Life

Outdoors: 3 ways to see Paddington's Peruvian cousins in the flesh – sorry, fur

As Paddington 2 opens in cinemas this weekend, Sarah Marshall recommends the best places to see the spectacled bears that inspired the children's books character

Ahh... all he or she needs is a hat and a duffel coat. A Peruvian spectacled bear

CARRYING a suitcase stuffed with marmalade sandwiches, Paddington Bear – who celebrates his 60th anniversary next year – originated in deepest, darkest Peru, according to Michael Bond's much-loved stories.

Seeking an interesting homeland for his lost protagonist, children's author Bond settled on the South American country as it sounded exotic. But Peru does in fact have its own species of bear, the spectacled or Andean bear. If you want to see one in the flesh, try these options:

1. Learn the bear necessities with Inkaterra

Conservation-minded hotel group Inkaterra has a sanctuary on site at their Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. A new three-night package allows guests to shadow an Inkaterra Explorer Guide and Bear Keeper as they take care of the animals. From £1,020, all meals included, along with a tour of the Machu Picchu citadel. Flights not included. Visit inkaterra.com

2. Help them seek sanctuary in Chiclayo

There's another rehabilitation centre in Chiclayo on the northern coast of Peru, which is incorporated as part of a trip with Rainbow Tours. Along with a stay at Chaparri Lodge, guests can visit the Scared Valley, Cusco and Machu Picchu, where they'll also stop by at Inkaterra's rescue centre. The 12-night Darkest Peru: In Search of Paddington itinerary starts from £3,399 per person, including flights. Visit rainbowtours.co.uk

3. Go wild with bears and birds via the Colca Canyon

Seeing spectacled bears in the wild is tough, but Naturetrek give it a go on their 13-day Spectacled Bears & Andean Condors tour. Starting in the tropical dry forests of the north-west looking for Paddington's cousins, the trip continues south to the Colca Canyon and Islas Palomino. From £3,995 per person, including all meals and flights from London. Visit naturetrek.co.uk

:: For more information, visit peru.travel

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