An in depth exploration with photographer Magdalena Solé
PERU: THE SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS AND BEYOND.
AN IN DEPTH EXPLORATION WITH PHOTOGRAPHER MAGDALENA SOLÉ.
The ancient Incan Empire was one of grandeur and greatness, its reach extending as far as present-day Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador. It was one of the largest and most powerful empires the world had ever known and its astounding stone relics still cover the chiseled peaks of the Andes. However, this vast empire all began in the towering highlands in the ancient city of Cusco, the capital of the Incas and today the beating heart of historical and cultural Peru.
Peru is a photographer’s dream world, its vast land swallowing up alpine ridges and Amazonian jungle, rolling sand dunes and sprawling cities. Yet as inspiring and awe-inspiring as the landscape is, it is really only a mere backdrop to a truly compelling and complex culture that fuses both Incan and colonial elements.
This 10-day trip begins in the modern-day capital of Lima and transports you over the Andes to the ancient Incan capital of Cusco where you will explore not just the magnificent and world-famous Machu Picchu, but also lesser-known sites in the Sacred Valley where the crowds thin out and the mystical atmosphere is palpable. Accompanied by acclaimed social documentary photographer Magdalena Solé, you will develop your photographic skills and create an impressive portfolio that not only captures the mystical remains of the Incas, but also, most importantly, today’s everyday lives of the Peruvian people.
DAY 1: LIMA
Arrive by air into Peru’s capital, Lima, where you’ll be brought to the nearby Costa del Sol hotel. That evening at the hotel, participants will be welcomed to the trip with a reception and dinner, where you can get to know your fellow photographers and prepare for the upcoming adventure. (D)
DAY 2: LIMA - CUSCO
After a hearty breakfast, head back to the airport and hop on a plane for the 1.5-hour flight to Cuzco. Look out the window to see the great snowcapped Andes rising in their jagged splendor. Nestled among the towering peaks is our destination: the ancient city of Cusco. Upon landing at 10,950 feet above sea level, you will be greeted by our expert guides and embark on a spectacular journey through the Río Urubamba Valley, also known as the Sacred Valley.
Along the way, you will get your first opportunity to photograph the indigenous Quechua people who come from the surrounding highlands to sell their wares and produce. The Sacred Valley is a rural farming region, and Pisac is one of its many rustic and traditional villages. It has acted as an important place of trade for rural communities for centuries. Spreading out from the central square, Pisac’s artisan market is an explosion of color and activity, with vendors selling items including jewelry, ceramics, decorative alpaca fleece and traditional scarves.
After lunch, during which will get to sample some traditional Peruvian cuisine, our journey takes us to the tiny village of Maras and its centuries-old salt mines. Perched at more than 11,000 feet above sea level, the village’s heritage harks back to salt exploitation as far back as Incan times and it provides a fascinating glimpse into an industry and society that has changed very little over the centuries. Salt has always been a vital commodity to the community and is still farmed in Maras’s privately-owned salt ponds.
Your hotel for the next couple of nights will be the luxurious Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel and Spa. Engulfed in pristine nature, and with no noise or bright lights to spoil the solitude, the Aranwa offers its guests first-rate modern amenities and comforts with a subtle Peruvian style and décor. Dinner will be enjoyed at the hotel. After dinner participants will meet with Magdalena to review their portfolios and formulate individual assignments for the journey.
Overnight at Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel and Spa.
DAY 3: OLLANTAYTAMBO, SACRED VALLEY
Look for llamas and peacocks wandering the grounds over breakfast before traveling to Ollantaytambo, one of the most important Incan sites in the country. Famed as being the oldest continuously occupied settlement in all the Americas, the quaint little village of Ollantaytambo provides a master-class in the impeccable city planning for which the Incas are renowned. Dominated by two grand ruins built into the steep mountainside, the village’s cobbled streets are a true step back in time and offer a wonderful insight into 13th-century Inca life.
After a relaxed yet insightful day soaking up the history and getting acquainted with the quiet rhythm of rural daily life in Peru, we’ll dine in a traditional local hacienda. (B,L,D)
Overnight at Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel.
DAY 4: MULLAK´AS MISMINAY, SACRED VALLEY
Today marks the first of two days, which will be spent in the very special village of Mullak’as Misminay. Here, you will have the opportunity to get to know the local community and photograph their very unique way of life. The 300 families who live in Mullak’as Misminay not only have a profound commitment to preserving their ancient traditions, but are also deeply connected to both nature and the wider universe. You will get the opportunity to be fully immersed in their lifestyle, discovering and photographing their arts and crafts, pre-Hispanic customs, the plants and animals that they coexist with, and taste their native gastronomy. Amid the stunning natural scenery, where green slopes soar toward the clouds and condors circle the blue skies overhead, enjoy a gourmet picnic of locally grown products, prepared by the people of the community.
Later in the evening you the group will meet with Magdalena to review the photographs you have taken over the past two days. (B,L,D)
Overnight at a local guesthouse in the village.
