Peruvian Nature Photo Tour
September 24 to October 4, 2021
Tour Policies (please read)
Visit the photo gallery
Jim is very excited to offer this photo tour to one of the world's great nature destinations. The things you will see and photograph are extremely diverse as well as overwhelming in their beauty. From exotic hummingbirds to the stunning ruins of Machu Picchu, and from dozens of colorful macaws in flight at a clay lick to primitive Amazon tribes, this tour offers incomparable nature and travel photography. You will learn about shooting birds in flight, how to create the perfect multi-flash setup for hummingbirds, effective outdoor portraiture techniques, focus stacking for macro subjects, and a lot more.
Day 1, Friday, Sept. 24
Depart from your hometown and arrive in Puerto Maldonado, Peru on this day. Transfer to the hotel by taxi and meet in the lobby at 6 pm for a discussion of the upcoming tour and a welcome dinner. Overnight Wasai Hotel.
Day 2, Saturday, Sept. 25
After an early breakfast, we depart for the Manu Wildlife Center. Our journey consists of an overland drive as well as a boat trip up the Madre de Dios river, and we arrive for a late lunch. In the afternoon, we have our first encounter with the Amazon rainforest with excellent chances to photograph some of the 12 species of monkeys including the spider monkey and the emperor tamarin. After dinner, we will go on a night walk along the trails that surround our lodge in search of nocturnal birds and animals of the rainforest. Overnight Manu Wildlife Center Lodge.
Day 3, Sunday, Sept. 26
After another early morning breakfast, we walk through the forest for some minutes until we come to the Macaw Lick Project. The hide provided with individual chairs and a convenient place for camera and binoculars is about 45 feet to the birds. In groups of two and three, the scarlet macaws come within telephoto range and you can get frame-filling shots of the perched birds as well as the brilliantly colored macaws in flight. Later, we continue exploring the forest on the network of trails and finally arrive at a canopy tower 112 feet from the jungle floor. On its platform, we witness the frantic rush hour activity in the rainforest canopy. The light will be low, and Jim wil explain his low-light photography techniques. Then we set off along the 'Collpa trail', which will take us to the lodge's famous tapir clay lick. This is the most active tapir lick known in the entire Amazon. 8 to 12 600-pound tapirs come to this like to eat clay from under the tree roots. You'll want to use flash here. Overnight Manu Wildlife Center Lodge.
Day 4, Monday, Sept. 27
We set off early this morning for an old oxbow full of water lilies and sunken logs for a unique jungle experience. We may encounter giant otters, troops of monkeys, and a huge variety of birds including macaws, toucans, sun grebes, osprey, wattled jacanas, woodpeckers, tanagers, and at the waterline we could see hoatzins which look like parakeets. After lunch at the lodge, we are free to go with our guide to find more wildlife or to wander on our own to enjoy the sounds and smells of the rainforest. From the late afternoon until evening, if the water level is high enough, we have the opportunity to search for caiman and other nocturnal creatures along the riverbank by boat. Overnight Manu Wildlife Center Lodge.
Day 5, Tuesday, Sept. 28
We depart our lodge early for the 2 1/2 hour return boat trip downstream to the Colorado Village. We will enjoy photographing wildlife activity as we go. In addition, we will see several lowland native settlements and gold miners digging and panning for this precious metal along the banks of the Madre de Dios River. Continue our journey back to Puerto Maldonado and then catch a flight back to Cusco. Overnight Hotel Aranwa Cusco Boutique.
Day 6, Wednesday, Sept. 29
This morning we depart early for the 5-hour road trip through the Andes Mountains to a lodge where we will capture magnificent and exotic species of hummingbirds including the booted racket-tail and the wire crested thorn tail among many others. All of the flash and electronic equipment for outstanding hummingbird photography will be supplied. In the afternoon, we visit the cock of the rock lek (a lek is an aggregation of male birds in which they competitively display to entice females). These exquisite birds are neon orange with very unique heads. We then return to the lodge for dinner. Overnight Cock of the Rock Lodge.
Day 7, Thursday, Sept. 30
We have a second session with the cock of the rock birds to make sure everyone gets optimal images. The rest of the day is spent photographing capuchin monkeys who are fed at the lodge as well as more bird photography in the area. If the sky is clear, we can do some astrophotography of the night sky, and Jim will explain how to get the best pictures of the Milky Way. Overnight Cock of the Rock Lodge.
Day 8, Friday, Oct. 1
After breakfast, we travel from 1200 feet in the east Andes to just over 10,000 feet in elevation where we find a station in the cloud forest. The research station at Wayquecha is used for many climate and nature studies. After we check in to the lodge and have lunch, we make our way to the canopy walk. This allows us to view canopy wildlife as well as hard to see canopy orchids. This site is home to 300+ species of orchids and 200+ species of birds, many of which are hummingbirds that visit the station's feeders and gardens. Dinner is in the comedor, an all-glass dining hall allowing a spectacular view of the Andes from above the clouds. Overnight Wayquecha Cloud Forest Birding Lodge.
Day 9, Saturday, Oct. 2
We have an early morning departure that takes us back through Cusco, and then we continue by a glass-roof train to Aguas Calientes. This town was built at the base of the mountain on which Machu Picchu is located. We have the option of swimming in natural hot springs at the end of town, and there is also a butterfly house featuring some of the beautiful native Lepidoptera species of Peru. After dinner, we get ready for an early wake up call tomorrow morning to visit the spectacular ruins. Overnight Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel.
Day 10, Sunday, Oct. 3
We leave the hotel very early and take the shuttle bus to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. The elevation here 8000 feet -- 3000 feet lower than Cusco. We will catch the early morning light on the ruins, and Jim will take you to the best vantage point of all for the classic overview. We'll have 4 to 6 hours to explore the sight and capture beautiful stone doors and windows, stone staircases, surrounding landscapes, and you'll also want to photograph wild llamas that hang around Machu Picchu and pose with the ruins in the background. We then return to Cusco by train and bus arriving around 8pm. Overnight Hotel Aranwa Cusco Boutique.
Day 11, Monday, Oct. 4
After breakfast, we are transferred to the airport in Cusco for our return flight home, knowing we've seen and photographed amazing things on this photography tour.
Please note: You enter Peru at the airport in Puerto Maldonado (airport code PEM), and you return home via Cusco (airport code CUZ).
Tour cost: $7250 Includes all lodging based on double occupancy, all meals beginning with the welcome dinner and ending with
breakfast on the last day, all ground transportation including bus, van, train, and boat, domestic flight from Puerto Maldonado to
Cusco, entrance fees, modeling fees, services of a local English-speaking guide, photo instruction, and critiques on demand.
Single supplement: $850
Not included: International airfare, items of a personal nature, and alcoholic beverages.