Six Tips for Traveling in South America with Family

Six Tips for Traveling in South America with Family pin

South America is a fascinating continent to visit especially for families from Europe and the States. Although most of the South American population originates from Europe and has similar traditions like the United States and European countries, we as Americans did notice some things that were surprisingly different. Here are six main things we suggest those traveling to South America should watch out for when visiting with family.

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Recycled Plastic Water Bottles

Some countries like Uruguay recycle bottles multiple times. This fact is great for the environment but less for the customers since after a while the bottles don’t open well. When we bought a bottle and could not pry it open even after hitting it against a tree, the vendor did not want to replace it. We ended up throwing it in the trash. Parents should open any water bottles they plan to buy in the store before they finalize payment to avoid paying for a faulty product.

Six Tips for Traveling in South America with Family bottles

“Weeds” Everywhere

Many places in South America do not garden the same way as in European or North American locations. Plants in many areas are allowed to grow freely and untrimmed, even in city parks and urban areas. As a result, travelers need to be aware of cracked sidewalks due to tree roots and weeds everywhere. There is also a risk of allergies, especially during the spring season. Parents should pack plenty of allergy medication, especially if anyone in the family suffers from allergies to plant pollen.
Six Tips for Traveling in South America with Family weeds

Cabs

Cab drivers in many countries often overcharge their customers when they realize they are tourists. Cabbies can take passengers for a long unnecessary ride to beef up the meter cost, as many tourists don’t know the area. They will also use the tourist’s ignorance to their advantage by switching between the Argentinian and Uruguay dollar. Parents should negotiate a fixed price for their taxi, especially if their driver either doesn’t have a meter or refuses to turn it on during the trip.

 

Six Tips for Traveling in South America with Family cabs

Pickpocketing

Old-fashioned pickpocketing has taken a different turn in places like the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires. There, thieves work their act in pairs. One person spills some form of liquid on the victim while the second jumps to help them wipe it off. In all that hoopla, the victim’s wallet magically disappears.

The best thing is for parents to wear a money belt under their clothes. This way, the money is not readily available to quick hands. They should also bring along another set of clothes to change into on a day trip, so they don’t have to stay in dirty clothes for the rest of the day. Also, travel vests like scottevest can be helpful and safe and offer hidden inside pockets to keep passports and wallets or cash.

Six Tips for Traveling in South America with Family train

Peddlers Walking on Freeways

The first time we visited Rio de Janeiro, it shocked us to see sellers walking freely along the freeways, sometimes in the middle of the highway, selling merchandise. Especially during rush hour time when the roads get congested and the traffic stalls, this can be quite unnerving. According to a friend of ours, this is pretty much standard practice.

Those planning to drive in certain countries in South America should prepare themselves to not only see things like that but to make sure that all doors are locked, and the family remains safe in the car with valuables out of sight. They should also be careful when driving to make sure they don’t accidentally hit a pedestrian on the freeway, a risk that travelers from the United States often don’t need to consider.

Six Tips for Traveling in South America with Family peddlars

Torn Banknotes

Most tourists travel nowadays using a combination of credit cards and cash since the era of traveler’s checks is coming to a close. Unfortunately, the majority of visitors don’t know that torn bills of any sort, especially American dollars, will not be accepted in most stores. Parents need to take only crisp and untattered bills and make sure that they lay flat in the money belt.

 

Have you visited any of the South American countries lately? Do you have any tips to share with our readers?

 

Taking the Family to Cusco’s Machu Picchu Museum

Taking the Family to Cusco's Machu Picchu Museum pin

Cusco is known as the gateway to Machu Picchu. Therefore, it is no surprise that it has an excellent museum containing the world’s largest collection of Machu Picchu artifacts. The Machu Picchu Museum at Casa Concha features a diorama of the ruins, videos, and Incan artifacts found during the restoration and building of Casa Concha. It is the perfect place for anyone who loves history and archeology.

Taking the Family to Cusco's Machu Picchu Museum scale

What You Will See

The location of the Casa Concha house was initially the residence of the royal lineage of Tupac Inka Yupanqui. The house was built on top of these foundations in the seventeenth century as the palace of Admiral Francisco Aldrete Maldonado.

Throughout the twentieth century, the house served as an army barracks and a police station. The government finally donated the house to the San Antonia Abad University. The National Institute of Culture lead the restoration efforts on the home. As an example of these efforts, those traveling through the central patio will first see the glass-covered excavation pit that reveals the buried Inca floor.

Taking the Family to Cusco's Machu Picchu Museum outside

Artifacts

Visitors will see over 300 artifacts and fragments excavated when Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu in the early 1900s as well as pictures of the site from that period. Back in 1912, American explorer Hiram Bigham brought a team to excavate Machu Picchu, taking over 4,000 artifacts back to Yale University.

However, the Peruvian government recently campaigned for the return of these items, claiming them as stolen from Peru. After several years, the US government returned the artifacts in 2011. Today, the museum houses the largest collection of Inca objects in the world.

Taking the Family to Cusco's Machu Picchu Museum pottery

All of these artifacts are in excellent condition, which is astonishing. Most are complete and in their original form. Also, there are even more fragments from the excavations, but they are not on display so that national and international researchers can study them. However, this does mean the museum may display more artifacts in the future!

Taking the Family to Cusco's Machu Picchu Museum fresco

Other Exhibits

Besides the artifacts, there are videos to watch and a real “Inka house” to see. Guests can explore an exhibit room filled with bones found in the excavation, including several skulls and a full human body!

Curious travelers can also look at the “Inka” mummies and observe skulls showcasing evidence of advanced brain surgery for the time. Metallurgy and Metalwork were important to the Incans, and there is also a room that features the different metal tools found.

Taking the Family to Cusco's Machu Picchu Museum bones

Visitors can view the large scale model of Machu Picchu. This model also comes with an informative video from Yale University’s Professor Richard L. Burger. One can explore the ruins virtually in an interactive exhibit. There’s also the Ongoing Investigations Room.

This exhibit shows how modern archeology techniques continue to reveal more about the lives of ancient Machu Picchu residents. Today, archeologists identify Machu Picchu as a retreat for Incan royalty, occupied between the years 1450 and 1540 and boasting plentiful food and no hard labor.

