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From Paddington to Peru

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The enchanting, loveable bear from 'darkest Peru' who ended up in Paddington station may not know much about his native land, but would no doubt enjoy this holiday which is ideal for all the family.  Offering the chance to see real live Peruvian spectacled bears in their own natural environment, the holiday also explores magnificent Inca ruins with a backdrop of snow-spangled Andean peaks in the Sacred Valley of the Incas and at Machu Picchu, further downstream, where the Urubamba river crashes towards the Amazon basin.

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Transfer to hotel in Miraflores

Day 2

A unique day exploring the street life and markets of Lima

Day 3

Fly to Chiclayo and transfer to your hotel

Day 4

Full day guided excursion to Sipan and the Royal Tombs Museum

Day 5-6

Transfer to Chaparri Eco-Lodge. Guided excursions from the lodge.

Day 7

Return to Chiclayo for one night

Day 8

Fly to Cusco via Lima and transfer to your hotel. Visit the Choco museum in the afternoon.

Day 9

Walking city tour

Day 10

Explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Overnight there

Day 11

Walking tour around Huilloc and Pumamarca.

Day 12

By train to Machu Picchu, guided tour. Overnight nearby.

Day 13

Optional revisit to the site or visit the Spectacled bear project, return to Cusco.

Day 14

Transfer to the airport and fly to Lima. Connect with you international flight home

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What our experts say

Much like the eponymous Paddington, this family holiday is quirky and fun! I love the mix of unusual wildlife and classic highlights – it’s a great holiday for children and for parents who are looking for something a bit different.

Laura

Laura Rendell-Dunn

Product and Marketing

Places visited on this holiday

From Paddington to Peru

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Lima Cathedral
A city as huge and dynamic as Lima, City of Kings, is bound to offer something of interest to all visitors. Lovers of architecture and history will thrill to the monumental cathedral and Presidential Palace in the Plaza de Armas, and colonial wooden balconies overhanging atmospheric lanes in the spruced-up centre. But out on the Pacific coast are the smart, modern middle-class suburbs of Miraflores and Barranco, brimming with sophisticated restaurants, boutiques and live music. The traffic is horrendous, but the city has some of the Spanish Empire’s best museums; it’s well worth crossing town to find them.
When to go
A cold Pacific current puts the kibosh on the tropical climate you might expect and a chilly mist hovers over the city May-Nov. But as this is the best time to visit the Andes, you may have to visit Lima at this time. In the southern summer the sun breaks through, happy limeños spill out onto the pavement bars, ice cream parlours and beaches.
Language

Spanish.

Getting local currency
Peruvian Nuevo Sol. Notes in local currency or US dollars can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. Numerous money exchange offices exchange US dollars cash (few accept euros or sterling and the rate may be poor).
Time difference

GMT -5 hours.

Combines with

The pre-Columbian adobe ruins of a ceremonial centre at Pachacamac  in the desert just 31 km south of Lima;  Paracas National Park, 214 km (3-4 hours’ drive) down the coast, for the Ballestas Islands “mini-Galápagos” Nature Reserve;  the Moche pyramids at Chan Chan, near Trujillo, 561 km (8 hours on the Pan American Highway or 1 hour by air); Cajamarca, charming Andean colonial town, 856km, (12 hours by scenic road or 90 mins by air).

Flight time from UK

Average flight time to Lima is 12.5 hours. There is a direct flight from London Gatwick to Lima. Popular non-direct routes to Lima involve a change of plane in Amsterdam, Paris or Madrid.

Key events
Gran Serenata: Live music in the Plaza de Armas on 17 Jan to celebrate the city’s foundation.
Semana Santa, Easter. Many religious processions.
Peru Art Week:   Annually in May.  Museums, art galleries and open air exhibitions in Barranco, Miraflores and San Isidro welcome visitors. Independence Day (Fiestas Patrias): 28 Jul annually: celebrated in plazas and parks throughout the city centre, with music and fireworks in the main plaza the evening before. On the final day a Great Military Parade takes place on either Avenida Brasil or Avenida De La Peruanidad.
Corpus Christi: Jun. Statues of the Virgin Mary and saints have a day out from their churches and are paraded to the Cathedral.
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Northern Peru
Northern Peru
The Pacific coast and Andean heartland of northern Peru is unfairly neglected by visitors in favour of the treasures of the south. The region is absolutely choc-a-bloc with vestiges of bygone civilisations, often as inspiring as the Inca. The untouched mountain landscapes and little-seen archaeological delights well reward travellers who make the sometimes long journeys to discover them.  The attractive colonial towns of Trujillo and Cajamarca, 2,750m, have preserved much of their character, and are excellent bases for visits to the adobe pyramids of Chan Chan, and Inca baths and aqueducts respectively. Kuelap, one of the continent’s most dramatic temple fortresses is accessible via Chachapoyas, 2,335m, from the port of Chiclayo.
When to go

