Imagine getting in the festive spirit in Peru’s capital city, seeing your kids faces as they watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu one of the New Wonders of the World on Christmas morning, and ringing in the New Year together in the ancient Inca city of Cusco. These are just a few highlights of the many incredible moments you will share with your loved ones on a family Christmas in Peru. 

In this article, we share the details of one of our most in-demand itineraries, the ‘Ultimate Family Christmas in Peru Itinerary’. The 10-day itinerary takes your family from Lima to Machu Picchu for Christmas Day, followed by some downtime in the Sacred Valley before ringing in the New Year in Cusco. Read on to find out exactly why it’s a vacation your family will treasure forever.

How Does Peru Celebrate Christmas?

As a catholic country, Peru loves to celebrate Christmas. Throughout the festive season, there are all kinds of exciting events taking place from Christmas light switch-ons to nativities, parades, and Christmas markets, most often held in the town and city squares. Whether you’re in big cities like Lima and Cusco or quiet regions like the Sacred Valley and Lake Titicaca, there’s plenty to get the family in the Christmas spirit. 

In Peru, the festivities reach their height on Christmas Eve which is known locally as ‘Buena Noche’, or ‘Good Night’. On this evening, locals attend mass before returning home with their extended families for a Christmas feast. At the stroke of midnight, everyone gathers in the streets as the church bells ring and fireworks light up the sky to mark the beginning of Christmas Day which, in Peru, is a day of rest and relaxation. 


Ultimate Family Christmas in Peru Itinerary

For the perfect family Christmas in Peru, follow this 10-day itinerary. Not only does it include all of the Christmas festivities you can’t miss in Peru during the holidays, but it also features some of the country’s best family experiences too. 

Itinerary Overview

  • December 22nd + 23rd: Christmas festivities in Lima
  • December 24th: Reach Cusco and board the Hiram Bingham train
  • December 25th/ Christmas Day: Visit Machu Picchu and return to Cusco
  • December 26th – 29th: Unwind with the family in the Sacred Valley
  • December 30th – January 1st: Celebrate New year in Cusco


Itinerary Details

Start the Family Christmas Celebrations in Lima 

(December 22nd + 23rd)

Begin your perfect family Christmas vacation in Peru with a few days soaking up the yuletide scenes in the capital city of Lima. This fascinating city bursting with indigenous and colonial history, as well as a flourishing modern society, has plenty to keep families of all ages entertained including the ancient Huaca Pucllana ruins and the Museo de Arte de Lima. The Magical Circuit of Water, a musical fountain illumination display, is a particular family favourite.

Upon arrival, head straight to the Plaza de Armas, the heart of the historic center, which will be transformed into a Christmas wonderland with beautiful light displays, a nativity, and the city’s most impressive Christmas tree. If that didn’t get the family in the Christmas spirit, the Miraflores neighborhood’s Christmas market filled with both traditional Peruvian and Christmassy crafts definitely will. Afterwards, head to Larcomar or Plaza San Miguel for some last minute Christmas shopping.

Since Lima is often considered the foodie capital of South America, its easy to believe its top restaurants put on a delicious spread of Christmas treats for the family to feast on. Follow dinner with the inspiring annual Christmas concert in the National Theatre of Peru.

Whilst in Lima, stay at Miraflores Park, a Belmond hotel in Miraflores, Lima’s most family-friendly neighbourhood. During Christmas, the hotel gets a festive facelift with an abundance of beautiful decorations that make every guest feel festive as soon as they step through the door. With luxurious and spacious suites, gourmet restaurants, and a rooftop pool, it’s ideal for a family stay.

Peruvian Christmas Tree in Plaza de Armas Lima

Family Festivities in Cusco 

(December 24th)

After two nights spent soaking up the yuletide spirit in Lima, it’s time to transfer to the ancient Inca capital of Cusco to join in the festivities of Peru’s biggest Christmas celebration, ‘Buena Noche’, their version of Christmas Eve. 

But first, peruse the Santurantikuy Christmas Fair in Cusco’s main square, which is often considered one of the best in Peru. Not only does this market sell traditional Andean handicrafts and food, but it’s also a place where locals gather for Andean rituals and ceremonies which your kids will undoubtedly be fascinated by. 

