Surely one of the greatest joys in life is the family vacation. Spending precious time together in an exotic destination, creating those special childhood memories and bonding over shared experiences. However, this can also come with some stress in trying to plan the perfect trip that is going suit everyone. Whether you are looking to travel with young infants or toddlers, high-energy kids, angst-ridden teens, or a multi-generational trip with the grandparents in tow, we will help you achieve the perfect family travel experience that everyone will love.
When planning a family vacation there are several factors that you must consider which is different from planning other trips. Safety, finding suitable accommodations, tours and activities that are going to suit everyone and of course food. Food can be a challenge at home so imagine on the road. We are very well aware of all of these concerns, however we strongly believe that with the right planning, the benefits of travelling as a family, even to an exotic destination such as Latin America, far out-weigh any challenges.
Choosing the right destination
The key to success for any travel planning, and especially for family travel, is choosing the right destination. When you have two and sometimes three generations travelling together, it is not always easy finding the right balance that will appeal to everyone. After hosting hundreds of family trips from couples with their first born to three generations of the one family, we are very experienced in helping you choose the perfect place. Here are some of our favourite family destinations:
EcuadorAnimals are a great unifier and so a visit to the Galapagos Islands is the perfect destination for everyone to enjoy. You can join a scheduled Galapagos cruise, or if your family is large enough, we can arrange for a private charter for your family group. Of course, there is more to Ecuador than the Galapagos. We can also arrange for stay in an Amazon Lodge offering a family program with special guides suitable for kids of all ages.
ArgentinaImagine bike riding around the parks in Buenos Aires, taking a wet and wild boat safari ride under Iguazu Falls, or a 4WD safari around the parks and glaciers of Patagonia. Argentina really has a fantastic range of family fun activities for all ages to enjoy.
PeruA mystical land of llamas and colourful costumes is the perfect place to enjoy a family vacation. A family session of music and storytelling will bring the history of Peru alive, or perhaps a more hands on artistic experience of trying your hand at graffiti on the streets of Lima’s bohemian Callao. A short drive from Lima are the Palomino Islands, where we can arrange a day of swimming with the friendly sea-lions, or for the older kids, a private surfing lesson on the nearby coast. In the Sacred Valley, we can arrange a visit to a llama farm or visit a local hacienda and enjoy an afternoon discovering this magical Valley on horseback.
CubaThis may not be an obvious choice for a family vacation, but Cubans love children and really have a special way to make them feel like the star of the show. There are also lots of great activities available in Cuba that should appeal to all of the family: Visit a traditional finca (farm) in Trinidad and take a horse ride into the countryside, enjoy a family salsa lesson in Havana, discover the old town on bike or even try your hand at kitesurfing along the Malecon. This really is a great family destination for all ages.
BrazilAs in Cuba, the Brazilians love kids and there is no easier way to interact with the locals than by travelling with kids. Rio by virtue of its amazing geography, lends itself perfectly to a family vacation. Where else can you so easily have a city and beach vacation in one. Imagine joining a volleyball game on the beach in Ipanema or learning the martial art of capoeira in the streets of Salvador. Head into the Amazon Rainforest to discover a magical world of pink dolphins, adorable sloths, and cheeky monkeys.
Activities for all family members
One of the main concerns many parents face travelling with children is wondering how to keep them entertained while in Latin America. Let’s face it, if your kids are happy, so are you. Fortunately, there are countless family-focused activities for you to choose from. Our local guides love hosting children and we have a vast inventory of family friendly activities in every destination. Here are some of our favourite activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Active LearningTravel is such a wonderful way for children to learn about different cultures and customs. Every time they step outside of the hotel, they will be experiencing something new. There is no more fun way for kids to learn about a different culture than through their food. In Peru, enjoy a fully interactive family cooking class where a home cook invite your family to their private home and teach your children how to prepare a simple Peruvian dish. The kids will love learning a new skill and you will all enjoy eating what they have prepared.
Neighbouring Ecuador is home to the world’s best chocolate and so we suggest a taking the kids on a private chocolate interaction experience where you can learn the local history of chocolate, how it is made and most importantly, embark on a tasting journey through the different types of chocolate from dark, light, sweet, salty and of course, finishing with a hot or iced chocolate drink. This is one tour that the parents are always happy to join.
Fun and GamesThe Brazilians love their football, and there is no better place to experience their passion and excitement for the sport than at a live football match. We can arrange for you to visit a local stadium to watch a game and even give you scarves for the team you want to support. There is no more Brazilian experience than this. In Rio, how about learning the local beloved sport of beach volleyball. We can arrange for the whole family to have a beach volleyball match right on the beach of Copacabana. Do not be surprised if some locals ask to join in! There is no more fun and natural way to meet real “Cariocas” – the name used for residents of Rio.
