2023 Peru Photo Tour - Cordillera Blanca & Huayhuash Photo Trek
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2023 Peru Photo Tour

The best of the Peruvian Andes – Cordillera Blanca & Huayhuash

Join us for a Peru photo tour to capture the most breathtaking landscapes and night skies in the Andes Mountains. From giant, glaciated peaks; turquoise lakes; and endless valleys and vistas, to colorful wildflowers and some of the darkest skies on the planet, this region in Peru is home to some of the best natural wonders in the world.

We are running this Peruvian Andes photo trek from June 10th to 23rd, 2023, during the dry season, when conditions are best for hiking and chances are best for clear skies at night.

Huayhuash photo tour milky way photography

OVERVIEW

Our Peru photo trek will mainly focus on hiking and capturing the most iconic landscapes in the Cordillera Blanca & Huayhuash, the world’s highest tropical mountain ranges. This time of year is perfect for hiking, as it coincides with the dry season, and ideal for astro, as it’s the peak of Milky Way season in the Southern Hemisphere, with 10+ hours of Milky Way visibility at night.

Over 14 days, we will hike and photograph some of the most spectacular mountains, valleys, and “lagunas” in the Andes. In the Cordillera Blanca, we will visit the turquoise lakes of Laguna Churup and Laguna 69 and be surrounded by snow-capped peaks while we acclimatize ourselves to the high altitude. Once we are in Huayhuash, we’ll camp and hike every day, with vistas of 20,000+ foot towering, glaciated peaks, like the famous Yerupajá and Siula Grande, beautiful lagoons, such as Mitucocha and Carhuacocha, and breathtaking passes, like Trapecio and San Antonio.

At night, we will photograph our Milky Way arching over some otherworldly landscapes. Being at a high altitude and far away from sources of light pollution, you’ll see our galaxy like you’ve never seen it before and feel like you could literally touch the stars.

Peruvian Andes Photo Trek

PERUVIAN ANDES PHOTO TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

    • Photo tour from June 10th – 23rd, 2023
    • Group size: 12 participants + 2 instructors.
    • Main topics: Landscape and astrophotography – Mountains, lakes, Milky Way.
    • Main areas: Cordillera Blanca & Huayhuash Mountain Ranges.
    • Single accommodation included in hotels and private tents.
    • Transportation included throughout the entire trip.
    • All excursions included, such as the visits to Laguna Churup and Laguna 69.
    • Fully outfitted Huayhuash trek with porters and everything included (more details below).
 

Is this Peru Photo Tour the Right Trip for me?

Before you continue reading, it’s important to note that this Peruvian Andes Photo Trek is strenuous and physically demanding. You can expect to hike an average of 4 to 6 miles every day with a 2,000-foot elevation gain at an altitude of over 13,000 feet.

The weather can be very changeable in the mountains, so expect to experience all kinds of weather conditions. Also, we’ll be sleeping in tents on half the nights during the trip.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never hiked at high altitudes before; we’ll make sure that you gradually become acclimatized. However, you shouldn’t consider this photo trek unless you are exceptionally fit and mentally prepared for an adventure of this kind.

You’ll be well rewarded for your efforts, as you’ll enjoy views of one of the most beautiful high-altitude treks in the world and photograph our Milky Way in places where it has never been shot before.

Peruvian Andes Photography adventure

2023 Cordillera Blanca & Huayhuash Photo Trek itinerary

Below is, the itinerary of our Peruvian Andes Photo Tour. We have planned out every day, but bear in mind that some of the hikes and shoots might change depending on the weather conditions.

Dry season usually means clear days, but in the mountains, you can expect rain, sleet, and even snow at any time of the year.

We know the locations very well andhave a team of local experts in the field to help us, so we’ll plan every shoot so that we have the best possible conditions and experience.

DAY 1: PERU PHOTO TOUR – JUNE 10TH

Our Peruvian Andes photo adventure starts in Lima, where a private bus will take us to the heart of the Cordillera Blanca in Huaraz.

We will depart at 09:00 AM and the bus will make two stops: one to pick up people fromLima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport, and another at our hotel, where we recommend staying the night before if you plan to arrive early.

The drive is long and it’ll take us around 8 hours to get to Huaraz, so we will make several stops along the way.

Once we arrive at our destination, we will check into our private accommodation, where we will stay the next 5 nights and get some much-needed rest.

Huaraz is the capital of Peru’s Ancash region and at the heart of the Cordillera Blanca. Located at an altitude of almost 10,000 feet (3,000 meters), it’s the perfect place to acclimatize ourselves before our photo trek.

Cordillera blanca and Huayhuash photo tour

DAY 2: PERUVIAN ANDES PHOTO TOUR – JUNE 11TH

Acclimatizing properly is key for adapting our bodies to the high altitudes of the Huayhuash circuit, so we’ll follow a specific plan to acclimatize ourselves. Every day, we will gradually increase our elevation before then sleeping at a lower elevation in Huaraz.