DAY 5: MULLAK´AS MISMINAY, SACRED VALLEY
After breakfast at the hotel, continue your photographic exploration of the community of Mullak’as Misminay. Today, we’ll have the chance to spend more intimate, quality time with artisans, weavers, farmers and cooks as they go about their daily jobs. It is a truly unique experience to be welcomed into this tight-knit Peruvian indigenous community, who still live in much the same way as their Incan forefathers, and makes for some astounding photographic opportunities.
Before dinner, the group will meet once again to edit the day’s images and receive feedback from Magdalena as she shares her profound knowledge and experience on social photography in a relaxed, friendly setting. For dinner, we will sample the Andean Peruvian specialty of pachamanca, comprised of marinated meat cooked on hot stones and served alongside potatoes, lima beans or other produce of the mountain region, pachamanca is a communal affair and an important tradition that dates back to Incan times. (B,L,D)
Overnight at a local guesthouse in the village
DAY 6: SACRED VALLEY, MACHU PICCHU
After breakfast at the hotel, step aboard the beautiful Vista Dome Train bound for Aguas Calientes, the town at the foot of Machu Picchu, the ancient capital of the Incas and one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. Upon arrival, check into your beautiful hotel.
Later that day, head off to begin your explorations of the grandest of the Incan citadels, the 550-year old Machu Picchu, which was built into the saddle between two forest-blanketed Andean peaks. Despite the number of photographs you may have seen, nothing can prepare you for the experience of seeing this magnificent site first-hand. Along with Magdalena and an expert guide, we will weave through the ruins, learning about the history and archaeology as well as receiving photographic guidance.
While we navigate the grassy terraces and maze of infrastructure, where cloud swirls through the stone walls, buildings and plazas, we’ll pay special attention to several key places; Intihuatana, the beautifully carved ritual stone that points to the sun during the winter solstice; the condor’s-eye view from the grand Sacred Plaza; and the Temple of the Sun, the rock-carved temple whose windows allow the summer solstice sun to flood through. The Incas long believed in the energy and spirituality of this place and you will feel the undeniable atmosphere of one of the most significant and astounding archaeological sites in the world.
During the early afternoon, enjoy an editing and feedback session with Magdalena and a chance to reflect on the images you have taken so far. Later, you will have time to rest in the hotel or head back to explore Machu Picchu. In the late afternoon glow, when most of the visitors have left, a peaceful tranquility washes over this spiritual place. After a long but unforgettable day, dine at the hotel in Aguas Calientes. (B,L,D)
DAY 7: MACHU PICCHU - CUSCO
Before the sun rises, set off on a pre-dawn walk to the Sun Gate to witness one of Machu Picchu’s most spectacular displays. Watch the sun rise from behind the shadow of the mountain, slowly illuminating the great site as though on a grand stage. Spend the rest of the morning exploring the site in your own time or relaxing at the hotel. After lunch, ride the train back to Cusco and check in to the Palacio del Inka Hotel, a luxurious 500-year old mansion in the heart of the city and your home for the next two nights. Dinner will be at leisure in the atmospheric historic city of Cusco. (B,L)
Palacio del Inka Hotel.
DAY 8: CUSCO
After breakfast at the hotel, set off to explore Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire and today one of Peru’s most picturesque and fascinating destinations. Wander the cobbled streets, which stretch out from Plaza de Armas square and discover the colonial architecture and charming neighborhoods such as San Blas, known for its artisan studios. You’ll also see the 12-angled stone, set into one of the best-surviving Inca walls in Cusco. Cusco is a captivating blend of Peruvian cultures, and makes for excellent photographic opportunities. If you’re lucky, you might even witness one of the city’s many carnivals or religious festivals. Lunch will be taken at your leisure as you explore Cusco’s culture and inhabitants. Join together as a group once more in the evening for an enjoyable dinner. (B)
Palacio del Inka Hotel.
DAY 9: CUSCO
On our penultimate morning, join your fellow travelers for a final edit and critique session before sitting down to enjoy lunch in the hotel. The afternoon has been left free for you to further explore Cusco, purchase traditional crafts and gifts, or visit one of the museums. Dinner this evening will be a joyful and reflective farewell meal of traditional Peruvian dishes in a local restaurant. (B, D)
Palacio del Inka Hotel.
DAY 10: CUSCO - JORGE CHÁVEZ INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, LIMA
After breakfast in the hotel, travel by private transfer to the airport for departures to your home country. (B)
WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
This workshop is for intermediate/advanced to advanced photographers. All participants must bring a digital camera, laptop computer and software for organizing and presenting images.
- $4,395USD per Person/Double Occupancy
For single occupation add 995USD.
Pricing for the Workshop is for 10 Participants; If the group is 5-7 participants, a supplement of $900 USD/person might be required to operate the workshop.
Photographic Instruction by documentary photographer Magdalena Solé
Accommodations: 10 Days / 9 Nights
- Internal transportation
- Entrance fees where required per itinerary
- Meals as noted in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
- Tips and gratuities
- All Transportation (International Flight and flight Lima – Cusco – Lima is not included in the price)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Purchases of personal nature
DOES NOT INCLUDE: