Peru was home to some of the world’s oldest civilizations, including the Inca Empire. It was a rich source of gold and silver during Spanish Colonial times and is a country featuring an incredible cultural & natural diversity. . On this cultural & photographic tour we will explore Peru’s capital, Lima, Arequipa, photograph majestic condors in the Colca Canyon and explore Lake Titicaca. We will visit Cusco and the Sacred Valley, experience sunrise in Machu Picchu and photograph the colourful Corpus Christi celebrations in Cusco.
Our cultural and photographic tours are open to all people, including photographers or photography lovers of all levels, from amateur using smartphones to seasoned professionals with their professional gear.
ABOUT PETER LANGER
Peter Langer, one of Canada's leading travel lecturers and photographers. He is a cultural geographer and has travelled to over 160 countries. His photographs have been published by leading magazines worldwide and have been exhibited on several continents. He also has given lectures on cultural anthropology, geography, art, history, travel and tourism subjects in North America, South America, Asia and Europe.
Peter’s photographs have appeared worldwide and have been exhibited on several continents. He has travelled to over 160 countries and his professional photographic material is widely sought after by a large number of publishers, governments and international airlines and tour operators. Peter completed well over 500 audio-visual projects and multi-image presentations for various governments, non-profit organizationS industries.
GET A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE
Working closely with Bestway, Peter Langer has personally designed these cultural & photographic tours that promise you a unique, and worry-free tour of Peru's most breathtaking sites during the best possible available light for meaningful photos that you’ll be proud to share.
Special attention is paid to specific photographic needs, when it comes to photo stops and visits at certain times of the day, something that would be nearly impossible when traveling on your own for the first time, or with larger tours. On our tour we aim to keep a flexible schedule to take advantage of the photographic moment within reason. The small group sizes also means that we spend less time organizing everyone for activities and be more flexible with each day’s plan, adjusting to conditions and events that present themselves. In the evenings Peter will be happy to offer one-on-one photo editing and critique sessions with tour members. Please be advised that no photographic instruction will take place during the tour and that Peter is not a camera technician and we kindly request that you know your equipment well.
Peter has been to Peru over 20 times and speaks Spanish, as he was born in Bolivia. Whilst on tour, we will discuss a wide range of topics, including Latin American history and geography, the syncretic nature of religion in the Andes, contemporary Peruvian society and of course photography. His style is unconventionally scholarly, with a twist of humour. This will allow us to make our photography of Peru’s vast cultural and natural diversity much more meaningful.
|Includes international air|
Day 01: MAY 14, 2016: Arrive Lima
Welcome to Lima. As passengers arrive on different flights, they will be met and transferred to our hotel in Miraflores. Lima is considered the gastronomic capital of South America and we suggest to explore the bohemian district of Barranco, which is filled with restaurants featuring a variety of regional cuisines.
Overnight: Casa Andina Classic Hotel in Miraflores (2 nights)
Day 02: MAY 15, 2016: Lima
Today we explore the 'City of the Kings', which was until the middle of the 18th century, the capital and most important city of the Spanish dominions in South America. The Historic Center of Lima is the result of the collaboration between local craftspeople and others from the Old World and as result has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. We will have the opportunity to experience Peruvian life walking through colonial streets and houses to discover hidden treasures. We will start at the Convent of San Francisco (No interior photography allowed) and walk to the magnificent Torre-Tagle Palace and Chinatown locally known as Barrio Chino. We then head to the Plaza de Armas and visit the Cathedral, where Francisco Pizarro, the conqueror of Peru is buried. We continue our walk to Plaza San Martin and. In the late afternoon we visit the renowned Larco Herrera Museum, a privately owned museum of pre-Columbian art, Peru. The museum is housed in an 18th-century vice-royal building built over a 7th-century pre-Columbian pyramid. It showcases chronological galleries that provide a thorough overview of 4,000 years of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. It is well known for its gallery of pre-Columbian erotic pottery.