On the first day, we will spend the morning and afternoon visiting Huaraz. We will walk around the city and visit the main landmarks , including the Plaza de Armas and Mercado Central, and have some delicious food in one of the local restaurants.

In the evening, we will take a private taxi to one of the higher viewpoints outside Huaraz, where we will photograph the sunset with the towering mountains of the Cordillera Blanca, like Huascarán and Huandoy, in the background.

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Peruvian Andes Tour Aclimatization

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DAY 3: PERUVIAN ANDES PHOTO TREK – JUNE 12TH

On the third day of our Peru photo tour, we will take the first of our three day-acclimatization hikes.

We will hike to Laguna Wilcacocha, the perfect hike to start with, since it’s located outside Huaraz at an altitude of just over 12,220 feet (3,725 meters), following an easy and gradual elevation gain.

Our private transportation will leave us at the beginning of the trail, where we’ll start the 3.9-mile hike to the top of the Wilcacocha Lagoon in the Cordillera Negra. Once at the top, we will enjoy some stunning views of the Cordillera Blanca, we’ll have a break for lunch, and take pictures of the peaks using our longer focal lengths.

During the trek, we will pass by some tiny villages, where we’ll have the opportunity to see Peruvian rural life. After this hike, we will arrive back in Huaraz where we’ll rest and then have a group dinner in one of the local restaurants.

    • Distance: 3.9 miles (6.2 kilometers) round trip
    • Elevation gain: 1,883 feet (573 meters)
    • Max. altitude: 12,220 feet (3,725 meters)
    • Estimated hiking time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

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DAY 4: CORDILLERA BLANCA PHOTO TREK – JUNE 13TH

On day 4 of our Cordillera Blanca photo tour, we’ll take our second acclimatization hike to Laguna Churup.

Our private transportation will take us to the start of the Churup trail. The TheTaltitude and difficulty of the hike will increase compared to the day before, but after two nights of sleeping in Huaraz, our bodies will be better acclimatized for longer hikes.

Churup is an emerald-colored lagoon that is surrounded by snowy peaks and is located in Huascarán National Park. On this hike, we will see waterfalls, canyons, and exceptional views of one of the most beautiful locations in the Cordillera Blanca.

We will take our time to hike the 1.8-miles up to an altitude of 14,600 feet (4,450 meters), where the lagoon is located. Once there, we will have a break for eating lunch, taking pictures, flying drones, and enjoying the marvelous vistas before returning down to the start of the trail.

Once we are back in Huaraz, we will rest and then have dinner in another of the local restaurants.

    • Distance: 3.6 miles (5.8 kilometers) round trip
    • Elevation gain: 2,142 feet (652 meters)
    • Max. altitude: 14,600 feet (4,450 meters)
    • Estimated hiking time: 3 hours and 30 minutes

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DAY 5: CORDILLERA BLANCA PHOTO TOUR – JUNE 14TH

On day 5 of our Peru photo tour, the last day of our acclimatization hikes, we will embark on one of the most special treks in the Cordillera Blanca: Laguna 69.

Laguna 69 is considered one of the most beautiful glacial lakes in the world. It’s located in Huascarán National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s full of huge ravines, wildflowers, and the highest mountain in the Peruvian Andes (Mt. Huascarán).

This national park is located two and a half hours from Huaraz, so our transportation will pick us up at our accommodation at 4:30 AM so we can start the hike in the early morning.

After breakfasting in the area, we will start the spectacular photo trek to Laguna 69. The hike starts out mostly flat, but the elevation increases gradually as we get closer to the mountains. The trail is a feast for the senses and you can expect to see waterfalls, canyons, wildflowers, and massive mountains and glaciers.

Once we get to Laguna 69, we will take a break for pictures and aerial photography with drones. We will have an incredible view of the turquoise lagoon in a location surrounded by waterfalls, glaciated peaks, and the spectacular glaciers of Pisco and Chacraraju.

After our shoot, we will have some snacks before hiking back to a lower elevation.

We will get back to Huaraz, where we will get some rest before the next big adventure. At this point, we will be fit, acclimatized, and ready for our Huayhuash Astrophoto trek!

    • Distance: 8.6 miles (13.8 kilometers) round trip
    • Elevation gain: 2,762 feet (841 meters)
    • Max. altitude: 15,092 feet (4,600 meters)
    • Estimated hiking time: 5 hours

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Laguna 69 in Peruvian Andes

Laguna 69 UNESCO World Heritage

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DAY 6: HUAYHUASH PHOTO TREK – JUNE 15TH

On the 6th day of our Peru photo tour, we will start our Huayhuash photo trek. We will depart Huaraz after breakfast and take a relatively long drive (6 hours), which will allow us to enjoy great views of the incredible Huayhuash range from the road. Our final destination will be Llamac, a tiny village of farmers and shepherds, and the last human settlement we will see for the following 6 days.