Northern Peru can be visited at any time of year but unpaved roads inland can get very muddy in the rainy season Jan-Mar.

Language

Spanish.

Getting local currency
Peruvian Nuevo Sol. Notes in local currency or US dollars can be withdrawn from ATMs in the larger towns using a UK credit or debit card. Numerous money exchange offices exchange US dollars cash (few accept euros or sterling and the rate may be poor).
Time difference

GMT -5 hours.

Combines with

A beach wind down in Máncora, trendy but low-key sea and surf resort on the northwest coast; pre-Columbian ruins of a ceremonial centre at Pachacamac  in the desert just 31 km from Lima; the Inca sites around Cusco, including Machu Picchu (1 hour flight from Lima); a trek in the Cordillera Blanca from Huaraz, mountaineering town halfway between Trujillo and Lima.

Getting there

Frequent flights from Lima to Trujillo take 1 hour 12 mins and 1 hour 30 mins to Chiclayo or Cajamarca.

Key events

National Marinera Contest; Trujillo, 2 weeks from the end of Jan. Dancing couples compete in 6 categories.

Festival de la Primavera: Trujillo, last week of Sept. Pageants, floats and parades, and a competition of riders of the famous Peruvian Caballos de Paso horses famed for their extra tripping gait.

Fiesta de la Purísima Concepción: Chiclayo, 8 days prior to Carnival and also in Sep. Celebrates the town’s patron saint, with dancing, fireworks, cock fights and sporting events. 

Carnival Cajamarca in a full-on affair with processions, dances and paint-throwing.
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Cusco
High in a fertile mountain valley at 3,399m and surrounded by the lofty ice peaks of the Andes, the former capital of the Inca Empire and Spanish colonial masterpiece, Cusco, was cut off from the rest of the world until about 100 years ago. Now it is recognised as one of the most enticing, unspoilt cities on the continent. The history running through its veins is exposed in the meticulous masonry of the Inca temples, the baroque intricacy of its golden churches and palaces and the lively markets, fiestas, art galleries, boutique hotels and gourmet restaurants of the present day city. Here you can immerse yourself totally in Peru’s rich cultural mix.
When to go
Cusco can be visited throughout the year. Most visitors will use climate as a criterion but others may be attracted by any one of numerous fiestas: Inti Raymi, Easter, Corpus Christi, Christmas. The dry season when sunny days can be expected runs May-Oct but in Jun-Jul it can be below freezing at night.  Rain falls Jan-Mar.
Language

Spanish.

Getting local currency
Peruvian Nuevo Sol. Notes in local currency or US dollars can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. Numerous money exchanges (casas de cambio) change US dollars cash (few accept euros or sterling and the rate may be poor).
Time difference

GMT -5 hours.

Combines with

The Sacred Valley of the Incas, 53 km by road; Machu Picchu, 75km by road and rail; Tambopata and the lodges of the southern Amazon, 1 hour by air; Lake Titicaca, 6-9 hours by road or 10 hours by train; Colca Canyon, 236km by road.

Getting there

Flights to Cusco from Lima take 1 hour.

Key events

Inti Raymi:  24 Jun. Inca festival of the winter solstice celebrated at the temple of Sacsayhuamán.

El Señor de los Temblores:  Variable. Vast Easter Monday religious procession.