Taking the Family to Cusco's Machu Picchu Museum screen

The top floor features a souvenir shop where visitors can see some buyable “artifacts” made in front of them.

Taking the Family to Cusco's Machu Picchu Museum person

Location, Hours, and Admission

The Machu Picchu Museum is located at 320 Santa Catalina Ancha.The museum is open Monday through Saturday from nine am to five pm and closed on Sundays.

Taking the Family to Cusco's Machu Picchu Museum display

General admission is 20 soles. However, there are exclusive discounts for Peruvians and Peruvian students, as well as international students.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The museum isn’t super hands-on, but there are a lot of interesting exhibits and videos to see and some touch screen videos
  • The museum itself has plenty of space for people to walk around and check out the exhibits.
  • Parents should expect to spend about two hours exploring all parts of the museum.
  • The museum is an entirely indoor location with air conditioning.
  • There are benches for visitors to sit down and take a break. Also, the slow paced videos give visitors extra time to absorb the information.

 

Family Fun at Cusco’s ChocoMuseo

Family Fun at Cusco's ChocoMuseo pin

Most of us associated fine chocolates with Belgium and Switzerland. But as we found out on our last trip to South America, Peru has become a serious contender in the world of chocolates with cacao beans that are turned into artisanal delicacies.

Located just two blocks from the central Plaza de Armas in Cusco, the ChocoMuseo is a must visit for any family or chocolate lover. Part museum, part cafe, it is worth a trip.

Family Fun at Cusco's ChocoMuseo tree

What You Will See

The ChocoMuseo is a chain operating in several Central and South American countries.
In the upstairs area, guests can view an interactive exhibit that details the history of cacao and chocolate. Perhaps most interesting is the history of chocolate in the Mayan and Aztec Empires (it was so valuable it was used as currency) and how they called it the “food of the gods.”
Downstairs, there is a cafe serving delicious hot chocolate concoctions.

But the part that most people come for, and that we most enjoyed, was the section where one can make their own chocolate.

Family Fun at Cusco's ChocoMuseo chocolate

The chocolate making section is a two-hour hands-on experience that takes guests from the bean to the final delicious result. The workshop also details chocolate’s history to its students.
First, students make and taste drinks prepared with straight cocoa beans. Visitors also roast, peel, and mash cocoa beans. Guests are allowed to get creative with their final chocolate masterpieces, with all the toppings and shapes imaginable.
In the end, visitors leave their chocolates in the fridge to pick up at the end of the day. Those interested in more specific aspects of chocolate artistry can sign up for classes in chocolate sculpting or truffle filling.

Family Fun at Cusco's ChocoMuseo bowl

Our son with autism loved mashing the seeds and observing the process. He didn’t appreciate the instructor’s joke about needing a drop of his blood to get the chocolate cooking. She even brought a needle and pretended to poke him.

Family Fun at Cusco's ChocoMuseo mashing

At the end of the day, travelers can go to the cafe and get a table with a view. The cafe serves thick hot chocolate in a bowl that diners mix with warm milk and seasonings. The cafe also offers delicious chocolate truffles and a Mochaccino made with Peruvian coffee beans.

Family Fun at Cusco's ChocoMuseo pieces

All the cocoa beans used in this location are grown in a jungle near Machu Picchu. Local Peruvian farmers work with the Choco Museo to provide the best quality beans.

We brought home our self-made chocolate bar as our souvenir for the day.

Eight Sensory Things to Do in Cusco with Kids chocolate

Location, Hours, and Admission 

The ChocoMuseo is located on the second floor at Garcilaso Street 210, off of Plaza Regocijo.The museum is open Monday-Sunday from nine am to seven pm, and the shop is open Monday-Sunday from eight am to eight pm. 

Family Fun at Cusco's ChocoMuseo bar

The ChocoMuseo is free, but guests will likely spend some money to bring home their favorite chocolates or souvenirs.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The shop has a couple of seats on a small balcony overlooking Plaza Regocijo. Guests get a great view of the plaza and the surrounding hills, but it might not be safe for children.
  • When ordering hot chocolate, diners get to mix it together themselves by adding the chocolate, milk, and any extras that come with it. The mixing can be fun for kids. However, children with dexterity issues might need assistance. 
  • The hands-on workshops are a great learning experience, but if two hours is too long, the interactive walk-through display is fascinating as well.
  • We recommend signing up for workshops ahead of time.

Family Fun at Cusco's ChocoMuseo chef

  • For clothing, no one in the family should wear clothes that stain.
  • Visitors can see the ChocoMuseo from the plaza. However, they have to go around to Garcilaso Street 210 and up the stairs next to the courtyard to get to the museum on the second floor.
  • Besides the steps to get to the second floor, there are also steps to get to the bathroom. Unfortunately, the area itself is not large. Therefore, it might be difficult for people with physical disabilities to get around.
  • Because the location is also a little café, there are tables and chairs to sit and take a break if necessary.

 

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro pin

In our decade of traveling, our son with autism has created his bucket list of places to visit. Many of the places he has wanted to visit have been inspired by watching movies, like when he wanted to visit Paris after watching the Rugrats movie. When we were finalizing our South American trip, he reminded us how much he wanted to see the city of Rio de Janeiro after watching Rio. He even actively created the itinerary we would explore according to the spots seen in the movie.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro above

Sugarloaf Mountain

Our first stop was Sugarloaf Mountain, showcased in Rio in the scene when Blu first arrives at the city. The Pao de Acucar, or Sugarloaf Mountain, is a popular attraction in Rio de Janeiro – a peak rising up on a peninsula in Guanabara Bay. A cable car takes visitors to the top, who are then rewarded with 360-degree views of the city, the harbor, and the beaches. The cable car stops in two area on the way to the top, first at the mountain of Morro de Urca, then at the head of the taller Pao de Acucar. One can see the Sagui Monkeys, which were the inspiration for the thief monkeys in Rio.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro mountain

 

The day we visited several cruise tours mobbed the place and made the lines rather long. It took approximately thirty minutes to get through both cable cars up to the top of the mountain.

Tours start around R$71 per person, and many include a stop at the Metropolitan Cathedral, while individual tickets are R$62 for adults and R$31 for children.

