Luxury family travel: three of my favorite words, and they sound even better when they’re put together like that! We at The Vacation Gals love family travel, and who would turn down the amenities of luxury travel? (Quiet down, backpackers, I’m not looking at you.) But sometimes, a luxury vacation can get in the way of a family truly experiencing a destination. Culture, history, cuisine, and spectacular surroundings all create the backdrop for wonderful family travel memories, but staying at an all-inclusive 5-star property anywhere can limit exposure to these aspects of travel. A friend was doing some work with this relatively new luxury tour company in South America, and suggested that my readers and I, and our families, would find South America fascinating. Fortunately for families, SA Luxury Expeditions reviews each potential destination carefully, picks ideal ones, and helps balance the excitement of experiencing other countries history and culture with high-end lodging for comfort and safety. That’s perfect harmony for luxury family travel.
SA Luxury Expeditions, based in Peru, provides local tours all over South America. Now, I have not yet used SA Luxury Expeditions; reviews are in, though: I’m a big fan of personalized, private tours. The expertise that local guides brings to tours is invaluable; it adds depth of meaning to the trip, with most questions easily answered by that local expert. Because SA Luxury Expeditions operates only in South America (which, don’t get me wrong, is a huge continent) I assume more attention can be made regarding the details of client’s plans and wishes. Adventure and comfort are key for luxury family travel, and SA Luxury Expeditions promises both for their clients.
Where would you go, if you had to pick one or two destinations in all of South America? Tough question, I know, I know. I’ve been daydreaming and imagining where I’d most like to take my kids for a luxury family travel experience in South America, and for me, I’d most like Machu Picchu and the Galapagos islands. Not that I DON’T want to be able travel around Argentina, Chile, or even just other parts of Peru, don’t get me wrong. But there are only so many vacation days a typical working family can take at once, and, choices must be made to narrow down dream destinations — even in fantasyland. So, there you have it, mine are Machu Picchu and the Galapagos. Since I’ve not yet booked travel through SA Luxury Expeditions, I can’t personally vouch for them. But there are quite a few SA Luxury Expeditions’ reviews and guided tours I’d be thrilled to participate in with my family, including to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos islands.
8 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Guests first land/stay in Lima (that’s where the big airport is) and go to Cuzco on the second day. This is smart, because the high elevation can leave those of us who live at sea level out of breath until we acclimate. Hiking the Inca Trail right away would be fraught with headaches, nausea, sleepiness, and other effects of altitude sickness. Cuzco itself is 11,500 feet above sea level — and I got dizzy in Keystone Colorado, which is around two thousand feet lower.
After a couple of days in Cuzco guests go to the Sacred Valley, hiking to what’s basically the most physically challenging part of the Inca Trail, in Wayllabamba. Hiking along the Inca Trail for a couple more days provides travelers with guided tours of ruins another important archeological sites, culminating at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Machu Picchu. There’s a two hour guided tour here. Now, that’s the peak experience, it seems to me. I’d love to be able to take the time to acclimate to the altitude and hike the Inca Trail from the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu. And yes, if I was lucky enough to be able to take a luxury family travel week (well, week and a day, if you want to get all literal about it) in Peru, Machu Picchu would be a must-see. My kids would appreciate it, and we’d all love seeing those llamas wandering around. Plus, you know, the history and the culture and all that. Yeah, that’s the stuff.
6 Day Galapagos Island Hopping: Oh, how I dream of participating in Galapagos islands luxury family travel someday. One big problem is finding the time, and another is that one of my kids gets seriously, insurmountably seasick. Dramamine makes her drowsy, Bonine makes her crabby (then again, this is a young teenager, maybe “crabby” is par for the course here). But it’s the larger ships that affect her well-being, and she’s been on sailboats with no ill affect. I’d like to think that the smaller boats used for Galapagos island hopping wouldn’t make this kid seasick. Because this trip — hoo boy, it’s exactly what I’d love to be able to experience and share with my family.
The first night of this tour is in Quito, which leaves 5 full days (four nights) to travel around different islands in the Galapagos. That second day starts with tortoise excursions (of course) and lava chamber explorations on the island of Baltra, and ends with snorkeling right before dinner. Sounds like a great start for a luxury family travel experience in the Galapagos islands (keep in mind that “luxury” on a small ship cruise in South America isn’t the same as a luxury vacation in a 5-star mainland property). The next day includes sea kayaking around Isabela Island — hopefully, this is one of the places a family would get to see what is probably my favorite bird in the world, the Blue Footed Booby. Seriously, have you seen these birds? They are hilarious. The next day is a hike to the Sierra Negra Volcano, and more lunch with tortoises, and snorkeling…maybe more Blue Footed Boobies? One can only hope. The last full day of Galapagos island hopping includes a visit to the Darwin Stations and a shark encounter. Sounds weird, but my younger daughter has/claims to have a travel dream of cage diving with sharks. In case she’s just trying to scare me, I’d like to call her bluff with this opportunity.
Two weeks, two incredible guided tours in South America. Remember, SA Luxury Expeditions reviews each stop along the way, and each guide, so this has got to be a great way to see dream destinations like Machu Picchu and the Galapagos islands, the luxury family travel way. In the words of Riva Bacquet, Destination Manager, “Blending together spectacular wildlife, breathtaking views and fascinating ancient cultures, a trip to Galapagos and Machu Picchu makes for a truly magical family vacation.” I’m ready to go.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.