I recently took my 2.5 year old to Machu Picchu. You might be thinking: Why would I do that? What was I thinking? (related: I now have very strong opinions about where to go, what to expect, and how to time it right when traveling internationally with a small child)
To answer your questions:
Why I didÂ it: It was a family trip and my mother said she wanted to see Machu Picchu before she “got too old to enjoy it.”
What I wasÂ thinking: I was thinking that I wanted to go and besides my son has already been a lot of places with us and it worked out pretty well most of those times.
Along the way, I learned some things about me, about my son, and of course, about Machu Picchu. I probably wouldn’t have noticed or discovered all of these things without my son being there. Here they are in no particular order:
- You are not allowed to use a toddler backpack in Machu Picchu. Even if you have lugged a toddler backpack around multiple Latin American countries for 3 weeks for the sole purpose of using a toddler backpack in Machu Picchu. It is simply not allowed. I can’t tell you why exactly because I don’t know. Front packs are allowed but I didn’t have one of those!
- If your 2 year old loves trains, a trip to Machu Picchu will provide about 4-5 hours of train-related entertainment.
- There are no bathrooms inside Machu Picchu, but it’s OK to change a diaper as long as you bring the dirty one out with you.
- 2.5 year olds can hike for about a half hour before they get really tired.
- You can get soft serve ice cream AND french fries right outside the entrance.
- While you are enjoying one of the 7 wonders of the world, a toddler may find that there is at least as much wonder to be found in picking grass and throwing it at strangers (top photo!).
- Going to Machu Picchu is tiring enough for a 2 year old that they can take a long nap on your lap while you drink a pisco sour and they won’t even notice if you drip a little of it on them by accident.
There are many things in life that might be a little (or a lot) easier to do without your kids, and I completely support doing that some of the time. But it’s also true that spending time together as a family as you experience an adventure is (almost) always surprising, fun, and truly memorable. Plus, you can get a great photo for your holiday card…