Cristo Redentor Statue and Corcovado Mountain

The famous Cristo Redentor statue was our second stop. In the movie, the sculpture was featured in the scene when Blu first escapes with Jewel and tries to learn to fly. Cristo Redentor, or Christ the Redeemer, is a giant Jesus Christ statue on top of Corcovado Mountain. This statue is one of the most famous features of Rio de Janeiro. Travelers can get to the statue by taking a taxi to Cosme Velho Station and taking the train from there. They can also book a tour and ride up to the statue in a van. Admission to the statue is R$36.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro statue

Rio De Janeiro Beaches

For our third stop, we explored the Rio De Janeiro beaches, seen in the movie when Blu and Jewel land on a glider and hit the sand. There are twenty-three beaches in Rio De Janeiro to experience. There is no way one could visit them all, but we got to see the most well-known.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro beach

One of the most famous beaches in the world, the four-km Copacabana Beach is in the south of Rio de Janeiro and was one of the Olympic Zones in the 2016 Olympics. The beach is clean, and visitors can get umbrellas and chairs, but it is also one of the most crowded areas in the city. The lifeguard stations along the beach are open daily from eight am to eight pm. They offer free first aid and changing and toilet facilities for a nominal fee.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro vendor

Located in the south of Rio de Janeiro near Copacabana, Ipanema Beach became public thanks to the famous “Girl from Ipanema” song written by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes. It is a favorite beach in Brazil, where visitors and locals alike sunbathe or play soccer or volleyball. It is also one of the safest districts in the area, likely because it is a more residential neighborhood. There are restrooms and showers, but these can get very busy during the hot season.

Copacabana’s Atlantic Beach Front Boulevard

Multiple scenes from the movie decided our fourth stop, such as when Blu goes missing. Along the length of the beach is the Atlantica Boulevard, where we got to see its famous black and white mosaic sidewalk. This location is perfect for those looking for a nice restaurant or souvenir from a street vendor. There are also impressive sand sculptures created by local artists, and sometimes kids can help build sand art alongside them.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro beach

Santa Teresa Tram and Neighborhood

Our fifth stop came from the scene when Blu and Jewel go to Luiz’s garage to remove their chain. We took the historic tram ride to Santa Teresa, a neighborhood on top of Santa Teresa Hill. The Tram ride has run since 1877 and is one of the oldest street railway lines in the world. The tram has only been suspended once in 2011 after a serious accident, but service resumed in 2015 with the installation of new tramcars.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro wire

Santa Teresa is an artist’s neighborhood featuring winding, narrow streets, galleries, and art studios. Near the cultural center, travelers can check out Parque das Ruinas, a mansion turned museum that houses artwork from Museu da Chacara do Ceu.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Rio can get hot during the summer months. Parents should pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and insect repellant.
  • There are no barriers around the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, so families should be careful, especially with younger kids.
  • Visitors on Ipanema Beach should look for Posto 8, where they can find a fun play area for younger children.
  • The ocean does see unyielding currents. Parents should make sure kids know how to properly swim in the sea, even if they are playing shallow water
  • The Christo Redentor statue has lots of lines depending on the time of day, and there are no accommodations for autism. The best time to visit is early in the day.
  • At the Christo Redentor statue, parents can review the interactive digital information board on the platform under the figure’s left arm. This board displays information and fun facts about the statue and its history.
  • We highly recommend that parents download a translator app, as most of the signs are in Portuguese and not many of the locals speak English.
  • Credit cards are not as commonly used in Brazi as they are in the United States. Parents should bring cash and carry it in a money belt for safe keeping.

Exploring Peru’s Machu Picchu with Family

 

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family pin


Machu Picchu
is a well known UNESCO World Heritage Site in Peru, voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. This archaeological site is a must see for anyone visiting Peru. It is a fascinating piece of history for any traveling family to explore.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family steps

History

Originally, history books stated that American Historian Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu. This fact is not true. Local farmers and Peruvian natives always knew of the site, since they lived and worked right next to it. Bingham just brought attention to Machu Picchu to the rest of the world through his book, Lost City of the Incas.

 

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family walled

The real history of Machu Picchu started in the year 1450. Modern archaeologists think the city was an estate for Emperor Pachacuti. Some theories state the city was a key hiding spot from Spanish invaders since the Spanish never mentioned the city in documents during the Colonial Period.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family inca

Today, the site is a famous tourist destination. Visitors can climb the mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley to see this fantastic site.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family famed

Getting There

While adventurous travelers can try to hike up the Inca Trail as part of a guided tour, most visitors take the train to reach the ruins. The train departs from three locations – Poroy, Ollantaytambo, and Urubamba (which only departs once a day). Travelers can choose from three train companies: PeruRail, Inca Rail, and Machu Picchu Train.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family blue

 

PeruRail offers various classes for different budgets. The Expedition is the most budget option at $77 each way per person. The Vistadome at $90 per person includes complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. The Hiram Bingham is the most expensive option at $475 each way and includes a brunch, dinner, a selection of Peruvian alcoholic drinks, and other fancy additions. All options feature cars with panoramic windows.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family red

The absolute cheapest way to get to Machu Picchu is via the Ollantaytambo train, with tickets as low as $52 one way.For those who do want to hike the Inca Trail, they will have to reserve a guided group tour costing about $450-$650. The hike is a four-day experience.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family hiike

What You Will See

The layout of the city divides an urban and agricultural sector as well as an upper town and lower town. The upper town was where the temples and royalty resided while the lower town was for common folk and warehouses. There are 200 buildings in this city and also three structures, the Inti Wantana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of Three Windows.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family wall

 

The Inti Wantana is one of the many ritual stones in South America. The stone is positioned and arranged to point directly at the sun during the winter solstice. It is seen as a tool to tie up the sun and is believed to have held the sun in its place along its annual path in the sky.
Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family peek

Another spiritual section is the Room of Three Windows. This room is considered to be a sacred place that represents the origins of the Inca civilization. Inside the chamber, visitors will see a stone carved with engravings that represent the three levels where the Inca civilization divided the Andean world. These are the levels of the sky spirituality (Hanan-Pacha), the earth surface (Kay-Pacha) and the subsoil or inner life (Ukju-Pacha). In the Room of Three Windows, people have claimed to have felt great spiritual presences as well as clarity.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family grass

 

The Temple of the Sun sits at the highest altitude in the entire city. It was purposely built this way for the temple to be as close to the sun/heaven as possible. In this temple, the most important and meaningful events of the city would happen here such as sacred rituals, religious sacrifices, and astrological events.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family fog

Location, Cost, and Hours

Guests cannot buy Machu Picchu tickets at the entrance gate and must book them in advance. Visitors can get advanced tickets from the official government of Peru website. The government limits entrance to the ruin to 2500 people per day. We suggest booking early as visiting days frequently fill up two weeks in advance. Guests have to bring their original passport to show at the entrance.