In the evening we definitely will need our tripods, as we get to visit the Parque de la Reserva to enjoy the Magic Water Tour, currently the world record holder for the largest fountain complex in the world, consisting of 13 distinct fountains, which are lit at night, many with continuously changing color schemes. The largest fountain in the Park of the Reserve, named Magic Fountain contains a jet which forces water to a height of over 80 m. Additional attractions are the Tunnel Fountain of Surprises, a 35 m walk-thru tunnel of water; the Children's Fountain, a walk-in automated fountain and the Fantasia Fountain, site of a regularly scheduled laser and picture show projected on the water, contains jets that are synchronized to music. We then return to our hotel. (B, L)
Day 03: MAY 16, 2016: Lima/Arequipa
LAN Peru Lima 10:10 AM Arequipa 11:40 AM*
Today, a short flight takes us to the city of Arequipa. Upon arrival, we will be transferred our hotel. At an altitude of 2,400 metres above sea level, Arequipa is Peru’s second largest city, with a population of around 1 million. The historic centre of Arequipa, built in volcanic sillar rock, is an UNESCO World Heritage Site that represents an integration of European and native building techniques and characteristics, expressed in the admirable work of colonial masters and Criollo and Indian masons. This combination of influences is illustrated by the city's robust walls, archways and vaults, courtyards and open spaces, and the intricate Baroque decoration of its facades. Today we will visit Arequipa's traditional neighborhoods of San Lazaro and Carmen Alto and the Yahahuara viewpoint, a scenic lookout that offers breathtaking views of the Misti and Chachani Volcanoes.
Overnight: Casa Andina Private Collection (2 nights) (B)
Day 04: MAY 17, 2016: Arequipa
After breakfast we explore the Historic Centre UNESCO World Heritage site on foot. Walking is the perfect way to get a more authentic feel of this amazing city and its architecture. We start with a visit to the market of San Camilo in downtown Arequipa to capture the immense variety of fruits and vegetables. We then head to the elaborate baroque complex of La Compañia Church and the Plaza de Armas surrounded by beautiful archways and the neo-classical Cathedral. Almost 250 colonial buildings are close to the main square. Some have been turned into banks, stores, restaurants and departments. This method of preserving the city by finding a practical use for the historical buildings. We are free to roam the streets and explore this living museum on our own. Arequipa keeps one of the most varied and flavored cuisine cultures in the country. Robust, with long term cooking products and with soups as their main dish. Local food is usually served at lunch time and we will eat at a traditional picanteria and try the delicious food.
We gather again in the late afternoon to visit the labyrinthine monastery of Santa Catalina. Described as a city within a city, this beautiful place with its colors, flowers and little streets will make us feel like we have traveled back in time. We will be staying until the evening when the monastery is lit for some magical night photography. (B, L)
Day 05: MAY 18, 2016: Arequipa/Colca (Drive 160 kilometers)
Today we have a fascinating drive to Chivay, passing through a range of unique ecological zones, from desert to altiplano to dry tundra. We will stop when we see herds of vicuñas, llamas and alpacas and at the "Mirador de los Volcanes," which offers fine views of several volcanoes that soar to more than 6,000 meters. We arrive in Chivay roughly around lunch time and check into our hotel. In the afternoon we will visit the Colca Valley, an area of astounding scenic beauty, with giant agricultural terraces dotted with dotted by tiny villages that haven't changed in centuries and feature churches with magnificent Baroque interiors. Chivay is also home to natural hot springs, known as "La Calera" and are located just a short distance outside the town for an optional activity.
Overnight: Casa Andina Classic Colca (1 night) (B)
Day 06: MAY 19, 2016: Colca/Puno
Today we head to the actual Colca Canyon, a renowned haven for Andean condors and they can often be seen here at quite close range as they float on the rising thermals and scan for carrion far below. Photographing these magnificent birds in the morning, as they rise from their nests, gliding high above us is a truly magical experience. We then leisurely continue our exploration of the Colca Canyon and then drive through the Altiplano of the Andes, capturing amazing views before our arrival at our hotel by the shores of Lake Titicaca.
