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.

 

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