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The Llama Travel Blog

This trip has been in the offing since nearly two years ago when I was having lunch with Flo at our favourite eatery. She said to me, “Mum, do you still want to go to Peru?” . It’s something I’d dreamt of since learning about the people of the Andes at junior school, aged about 9 or 10 and had been inspired by the pictures of the people, their textiles and the mountains. We spent some time comparing companies and decided to go with Llama Travel, who gave us a good price and seemed friendly, experienced and well organised (the clue is in the name!).

So here I am in a twin room at the Casa Andina Select Hotel in Lima at the end of our first full day.

People have different reasons for travelling alone to Peru. Sometimes it’s an active choice, and sometimes it’s due to circumstances. Either way, if you’re considering solo travel, you probably have some questions: how much will it cost? Is it safe to travel alone in Peru? What about Spanish? Here we go through some common queries that people have when travelling alone for the first time.

The Amazon. Otherwise known as the ‘Lungs of Planet Earth’ because it produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen. It is a vast rainforest reaching into Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia, and boasts one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. Life here moves at a different pace, and you’ll find it easy to slip into the jungle way of life – early starts to watch the sunrise, daily excursions to visit remote tribes and learn about their culture, boat trips to see endless wildlife and night-time adventures to discover the magic that goes on when the sun sets and the jungle comes alive with nocturnal creatures.

I was lucky enough to enjoy a few days in the Ecuadorian Amazon earlier this year, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Here are a few of my highlights...

On visiting Machu Picchu, some people are content to wander amongst the ruins, while others are keen to get a different perspective on them. Climbing Huayna Picchu, the sugarloaf mountain which rises above the ruins, is a favoured challenge when it comes to seeking out an elevated vantage point. Becky, our  Australia sales manager did the climb on a backpacking trip a few years ago, and here she reminisces  on the experience.

The main area of Machu Picchu is quite compact and a three-hour tour of the site allows plenty of time to explore this. However, Machu Picchu is much more than just the main ruins, and there are several other visits that can be made in the area. My favourite of all of these is the climb up Machu Picchu Mountain. This is hard work, but immensely rewarding, with the best views in the area.

Graham, a member of the Llama Travel sales team was lucky enough to be sent on the 4 day Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu, a popular alternative to the renowned Inca Trail. This is his account of a magnificent four days.

During my four days of hiking the Salkantay Trail – the lesser known, but none-the-less stunning route to the fabled ancient city of the Incas, Machu Picchu – I was struck by the sheer beauty and diversity of the environment. We ascended ancient Inca paths guarded by majestic snow-capped peaks; navigated our way down rocky mountainous dirt paths in a throng of mule packs, and traipsed along valley paths enveloped in tropical foliage. This is a blow by blow account of the trail.

Latin America is a special part of the world, and each country offers its own gems. As the original Llama Travel destination though, Peru will always hold a special place in our hearts. Furthermore, as one of our most popular destinations, it is clear that our high opinion of Peru is widely shared. If you are wondering what all the fuss is about, read on for the reasons everybody loves Peru.

We're delighted that airlines are twigging on to the magic that is Latin America, and as the region's popularity grows, so airlines are responding. It is now easier than ever to get to Latin America from the UK,  with direct flights to various destinations throughout South and Central America. The latest flight announcement comes from British Airways, whose direct flight to San José, Costa Rica starts on April 27th 2016, and the direct flight to Lima, Peru starts on May 4th 2016. Both routes originate from London Gatwick

South America is a land of incredible vistas and astounding cities, but for me, the best thing about South America is the amazing animals that live there. From the long limbed Jabiru stork wading through the wetlands of the Pantanal, to the scuttling red Sally Lightfoot crabs that scamper the shores of the Galapagos Islands, and cheeky capuchin monkeys that swing through the treetops of Costa Rica, South America is a wildlife lover’s dream. The below list of my particular favourites only scratches the surface of the spectacular spectrum of wildlife that call the Americas home.

Next week sees the release of Paddington, a film adaptation of the classic children’s book series about a speckled bear who journeys from “darkest Peru” to England, and throws himself and everyone around him into a whirlwind of adventures.

Here at Llama Travel, we do the reverse; whisking people away from their cosy firesides in good old Blighty and off to the teeming jungles, vast lakes, soaring mountains and faraway cities of Peru and the rest of the Americas. Someone who took the reverse Paddington journey with us quite recently is Llama Travel’s own Sales Manager Graeme, and he found it hard to imagine why anyone, bear in a duffle coat or otherwise, would ever want to leave Peru!

Check out the below for Graeme’s top 5 list of what in darkest Peru is worth shining a spotlight on…