cornucopia of archeological treasures.
Why is Machu Picchu so Special?
I’ve studied photos and read about Machu Picchu in National Geographic and other publications. But I was not prepared for the impact of seeing this new Wonder of the World up close and personal. The “Lost City of the Incas” stands in a grandiose setting. The magical stone city clings to the geometrically terraced slopes above the swirling waters of the Urubamba River.
The approach to the ruins adds to the anticipation and magic. We approached by train. Views from the train’s dome windows became increasingly inhospitable. Farm land melted into dense forests. Then the glacier-covered mountain slopes disappeared. And the train chugged deeper and deeper into the dark, vertiginous gorges along the Urubamba River.
How to Plan an Adventure Trip
We had a life-long dream to visit Machu Picchu so a tour offered by Adventures by Disney fit all our requirements. There are many ways to travel to Peru and Machu Picchu and many travel companies that offer tours. Start your research by googling “family trips to Peru” and then compare the offerings. We chose a tour because we wanted to be with other families and we wanted the stress and planning to be handled by travel pros. You might not think of Disney for an international adventure trip, but think again. In the last decade they have expanded their expertise far from the Magic Kingdom. They have perfected 37 trips on six continents because of strong demand by families. Peru, Italy, England and France are among their most popular. Disney Adventures attracts multi-generational families and couples who are Disney Brand Loyalists as well as travelers who seek the security, service, high quality and predictability that Disney offers in exotic locations.
What do you see and do in addition to hiking at Machu Picchu?
The “Adventures by Disney’s nine-day Sacred Valleys and Incan Cities” features many “extras” that only a legendary brand like Disney with resources and clout could offer; a spectacular sound and light show with costumed dancers on stilts, an Arabian horse show, dance performances and a feast in a private colonial mansion in Lima. Our home for three nights was at a luxury hacienda in the Sacred Valley, with a renowned French chef, superb cuisine, a fine wine list and a spa.
Our Disney group consisted of families with school age kids, as well as several middle-aged couples. We bonded quickly into a cohesive jovial group. The well-behaved kids added a sparkle of childlike awe and wonder. When an Andean weaver taught them how to weave or the adventure guides told them legends about the ancient Incas, we adults watched and listened closely, vicariously enjoying their thrill.
Many empty nesters, like me, have adult children but no grandchildren. The Disney Adventure combined the best of both worlds. I shared an amazing experience with my twenty-one year-old daughter, (who lives far from home), and enjoyed interacting with the little kids on trip.