Overnight: Casa Andina Private Collection (2 nights) (B, BL)
Day 07: MAY 20, 2016: Puno/Lake Titicaca & Sillustani Excursions
Today we embark on a full day excursion on Lake Titicaca. First we visit the Uros people, a pre-Incan people who live on highly photogenic man-made islands in Lake Titicaca. The purpose of the island settlements was originally defensive, and if a threat arose they could be moved. The Uros use bundles of dried totora reeds to make reed boats (balsas mats), and to make the islands themselves. The islets are anchored with ropes attached to sticks driven into the bottom of the lake. Around 2,000 descendants of the Uros were counted in the 1997 census, although only a few hundred still live on and maintain the islands and live a traditional lifestyle.
We continue to Taquile Island, known for its friendly people, who still preserve traditional customs and clothes. Among the highlights are the laboriously crafted, fine textiles with symmetric and symbolic patterns, with strong colours that reflect Andean customs and beliefs. In 2005, "Taquile and Its Textile Art" were honored by being proclaimed "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO. On the island, remains from pre-Inca periods can be found, and can be particularly well observed on the higher parts of the island. We will enjoy a simple typical lunch at Taquile Island before our return to Puno by speedboat.
In the afternoon we head to Sillustani, a pre-Incan burial ground on the shores of Lake Umayo. The tombs, which are built above ground in round tower-like structures called chullpas, are the vestiges of the Colla people, Aymara who were conquered by the Inca in the 15th century. The structures housed the remains of complete family groups, although they were probably limited to nobility. We capture the amazing views of the site at sunset. (B, L)
Day 08: MAY 21, 2016: Puno/Cusco
Today we embark in an exceptional road trip through the Andes from our hotel in Puno to our hotel in Cusco with plenty photo stops along the way. We will travel through the scenic La Raya Pass, the highest point along the trip at 4312 meters above sea level and the point of origin of the Vilcanota River that becomes the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We stop in Sicuani to enjoy a buffet lunch. We then explore the walled archaeological complex of Raqch’i, which consists of several different areas each designated with a specific function, the most famous being the Temple of Wiracocha, the nearby springs and 220 circular storehouses. Approaching Cusco we explore the Andean Baroque Route visiting the Chapel Canincunca of Urcos, Saint John the Baptist Church in Huaro, featuring a magnificent pair of frescos made by Tadeo Escalante and Saint Peter the Apostle Church of Andahuaylillas, nicknamed the Sistine Chapel of the Andes because of the splendid colonial paintings frescos adorning its walls. We arrive in Cusco in the early evening.
Overnight: Hotel Plaza de Armas (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 09: MAY 22, 2016: Cusco
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cusco developed, under the Inca ruler Pachacutec, into a complex urban centre with distinct religious and administrative functions. It was surrounded by clearly delineated areas for agricultural, artisan and industrial production. When the Spaniards conquered it in the 16th century, they preserved the basic structure but built Baroque churches and palaces over the ruins of the Inca city.