 

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family llama

Tickets to enter the city cost between $50 to $70. There are discounts for children, students with an ISIC card, and Peruvian nationals.Travelers can book packaged tours to Machu Picchu, such as the four-day Inca Trail Hike ($450-650), the half-day Cusco city tour ($10-15) or the Sacred Valley tour ($12-20).
Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family sitting

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Peru can get hot, especially during the summer. Parents of heat sensitive children should pack water, insect repellent, and a mini-fan.
  • Traveling through Machu Picchu involves lots of hiking on unstable slippery  ground. Furthermore there’s hunderds of steps to climb! Parents should make sure everyone wears comfortable and closed-toe shoes appropriate for hiking.
  • Traveling families should be aware there’s no shade or resting areas in the actual site.
  • Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family us
  • Peru sees frequent rains. Traveling families should pack a waterproof jacket in case of rain.
  • Parents should book trains online in advance as they fill up quickly, especially the evening return train.
    Parents need to prepare their kids to the fact the train can get somewhat noisy with a ‘fashion show’ and musicians coming around entertaining the guests.

Eight Sensory Things to Do in Cusco with Kids

 

 

Eight Sensory Things to Do in Cusco with Kids pin

Cusco, Peru is frequently a stopover for travelers on their way to Machu Picchu. However, Cusco is worth more than an overnight trip. There are quite a few activities for families with autism to do in the city itself. We have put together a great list of sensory activities in Cusco that the whole family will enjoy.

Eight Sensory Things to Do in Cusco with Kids family

ChocoMuseo

The ChocoMuseo, located just a couple blocks away from the central Plaza de Armas, has a great workshop where guests can learn to make chocolate from the bean to the nice final product – a chocolate bar! The smells and the hands-on experience is one visitors won’t soon forget and is fun for the whole family.

Eight Sensory Things to Do in Cusco with Kids chocolate

Autism Travel Tips:

  • We recommend registering ahead of time on the ChocoMuseo website.
  • The shop is on the second floor, accessible by a set of stairs, and the area isn’t very big, which could make it difficult for those with physical disabilities to get around.

Museo Machu Picchu at Casa Concha

Because most people get on the train to Machu Picchu in Cusco, it makes sense that there is a museum about the famous ruins in Cusco. The Machu Picchu Museum at Casa Concha will not disappoint – it has the largest collection of Machu Picchu artifacts in the world! In addition to the artifacts, the museum features an incredible diorama of the ruins, videos, and Incan artifacts found during the building of Casa Concha. It’s a great educational experience before heading down to see Machu Picchu itself.

Eight Sensory Things to Do in Cusco with Kids museum

Autism Travel Tips:

  • There are benches for visitors to sit down and take a break, and the videos are slow-paced, giving visitors a little extra time to absorb the information.

San Blas

San Blas sits up on a hill, making it a bit of a hike from the main plaza (even though it’s only a few blocks), or one can come downhill to it from the ruins of Saqsaywaman and the White Christ statue. Known as an artists’ area, San Blas has quite a few cute shops, cafes, and art galleries. There is also a market in the central square that is an excellent opportunity to get a one-of-a-kind, handmade souvenir. The plaza is also the perfect place to relax and sit by the fountain, especially for those who walked up the hill!

Eight Sensory Things to Do in Cusco with Kids street

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Since San Blas sits on a hill, it can be difficult for those with mobility issues to walk up to it. We suggest downhill from Saqsaywaman if this is an issue.

Catedral Basilica de la Virgen de la Asuncion

 The Cusco Cathedral is the main centerpiece of the Plaza de Armas. Its grand architecture is amazing, and the artifacts blend the ancient Incan culture with the “new” Spanish Christian culture. A glance around the outside and one can find several Christian-themed statues. There is mass here for practicing Catholics, but even non-Catholics will enjoy seeing the gold and silver altars and paintings inside.

Eight Sensory Things to Do in Cusco with Kids building

Autism Travel Tips:

  • With so much to see, visitors should plan to spend a couple of hours inside.
  • The steps outside the Cathedral and the benches in front of the fountain in the middle of the plaza are a great place for a rest before going inside.

Saqsaywaman

Saqsaywaman (“sexy woman” is the joke of the name) is an amazing archaeological site of an ancient citadel above the city of Cusco. At Saqsaywaman, visitors can get up close to the stones and see how carefully they fit together. They can also understand how difficult it might have been to put the buildings together. It is wide open, giving visitors plenty of space, and there are special ceremonies held here on the winter solstice and the festival of Warachikuy, held on the third Sunday in September.

Eight Sensory Things to Do in Cusco with Kids park

 

Autism Travel Tips:

  • There is a fee to get into the site.
  • We recommend getting a tour guide to explain the significance of the structures.
  • Wear closed-toe comfortable shoes as the ground is uneven.

San Pedro Market

The San Pedro Market is an experience for the senses for sure, and a great place to stop and grab some lunch. Similar to a farmer’s market, this is a great place to learn about all the different kinds of foods available in Peru. Visitors can even find Andean art and textiles here. Many say this is the best market they’ve seen in South America, so travelers should make a point to stop by and find out for themselves. The market is open daily until five pm and is located in the Plaza San Francisco.

Eight Sensory Things to Do in Cusco with Kids market

Autism Travel Tips:

  • It can get crowded with tourists, so be prepared for those who might get overwhelmed.
  • Vegetarians/vegans and those with smell sensitivities should avoid the section with meats.

Planetarium Cusco

The Planetarium Cusco is not like most planetariums. Staff meet guests in downtown Cusco and take them to the location via van. Visitors learn about the role of astronomy in Incan culture as well as the stars they will see in the Southern Hemisphere. If the sky is clear, they will get to use the telescopes to see the stars for themselves.

