Peru: Machu Picchu and Amazon Wildlife Photography Tour

Tour Intro

Sponsored by Houston Audubon Society

Travel with Kathy Adams Clark and Gary Clark to the Amazon, Cusco, and walk the ancient pathways through the ruins of Machu Picchu. We start this exploration in the Peruvian Amazon, at the Inkaterra Amazonica, located in the remote Tambopata National Reserve. Amidst spectacular forest and incredible scenery, the density and diversity of animal and plant species reach a peak in the extreme western Amazon, near the foot of the Andes. The Lodge is incredibly remote and wild. Wildlife enthusiasts, birders, and nature photographers find Tambopata worth the extra effort and travelling time.

As we travel overland through the Sacred Valley you will discover many sites often missed by the casual tourist. We will visit the local markets that afford us a view of today’s Quechua among the myriad colors of bright clothing and local produce. There will be ample time to record your images in this remarkable land. From Cusco and the Sacred Valley, we move on to another highlight, Machu Picchu. This will be an unforgettable experience, as we will have two days to hike the trails and photograph this amazing sight. Return to Cusco, exploring the city and there will be a day tour to the Apurimac Canyon to photograph the Condors. You will have an exciting time observing the majestic condor while it soars over the Andes, you may also be able to observe the nests of these amazing birds of prey.

Peru is a fascinating mix of old and new, farmers work mountain terraces built over two thousand years ago, while today’s churches rise from the stones of ancient Incan temples. With its snow-capped Andean peaks, untouched rain forest, and one of the driest deserts in the world, it is one of the most spectacular countries on earth.

The proud heritage of the Quechua people and their rulers, the Incas, can be experienced in one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever known. Living in isolated villages, half the population only speaks Quechua or Aymará. These neighborhoods and Peru’s lovely colonial cities combine with the European heritage contributing to an elegance that remains today. The two cultures have remained proud and independent, adding to the richness of life in modern Peru.

Tour Highlights

• Tour limited to 12 fellow photographers.
•  Led by Kathy Adams Clark and Gary Clark.
• The best experience at a wildlife and bird lodge in the Amazon.
• Local Peruvian guide, knowing the needs of a photography group.
• Photography at traditional Peruvian markets.
• Relaxed and flexible itinerary through Cusco and the Sacred Valley.
• Two evenings at Machu Picchu, one of the highlights of your excursion.

Tour Itinerary

March 10-11: US-Lima-Amazon

Photo By: Kathy Adams Clark

Photo Location: Peru

Today is a day of travel and rest. A suggested flight schedule from the U.S. will be given. Upon arrival in Lima, you take the second floor walkway from the airport to the Ramada Inn Lima Airport Hotel. Spend the evening and depart May 11 on a morning flight* to Puerto Maldonado. Where the group will then be transferred to your lodge in the Amazon. After registering at the Butterfly House, transfer to the boarding wharf, and enjoy your 45 minute boat ride to the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica. Overnight March 10 Lima Ramada/ March 11 Inkaterra Amazon (B, L, D March 11).

March 12-13: Amazon
Hoatzin Filter

Photo By: Kathy Adams Clark

Photo Location: Peru


Travelling to Tambopata National Reserve offers a rare opportunity to discover a lively biodiversity of birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and trees. Record-setting numbers of animal species are concentrated within small areas, and the variety of plant life is greater than almost anywhere in the world. Enjoy the Trail System adventure, the Twilight River excursion, Lake Sandoval, and Inkaterra Canopy Walkway & Anaconda Walk. There is also a Gamitana Creek excursion and a butterfly house. Spa service is also available. (B, L, D both days)

March 14: Amazon-Cusco-Sacred Valley

Photo By: Kathy Adams Clark

Photo Location: Peru

 

After an early breakfast, you will return to the Puerto Maldonado airport. The group will then fly* to Cusco, where you will be transferred to the Sacred Valley, visting the Chinchero market. The inhabitants of this area have chosen to keep their ancient way of life, and you will see their heritage in the intricate designs of animals, mountains, flowers, and the stars that are woven into brightly colored textiles.