Today we will enjoy a relaxing walking tour around Cusco’s Historical City Centre, including the Koricancha (Santo Domingo Church and Temple of the Sun), the Plaza de Armas, Cusco’s Main Square to visit the Cathedral and the Church of La Compañia. We then visit the Mercado San Pedro, a large covered market area where locals shop. Here we can find all kinds of fresh and cooked foods, treats, fruits, vegies, and souvenirs at cheap prices. Like many local markets this is a non-touristy site that is fun for people photography. After breaking for lunch we explore the bohemian neighborhood of San Blas. We will be wandering along ancient streets, local markets and old neighborhoods to capture the magic of Cusco. Walking is the perfect way to get a more authentic feel of this amazing city and its people. (B, L)
Day 10: MAY 23, 2016: Cusco/Sacred Valley
Today we will photograph many archaeological sites. We start with a visit to Sacsayhuaman, a magnificent Inca Fortress famous for its beauty in the morning and the monumental scale of this important construction. The main ramparts consist of three massive parallel walls zigzagging together for some 400 m, designed to make any attacker expose his flanks. The massive blocks, the largest being 8.5 m high and weighing nearly 300 tons, are fitted together with absolute perfection. We then continue to Qenko, one of the finest examples of an artfully carved rock and an excellent example of how the Incas worshipped. This large limestone rock shows complex patterns of steps, seats, geometric shapes and a puma design. The name of this small but fascinating ruin means 'zigzag' because it is covered with zigzagging channels. These channels were used for the ritual sacrifice of chicha (local corn beer) or llama blood. Inside the rock are large niches and a possible altar. We then visit the relatively small Puca Pucara, situated on a hill with a superb view over the surrounding countryside, Puca Pucara was most likely a tambo (Inca rest house). We then visit Tambo Machay, a beautifully constructed ceremonial stone bath which was used for ritual bathing. The excellent quality of stonework suggests that the site was restricted to the aristocracy. We then head to the Sacred Valley to explore the village of Pisac, famous for its market, where hundreds of stalls crowd the central square, marked by a small church, San Pedro el Apóstolo, and massive pisonay trees.
In the afternoon, when the lighting is at its best, we explore the archaeological site of Pisac, located on a steep hillside amidst impressive agricultural terraces, which are still in use today. The Pisac ruins are some of the finest and largest in the entire valley and we will visit the Inti Watana group, which includes the Temple of the Sun, baths, altars, water fountains, a ceremonial platform and an inti watana, a volcanic outcrop carved into a hitching post for the Sun. Despite the excellent condition of many of the structures, little is conclusively known about the site's actual purpose. It appears to have been part city, part ceremonial center, and part military complex. After our visit we head to our hotel in Ollantaytambo.
Overnight: Pakaritampu in Ollantaytambo (1 night) (B)
Day 11: MAY 24, 2016: Sacred Valley/Machu Pichu
Train: Vistadome 603 Ollantaytambo 15:37 - Aguas Calientes 17:02
In the morning we explore Ollantaytambo with its impressive Inca fortress that guarded the entry of this part of the valley and protected it from possible invasion from the lower jungles. The fortress consists of a series of superimposed terraces of carved stones accessed by long staircases. The design of Ollantaytambo village and the majority of its foundations date from the Inca era when it was a strategic military, religious, and agricultural centre. Ollantaytambo is also known as a Living Inca Town, and its inhabitants still observe very ancient customs and traditions. We have will have plenty of time to stroll in the picturesque streets. After lunch we are transferred to the Ollantaytambo train station where we will board the Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes for our over-night stay. Upon arrival we check into our hotel to get an early night’s sleep, as we are staring very early next day.
Overnight: Casa Andina Classic in Aguas Calientes (1 night) (B)
Day 12: MAY 25, 2016: Machu Picchu/Cusco
Train: Vistadome 604 Aguas Calientes 17:23 Cusco 20:50
The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located at 2,430 m above sea-level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height; its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna.
Our exploration of the “Lost City of the Incas” starts at dawn, as we take a bus ride up the mountain to the magnificent ruins of Machu Picchu at 5:20 AM. The site opens to the public at 6:00 AM and we want to capture the ruins in perfect morning light, when the site is not so crowded. After our sunrise photo session we immediately head to Huayna Picchu for an exclusive excusion. A steep and at times exposed climb leads us to the summit from where we can capture awesome vistas of the ruins below. Some portions are slippery and steel cables provide some support during the one-hour climb. From the summit, a second trail leads down to the Gran Caverna and the “Temple of the Moon”. These natural caves, on the north face of the mountain, are lower than the starting point of the trail. The return path from the caves completes a loop around the mountain as it rejoins the main trail. We then explore the archaeological site and have plenty of time to enjoy Machu Picchu at our own pace until the afternoon, just in time to board our bus and catch the evening Vistadome train to Cusco. Upon arrival we are transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Hotel Plaza de Armas (2 nights) (B)
NOTE: The climb to Huayna Picchu is not recommended for people in poor physical condition. As an alternative these guests may enjoy leisurely wondering around the many easy hiking trails around Machu Picchu at leisure.