Eight Sensory Things to Do in Cusco with Kids statue

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Visitors will need to make reservations online and confirm ahead of time.

Cusco Celebration Days

Throughout the year, Cusco has several traditional festivals and ceremonies. The festivals feature traditional Incan clothing and dancing, and quite often a parade through the main part of town.

Eight Sensory Things to Do in Cusco with Kids celebration

Autism Travel Tips:

  • While these events are tons of fun, they can also be quite loud and crowded.
  • Some of the masks can be a bit scary for younger visitors.

 

Riviera Maya’s Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism

 

Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism pin

 

Mexico’s sprawling Riviera Maya is home to many beach resorts and parks. As new venues are added, it can be difficult for families with autism to know which ones may be the best options to visit. After a decade of vacationing in the beach towns of Cancún and the nearby Cozumel,  our top choices are- Xel-Há, Chankanaab, and Xcaret.

Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism logoon

Xel-Ha

Xel-Há, located in the Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo. Known for its sustainable tourism model it is our number one pick for families with autism. The main reasons for our recommendation are that it is less crowded and more peaceful than its counterparts.The water as our son described was so clear and clean that he felt like he was swimming in an aquarium.

Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism kids

Family activities include snorkeling the Xel-Ha river and exploring the Mayan cenotes. For the more active visitors, the park offers a climbing course that guests can jump into the cove from and the Trepachanga challenge that consists of walking between two ropes suspended over the river. Additional attractions are swimming with dolphins, stingrays, manatees and sea trekking. For the younger kids, Xel-Ha features a wading pool with a water slide, a playground with a rope course and even a crawl tunnel.

 

Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism huts

The park provides water equipment, Wi-Fi, lockers, bathrooms, and showers. Furthermore, day .the venue boasts four restaurants and four bars that are open throughout the day. The Chulavista and Cucina del Pueblo offer international and Mexican fare while  La Terraza and Jardin Corona specialize in fast food and grilled meats dishes.

Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism meats

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Wheelchairs are available for those who might need one.
  • The park provides life jackets, so parents don’t have to bring their own.
  • Since this is a protected water area, parents have to buy special sunscreen from the park’s shop.
  • For temperature-sensitive kids, parents should bring water shoes as the sand can get hot.
  • Park eateries don’t cater to special diets.
  • Parents should bring hand wipes to clean the kids’ hands after touching sea life, birds, and animals.
  • Families should bring along a mini first-aid kit in case their kids get minor cuts while swimming in the caves.Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism lizard

Xcaret

Xcaret, “small inlet” in Mayan, is located on the spot that is said to have been a ceremonial center and a  starting point for the ancient ritual pilgrimage by canoers to Cozumel, to worship the goddess Ixchel.The eco-archaeological park catering to locals as well as tourists is more crowded than our two other recommended venues. With that said it does offer a plethora of activities that all family members can enjoy including visitors with autism.
Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism parrots

From touring a replica Mayan village, dancing to tribal music, trekking through a mini tropical jungle to exploring the Museum of Mexican folk art at Hacienda Henequenera, families can keep busy while learning more about Mexico and its culture.Visitors seeking animal encounters can enjoy swimming with Dolphins, Stingrays or even sharks!  Also, the park is home to various birds like flamingos and macaw parrots which can be watched in individual enclosures.

Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism gear

Xcaret has complimentary Wi-Fi, lockers, restrooms, and showers on-site but guests should bring their towels.The park provides pick-up shuttles from many of the local hotels for an additional fee.Unlike Xel -Ha and Chankanaab, Xcaret stays open in the evenings until ten-thirty pm. There is a fee to use snorkel gear, and all extras (swimming with the dolphins, swimming with stingrays or Sea Trek) are an additional charge.
Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism loungers

 

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The cavern swim is very long, though there are stops where swimmers can get out every hundred feet or so. Nonetheless, this activity is not recommended if your kid is not a strong swimmer.
  • The “Xcaret Mexico Spectacular”  night show is lively and noisy, so parents to noise sensitive kids should bring earplugs.
  • At times the park shows and attractions can get crowded. Parents should prepare their kids to long waits since there are no autism accommodations.
  • Wheelchairs, scooters, and strollers are available to rent, but visitors should be advised that only 50% of the park is wheelchair accessible.
  • Any sunscreen used should be free of the following chemicals: Benzophenone, Etilhexila, Homosalate, Octyl methoxycinnamate, Octyl salicylate, Octinoxate, Oxybenzone, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane.
  • For children on a restricted diet, parents should bring food.
  • Parents sure bring plenty of hand wipes as the kids are going to touch sea life, birds, and animals.
  • Families should bring a mini first-aid kit in case of minor scrapes and bruises.Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism island

 

Chankanaab

Located in Cozumel’s National Marine Park, Chankanaab  (Mayan for small sea ) is a remnant of an old Mayan settlement. The park boasts pristine swimming and snorkel areas, as well as a sheltered children’s shallow lagoon. There are chaise lounges and straw umbrellas spread throughout te stretch of the beachfront though they do tend to become occupied by midday when cruise ships are in town. Travelers don’t have to worry about bringing their gear since there are multiple places to rent snorkeling and diving equipment.
Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism scuba

When it comes to animal encounters this park is similar to the others. Guests can swim with sea lions, manatees or partake in dolphin encounters. The Sea lion shows are included in the admission price, and patrons are invited to meet the sea lions after the show.

Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism sealions

Families can also explore the park’s botanical garden with over 350 species of tropical plants,  walk around a Mayan village replica with huts that show how the ancient Mayans lived, or relax in the tranquil hammock area.Park amenities include restrooms with showers, lockers, three restaurants and a snack bar.

Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism beach

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The entrance to one of the snorkeling areas is pretty rocky and has some coral around. Therefore, parents may want to be extra careful or bring a pair of socks/water shoes.
  • The park tends to get crowded, so parents should make sure to watch their kids, so they don’t get lost.
  • The park doesn’t provide any autism accommodations for the shows.
  • For children on a restricted diet, parents should bring food.
  • Parents sure bring plenty of hand wipes as the kids are going to touch sea life, birds, and animals.
  • Families should bring a mini first-aid kit in case of minor accidents.

