Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock recently, you’ll be well aware that our beloved bear, complete with red hat, duffel coat, suitcase and love of marmalade, is coming to the big screen later this month. The long awaited film, Paddington (in cinemas from 28 November), not only boasts a star-studded cast including Nicole Kidman, Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and Michael Gambon, but also promises to deliver a colourful adventure for the whole family.
You may also have seen the assortment of statues of the iconic bear dotted around London as part of the new Paddington Bear Trail. Celebrities from David Beckham to Emma Watson have designed the statues, which include bears named Golden Paws and Shakesbear, using aspects of their personality or profession to create Paddington’s outfit to mark the release of the new film.
Most fans of the iconic bear know that, although he may have been found at a London railway station, he is, of course, from Peru - deep in the Peruvian jungle, in fact.
Have your own adventure and travel to Peru to see spectacled bears in their home country on our Paddington Bear Project tour. The journey begins in Lima, Peru's capital, where the alfajor cookies served in cafés throughout the Miraflores district really are as good as Paddington Bear remembers.
Next up is Cusco, the gateway to the empire of the Incas, who once ranged as widely as the spectacled bear itself. You might be surprised to learn than Paddington's relatives are mostly shy and solitary creatures and, despite being one of the world's oldest bears, they are now critically endangered. There aren't any bears within the city limits, but instead llamas patrol its pre-Columbian and colonial streets.
No bear-seeking tour of Peru would be complete without a visit to the Inca site of Machu Picchu, with its crumbling temples, baths and palaces. Look out for wild spectacled bears on the site's south-western slopes on their way to the jungle. For face-to-face encounters of Paddington's real relatives, we take you to The Inkaterra Machu Picchu Spectacled Bear Project at the riverside town below. The sanctuary rehabilitates bears rescued from captivity and reintroduces them to the wild.
So, what are you waiting for? The real bears don’t wear duffel coats and Wellington boots, of course, but you’ll be charmed and delighted by their distinctive yellow features, expressive mouths and agile paws.
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