Day 13: MAY 26, 2016: Cusco - Corpus Christi Celebration
Today we celebrate people photography. Corpus Christi is a very colorful and traditional ceremony and a wonderful opportunity to photograph a traditional Peruvian festival. The procession on the main day takes place around 11:00 AM at the Plaza de Armas. Each church of Cusco carries their patron saint (Fifteen saints and virgins) adorned with an impressive array of jewels and luxurious brocades to the beat of the troupes of dancers, Andean musicians and brass bands. The square will be crowded with people dressed in traditional attires or their Sunday finest to see the procession of the La Virgen de la Almudena, La Virgen de Belén, La Linda, Santa Barbara, Immaculate Virgin and images of St. Sebastian, St. Christopher, St. Hieronymus, St. Blas, St. Joseph and St. James on his beautiful white horse. Although the celebration has Catholic roots, many anthropologists believe it also includes ancient Peruvian traditions. When the Spanish arrived in Cusco, were shocked to learn that the children of the Sun were taken out in procession as mummies of the Incas, then, brandishing the Gospels, decided to end forever with the pagan festival. The missionaries who had arrived with the conquistadors had an idea to replace the venerable remains by images of the Virgin and the Catholic saints. Thus was born the Corpus Christi in Cusco, a Catholic celebration that permeated Andean nuances. After spending most of the day capturing the celebrations we head to, a unique restaurant very close to the Plaza de Armas for our farewell dinner. (B, D)
Day 14: MAY 27, 2016: Cusco/Lima/Home
LAN Peru LA2062 Cusco 5:55 PM Lima 7:20 PM*
We enjoy a free morning for some last minute souvenir shopping or to enjoy the City of Cusco on your own. At the appropriate time we are transferred to Cusco Airport for our flight to Lima to connect with our international flight.(B)
PETER LANGER’S PHOTOGRAPHY NOTES:
PETER LANGER’S PHOTOGRAPHY NOTES:
"I create emotional and accurate photography that captures a subject as it truly is. I look for what is unique and unusual with as little artificial lighting as possible, as magic is created with natural light. I believe that the most remarkable and memorable moments happen unexpectedly and with real, genuine emotion to make for unforgettable images that stimulate the senses and emotions."
I invite you to create emotional photography that captures Peru as it truly is. Discover a beautiful country that is filled with magic created by natural light. Experience remarkable and memorable moments that happen unexpectedly, which makes for unforgettable images that stimulate the senses and emotions. I have been travelling to Peru since 1978 and invite you to join me on a journey exploring diverse natural landscapes, ancient archaeological sites, remarkable colonial architecture, friendly people and amazing food. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at: email@example.com
Even if you only pack a smartphone, we take you to locations where it is impossible to take a bad photo. That being said, if you want to get the best out of your trip, I recommend taking gear you are comfortable and familiar with. I recommend bringing along a DSLR or a mirror-less camera with interchanging lenses.
Peru is a diverse place meaning you will probably use a variety of different focal lengths. When it comes to lenses, you should take into consideration weight, versatility, lens speed and cost, did I mention weight? My suggestion is you take at least a wide angle zoom and a telephoto zoom. If you are considering packing a 300 mm lens or longer, you would very likely use it to shoot the condors in the Colca Canyon, animals on the Altiplano and birds on Lake Tititcaca.