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring Mexico’s Chichen Itza with Kids

;Exploring Mexico's Chichen Itza with Kids pin

Chichen Itza, the pre-Columbian Mayan city in Mexico’s  Yucatan Peninsula, is a famous archaeological site and tourist destination. Parents wishing to introduce their kids to history, archaeology, or ancient architecture should put this gem on their travel bucket list.

Chichen Itza’s  history

This UNESCO site situated in the eastern portion of Yucatán state of Mexico is about 125 kilometers west of Cancun and Cozumel. With its rugged cliffs, soaring pyramids, massive temples, grand carved columns, and extensive sports fields, Chichen Itza makes for a memorable day trip spot to visit with kids.

Archaeologists believe the city of Chichen Itza was settled between 750 and 900 AD. By the 10th century, the city gained fame as a capital of the central Yucatan becoming the center of  Mayan political, cultural, and economic life.

In the 13th century, Hunac Ceel, a ruler of Mayapan, managed to take over the city after supposedly prophesying his takeover of it.When Spanish explorers arrived three centuries later, they found a thriving city. After conquering the Yucatan peninsula, Montejo the Younger renamed the city Ciudad Real. Montejo was forced out by the Mayans in 1534, only to capture the area again, and transform Chichen Itza into a cattle ranch by 1588.

The city was virtually forgotten until 1834 when John Lloyd Stephens published his book  Incidents of Travel in Yucatan. Stephens’ account of exploring the area inspired other explorers like Désiré Charnay in 1860 and Edward Herbert Thompson in 1894 to visit the city.

However, it was only in 1913 that a team of archaeologists, lead by  Sylvanus G. Morley, finally started to work at the site. Needless to mention, the Mexican Revolution and WWI  delayed the excavations.

Exploring Mexico's Chichen Itza with Kids carving

Getting There

Travelers from Cancun or Playa del Carmen can rent cars and drive to the Mayan city. Rentals range from $80-100 per day. Though the road to Chichen Itza is predominantly flat and straight, visitors should be aware that road signs are in Spanish, and some motor vehicle laws are different in Mexico so hiring a cab driver for the day or booking a guided tour may be a better choice.

Those staying at a major hotel can ask the property’s concierge to arrange a  guided bus tour that costs around 450 pesos per person. The buses are usually reliable, comfortable, and air-conditioned.

Tourists wishing to hire a driver for the day can do so from Cancun and Playa del Carmen as well as on the return route from Chichen Itza. Some local taxi drivers do drive dangerously and at excessive speeds that may frighten many American tourists though most will slow down when asked.

 

Exploring Mexico's Chichen Itza with Kids pyramid

Highlights

As mentioned before, Chichen Itza is a fascinating destination with a lot to see for those interested in history. However, for those traveling with special needs or younger kids seeing everything might not be a viable option.
So, for those wishing to hit the main highlights, we recommend the following three landmarks.

El Castillo

One of the most iconic features of Chichen Itza, El Castillo , is a step-pyramid temple standing about 30 meters high. Following a worldwide vote, the giant pyramid was recognized as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Excavations in the 1930s by the Mexican government revealed a whole second temple buried below the official one. The excavation revealed a Chac Mool statue as well as a Jaguar shaped throne tucked away in the second temple.
Shortly after this discovery, the local government commissioned the digging of a tunnel so tourists could access the second “hidden” temple.

Travelers who visit during the Spring and Summer Equinox might be able to see shadows resembling serpents wiggling down the staircase. Some scholars and scientists have suggested these shadows were designed to represent Kukulkan, the Mayan feathered serpent god.

Nowadays, Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia that manages the site has closed the monuments to public access to preserve the ancient ruins. While visitors can still walk around the ruins, no one can climb or go inside the pyramids.

Nowadays,Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia that manages the site has closed  its monuments to public access to help preserve the ancient ruins. While visitors can still walk around the ruins but no one can climb or go inside the pyramids.

 

Exploring Mexico's Chichen Itza with Kids pyramid2

 

Great Ball Court

Those who have studied Mesoamerican culture may remember  the Mayan ballgame, often referred to as Ollamaliztli.
Chichen Itza boasts its own Great Ball Court; 168 meters wide that is just northwest of the Castillo Pyramid.
This court is considered one of the most well-preserved ball courts of its kind from ancient Mesoamerica. Visitors can observe sculpted scenes of  games along the walls, one of which depicts a decapitated athlete. Furthermore, the playing areas are surrounded by high walled platforms (over 8 meters high) and ringers carved with feathered serpents, yet another nod to Kukulkan.

 

Exploring Mexico's Chichen Itza with Kids stone

Sacred Cenote

This beautiful and diverse travel destination features dry bed soil with several rivers running underground. Over the years, these rivers have created large, sinkholes called cenotes, which tourists can explore .
Though there are many cenotes throughout the Yucatan Peninsula  The Cenote Sagrada, over 50 meters in diameter, is the most well-known.

According to findings, this cenote was a place of pilgrimage for the Mayans wishing to perform sacrifices during  periods of  drought. Thousands of artifacts made of gold, jade, pottery, obsidian, and cloth have been found in this cenote. But not only objects were sacrificed in this spot. Archaeologists have also uncovered the skeletons of children and men.

Cost

The current entrance fee is 98 pesos and includes access to the show. In addition, lockers and translation equipment for English, French, Italian, and German are available for renting. There is a souvenir shop where guests can buy trinkets. Our son fell in love with and bought a mini replica of El Castillo.

Exploring Mexico's Chichen Itza with Kids top

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Most tourists prefer to visit early in the day before the hottest part of the day makes it very uncomfortable for those sensitive to heat.
  • Like many other archeological sites, Chichen Itza is unpaved and grassy so it can get quite muddy after rain. Parents should come prepared with comfortable close-toes walking shoes, hats, sunscreen, and ponchos .
  • Chichen Itza is an open space, so there are no lines; helpful for families with autism who wish to tour the place at their own pace.
  • Though Chichen Itza does have a  place to buy food and snacks ;visitors might want to bring their own bottled water on the day trip. The location provides toilets, however bringing a travel sized Lysol spray and hand wipes is highly recommended.
  • Visitors can see a light and sound show every night. Parents will want to bring a pair of binoculars as star-gazing, and birding is spectacular in the region.
  •  Parents should remind their kids that climbing on the pyramid and ruins is prohibited.