Our local team of guides and porters will set up our camp near Llamac in Quartelhuain, where we will enjoy a delicious dinner in our dining tent. There will be no hiking on this day, since our goal will be to be well-rested for our Huayhuash photo trek.

If conditions allow, we will do an astrophotography session near the campsite.

    • No hiking
    • 6-hour drive from Huaraz approx.
    • Campsite altitude: 13,670 feet (4,168 meters)

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DAY 7: HUAYHUASH PHOTO TOUR – JUNE 16TH

On day 7, we will start the real Huayhuash photo trek adventure by hiking our first section from Quartelhuain to Laguna Mitucocha via Cacanan Punta Pass.

We will reach our first mountain pass of the route early in the morning and get the first spectacular views of this mountain range from the top. From here, we’ll enjoy our first great vista of the snowy mountains of Rondoy and the Andean Condors overhead.

Once at the top, we will then descend down to our next camp near Laguna Mitucocha and stop for many photography breaks along the way. From our camp, we will have an excellent view of the giants Jirishanca, Rondoy, and Ninashanca, all glacier-capped mountains that are over 18,000 feet tall.

After resting at our camp at Janca, we will take the evening to visit the nearby Laguna Mitucocha and scout locations for our night shoot. There are many great Milky Way compositions to be found here in the early evening, so if conditions allow, we’ll do an early Milky Way session after dinner.

  • Distance: 5.6 miles (9 kilometers) round trip
  • Elevation gain: 1,680 feet (512 meters)
  • Max. altitude: 15,350 feet (4,680 meters)
  • Campsite altitude: 13,917 feet (4,242 meters)
  • Estimated hiking time: 4 to 5 hours

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DAY 8: HUAYHUASH PHOTO TOUR – JUNE 17TH

On Day 8, we will start the day by shooting the sunrise near Laguna Mitucocha. This is the best time of day, when the morning light illuminates the Rondoy and Jirishanca peaks, for good lighting at this location. After this shoot and a good breakfast, we’ll leave our camp to start hiking towards one of the most special spots on our Peru photo tour: Laguna Carhuacocha.

We will ascend the Carhuac Mountain Pass in the early morning and descend to the majestic Laguna Carhuacocha, where our local team will set up our camp for the next two days.

The views of the valley from this lagoon are unparalleled and you’ll feel very small as you face some of the highest mountains in the Andes, including Yerupajá (21,768 feet high/6,634 meters), Siula Grande, Yerupajá Chico, Jirishanca, and Rondoy.

During the day, you can see epic displays of light when the clouds roll around the peaks and feel the thunder of the avalanches falling off the mountain glaciers.

However, the real show at Carhuacocha starts at night, when this high-altitude valley gets so dark that you won’t be able to see your own hands. Be prepared because you’ll enjoy one of the most stunning night photography sessions of your life as you watch the Milky Way rise over the mountains with the light reflected in the lagoon.

This location is so special that we have reserved two nights here for exploring the area and making sure that we can enjoy the best possible conditions for astro.

    • Distance: 6.8 miles (11 kilometers) round trip
    • Elevation gain: 1,240 feet (378 meters)
    • Max. altitude: 15,150 feet (4,620 meters)
    • Campsite altitude: 13,622 ft (4,152 meters)
    • Estimated hiking time: 5 to 6 hours

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DAY 9: HUAYHUASH PHOTO TOUR – JUNE 18TH

On the 9th day of our Peru photo tour, we will explore the main photography landmarks around Laguna Carhuacocha.

After a sunrise shoot where we watch the alpenglow over the higher peaks, we will take the Huayhuash Alpine Route to another breathtaking vista in the Mirador de las 3 Lagunas ( Huayhuash Three Lagoons Viewpoint). After hiking the Carhuacocha valley, we will start gaining altitude while passing the three turquoise-colored lagoons of Gangrajanca, Siula, and Quesillococha.

The views of the mountains along the way are impressive, and it’s common to see the occasional avalanche falling off the cliffs. The last part of the hike is steep, but we will be rewarded with an exceptional panoramic view of the mountains from Pico Carnicero to Rondoy, with the impressive Eastern Siula Glacier and the three lagunas across the valley.

Beyond this viewpoint, we will take a couple of off-route, small hikes to different areas of the lagoon that nobody visits, so we’ll have the opportunity to capture unique camera and drone shots.

Once we are back at our base camp in Laguna Carhuacocha, we will do a second night photography session and photograph our Milky Way from a different perspective.