Corpus Christi: Jun. Statues of the Virgin Mary and saints have a day out from their churches and are paraded to the Cathedral.
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Sacred Valley of the Incas
Sacred valley
The Sacred Valley of the Incas was both the Inca civilisation’s breadbasket and its spiritual home. Nowadays, its appeal is not just the fast-flowing, broom-lined River Urubamba, rushing relentlessly towards the Amazon basin. Nor the parade of spiky snow-stifled peaks alongside; nor the adobe colonial villages, nor the monumental ruined Inca cities and temples. Nor the earthy quilt of sunlit fields bursting with maize, fruit, flowers and vegetables.  It’s the combination of all these which makes the Sacred Valley such a unique and gorgeous place for visitors. Now peppered with hotels from family hostels to first class boutique hotels, it’s increasingly a place to linger for a few days; lower in altitude than Cusco, 3,399m,  and conveniently en route to Machu Picchu, 2,430m.
When to go
The Sacred Valley can be visited throughout the year. The dry season, when sunny days can be expected, runs May-Oct. Travel in Apr-Jun and you’ll find the l fields full of ripening produce.
Language

Spanish and Quechua.

Getting local currency
Peruvian Nuevo Sol. US dollars can be exchanged for local currency in a couple of small shops in Ollantaytambo and Pisac but you are better off using an ATM in Cusco or at the airport before heading into the valley.
Time difference

GMT -5 hours.

Combines with

Cusco, 53 km by road; Machu Picchu, 23km by rail; Tambopata and the lodges of the southern Amazon, 1 hour by air from Cusco; Lake Titicaca, 6-9 hours by road or 10 hours by train from Cusco; Colca Canyon, 280km by road.

Getting there

Flights to Cusco from Lima take one hour.

Key events
Semana Santa, Easter. Processions and other celebrations in towns and villages.

Carnival: Feb/Mar. Celebrations start in Pisac 7 weeks before Easter Sunday with competing dance groups and continue in local villages.

Reyes Magos: 6 Jan in Ollantaytambo. Commemorates the Three Wise Men, with statues of poncho-clad Jesus brought down from the mountains. A fair, bull-fighting and dancing.

Señor de Choquekillca:  Variable, 50 days after Easter Sunday; but spreading over 4 days. Ollantaytambo celebrates its patron saint’s day with dances, processions, masses, a cockfight and bullfight.

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Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
So remote that it was discovered by Hiram Bingham only 100-odd years ago, Machu Picchu is now disarmingly accessible.  The journey there by road and rail through an ever-tightening river gorge is all part of an amazing experience of multiple sensations. Everyone is familiar with the dramatic shot of the citadel, astride a series of man-hewn terraces carved into a rainforest-clad mountain saddle at 2,430m in the Andean foothills. A visit never disappoints: the steep stone staircases, bridges, temples, houses and palaces are easy to explore, and beg to be photographed.
When to go

Machu Picchu can be visited throughout the year. With its humid climate, the city can be shrouded in mist at any time, but you’d be unlucky if the sun didn’t shine at some time during your visit. Most rain falls Dec-Mar.

Language

Spanish.

Getting local currency
Peruvian Nuevo Sol. There are no banks in the village and exchange rates for cash are poor. Obtain notes in advance in local currency or US dollars from the many ATMs in Cusco or at airports, using a UK credit or debit card.
Time difference

GMT -5 hours.

Combines with

The Sacred Valley of the Incas, 23 km by rail; Cusco, 75 km by road and rail; Tambopata and the lodges of the southern Amazon, 1 hour by air from Cusco; Lake Titicaca, 6-9 hours by road or 10 hours by train from Cusco.

Getting there

Flights to Cusco from Lima take one hour; from there it’s a 4 hour land journey to the site.

Key events
Cruz Velacuy: variable dates in May or Jun in Machu Picchu village. The community decorates the cross of its church and prepares it for its procession to churches in neighbouring villages. This celebration held in gratitude to pre-Columbian gods for bountiful harvests, also serves as a setting for folklore shows.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

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Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for over 37 years.
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From Paddington to Peru

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From Paddington to Peru

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The total price above excludes international flights at beginning and end of your trip. To add flights speak to one of our experts on 020 8747 8315.

From Paddington to Peru

14 days from £3,328pp

Price excludes international flights at the beginning and end of the trip

 

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Explore the dates and prices of this unique holiday to Latin America.

Due to flexible pricing and minimum room night requirements during peak times (such as New Year, Carnival and Easter) we may not always present all the dates we have available.

If your ideal travel date is not shown, call us on 020 8747 8315, or click on the 'Make an Online Enquiry' button to the right.

Prices exclude international flights at the beginning and end of the trip.

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