Exploring Mexico's Chichen Itza with Kids sky

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru pin

Since 1984 when the first JW Marriott opened, the brand has been known for its service quality, exquisite dining and lodging excellence in many countries all over the world.

In 2012, the chain opened yet another luxurious property in Esquina de la Calle Ruinas y San Agustin Cusco, Peru. Over 11,000 feet above sea level, it is the first Marriot to require supplemental oxygen pumped into the air into all its six floors, 146 rooms, seven suites, and lobby and public areas to compensate for the high altitude.

The JW Marriott El Centro Cusco Peru

Roughly an hour away from Machu Picchu, a UNESCO world heritage site, the premises was built on top of ancient Incan ruins and incorporated into a convent from the 1500s. These ruins have been exquisitely transformed into a museum.
The elaborate Spanish décor can be seen throughout the hotel and in the rooms. As visitors walk through the heavy wooden front doors, they will see a magnificent Swarovski crystal chandelier at the reception. Guests can see an archaeological exhibition room with Incan artifacts unearthed during construction of the hotel. There is a sizeable inner courtyard, just the place to take some time to imagine yourself in the past.

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru window

Fellow Guests

You will be sharing this hotel with patrons who have come for sightseeing or business, couples on romantic getaways as well as families who have come to visit this historical capital of Peru. The city is a huge tourist destination with over 2 million people coming to visit every year since UNESCO designated it a world heritage site in 1983.

Our Rooms

Upon our arrival to the hotel, we were enveloped by the feeling of peaceful serenity and we were welcomed with a special Peruvian tea ceremony which was both soothing and relaxing. It also helps acclimate guests to the altitude.
The staff showed us to our connecting rooms that featured durable, heavy doors.We could see the city of Cusco from the windows with the town’s main square nearby and cobblestones. It is quite picturesque.

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru bed

Each room was a feast for the eyes. All the furniture was handmade and the desk, like the beds, featured beautifully carved legs. The rooms had plenty of power sockets for charging some portable devices at the same time. The wooden backboard for both the king-sized and two double beds in the adjoining room with the geometrically patterned rugs on the wooden floors gave the suite an authentic Peruvian feel. Also, there was a living room with a sitting area decorated with local artwork on the walls and colorful tapestries and rugs.

There were coffee makers and an empty mini-fridge in each room which meant guests could store their perishables at will. Both rooms came with ample storage space with chests of drawers, nightstands, and closets, as well as the place to put luggage.

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru toiletries

Both rooms had bathrooms with marble countertops, vanity mirrors, and showers with a recessed overhead rainforest fixtures. Our room, which featured the king sized bed, also had an additional bathtub which made for a relaxing escape after hiking the entire day. The hotel provided an elaborate amenity kit, fluffy towels, and bathrobes, along with slippers for each room.

Dining options

At the hotel, there were three restaurants from which to choose.

First was the Pirqa Restaurant Cusco venue, well known for their traditional Peruvian cuisine.
The second choice was the Qespi Bar, famous for its tapas and Peruvian cocktails.
Finally, there was the Nina Soncco Lounge, which had a fireplace emphasizing a comfortable atmosphere.

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru dining

Breakfast

The buffet spread was a wonderful way to start the day!
It boasted cereals and beverages including fresh juices like papaya and pineapple. Following that, we saw various rolls, muffins, and flatbreads made from corn and other grains. We sampled their peasant bread, chocolate, orange cakes, and jams.
One of the traditional stations had a lovely selection of cold cuts, cheeses, and smoked salmon. At the fruit station, patrons enjoyed sliced fruit and different yogurts. The hot food station had sausages, bacon, mushrooms, deep-pork, sweet potato, chicken stroganoff, and frittata.

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru items
The ‘sweets’ area included cookies, pancakes, and waffles served with assorted syrups and traditional sweetened condensed milk. At the egg station, the buffet served sunny-side-up, easy-over, omelet, scrambled and even eggs benedict.
Believe me, everything was delicious, we tried them all!

Spa and Pool

The JW Marriott Cusco staff offers their guests a variety of holistic services and cleansing treatments as well as an indoor heated serenity pool. The spa offers a steam room, massage rooms, and beauty therapies. Since the spa is pretty famous in Cusco, it is important to book in advance as it is not only guests who take advantage of this service but locals too.

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru pool

Cooking with the Chef

We had the opportunity to take part in a pilot program. Here, we enjoyed a private cooking class with Teddy Bouroncle, the hotel chef.

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru chef
Before we started on the food, the staff taught us how to make the world famous Pisco Sour cocktail, which was delicious.
We then learned how to prepare a beef dishes like Seabass ceviche, Anticucho, and Lomo Salado.
We also learned how to make Arroz-con-Leche and Suspiro-de-Limena, two of their traditional desserts.
Watching the professionalism and attention to hygiene was impressive. After the making of this grand feast, we got to eat everything at our own private table waited on by the staff.

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru food

There was much we loved during our stay, but there are two things that will be forever etched in our memories.
The cooking lessons turned our kids into Peruvian food addicts, and we now look for Peruvian restaurants everywhere we go. We also loved the fact that the hotel promoted local artistic professionals and featured the different crafts in the hotel courtyard for patrons to see.A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru woman

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The hotel takes special needs into consideration and has wheelchair accessibility to the main entrance and registration desk, rooms, restaurants, and lounges.
  • This property is a smoke-free hotel because of the extra oxygen pumped all around the premises. This fact works out well for anyone who is sensitive to smoke or has allergies. In our son’s case, he has asthma, so it helped.
  • The rooms have double curtains to make it dark for those who are sensitive to light.
  • If one of your parties has sensitivities to noise, I recommend that you request an Inca wall room. These rooms are quieter than the Courtyard rooms.
  • Guests can ask for more oxygen if needed. There are also air-conditioning controls for those who are sensitive to temperature extremes.
  • There is complimentary high-speed wireless Internet available throughout the hotel for guests.
  • The mini-fridge in the room is useful for keeping special snacks and medicines for those who have specific medical needs.
  • If your family is unable to make a meal because you are planning a day-trip and have an early start, it is possible to coordinate with the hotel. They can get the kitchen to pack a boxed continental breakfast for you.
  • If you do need grocery supplies or anything else for your trip, the hotel has a convenient mini-market right across the street.
  • There is 24-hour room service which is handy if you need a snack for your special needs child in the middle of the night.
  • There are free evening tours given by hotel staff, perfect for learning more about the hotel’s heritage and history as well as the renovation that led to it being the fantastic hotel it is.