    • Distance: 8.2 miles (13.9 kilometers) round trip
    • Elevation gain: 1,738 feet (529 meters)
    • Max. altitude: 14,747 feet (4,495 meters)
    • Campsite altitude: 13,622 feet (4,152 meters)
    • Estimated hiking time: 6 hours

Huayhuash alpine trek

Huayhuash, 3 lagunas, Peru

Huayhuash in the summer, Dry season, Peru

DAY 10: HUAYHUASH PHOTO TOUR – JUNE 19TH

On day 10, we will have a long day ahead of us, so we will depart in the early morning after a sunrise session andl take the same Alpine Route up to the Mirador Tres Lagunas. Having an extra day here will allow us to enjoy this photogenic area in different light conditions .

After a break at the Three LLagoons Viewpoint that we visited the day before, we’ll continue climbing up to Siula Pass, the highest altitude of the trek so far. After this, we’ll start the descent to Laguna Carcinero and pass through areas where we will enjoy new views of the mountains. This area of the trek is very wild, so you can expect to see Andean condors and, if we are lucky, vicuñas (wild alpacas).

We will take a break in a lush valley with an excellent view of Pico Carnicero before starting our descent to Huayhuash Camp, where we will photograph the sunset and do our astrophotography sessions at night.

Note: *If you feel tired and don’t want to take this steep and scenic route, there will be an alternative hike via Carnicero Pass, which is easier and lower in elevation.

    • Distance: 8.6 miles (14 kilometers) round trip
    • Elevation gain: 2,296 feet (700 meters)
    • Max. altitude: 15,750 feet (4,800 meters)
    • Campsite altitude: 14,240 feet (4,340 meters)
    • Estimated hiking time: 8 hours

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DAY 11: HUAYHUASH PHOTO TREK – JUNE 20TH

The 11th day of our Huayhuash astrophoto trek will offer another day of beauty at new heights!

The ascent on this trail is long, but it’s very gradual, so we will take our time until we reach the majestic Trapecio Pass. Here, you’ll barely believe your eyes when you see have the view, a 360°, up-close vista of towering mountains, glaciers, and lagoons.

Once at the top, we will take a break and then start an optional 200-foot hike to reach the highest point of the trek at almost 16,700 feet (5,100 meters), where we will see one of Huayhuash’s best-kept secret views.

After the pass, we will leave the moraine rock and hike down to Cuyoc, where we’ll walk through a very different type of terrain that descends into a fantasy-like valley with peaks and glacial lakes.

The final destination will be Elefante Camp, where we will much-rest before our night photography session in the valley.

    • Distance: 5.1 miles (8.2 kilometers) round trip
    • Elevation gain: 2,362 feet (720 meters)
    • Max. altitude: 16,732 feet (5,100 meters)
    • Campsite altitude: 14,270 feet (4,350 meters)
    • Estimated hiking time: 8 hours

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DAY 12: HUAYHUASH PHOTO TREK – JUNE 21ST

On this new day of our Peruvian Andes photo tour, we will start a very short but steep hike to San Antonio Pass where, if the weather cooperates, we’ll be able to enjoy possibly the most epic vista in the entire Huayhuash range.

From the top of San Antonio, you can get a perfect view of the highest mountains in the Huayhuash range, including Siula Grande, Yerupajá, and Carnicero, and the turquoise lagoons of Jurau and Sarapococha. Another highlight from this height is seeing the Siula Glacier Valley, where Joe Simpson’s harrowing fall and survival, as dramatized in Touching the Void, occurred.

The hike down is very steep, but we will take multiple photo breaks to shoot the wildflowers with the marvelous mountain sights in the background.

Once in the camp and after recharging with some nice food, we will do an optional hike in the evening to Laguna Jurau. At night, we’ll do our last astrophotography session, either in Laguna Jurau or the valley.

    • Distance: 2.7 miles (4.5 kilometers) round trip
    • Elevation gain: 1,673 feet (510 meters)
    • Max. altitude: 16,469 feet (5,020 meters)
    • Campsite altitude: 13,976 feet (4,260 meters)
    • Estimated hiking time: 5 to 6 hours

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DAY 13: HUAYHUASH PHOTO TREK – JUNE 22ND

On the last day of our Huayhuash photo tour, we will return to the “human world” in a descent hike to Huayllapa Village.

We will take our last photos along the way, passing by wildflowers, rivers, and some waterfalls.

Once in Huayllapa, our private transportation will drive us back to Huaraz, which will take 8 hours. Once we are back, we will enjoy a great shower and sleep in a bed again after our Huayhuash photo trek!

    • Distance: 8.2 miles (13.2 kilometers) round trip
    • Elevation gain: 200 feet (60 meters)
    • Max. altitude: 13,976 feet (4,260 meters)
    • Estimated hiking time: 4 to 5 hourse
    • 8-hour drive to Huaraz approx.

Unique photography experience in Peru

DAY 14: PERU PHOTO TOUR – JUNE 23RD

On the last day of our Peru photo tour, our private bus will pick us up from our hotel after breakfast to drive us back to Lima at 09:00 AM.

