Join me for a magical Photo Adventure to Peru, where we’ll photograph and explore mystical Inca citadels, World Heritage Sites, breathtaking mountains, and vibrant traditional culture.
I will be co-leading this tour with Darlene Hildebrandt of Digital Photo Mentor.
Our photo tour of Peru will take you to all of the right spots for a simply perfect shot. We’ll spend plenty of time photographing the country’s popular wonders, like Machu Picchu, as well as taking you on specially-designed excursions to photograph many of Peru’s hidden gems as well.
This expedition to Peru will take you from Lima to Arequipa, through the amazing and unique Colca Canyon, and stopping off to marvel one of the most ancient wonders of the world, Machu Picchu. For those craving more adventure there is an option of extending the tour by four days to journey into Amazon jungle with us.
Day 1 | August 31 – Arrive in Lima (D)
Upon arrival in Lima, you will be met at the airport, where you will be transferred to our hotel. After checking in you will be free to relax and get settled. We will formally meet as a group for the first time in the evening for a welcome orientation, followed by our first evening meal together at a nearby restaurant.
Day 2 | September 1 – Lima (B,L,D)
Our first full day together will be spent exploring Lima.
In the morning we will visit the main square (Plaza de Armas) and see the catacombs under Iglesia San Francisco. We’ll head back to the Miraflores district for lunch near our hotel.
In the late afternoon, we’ll head down to the ocean to a unique spot with dramatic cliffs for sunset. Then we’ll go down to the beach to browse the shops on the pier and photograph blue hour over the Pacific. Then we’ll have dinner at a spectacular restaurant over the water.
Day 3 | September 2 – Lima / Arequipa (B,L,D)
After enjoying breakfast together at our accommodations, we will travel to the airport to take a flight to Arequipa.
Arequipa is the colonial-era capital of the Arequipa Region framed by three volcanoes. This pretty town is known for its chalky white baroque buildings constructed from volcanic stone.
You will have some time to settle in before we head out to lunch in the historic part of Arequipa. You’ll have some free time to wander or visit a nearby museum to see a mummy (on your own). Our afternoon will be spent visiting a stunning point of view, overlooking the city.
Day 4 | September 3 – Arequipa (B,D)
In the morning we will be visiting a local market for some photography, followed by exploring the many wonders around the city of Arequipa. You’ll have the opportunity to see all the wares and eat lunch at the market.
Our day will end with the late opening at the Monasterio Santa Catalina for some sunset and blue hour photography. Dinner will be at the trattoria next door for some amazing Italian food.
Day 5 | September 4 – Arequipa / Chivay (B,L,D)
Today we start by visiting Colca Canyon.
You’ll be picked up by private transport to the first and most important town of the canyon, Chivay. We will be passing through the nature reserve where you’ll likely see many wild vicuña and other animals roaming.
Day 6 | September 5 – Chivay / Colca Canyon / Arequipa (B,L)
Get ready for a packed day full of viewpoints and wildlife.
After breakfast, you’ll head to the Cruz del Condor lookout, passing through Yanque and stopping at viewpoints such as the Antahuilque and the Choquetico Tombs. After spending time viewing and photographing the condors, we’ll retrace our steps back to Arequipa.
Day 7 | September 6 – Arequipa / Cusco (B,L,D)
Our seventh day together begins with an early flight to Cusco. In the afternoon once settled in, we will take an easy walk together along the cobblestone streets of the old capital of the Inca empire.
Day 8 | September 7 – Cusco (B,L,D)
We will spend the day see all the amazing Inca sites in and around Cusco. Time permitting we may see some of all of the following; Qoricanch, Sacsayhuaman, the San Pedro market, and a spot overlooking the city.
We’ll photograph the sunset in the San Blas neighborhood where our hotel is located.
Day 9 | September 8 – Sacred Valley (B,L,D)
We will depart from Cusco in the morning to travel to the incredible Sacred Valley of the Incas.
If you think you saw it all, prepare to be amazed in the next couple of days. The scenic Urubamba Valley is full of fantastic landscapes and villages.
From Cusco to the Sacred Valley, will be visiting the Chinchero market, Moray, and Salineras (salt mines).
We will be stopping to photograph the several stunning points of view of the Sacred Valley before arriving at our hotel for the evening.
Day 10 | September 9 – Sacred Valley (B,D)
This morning you will visit Ollantaytambo Ruins while in the afternoon, have some free time to explore the town. Lunch is on your own today, as there are many fun places to pick from in Ollantaytambo. Our evening will be spent relaxing and enjoying the many spa treatments on offer (at your own cost) at the hotel.