 

Visiting Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia

Situated on the banks of the “River of Silver” Platte River is the capital city of Argentina – the amazing Buenos Aires which in Spanish means “fair winds.”
In the 1700s, cattle ranching in the expansive grasslands around this metropolis was an important tool for survival because trade in leather hides between Europe and Latin America had become standard.
Just like in other countries, the history of this predominantly Spanish-speaking country is wealthy and varied. Its people, including the farmers, have experienced dictatorships, coups, massacres, droughts, famines, floods, and recessions.

Over the centuries, its population have banded together and are proud of their accomplishments despite the hardships they endured. Nowadays, the country is doing much better and has become attractive to tourists from all over the world. The capital of Buenos Aires still has its fair winds, but the dramas and crises seem to be a thing of the past.

The city has become a hub of class and culture; there are museums, theaters, art galleries, restaurants and a very active nightlife with clubs, and bars.However, if you are willing to go off the beaten track for something a little bit different, you need to try to visit an Argentinian estancia.

 

Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip peacock


Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip cutouts

About Don Silvano Estancia

An estancia is a farm or ranch, and the ranch hands or gauchos being the Cowboys of the grassy plains or Argentinean pampas. In recent years, it has become standard practice for the ranchers to open up their homes to invite guests and tourists to experience a day on their estate as not only as a to spruce up diminishing profits but as a way to boost local tourism too.
Some owners have converted their estancia into flourishing resorts and destination getaways while others strive to introduce their guests to the more authentic parts of ranch day to day life in a ‘día de Campo – a day in the countryside.’
The Don Silvano Estancia has a long history, and the ranch has been handed down through the years and been kept in the family for four generations. The property is about 380 hectares in size and as renovated rooms for the guests who opt to stay there for a few days as well as a large hall that can comfortably seat over 300 diners, some of which come as day visitors.
Being a ranch, it, of course, has stables and other farm buildings which you can see when you arrive and do a tour. They encourage you to feel at home on the estancia and take part in various demonstrations like cow-milking, horse-saddling, and empanada-making! The staff offers tractor rides and have gaucho shows;  where the cowboys demonstrate how skilled and talented, they are on horseback.
The ranch even has its store for souvenirs and a museum detailing the history and development of the property that offers a lovely tribute to the family.

Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip barn


Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip kitchen

Our Estancia Experience

We decided to take the visitor day trip from Buenos Aires that offered a  chance to sample the Argentinian countryside.
The tour operator picked us up from our hotel for the hour long car ride which was very convenient since one can enjoy the scenery of the flat grasslands without needing to concentrate on the driving. 

On our arrival at the ranch, we were welcomed by the estancia welcoming committee farm;  the peacock strutting his stuff and a beautiful show rooster that made a point of staying in the bus loading area to watch the guests’ arrival.
Next, we were shown to one of the original dwellings where the hosts welcomed everyone with cold libations ( wine for the adults, sodas for the kids) and empanadas that were made right there in a makeshift coal oven.The staff also makes cookies and bread which compared with the farmyard smell outside smelled quite heavenly. I would have love to pocket the aromas from this kitchen as a souvenir to bring home.

 

Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip geese


Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip flamingo

As guests walk around the farmyard, they get to see the different aspects of farm life including the cooking and artisans making handmade tapestries and clothing items while traditional music is played in the background.The ranch featured miniature cows with their short, stumpy legs, plenty of foul in the form of chicken ducks and geese; even a hen and her cute chicks walking about nonchalantly on the BBQ coals that were scheduled to be used later on that day.We came across a pitiful-looking lone donkey twitching its tail and abdomen because of flies surrounding it and plenty of horses that were used both for the farm staff and the visitors. We couldn’t stop giggling at the farm dog who thought he was a horse and followed them around like he was one of them. 

Guests get seated for their fix menu BBQ lunch included in the tour price in the big hall at a set hour.   There are salads on the table as well as wine and cola. They have attractive décor with old children’s toys hanging from the ceiling which you look at while you wait for them to bring the traditional grilled meat. Following this is the dancing to classical music with guitars and an accordion. They bring out live entertainment, flamenco-style dancers, and singers all in traditional costume. They even had a comedy act in the form of an American song. They encourage all the guests and visitors to the farm get up and dance, join the performers on the stage. After the meal, the guests are free to go and enjoy the outdoors, take a leisurely walk by foot or horseback and be back in time for the shuttle to return them to Buenos Aires.

Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip turkey


Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip horses

 

Autism Travel Tips

  • Both the links to Don Silvano Estancia’s website and The Don Silvano Facebook page are in Spanish, but you can give your English-speaking child a good idea of what to expect by showing them the pictures.
  • Have everyone wear closed toe shoes and pack an extra pair of clothes for everyone since it is rather easy to land in the mud or get dirty from the different animals.
  • Pack plenty of hand sanitizer to use after touching the various farm animals as well as insect repellent and sunscreen!
  • The lunch hall is large with long tables that seat twenty some people each if your kid is noise sensitive make sure you sit at the end of the table away from the entertainment.
  • *For those who are sensitive to smells, it is critical to prepare them that it is a ranch with animals, and some of the smells in the farmyard are extremely potent and offensive.
  • For those who are sensitive to sounds, inside the dining hall with sometimes over 300 people and all the dancing and music, it can be overwhelming and loud. Tell your child to let you know if it is too much for them so that you can retreat to a quieter place outside or bring headphones to be able to block out the sound.
    No special menu is currently offered, but those on a GFCF  diet can eat the large meat dishes offered.
    Furthermore, the gaucho show is outdoors and can be noisy. If your child is sensitive, then don’t sit in the front rows since there is quite a bit of dust flying from the horses galloping about
  • The ranch isn’t wheelchair user accessible through the main areas to the entrance, the dining hall and restrooms are paved.Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip dogDon Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip lunch

 

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