Expect to spend 7 to 9 hours on the road, so don’t book your flights home for before 8 PM.

We recommend spending an extra night in Lima in case there’s any delay because of traffic or if you need to catch an early flight the following day.

PRICE: $3,490 USD

Deposit: $1,000 USD

A $1,000 USD non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your spot for this tour. You can also pay in full at any time. The remaining balance is due on March 10th, 2023. If the remaining balance is not paid in full by the due date, you will lose your spot.

You are guaranteed a 100% refund if we have to cancel the tour due to COVID-19 or the current conflict in Ukraine.

What does the price include?

INCLUDED

    • Transfer by private mini bus Lima – Huaraz / Huaraz – Lima.
    • Transportation during the entire trip in private vehicles.
    • Fuel and parking fees.
    • 6 nights of accommodation in Huaraz in single rooms with bathroom.
    • Acclimatization hikes to Wilcacocha, Churup, and Laguna 69.
    • Entrance ticket to Huascarán National Park.
    • Photo guide services from Dan Zafra, professional landscape and astrophotographer.
    • 8-day fully outfitted Huayhuash Photo trek, including: (Click to display)

      -Private 4-season tent with sleeping bag and air mats.

      -All food and drinks – breakfast, picnic, lunch, dinner.

      -Bilingual, accredited professional mountain guide.

      Assistant guide.

      Cook & kitchen services.

      Kitchen assistant.

      Donkey drivers (“arrieros”) with mules.

      Dining tent.

      -Portable power generator.

      Satellite phone and first aid kit.

      Rescue horse.

      -Huayhuash communities camping fees.

      Night photography sessions.

*BONUS

NOT INCLUDED

    • Flights to/from Jorge Chávez Lima International Airport.
    • Accommodation in Lima before/after the trip.
    • Meals before/after the Huayhuash trek (E.g., meals in Huaraz).
    • Personal trekking/camera equipment.
    • Health/travel insurance (We can help you purchase the best travel insurance according to your needs).
    • Telephone, personal expenses, tips, etc., and any other service not mentioned in the “INCLUDED” section.
Plan a photography trip to the Peruvian Andes

What will I learn during this Peru Photo Tour?

This Peruvian Andes photo tour is mainly focused on landscape and astrophotography, and shooting mountains and high alpine scenes.

What you learn during the workshop will vary according to your goals and skills. Your instructors are professional photographers with extensive experience who will help you take your photography to the next level.

This tour is technically demanding, considering the environment and the type of scenes that we’ll be shooting, so we do recommend having a good photography knowledge base to make the most of the experience.

During the tour you’ll have the opportunity to learn:

    • Creating powerful compositions that tell a story and engage the viewer.
    • Building a connection between your photography and your vision.
    • Becoming a master of light: learn how to enhance it and keep it under control.
    • Advanced landscape techniques like bracketing, focus stacking, or focal length blending.
    • Advanced night photography techniques like stacking and tracking.
    • Advanced drone photography like aerial panoramas, vertoramas, and bracketing.

Some of the post-processing techniques that you can learn with the included tutorials are:

    • Basics of Lightroom and Photoshop.
    • Preparing your images in Lightroom/Adobe Camera Raw.
    • Stitching of panoramas using different software like Lightroom or PTGui Pro.
    • Reducing the noise in your images with Denoise AI.
    • Sharpening your photos with Sharpen AI.
    • All types of Blendings (exposure, focal length, focus, etc.).
    • Light shaping and Dodge & Burn in your landscape & night images.
    • Post-processing of moody and atmospheric landscapes.
    • Advanced Milky Way post-processing techniques.

Your instructors on this Peruvian Andes photo tour

Dan Zafra will be the tour leader throughout this Peru photo tour, and he will make sure that you are in the right place at the right time to get the best photography results from this tour. He will help you with your photography, technique, and composition in all your landscape and night images.

Dan knows the best locations in the Peruvian Andes across the Cordillera Blanca and the Huayhuash mountain range. He has experience hiking at high altitudes, having completed the entire Huayhuash Circuit in the past.

Dan’s work has been published by recognized organizations like NASA and National Geographic.

He’s also the creator of the popular “Capture the Atlas Milky Way Calendars,” which help 40,000+ photographers plan their shots around the world every year, and the creator and curator of “The Milky Way Photographer of the Year,” an award-winning annual list that inspires hundreds of thousands of people to go out and photograph our galaxy.

You’ve probably seen Dan in…

What to bring on a Peruvian Andes Photo Trek?

PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR
    • DSLR/mirrorless camera and a sturdy light tripod.
    • A quality all-round zoom lens like a 24-105 mm.
    • A wide-angle lens, such as a 14-24 mm lens.
    • A camera bag to transport all your equipment.
    • A headlamp for the night shoots.