Thrilling AdventuresTeenagers love adrenaline fueled adventures and there is an abundance of options in Latin America. In Chile, take a trip to the driest place on earth, the Atacama Desert, and enjoy a private sandboarding lesson down the dunes of the impressive Salt Mountains. Then watch the magnificent sunset followed by dinner and a star-gazing session in one of the clearest skies on the planet.
How about ziplining through the jungles of Costa Rica, or swimming with the sharks in Belize. In Mexico, we can arrange for a full day of family fun activities that take in both culture and adventure. Visit the beautiful Mayan temples of Tulum, so unique by their location overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Afterward head into the jungle and swim in an authentic cenote (underground cave), zipline through the jungle canopy, abseil a rock face and then take an adrenaline fueled 4x4 drive into the jungle.
Cultural ImmersionIn Argentina, the legend of the gaucho is one that appeals to all ages and we can arrange for a private family visit to a local estancia (ranch) for a full day gaucho experience. Visit their stables, learn about their daily lives, and join them on a horseback ride into the plains. All of this topped off with a typical gaucho BBQ lunch will be a family memory to treasure forever. Music is at the core of the Cuban identity and integral to their daily lives. We know a local musician who can give the entire family a Cuban drumming lesson on the streets of Havana. Imagine learning the beats of Cuban rhythm as the locals walk by to the internal beats of their own drums. This is a fun, family experience that everyone will love.
The Joys of Travelling as a Family
Whilst there may be some challenges with planning for and travelling as a family, there are far more wonderful and rewarding benefits that come with such a trip. Some countries make travelling with kids feel like a burden whereas in Latin America, they will make you realize that it is a joy. There is something about travelling with children that really breaks down any language or cultural barriers. Latin Americans love children and will often stop you in the street to admire them. Not only is this a joyous situation for your children, who will revel in the attention, but also a wonderfully natural and authentic way to engage with the local people.
There is no doubt as to the educational benefits of travel to children. Whether they be toddlers or teenagers, learning about another culture or language, helps them understand diversity as well as a shared sense of the human experience. It can also re-ignite a sense of curiosity about the world which is sometimes lost to a digital screen. Seeing the world through the eyes of your children can also bring out your own inner child. Excitement is contagious and so watching your child discover the world outside of their own experiences is a magical time for all to share.
Finally, travelling as a family can be surprisingly affordable as many suppliers offer significant child and family discounts. Also, the familiarity of travelling as a family means that you can share accommodations and services making the overall cost much more economical. Our expertise is in taking advantage of these specials and finding the right accommodation and services that will maximize your experience but not max out your budget.
Making your family's journey memorable
Finding the right style of accommodation can sometimes be challenging. Some luxury lodges may not allow young children and many of the hotels which do cater to families are not always enticing. Fortunately, we have a solid inventory of luxury and boutique accommodation choices that are perfect for families without having to sacrifice style or luxury. Depending on the size of your family and ages of your children, we will find the ideal accommodation for you.
For travellers with infants and toddlers we will ensure that your lodging has the correct bedding and facilities to ensure your precious ones are safe and comfortable. We can also arrange for babysitting and nanny services if you ever need some adult time. For larger families, we can offer nterconnecting rooms and even apartment stays if preferred. Wherever possible, particularly for larger family groups we offer private, self-contained villas and lodges that allow you that exclusive and intimate family experience that will really make your stay extra special.
When it comes to activities and tours, one size really does not fit all. We arrange private, bespoke tours and experience that can be handcrafted exclusively for you and your family based on your individual preferences. In getting to know you during our thorough consultation process, we will curate unique travelling experiences designed specifically with you and your family in mind. Before you travel, we brief the local guides to make sure that they are fully aware of your preferences, needs and limitations.
Delicious food choices for everyone
Even at home it can be challenging to find food that makes everyone happy, so imagine when you are travelling in a foreign land. Fortunately, we are aware of the wide variety of food preferences that can exist within the one family. All of your food and drink preferences will be sent to our local partners in advance to make sure that everyone is ready for your arrival and prepared with your food choices and any dietary restrictions that you may have. We also have a private directory of family friendly restaurants throughout Latin America that cater to children without the parents having to sacrifice their own dining experience.
Travelling with a toddler or infant?Ignore those naysayers who tell you that once the baby comes, you had better forget about travelling. Whilst, yes, it does involve a little more preparation, but so does everything else when you have young children. With the right planning and preparation, travelling with an infant or toddler can not only be stress free, but also a rewarding and enjoyable experience. As we provide private, VIP services, there is no waiting in lines for taxis, or queuing for tickets as our private guide will look after all of this, including the right car seats, high-chairs, and bedding. For select destinations we can also arrange Fast-Track immigration procedures.
Sometimes you may want to have some adult time – a nice meal out, or an afternoon of shopping, so we can organize qualified nanny and babysitting services to keep an eye on your precious ones. No matter what is required for you or your young ones, we have a local team who will be there to assist with anything you may need.