On the search for the best kid-friendly destinations in South America? From Ecuador to Argentina, here are the places you are going to love.
Buenos Aires, Argentina for Families
You could spend a month just exploring the enchanting streets of Buenos Aires. With its stunning architecture and buzzing cafés, you might feel like you’re lost in Paris. The real joy in visiting the Argentine’s capital city is simply in soaking it all in. Spending your time wandering around, biking through the parks, and soaking in the sun at the playgrounds.
When you’re ready to get out of town, explore the incredible line of 275 waterfalls that line the border of Brazil and Argentina at Iguazu Falls. To really dive into the natural beauty of the country, explore Patagonia. Hike Andes Mountains, swim the lakes, and bike through the fjords and glaciers.
Planning Tip: You will find some of the best kid-friendly destinations in South America on the southern side of the continent, in part, thanks to their low crime rates. Countries like Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay have crime rates similar to Europe (which typically sees about half the crime you’d see in the U.S.).
Kid-Friendly Montevideo, Uruguay
Bordering Brazil and Argentina, you’ll find one of South America’s hidden gems: Uruguay. The capital city of Montevideo is a seaside dream. Lounge at some of the best beaches on the planet then explore the friendly city as you sample the incredible cuisine. This relaxed city is easy to navigate and family-friendly throughout.
Wander down the Rambla of Montevideo (fun fact: this is the longest continuous sidewalk in the world) along the coast then mingle with the locals at the Mercado Agricola on your way to the Montevideo Plaza Independencia.
Want to go all out this year? Punta del Este is a swanky destination that where you can find a wide array of luxe beachside resorts. For a more laidback pick, the second-largest city, Salto, is another great option for families who want to get a look at authentic Uruguayan life.
Planning Tip: Uruguay has the longest Carnival season in the world. Considering visiting between January to mid-March to take part in this incredible celebration.
Family Adventures in Quito, Ecuador
Ecuador has a fascinating culture and diverse landscape. Best of all, it is an incredibly family-friendly place where the locals are charmed by children. You’ll find that kids enter the majority of places for free and it’s not unusual for shop owners to give little gifts to their smallest customers.
Take the time in Quito to explore the Museo Templo del Sol Pintor Ortega Maila to learn about indigenous art and culture. When the kids need to get some energy out, explore Parque Metropolitano, a vast space with plenty of room to play and explore.
Outside of the city, the flawless beaches of Machalilla National Park and the dense forest of Podocarpus National Park are well worth the trip. Of course, for nature lovers, the true superstar is the Galapagos Islands. An absolute bucket list destination, kids of all ages will be completely blown away by the incredible wildlife here.
While the Galapagos Islands is certainly one of the best kid-friendly destinations in South America, do be aware that it requires a lot of travel just by its remote nature. There are daily flights from Quito, which take about two and a half hours. You can typically expect a layover though so plan for a fairly full day of travel. Once you get to the island, also note that most days you’ll be exploring by car and boats to see the different areas of the islands. There are definitely kid-friendly tour options (and the kids can learn SO much there!) but if you have very young ones who struggle with longer days, plan ahead.
Visiting Machu Picchu With Kids
Machu Picchu is another once in a lifetime destination. You can make it a highly active trip so if you have young ones who could spend hours running around, you’ll find great options here. On top of being a cultural wonder, it is a top-notch hiking spot.
As soon as you start planning, you will see, there is usually a hard path and an easy path at different stages in the journey. If you have younger kids, and even a little one still in a carrier, you can find doable options. There are easy-to-walk paths and you can be drop off right at the entry.
At Machu Picchu, there are three areas to visits (and you will see these as the three ticket types). There is the citadel ruins, Machu Picchu Mountain, and Huayna Picchu option. The most kid-friendly pick is the citadel ruins. It is arguably the most interesting option and generally just the most accessible.
When it comes to getting to the site, your easiest route will be to take the train out of Cusco. That will take you to the Urubamba Valley. From there, there is a range of options for buses that will take you straight to the entry.
Check out our article on Safe Latin American Destinations.
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