When I was doing research for our Peru trip, I relied heavily on other family travelers, and fellow blogger AnEpicEducation.com and their advice for exploring Peru. They cautioned their readers to be aware of potential altitude sickness (as they had suffered) when they went into the higher elevations in the Andes of Peru, like Cusco. When I learned what was necessary to give us the best shot at not being horribly affected by the extreme higher altitudes (up to 14,444 feet at one point!), I decided we would take it slow and rather than fly from sea level Lima directly to Cusco (1152 m/ 11152 feet), that we would take our time in ascending so we could minimize any altitude sickness from sudden changes in elevation. Many other travelers had recommended the bus tour company Peru Hop, and after we looked into it, it sounded like exactly what we needed to acclimate slowly, and to see other parts of Peru on the way to Machu Picchu. I looked at their tickets and travel itineraries, and decided we would do the full-South to Cusco with stops in between, in both Peru & Bolivia. The tickets were not cheap, but were flexible (you could stay multiple days in each town stop along the way and then just get the next bus when you were ready to go to the next town), and included some extra side tours and a tour guide for the entire bus trip, as well as discounts on accomodations and meals in each town we stopped in along the way, and guaranteed and safe travel with an experienced tour group.
The kids tickets were the same price as adults, $250 USD per person. An easy thousand dollars down, but I thought for what we got a good value for it, slow acclimation to the elevated altitude, safe transportation and tours along the way, by people who know Peru. So after two weeks in Miraflores, Peru, we caught our first Peru Hop bus right near where we were staying, at 5:30am, and off to our first stop we went to Paracas, Peru. On the way, we stopped for breakfast then a side tour of the Undergound Slave Tunnels at Hacienda San José in El Carmen.