Peru’s Cusco Valley, Andes Mountains, Amazonian Jungle
Join Muench Workshops co-founder Andy Williams on a journey to two of Peru’s greatest wonders: the 15th-century Incan citadel of Machu Picchu, and the vast, biodiverse Peruvian Amazon! Along the way, we’ll visit cosmopolitan Cusco—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—situated at the center of the scenic and historical Sacred Valley. We’ll get a chance to photograph ViniCunca, or “Seven Color Mountain,” away from the crowds. We’ll also stroll the colonial parish streets of San Blas, visit the remote Andean community of Cuncani, and ride horses along the Seven Lakes Trek of Ausangate. The variety of Peru’s natural and cultural offerings will provide us plenty occasions to work on portraits, landscapes, wildlife, lifestyle, documentary, and night photography. This workshop has it all!
Dan Soby, our local guide for this journey, is extremely well-versed in the area, and has spent years developing relationships with the locals. We’ll have ample opportunity to meet with the local Quechua community around Cusco, as well as the indigenous populations of the Amazon region. Andy will provide expert photo instruction, from capturing of images through post-processing in Lightroom. As always, he’ll also be sure to make time for one-on-one sessions and image reviews.
Ready for 12 days of diverse experiences and intensive photography instruction? Read on!
Cusco, Machu Picchu, and
Amazonian Jungle, Peru
August 1–12, 2020
Itinerary and General Information
August 1, 2020: Arrive in Cusco, Peru (CUZ) anytime before 3:00 PM. Cusco is a short flight from Lima, and we recommend you enjoy a night or two in Lima prior to the workshop. Of course we’ll help with booking accommodation and guides, if desired! Transfer to our hotel, then we’ll meet for a group dinner to discuss our adventures ahead.
August 2, 2020: This morning we’ll explore the photogenic Maras salt mines—you’ll have plenty of time to find interesting compositions—then we’ll meet with, and photograph, the local people. Later on, we’ll look for reflections on stunning Lake Huaypo, before photographing the last rays of sun over the salt mines. Finally, we’ll board a train in the village of Ollantaytambo, which will take us through the sacred valley to Águas Calientes—our jumping off point for Machu Picchu.
August 3, 2020: We will spend the morning and early afternoon in the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu. We’ll first spend two hours with a local guide, who will explain everything about this legendary archaeological location, after which we’ll have plenty of free time for photography. In late afternoon, we will take the train back to Ollantaytambo, and then a private transport to the riverfront town of Urubamba.
August 4, 2020: We will depart around 8:00 AM for our three hour scenic drive through the Sacred Valley to Pampallacta. Partway, we’ll make a stop at the local market for a portrait session and a breakfast of fresh Peruvian specialties. Here we can also buy some bread for the community we’ll visit later. Once in Pampallacta, a local host will be waiting for us with his family. After a traditional Peruvian meal in their gracious home, we will begin our afternoon walk to the lakes of Queullacocha. This area is surrounded by stunning valleys and mountains full of llamas and alpacas. Around 5:00 PM we will return to Cusco for dinner and a rest.
August 5, 2020: Today we’ll be photographing the city of Cusco with our local guide, Dan. Dan will take us to a traditional local market, the main square, some beautiful churches and a couple of Inca palaces. In the afternoon, we’ll tour the local streets in search of spontaneous moments.
August 6, 2020: We’ll depart early this morning for the less-visited side of the famous Rainbow Mountain. While this site is heavily touristed, we have some “secret” untrammeled spots offering better vantages. Afterwards, we will make our way towards Ausangate mountain, and our home base in the local Quechua community. If weather permits, we’ll enjoy some relaxation time in the local hot springs, before gearing up for an astro-photography night session.
August 7, 2020: This morning, we’ll be horse trekking under the majestic Ausangate mountain (6,384m), to the Seven Lagoons. If you haven’t done much riding, don’t worry—we’ll be in good hands! Along with being an adventure, this will be a great opportunity to work on your landscape photography skills. We’ll also get the opportunity to make environmental portraits of our Quechua guides. After the ride, we’ll return to the community for lunch and time with the locals. There will also be time to make another visit to the hot springs, if you wish, before departing for Cusco.
August 8, 2020: After breakfast, we’ll depart for the airport for our 30-minute regional flight to Puerto Maldonado. The rest of the day, we’ll have time to relax at the lodge, next to the Madre de Dios River. Come nightfall, we’ll make our way to the river for a nighttime caiman “hunt”.
August 9, 2020: This morning, we’ll depart early for the parrot clay lick. A clay lick (locally known as colpa or collpa) is a mineral-rich wall eroded from a riverbank. Flocks of macaws, parakeets, parrotlets, and other parrots frequent clay licks to take in these minerals, creating a wildlife spectacle. The Tambopata National Reserve protects the world’s largest known parrot clay lick, and we hope to see hundreds of birds. For bird enthusiasts, this promises to be one of the highlights of your trip to the Amazon rainforest! After the clay click experience, we will visit a native Matsiguenga family to learn about the uses and the importance of the forest for the local habitants. We will also have the opportunity take some portraits.
August 10, 2020: After breakfast, we will depart for Sandoval Lake (Tambopata Reserve), where we’ll take a 5.5 km walk in the jungle. Wildlife is abundant, and we’ll be looking for monkeys, snakes, tarantulas, and wild pigs. When we reach the shores of Lake Sandoval, we’ll continue by boat onto the lake, in search of alligators, giant river otters, and parrots.
August 11, 2020: Depart today on a regional flight to Lima. On arrival, we will have a last sunset photography session along the Malecon (waterfront), then enjoy our final dinner with the group.
August 12, 2020: Flights home from Lima, Peru (LIM) at anytime today.
Altitude: We’ll recommend that you get to Cusco a day early, to begin the altitude acclimation process. Our itinerary is designed so that you have some time at the lowest of our altitudes first, so we can acclimate before going on to the higher elevations. Cusco is at 11,000 feet, Machu Picchu is at 9,000 feet, and later in our itinerary we are at 13,000 feet and at Rainbow Mountain we are at 15,000+ feet. We take it easy on you and there’s really only one “hike” of about an hour at 15,000 feet at Rainbow Mountain. We carry oxygen for emergency use.
Double occupancy lodging (single available, just ask)
All meals and transportation during the workshop
All permits and park fees
Photographic guiding and instruction from Andy Williams and Dan Soby
Image reviews and post-processing instruction
Adventure, fun, inspiration, and a great time!
What’s Not Included?
Air travel from your home to Cusco, Peru (CUZ airport code) and back from Lima, Peru (LIM airport code). Passport and visa fees, if applicable. Any meals and accommodations before or after the workshop dates. Medical Evacuation Insurance (required). Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended). Items of a personal nature. Alcoholic beverages. Anything not specifically listed as included.
If you're ready for beautiful Andean landscapes, and amazing cultural and travel experience, click the "Sign Me Up!" button now and reserve your spot. This workshop is only for eight guests maximum and it will fill up fast!