These are some optional items: (weight is an important consideration for the hikes)

    • A medium zoom lens, such as a 24-70 mm lens.
    • A telephoto lens, like a 100-400 mm lens.
    • A CPL (circular polarizer filter).

Other optional items if you are focused on advanced MW photography are:

    • A star-tracker.
    • A laser for doing polar alignment.

*I also recommend a light and fast prime lens for Milky Way photography. Some of the best lenses in this range are:

    • 20 mm f/1.8
    • 24 mm f/1.4
    • 35 mm f/1.4

This prime can also be a substitute for your wide-angle zoom for daytime images.

What do you need for a photography tour in the Peruvian Andes

CLOTHING AND TREKKING GEAR

We are taking this Peru photo trek during the dry season, also known as the “Andean summer.” This time of year typically has stable weather, with only one or two days of bad weather per week and sometimes even weeks of perfect weather.

The average temperature in the high mountains above 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) at this time of year is 68°F (20ºC) in the middle of the day and drops to around 32°F (0ºC) at night and in the early mornings. This is also the time of year with very little wind.

However, we will be hiking around very high mountains, and the weather in this type of environment can be unpredictable, so there could be rain, hail, snow, or strong winds during parts of the trek.

For this reason, you should come prepared and wear the right clothing and trekking gear. Below is our list of recommendations for this Huayhuash photo trek:

    • A system of top layers to wear (base layer, fleece, windproof layer, shell).
    • A system of bottom layers to wear (hiking pants, fleece pants for the cold nights, overpants for the rain).
    • A good pair of breathable boots to keep your feet warm and protect your ankles while hiking.
    • Light sneakers or sandals so you can change your shoes after the trek.
    • Warm and breathable socks.
    • A wool hat, neck gaiter, and gloves.
    • A day backpack (30/40 Lt).
    • Light water bottle.
    • A small, light towel.

Some optional items that are highly recommended are:

    • Hiking poles.
    • A cap or sun hat.
    • Sunglasses.
    • Lip balm.
    • An external power bank.
    • A portable solar charger.
    • An oxygen saturation monitor.

You will receive a list with everything that you need and we recommendwith links and examples before the trip.

Hiking equipment for a photography tour in Andes

MONEY

The currency in Peru is the Peruvian Sol (PEN). In many places in Lima and Huaraz, you can pay with credit or debit card, but there are still many businesses that only take cash.

We recommend getting “soles” in your home country, or withdrawing some once you are in Peru. You can always purchase a small amount at Jorge Chavez International Airport to tide you over until you get to an ATM.

DOCUMENTATION

People from most countries in the Americas, Europe, Eastern Asia, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand don’t need a tourist visa to visit Peru for trips that are shorter than 183 days.

Please check if you need a visa to visit Peru if you live outside those areas. We can help you with this process.

ACCOMMODATIONS

The accommodation on this Peruvian Andes photo tour is single occupancy throughout the entire trip:

    • In Huaraz, you’ll have a private room and bathroom. We’ll be staying in a hotel that’s very close to the Plaza de Armas and the main attractions and restaurants in town.
    • During the Huayhuash trek, you’ll have a private tent, which will be set up every day by the local team. We will camp at the official campsites, where you can take in amazing views ofthe most photogenic mountains.
Hiking in Peru with a guide
MEALS

All meals are included during our Huayhuash photo trek and they’ll be prepared and served to us in a group dining tent.

We’ll have a local team of experts with us, including a cook and a kitchen assistant that will prepare all our meals.

    • Breakfast options will include a mix of hot drinks, omelettes, pancakes, cereals, fruits, toast, and jams.
    • Lunch will be eaten during breaks from the hikes and will include salad, pasta, potatoes, tuna, trout, chicken, beef, vegetables, and fruits.
    • Dinner will be the main meal of the day to recover after the hikes, and the cook will prepare a variety of local and international dishes.

Apart from the main meals, you can also have hot drinks, dried fruits, and snacks at any time of the day.

We can cater to all dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and many other options.

Eating during a long hike in Peru

A TYPICAL DAY ON OUR HUAYHUASH PHOTO TREK

We are very close to the equator, and the hours of light don’t change much throughout the year, so we’ll get 12 hours of light from about 06:00 AM to 06:00 PM. We will plan all the hikes and photography sessions according to the hours of light and Milky Way visibility.

If there is no late Milky Way session, we will wake up early around 06:00 AM. Our local team will have breakfast ready for us, so we can enjoy it and start our hike. We won’t have to worry about setting up camp, since that will also be done by the local team.

We will hike for about 4 hours in the morning, doing multiple photography stops according to the landscapes and light. After this, we will take a break and have lunch outdoors with a scenic view.

After the break, we will continue our hike. Some days are shorter or longer than others, but we’ll hike an average of 3-4 hours after the lunch break, stopping again for multiple photo opportunities.

