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 the lesser visited sites of the north of the country and learn about Peru's many ancient civilisations including the Moche, Chimu and Chachapoyas. Highlights include the amazing archaeological finds of Sipan, the imposing Kuelap Fortress of the Cloud people, the lovely colonial city of Trujillo and Chan Chan, the largest adobe city in the world.
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.
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|Includes international air|
Day 01: MAY 05, 2016: Arrive Lima
Welcome to Lima. As passengers arrive on different flights, they will be met and accompanied to the airport hotel, as our flight leaves very early on the next day.
Overnight: Costa del Sol Lima Airport (1 night)
Day 02: MAY 06, 2016: Lima/Chiclayo/Lambayeque
LAN Peru LA2272 Lima 06:00 AM Chiclayo 07:30 AM*
We take an early morning flight from Peru's capital to the northern city of Chiclayo, and are transferred to our hotel. We then head to Huaca Rajada, the mud-brick pyramid that made world headlines in 1987 with one of the most sensational finds of recent archaeology, as its eroded adobe platform yielded fabulous ancient treasures from a series of deeply buried tombs of the pre-Inca Moche people, who lived in the valleys of Peru's north coast 1,500 years ago. We then visit the site of the excavation of the Royal Tombs of Sipan. Here we see the tombs themselves and superb reconstructions of the burial sites of priests and chieftains, together with their sacrificed guards and companions. A highly informative site museum tells the story of this extraordinary civilization, who created some of the finest pottery, jewelry and gold works of the Americas, while also staging macabre costumed rituals of combat, sacrifice and propitiation as they sought to mediate a never ending struggle between the forces of Order and Chaos.
We return to Chiclayo for a delicious lunch of Peru's northern-style cuisine, and then continue on to Lambayeque, where we visit the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum. This modern building, representing the style of a Moche pyramid, was built to house the stunning and priceless objects unearthed at Sipan. Here we see the incredible array of precious symbols and images, stones and shell necklaces, earrings and headdresses that were worn by the Moche and get a glimpse at a dazzling civilization that thrived in Peru at a time when Europe was sliding into the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire.
We continue to Tucúme, today's final destination. Here we see the chronological sequence that followed the fall of the Moche, at a site where their descendants, the Sicán culture, built mighty pyramids (including the longest in the world, at more than 700 m (2,300 ft.) The history of this scenic site was extensively investigated by the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl -- leads us all the way to the Incas, who conquered the region not long before they, in turn, were conquered by the Spanish. We climb to a viewing platform with superb views of the surrounding pyramids and the dry woodland habitat of the Leche Valley and visit the small site museum, to enjoy the excellent collection of excavated objects, dioramas of daily life, and models of the pyramids.
Overnight: Costa del Sol Hotel in Chiclayo (1 night) (B, L)
Day 03: MAY 07, 2016: Chiclayo/Gocta (Drive 474 kilometers)
We drive northward from Chiclayo across Peru's coastal plains, following the Pan-American Highway, then turn east onto the Trans-Andean route, ascending gently through regions of dry forest interspersed with irrigated farmland. Our road loops towards the lowest pass of the Peruvian Andes, at 2,135 m (7,000 ft.), where we cross the continental divide and enter the Upper Amazon basin. Following the valley of the Huancabamba/Chamaya river system we pass broad ribbons of bright green rice terracing, forming a striking contrast with the cactus and dense thorn-scrub vegetation of the mountainsides. We reach the bridge over the Marañon, one of the great tributaries of the Amazon River. Here we enter the Peruvian department of Amazonas, former home of a mysterious and powerful civilization, the Chachapoyas, whose amazing remnants we will explore and photograph. We then follow the Utcubamba River, ascending a dramatic canyon then winding up the mountainous valley which leads us to Gocta Lodge, today’s final destination. The lodge is especially designed to enjoy a spectacular view of the Gocta Waterfall, one of the highest in the world at an incredible 771 meter (2,529 feet) height. Time and light conditions permitting, we might enjoy a photographic hike before sunset and dinner at the lodge.
Overnight: Gocta Lodge (1 night) (B, BL, D)
Day 04: MAY 08, 2016: Gocta/Kuelap
We leave early in the morning and travel to Kuelap to explore a this huge and mysterious site, beginning with a drive through places whose names, Choctamal, Longuita, and Kuelap itself -- evoke a lost language and a vanished ancient people who spoke it, the Chachapoya, also called the Warriors of the Clouds. Kuelap's existence was first reported in 1843. For years it was believed to have been a Chachapoyan fortress, and when we first catch sight of it from the fossil-encrusted limestone footpath that leads there it is hard to believe it was not. The massive walls soar to a height of 19 m (62 ft.) and its few entranceways are narrow and tapering, ideal for defense. Yet the archaeological evidence now suggests that this was principally a religious and ceremonial site.
Chachapoyas was not a nation or an empire, but a loose federation of small states centered on numerous settlements scattered across the mountainous territory. The earliest settlement dates obtained here suggest that its construction began around 500 A.D. and, like the Moche coastal pyramids, it was built in stages as a series of platforms, one atop the other.
It is now a single enormous platform nearly 600 m (2,000 ft.) long, stretched along a soaring ridgetop, comparable only to Machu Picchu. Seen from below, the vast, blank walls give no hint of the complexity and extent of the buildings above. When we reach its summit we find a maze of structures in a variety of styles and sizes, some of them faced with rhomboid friezes, some ruined and some well preserved. Here we can try to imagine the lives of the Chachapoya elite and their servants who lived here, and capture the breathtaking view of the Andean cloud-forests mountains and valleys. Very little archaeological research has been done at this important site, and our knowledge of it remains vague and even today, Kuelap's remoteness ensures that only a handful of other visitors are there to share it with us.
Overnight: Estancia "El Chillo” (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 05: MAY 09, 2016: Chachapoyas/Revash/Leymebamba
We follow the Utcubamba valley upstream, spotting herons and perhaps an Andean torrent duck in the river as we slowly ascend the valley. At the village of Santo Tomás we turn off the main highway, crossing the river and ascending a side valley where vivid scarlet poinsettias the size of trees overhang the walls of typical Chachapoya farms, with verandas surrounded by wooden columns, and topped with tile roofs. Soon we meet our wranglers and the calm, sure-footed horses that will carry us up the trail to the amazing complex of Revash.
Built on a cliff the necropolis looks like a pueblo in the US Southwest, with gabled roofs, others like flat-topped apartments. They are adorned with red-on-white figures and geometrical symbols, a feline, llamas, circles, ovals and bas-relief crosses and T-shapes, which perhaps once told the rank and lineage of the tombs' occupants. They are silent, empty, their contents long ago looted, their facades still straining to tell a story whose meaning was lost long ago.
Retracing our steps we continue our road journey to Leymebamba, which we reach in the mid-afternoon. This settlement was established by the Incas during their conquest of the region, and continued as a colonial town under the Spanish. It retains much of this antique charm in its balconied houses with narrow streets where more horses than cars are parked. We visit the remarkable Leymebamba Museum, where we settle in to guest rooms specially provided for visitors. Then we visit this delightful collection of extraordinary artifacts recovered from another group of cliff tombs discovered as recently as 1997 at the remote Laguna de los Condores, high in the mountains east of the town. The exhibits are displayed in well-lit rooms that offer a sample from the mass of artifacts recovered from this amazing discovery. We get to see gourds carved with animal and geometrical symbols, an array of colorful textiles, ceramics, carved wooden beakers and portrait heads, and a selection of the dozens of quipus (Inca knotted-string recording devices) recovered from the site. A big picture window offers a view of the temperature- and humidity-controlled temporary "mausoleum" where more than two hundred salvaged mummies are kept, making for some interesting available light photography. After our museum visit we can visit the Kenticafé across the street, for a cup of the best coffee in Chachapoyas, where we may photograph dozens of the region's exotic hummingbirds flitting among strategically placed feeders, perhaps even the dazzling Marvellous Spatuletail.
Overnight: La Casona (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 06: MAY 10, 2016: Leymebamba/Cajamarca
Today offers us new photographic opportunities on the multitude of natural environments of the Peruvian Andes. We travel through dairy country, where cattle graze in green pastures studded with rock outcrops. As we go higher, this landscape gives way to a high altitude puna region of smooth slopes densely covered in a beige bunch-grass known as ichu. We cross a high pass at 3,500 m and begin a long traverse to a lower pass, capturing the distant Marañon river, which we crossed for the first time four days ago. A long, winding descent brings us at last to a warm, irrigated valley filled with mango, coconut, papaya and banana plantations. Soon we reach Balsas, a village at the bridge over the Marañon.
We cross the mighty river into the Department of Cajamarca, and climb through an arid canyon environment of tall cactus and gnarled trees. Eventually we reach farmland again, rolling country of wheat, barley and oat fields, and we begin to see adobe farmhouses. And we spot farmers and their children wearing the characteristic large, broad-brimmed Cajamarca straw hat. We pause in the city of Celendín for lunch, and continue on to our destination, the regional capital of Cajamarca. We arrive in the late afternoon at our hotel in the Cajamarca suburb of Baños del Inca. Here each room has its own huge hot tub and unlimited piping-hot thermal spring water, a welcome break after a long drive. The springs themselves are famous, the site of a historic first encounter between the Inca emperor Atahualpa and the Spaniards who, unknown to him, had come to conquer his empire. The Inca was himself enjoying a hot soak at the very moment of his victory over rival armies in a long and bloody war of succession, when a small contingent of mounted Spaniards rode out from Cajamarca to ambush him.
Overnight: Laguna Seca Hotel (2 nights) (B)
Day 07: MAY 11, 2016: Cajamarca
Today we explore Cajamarca, starting at a hilltop now known as Colina Santa Apolonia. This was a sacred mountain to the Cajamarca people who held sway in this valley for nearly two thousand years, until the Incas conquered them, and ancient rock carvings can still be seen on its summit. We gat panoramic views of the modern city of some 250,000 inhabitants, spread out over a valley at 2,700 m. surrounded by low mountains. After viewing the lay of the land we descend the steps into the old city center, which lies directly below us.
Spanish colonial houses line the streets here, and the churches, such as San Francisco and Belen, wear facades of intricate, fantastical baroque-mestizo stonework, although all trace of the Inca halls have disappeared after the Spanish conquest. Nevertheless, we visit one Inca stone building that still stands. With its smoothly rounded stone walls and perfectly fitted stones, local folklore holds that this was the room which the Inca Atahualpa offered to fill once with gold and twice with silver, in exchange for his freedom. This forlorn monument is a suitable spot to hear the story of Atahualpa's fabulous ransom, which marked the defeat of the Inca Empire by Spanish invaders as the Incan emperor Atahualpa was captured and murdered here. We visit the Museum in the old colonial hospital of the Church of Belen, to see some fine artifacts from the Cajamarca culture that occupied this valley for approximately 2,000 years before finally succumbing to the Inca expansion. Then we head to the cathedral, which took 80 years to construct (1682–1762) and shows how colonial Spanish influence was introduced in the Incan territory. The side portals are made of pilasters on corbels. It also bears the royal escutcheon of Spain. The portal is considered to have a seventeenth-century character, found in the rectangular emphasis of the design.
In the afternoon we visit and photograph the “Windows of Otuzco”, a nearby rock formation where over thousands of years the pre-Inca Cajamarca peoples carved hundreds of elaborate niches in which they buried their dead. We return in time to make the most of the facilities at the hotel before dinner. (B)
Day 08: MAY 12, 2016: Cajamarca/Trujillo/Chan Chan/Huanchaco
We drive from Cajamarca with many photo stops to reach Trujillo at about lunch time. After lunch we visit the great Chimú center of Chan Chan, the largest adobe city ever built and a UNESCO World Heritage Site to photograph it in the mid to late afternoon. It was in fact an elite settlement, a series of nine enormous palaces belonging to successive rulers of the Chimú realm. At its height the population here may have reached 50,000 people. Many of them were artists and craftspeople, who made the sumptuous works of gold, textiles and pottery for which the Chimú were famous. At the Nikan (ex Tschudi) Palace enclosure we enter a labyrinthine series of courtyards lined with clay friezes of fish and ocean birds, and surrounded in places with open meshwork-style adobe walls, believed to represent fishing nets. We visit inner patios, residences, administrative buildings, temples, platforms and storehouses, and a huge reservoir where "sunken gardens" may have produced specialized crops for the Chimu nobility. We then head to Huanchaco to photograph the fishermen kneeling on caballitos de totora (one-man reed rafts) which have been used for millennia to collect the abundant bounty of the Pacific Ocean at sunset.
Overnight: Libertador Hotel in Trujillo (2 nights) (B)
Day 09: MAY 13, 2016: Trujillo
The layout of Trujillo is attributed to Miguel de Estete, has the shape of a checkerboard of large dimensions. Between the years 1685 and 1687 was surrounded by a bulwark to defend it from the English and French corsairs that operated in the Peruvian coast. We will stroll around the Plaza Mayor, Peru’s largest Main Square and the Cathedral right next to our hotel and wander about marvelous colonial-period adobe buildings in the coastal colonial style, featuring huge wrought-iron barred windows in Moorish style and massive wooden doors. We also visit the Archaeological Museum, featuring a vast collection of archaeological objects.
In the afternoon we visit two huge flat-topped pyramids built by the Moche culture between 0 and 800 A.D.First we see the unexcavated Huaca del Sol (Monument of the Sun), the biggest pyramid of pre-Incan Peru. It is estimated that for the construction of this enormous platform-temple 140 million adobe bricks were used. We then visit the Huaca de la Luna (Monument of the Moon), an extraordinary demonstration of what patient long-term archaeological work can achieve. Layer upon layer, the excavations revealed colorful friezes that were deliberately buried by the Moche, and had not seen for over 1,500 years. Bloodthirsty fanged deities and exotic gods in the form of spiders, snakes felines, octopi and other marine creatures rub shoulders with lines of dancers, warriors, naked prisoners and scenes of ritual combat. One wall is covered with such a multitude of mystifying symbols that it has been labeled simply "The Complicated Theme". The Huacas de Moche Museum complements our tour with explanations about the environment, the city and the daily life and beliefs of the Moche. The museum features Moche iconography and pottery of great beauty and originality. We will also make a stop at the Huaca del Dragón, a pyramid built by the Chimú culture, a dynasty that assumed power after the Moche until they were conquered by the Incas. The entire complex, rebuilt in 1963, is decorated with bas-reliefs of symbols and zoomorphic representations modelled in mud. (B)
Day 10: MAY 14, 2016: Trujillo/Lima/Home LAN Peru 2207 Trujillo 6:30 PM Lima 7:35 PM*
We have free time to roam the colonial streets of Trujillo, do some last minute souvenir shopping or simply relax. We then head to a special farewell lunch at an exclusive seafood restaurant. In the late afternoon we are transferred to Trujillo Airport for our flight to Lima and connect with our international flight home.
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 Twin Sharing||Single Room Supplement|
|2021||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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