What Photo Accessories Should I Bring?
I think that no matter what you’re shooting, even a smartphone, you might want to bring a tripod. You will likely want a polarizing filter in the mountains to make the most out of the landscapes. A gradient ND filter, and a polarizer will definitely come in handy. If you love taking portraits, I’d recommend a flash and a reflector. Camera Body
To find photographic accessories in Peru is actually quite difficult, if not impossible, outside of Lima. Before leaving North America, please ensure that you are bringing the following with you:
Can I Rent Photography Gear?
To rent gear in Peru is nearly impossible and extremely costly. If you need to rent lenses or camera bodies please do this before joining the tour Please be forewarned that Peter is not a camera technician and will not be able to help you with a piece of equipment that you are not familiar with, sorry.
Should I Bring a Laptop?
That all depends on how much editing you want to do on the road. Remember that I will be offering some photo editing sessions and critiques along the way. Thus, if you want some help during those sessions, it really helps if you have your own laptop, or at the very least a tablet, so we can look at your images together. Personally I think that having a laptop is fundamental when it comes to backing up your images. I also use backup portable hard drives.
This is a fairly minimum activity level tour. I’ve done this tour with passengers of varying fitness levels, they all get by. That said, to really enjoy the tour you should at least be prepared for a bit of high-altitude walking.
Will there be any 1-on-1 Sessions?
In the evenings I will be happy to offer one-on-one photo editing and critique sessions with tour members. During breakfast every morning although a pre-shoot discussion will take place. Out in the field I won’t be giving many instructions to the group, however I will point out great shots the very moment I see them, as it is all about the sharing of the beauty of the moment.
Tips on People Photography
I do not ‘pay’ people for letting me take their photo. This is something that different photographers have different criteria. Personally it doesn’t feel quite right, as it only encourages the locals to start posing and start demanding money, without being asked to do so. In the case of children I feel very strongly that we should refrain from handing out well-meaning gifts, since we only create a horrendous beggar culture that will start demand bonbons, pens or propinas (tips).
When it comes to photographing strangers in Peru, I generally shoot first and ask questions later, however if someone says no or I notice the person to feel uncomfortable being photographed, I do respect their wishes.
Sunrise at Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu doesn’t open until 6:00 AM and sunrise is shortly thereafter. We will try to catch the very first bus up to the ruins, which means that we will be getting up very early. That being said, often low-lying clouds or mist cover the Machu Picchu ruins, which burn up later in the day. As a note of interest albeit we catch the bus up to Machu Picchu in the morning, we will most likely be on the site before the hikers that went on the Inca Trail.
I speak fluent Spanish and will negotiate with the locals where necessary. Moreover, there shouldn’t be any situations where you find yourself in desperate need to communicate, as I will be around most of the time, or someone else who speaks English and Spanish will be. That being said, if you can learn a little bit of Spanish, it’ll really help with the communication between you and the locals.
Altitude is an issue for some people in Peru and we will be visiting some places which are close to 4000 m above sea level. The truth is, some people deal with it well and others don’t. Moreover, it seems to have little to do with your fitness level or age, I have seen it affect all sorts of people. Again, I have to advise you to talk to your travel doctor. Personally, I’ve never taken any altitude drugs and deal with it pretty well. If I ever have some issues, I take an aspirin and a strong coffee, as these definitely help. If you do run into problems, I assure you that the medical facilities in Peru are very good and the people are very adept at dealing with these things.
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
English Speaking Departures (Please contact us for information on French, German, Italian and Spanish speaking departures).
This is a suggested program for private tours. Please contact us for details.
|Departure(s)||Per Person on
|Estimated Airfare (FROM)+|
|East Coast||West Coast|
|This is a suggested program for private tours. Please contact us for details.|
Estimated International Airfare
(International airfare is NOT included in this tour)
This tour operates on a minimum of 06 and a maximum of 12 participants
If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.
You may e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.
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