Once we arrive at our destination, camp will be already set up so we can rest and have some dinner. If there are good conditions for astro, we’ll do an early Milky Way session after dinner before going to bed and recharging our batteries for the following day.

The night photography sessions will vary according to the weather conditions and locations. There are usually 10+ hours of Milky Way visibility at this time of year, but our galaxy is too high to see for most of the night. The best time for Milky Way photography in the Southern Hemisphere at this time of year is right after sunset and before sunrise, when the Milky Way arch is rising or setting. Some locations are better for a rising Milky Way, while others are better for a setting Milky Way, which is how we will determine our shoots.

Group tous in Huayhuash, Peru

What expenses should you consider for this Peruvian Andes Photo Tour?

FLIGHTS

You should book your flight to Lima Jorge Chavez International Airport (LIM).

The price of round-trip flights to Lima from the US is approximately $500-600 USD, and from Europe, it’s $600-700 USD.

We recommend reading this article if you want to find the best flights to Lima Airport from your current location.

MEALS

Meals in Lima and Huaraz are not included, except for breakfast. Most days, we will have breakfast at the hotel and a lunch/dinner in one of the local restaurants.

During the day, we will eat snacks and picnic to maximize our time during the acclimatization hikes.

Groceries and restaurants are cheap in Peru, and you can expect to spend about $15-$25 USD on food per day.

PERSONAL SATELLITE PHONE

We will carry a satellite phone on the trek but only for emergencies.

Once we leave Huaraz, there will be no service until we are back 7 days later, so if you want to communicate with the outside world, we recommend carrying a personal satellite phone or GPS device with SMS functions, like a Garmin inReach.

What makes this Peru Photo Tour unique?

Immersive

you'll be absorbed by the magic of the Peruvian Andes and have an intense experience that is conducive to learning and taking the best images.

Intimate

Our photo trek is limited to small groups with a ratio of no more than six students per instructor. This is also an important factor for providing the attentive instruction you need during the tour.

Exclusive

We will photograph some hidden gems that we have discovered while exploring in the past that are rarely visited or photographed. This is the only photo trek focused on astrophotography in the entire Andes.

Dedicated

We will discuss your goals before the tour so we can create a dedicated instruction plan for you. It doesn’t matter your age or skills; we will design your plan and provide you with materials before, during, and after the workshop so the learning process is not limited to just the tour.

Proven

We have spent years designing national and international photo tours with successful results, helping photographers with everything from the simple task of getting off Auto to the ambitious goal of capturing complex images. Dan’s online courses have also helped more than 400 photographers over the last few years.

Unforgettable

Beyond the photography, our photography tours help build strong bonds that last forever. After our trip, you’ll feel like you have been with a group of friends rather than on a standard tour. We are thankful to have plenty of repeat clients who keep traveling and learning with us.

Frequent questions about our Peruvian Andes Photo tour

This tour is technically demanding, considering the environment and the type of scenes that we’ll be shooting, so we do recommend having a good photography knowledge base.

Once you sign up for the trip, we will discuss your skills and goals for this tour, and I’ll organize a teaching plan so you can make the most of this experience. You’ll also receive access to Dan’s Capture the Milky Way course so you can start preparing your astrophotography before the trip.

This is a STRENUOUS photo trek, where we will be hiking at high altitudes and sometimes over rough terrain.

Expect to hike up to 2 or 3 hours every day to the top of a mountain pass that’s over 14,500 feet above sea level (4,500 meters) with your camera gear, water, snacks, etc.

We won’t hike on ridges or avalanche terrain, so there will be no need for climbing, scrambling, or using ropes. The trails can be rocky and slippery at times, so having good balance is recommended.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any previous experience hiking at high elevations.; we have prepared a complete acclimatization plan so we can progressively adapt to the altitude without experiencing altitude sickness. However, you must have some previous experience with hiking and be in exceptional physical shape. We can discuss and recommend training plans to be physically prepared for this trek.

Before signing up for the trip, we’ll also have a call to discuss your background, experience, and goals so we can decide if this is the best experience for you.

There is no age limit to join this Huayhuash photo trek.

We do recommend that participants between 45 and 55 years old do a physical examination with a primary care provider (PCP), and we do require a mandatory physical examination if you are over 55 years old.

The Peruvian Andes offer exceptional opportunities for aerial photography and filming. You’ll be in very remote areas with almost no restrictions and you’ll have the opportunity to charge your drone batteries with our portable power generator.

Dan is an experienced drone pilot and will show you the best aerial photography techniques.

Our Happy Students!