Day 11 | September 10 – Sacred Valley / Machu Picchu Pueblo(B,L,D)
After breakfast, you will have some time to wander around the Inca-era cobblestone streets while exploring the colorful and vibrant artisan market of Ollantaytambo.
After lunch at or near the market, we begin our journey to what will be the highlight of this Peru photo tour, Machu Picchu. Together we will take the train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu Pueblo (previously known as Aguas Calientes).
Day 12 | September 11 – Machu Picchu Pueblo / Sacred Valley (B,L,D)
Today is the day you have all been waiting for! We will spend the morning exploring the lost city of the Incas – Machu Picchu.
After our tour, guided by a local, you will have plenty of free time to capture this exquisite world wonder for yourself.
Day 13 | September 12 – Cusco (B,L,D)
It’s an early morning start today to visit a local market for some photography and to try some fresh Peruvian snacks after breakfast.
Be sure to soak up the views as we travel through the Sacred Valley to visit a local community.
We’re going to visit a local community where we’ll have traditional Peruvian lunch, learn about weaving techniques and listen to local musicians.
Day 14 | September 13 – Cusco (B)
After we share our last breakfast together at the hotel your journey home begins. Alternatively, you can choose to extend your trip, at your own expense, and stay on a few more days in Lima or join us on the jungle extension.
Jungle Extension Itinerary Detail.
Not quite ready for the tour to end? We hate to leave you wanting more so we have devised this 5-day extension, perfect for the more adventurous photographer.
In this add-on extension, you’ll spend three days on the edge of an Amazonian river photographing parrots by day and hunting caiman alligators with a camera by night.
Day 1 | September 13 – Cusco / Peruvian Amazon Jungle (B,L,D)
For those choosing to extend their tour with us, we will travel together to the airport to take a short flight to Puerto Maldonado. For the rest of the day, we will settle into our jungle lodge, situated on the edge of the Madre de Dios River.
We will have an optional 2-hour trek into the jungle to see the local flora and visit a reproduction of a camp where they demonstrating the collection of rubber process. Here we will spend a relaxed evening photographing sunset across the river, then it’s time to go hunting (cameras only please!) for caimans.
Day 2 | September 14 – Peruvian Amazon Jungle (B,L,D)
It’s an early morning start today as we travel to the parrot clay lick to photograph some of the Jungles most colorful residents.
A clay lick (locally known as colpa or collpa) is a naturally forming wall of clay on a riverbank caused by erosion from the river. This is the world’s largest known parrot clay lick, and the area contains the highest known concentration of parrots in the world.
In the afternoon we will head to visit a village to learn about the uses and the importance of the forest for the local inhabitants, where we will have the opportunity to practice our portrait skills (and use a traditional bow and arrow!).
The Machiguenga are one of the many ethnic groups that exist in the Peruvian Amazon. A family of native Machiguenga will receive us for a visit. They will show us the cultural value of their ancestors, as well as language and customs, including traditional clothes, hunting gear, handicrafts and the music they play during ayahuasca ceremonies. They will teach us how to take advantage of natural products to make tools, and what they use to make their houses, dresses and ornaments, each important for their daily life.
Day 3 | September 15 – Peruvian Amazon Jungle (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we will travel to the Sandoval Lake (Tambopata Reserve). During a 3 km hike through the wild vegetation, we will enter the territory of Tambopata National Reserve, where you will have the chance to admire giant trees, different snakes, monkeys (squirrel monkeys, howler monkeys, and capuchin monkeys) and various birds (notably the Hoatzin – also known as the stink bird-, kingfishers and snakebirds).
Once on Lake Sandoval, we will embark in small rowboats in search of giant river otters. We will also have the possibility to spot a good number of other reptiles, mammals and birds in their natural habitat. When the guide finds an opportune spot where you can continue to observe nature, we will eat breakfast. For the return trip, make sure you have gathered your belongings and we will row back to the pier.
Afternoon you’ll have time to rest or visit the lookout tower. Your tour guides will be available for Q&A or one-on-one help.
Day 4 | September 16 – Peruvian Amazon Jungle / Lima (B,L,D)
This is our final day together in the jungle. Today, we will begin the journey home, next stop, Lima.
Day 5 | September 17 – Lima (B)
After we share our final breakfast at the hotel you will travel to the airport to catch your flight home. Alternatively, you can choose to extend your trip, at your own expense, and stay on a few more days in Lima.