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Macaws Parrot birds

Peru makes an excellent family holiday destination and the school summer holidays coincide with the Andean dry season, meaning it’s also a great time of year to visit this region. From Cusco, a beautiful colonial city and the gateway to the famous Inca citadel Machu Picchu, you could head to the nearby Sacred Valley. This is a beautiful, fertile region of Inca terracing and rich indigenous traditions. Once here you will have the opportunity to visit native Quechua villages, which would interest your 17-year-old: you can learn the pre-Inca art of weaving and produce your own textiles to help the community sell at a local market, or join in with the preparation of the Pachamanca feast.

After visiting Machu Picchu you can then continue on to the Amazon, where your 16-year-old will delight at the variety of wildlife they can observe from close up in the rainforest, from families of giant river otters to flocks of brightly coloured macaws (Peru boasts the world’s largest clay-lick at the Tambopata Research Centre). The accessibility of the Peruvian Amazon, lying just a 1-hour flight away from Cusco, makes it a convenient addition to the trip, but you could also consider combining Peru and the Galápagos if you prefer the idea of cruising around Darwin’s ‘enchanted isles’.

Alternatively, you might find that Guatemala and Belize satisfy both your children’s interests. You could stay at a jungle lodge in Belize, then move on to Tikal in Guatemala – not only a breathtaking Mayan site but also a haven for howler monkeys and other wildlife – before finishing up in the Guatemalan highlands where there are a number of cultural and community projects you can take part in.

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