I’ve had the opportunity to work with and help countless photographers over the last years:

Iceland Photo Tour Reviews Capture the Atlas4
I recently spent 3 weeks with Dan in Iceland. It was a wonderful experience that surpassed my expectations. Dan is an energetic guide who is passionate about what he does. The trip was well organized, and Dan made sure we were able to see everything that was planned. Dan worked with everyone on the tour to understand their skill level and provide his insights on ways to improve their photography. It was a wonderful adventure. I hope I have the opportunity to tour with Capture the Atlas again.
Robert Adams
South & North Iceland Tours
Reviews Iceland Photo Tours
I joined Capture the Atlas in Iceland in September 2021 for the consecutive North and South tours. It was a trip of a lifetime. Jam-packed days and unbelievable (and otherworldly) sights. Before the trip, I didn't even know how to turn my camera on to manual settings. However, with their expertise and constant patience, I really upped my skill level. I loved how they REALLY knew the area. They were very knowledgeable about the best accommodations and hidden gems that we would never have seen or found if we had selected another company or tried to visit on our own. You will never regret joining any of Dan's trips (I know we don't) and I know that I will once again come home with great memories and amazing photos.
Maleka Ali
South & North Iceland Tours
Iceland Photo Tour Reviews Capture the Atlas6
If I had to join a photo tour again, I wouldn’t hesitate to repeat this trip with Capture the Atlas! In addition to the organization, the accommodations, the places...you have the feeling of traveling with friends, where we all learn from each other and the guides are very close and familiar creating a small family. We were a group of different ages and levels and none of that prevented the coordination from being excellent. In addition, Dan adapted and made the necessary changes in the schedule if the weather wasn’t the best, and thanks to that we could see and photograph the Northern Lights! Thanks again to Ascen and Dani. Highly recommended!
Beatriz Rodriguez
Iceland Photo Tour
Iceland Photo Tour Reviews Capture the Atlas3
Excellent trip. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a "different" vacation and photography learning experience. The views of waterfalls, volcanos, geysers, glaciers, etc. are superb. Dan helped me get my images to another level. Iceland should be on your bucket list, especially with Capture the Atlas. The guys are very knowledgeable about photography and how to organize the trip.
Jay Gorecki
South & North Iceland Tours
Webp.net-resizeimage-19
On my recent photo tour to Iceland, not only was I able to see the Northern Lights, but I also was able to photograph them thanks to Dan's tutelage and patience! I returned home with not only amazing pictures but also renewed enthusiasm for photography. Dan's passion for photography and landscapes is unequivocal.
Rachel Rose
Iceland Photography Tour
Iceland workshop reviews Capture the atlas
Dan was a great host on my recent Photo tour of Southern Iceland. He is an excellent photographer and was energetic in his effort to get our group to so many great sites to photograph. I had great comrades along, which made the journey even more enjoyable. Would I make this trip with Capture the Atlas again? In a heartbeat!
Larry Covalciuc
Iceland Photo Tour
Iceland Photo Tour Reviews Capture the Atlas5
Traveled with Dan on the South Iceland tour, September 2021. We had six "photographers" on the tour of varying experience and Dan was exceptional at working with us on our level. He was also accommodating by changing the timing of the itinerary due to the weather and the eruption of the volcano. The tour included, as advertised, some hiking to remote places to capture some unique photos. The weathered dictated times to get out to see the Aurora and sunrises which were all impressive.
Robert Emery
Iceland Photo Tour
Iceland Photo Tour Reviews Capture the Atlas7
Dan & Ascen drove almost 2,000 km’s to bring us to all the locations for photo shoot’s. There was fabulous enthusiasm amongst the group. We witnessed amazing landscapes and seascapes. Dan made it all possible, the “Dancing Northern Lights” would not be missed on this tour. There was a good choice of accommodation & restaurants.
Iris Anderson
Iceland Photo Tour
Iceland Photo Tour Reviews Capture the Atlas1
I took the 2019 Iceland trip. Dan, the group leader, has been to Iceland many times and is knowledgeable on the best photo locations on the island. In addition to the well-known, must-see locations, he also took us to some less-visited locations that were also worthwhile. It is also a plus to have a tour guide who is knowledgeable about lodgings, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. in the area. One bucket-list item for all of our group was to see the Northern Lights. After several days of rain and overcast skies, Dan revised the schedule and drove to locations on the island where we were able to get two nights of good Northern Lights viewing. Dan and Ascen were attentive to the needs of the group, whether for photography advice, accommodations, meals, etc. I highly recommend them and would travel with them again.
Kenneth Orloff
Iceland Photo Tour

Join the expedition

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

This tour is governed by these Terms and Conditions.

The “Cordillera Blanca” and Huayhuash are the most spectacular and photogenic mountain ranges in the Peruvian Andes.

The hikes in this region are considered some of the most beautiful alpine treks in the world for good reason; here, you can see everything from endless mountains to colorful glacial lakes and some of the darkest night skies on our planet.

This is the only tour where you’ll find hiking, intense astrophotography, camaraderie, and unforgettable moments in a breathtaking place like the Andes.

Are you ready for the adventure?!

Dan Zafra photography - Capture the Atlas

DAN ZAFRA