As if the day wasn’t exciting enough, be prepared for one of the most magical family experiences of your life as you board the Hiram Bingham afternoon train to Machu Picchu. This legendary train, famed for its world-class service and incomparable scenery, is an unforgettable family experience at any time of year, but on Christmas Eve, your family will get the added pleasure of Hiram Bingham’s annual Christmas dinner as you ride to Machu Picchu. 

That evening, enjoy the festivities and fireworks as locals ring in Christmas Day in Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu’s base town. But be sure to get a good night’s sleep because when you wake up on Christmas morning, you will go and watch the sunrise over the iconic Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.

Spend Christmas Day in Machu Picchu with the Family

(December 25th)

Today, instead of waking the kids up to run downstairs and see if Santa’s been, you’ll be waking them up for something even more magical and memorable this Christmas Day. Just before dawn breaks, you’ll be privately transported to the entrance of Machu Picchu to witness the spectacle of the Incas’ most famous ruin, a New Wonder of the World, at sunrise. This moment, shared with the ones you love most, will be the best Christmas gift every family member could possibly ask for. 

Once the sun has risen, a private tour guide will take you and your family around the ancient citadel, sharing all of their specialist knowledge and insight about the ruin’s history, spiritual meanings, and theories about its intended use, adapting the tour to your kids’ ages. Taking the tour at your family’s own pace, the guide will be happy to answer all your questions and of course, be your personal photographer to ensure you get quality family photos for you to treasure for a long time to come.

The tour completed, you and your family will take the return train from Machu Picchu, arriving at your luxury hotel the Sacred Valley (where you’ll spend a relaxing few days) with plenty of time to share a Christmas dinner together and exchange presents. 

Special Family Time in the Sacred Valley

(December 26th-29th)

Tambo del Inka, Sacred Valley

After all the anticipation and excitement of Christmas in Peru, you’ll be ready to spend a relaxing few days in the country’s most tranquil spot, the Sacred Valley. You’ll stay in one of the top family-friendly retreats in Sacred Valley, Tambo del Inka Hotel (a Luxury Collection spa resort), where the adults can tick off the menu of spine-tingling Kallpa Spa treatments while the kids splash around in the pool. 

While this is your chance to be lazy, there are several exciting family activities and excursions that will be hard to miss when you’re there. Start with a horse riding trek through the Sacred Valley to explore the ancient lands like a true Andean traveler. Next up is a tour of the valley’s Ollantaytambo ruins, the less famous but equally impressive sister of Machu Picchu. The kids will also adore an afternoon spent browsing the impressive Pisac market, an indigenous Andean artisanal market selling the best of Peru’s handicrafts including bags, rugs, clothing, jewellery and toys. 

With four nights in the Sacred Valley, there is plenty of time to do all of the activities the family wants and get the restful time out at the luxury hotel you all deserve. 

Pisac Market

Spend New Year in Cusco with the Family

(December 30th – January 1st)

Return to Cusco to ring in the New Year at its most luxurious spot, the Monastario Hotel, a stylish and sumptuous Belmond hotel set in a 16th-century former monastery in the heart of the city. Since the last visit to Cusco was so brief, you now have the opportunity to get to know the city a little better. 

Opt for a private family tour of Cusco which will allow you to see all of its highlights including Cusco Cathedral, Hatun Rumiyoc Street, the San Blas District, and San Pedro Market. Along the way, your guide will give you fascinating historical and cultural context to the places you visit, allowing you to feel well acquainted with the ancient Inca capital.

On New Year’s Eve, put on your party frocks for the city’s very best New Year celebration which is, non-coincidentally, held in the Monastario Hotel. It begins with a 6-course meal with sparkling wine for the adults and soda for the kids at the hotel’s elegant El Tupay restaurant, accompanied by an atmospheric live opera show. The party continues until the countdown to the new year begins, which is celebrated with a midnight toast and mesmerizing firework display. The whole family will agree it’s the perfect end to the perfect Christmas and New Year trip.

Colonial Cusco, Plaza de Armas

Start Planning Your Family Christmas Vacation in Peru

If you want to take your family on a dream Christmas vacation to Peru this winter, Totally Latin America are here to plan it for you. Whether you want this exact itinerary or would prefer to edit it to fit your family more personally, the TLA Peru experts can make it happen. For more information and booking enquiries, message us here or call on +1 855 217 9045 to enquire further about Iquitos and Amazon tours.