In the afternoon we will drive to Ollantaytambo, a fortress and town, which defended Cusco from intrusions from the jungle tribes to the north. It stands at the end of a gentle valley, which leads down from the Andes to the Amazon. We will wander the narrow cobblestone streets of the village for a glimpse of everyday life in the Andes, and then climb the steep stone steps to one of the most elegant and magnificent remains of the Incan dynasty, Ollantaytambo. Huge terraces lead up to the site, which is crowned by seven massive monoliths of pink granite traced with mysterious carvings. We will spend the night at a once beautiful hacienda, set on lovely grounds; it has been renovated into a comfortable hotel with a pool and garden. Overnight Posada Yucay (B, picnic L, D)
 

March 15: Machu Picchu

Photo By: Karen Adams Clark

Photo Location: Peru, Pisac

We travel to Ollantaytambo, where we board our train, and follow the valley along the rushing river strewn with polished stones. Once we reach the ancient peak, we will have a guided tour of the ruins to hear of its wonders and learn some of the theories for ourselves. For many, the words Machu Picchu conjure up an image of a lost Inca city, swathed in the green creepers of an encroaching jungle, hidden behind the years, waiting for someone to come across this ancient peak. Rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911, Machu Picchu was unknown to the Spaniards. Its reason for existence remains under debate. Some argue it was built and populated by the family of one Inca ruler, Pachacutec; while others have proposed the principal function was to maintain a reliable supply of coca leaves for the priests and royals of Cusco. Bingham fostered the school of thought that the city existed primarily for strategic and defensive purposes, but other findings support the hypothesis that it was a university where children of other Andean cultures, conquered by the Incas, were educated. This is truly one of the most mysterious and compelling places on earth. All that remains are silent stones, their tantalizing clues such as a beautifully sculptured rock that might have been used to trace the path of the sun, carved to follow the outlines of the peaks rising behind them, and paving stones with hollow depressions that might have mirrored the stars. Once you have seen it, you will be unable to resist speculations at the impenetrable mystery of these silent stones. Overnight Machu Picchu Pueblo. (B, L, D)

March 16: Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu

Photo By: Kathy Adams Clark

Photo Location: Peru

Today we will have a full day to explore Machu Picchu (Ancient Peak) at our own pace. Our guide will assist us in arriving at the gates at first light. Walking the ancient pathways through the ruins, we can photograph the changing patterns of light and shadow on the textured rock, perhaps ascend Huayna Picchu (Young Peak) for a different perspective on Machu Picchu or pursue the Inca Trail to Intipunku, the Sun Gate. (B, L, D)

March 17: Machu Picchu-Cusco

Photo By: Kathy Adams Clark

Photo Location: Peru

Those wishing to have an optional return visit may do so on there own this morning. Others can relax and enjoy the resorts garden paths, or shopping with some of the many vendors prior to our return train route to Ollantaytambo. We then return via the coach to Cusco. We arrive in Cusco late this afternoon. The altitude adjustment will require the group to have a free afternoon to rest and relax at the hotel. It is important to let your body adjust, so that you will have the full experience of Cusco in the coming days of the program. Overnight Novotel (B, L

March 18-19: Cusco

Photo By: Kathy Adams Clark

Photo Location: Cusco, Peru

Cusco was the capital of the Incas, the cultural and religious focus of the empire. Impressive walls were sheathed in gold and built from fine dressed stone. It was designed with an infrastructure of channels providing water, making it cleaner and healthier than any European City of its time. It is said that Inca Pachacutec designed the city to look like a Puma, the Incas’ sacred animal. The river Tullumayo formed the spine, the river Huatanay the belly, and the fortress or temple of Sacsayhuaman made the head. Cusco had been overshadowed by the growth of Lima. With the rebirth of interest in the ancient civilizations of Peru and the discovery of Machu Picchu in 1911, Cusco re-emerged as one of Peru’s principal cities. We start our tour with a guided walk around the main square of Cusco (Plaza de Armas).

There will be a sunrise photography shoot the last day at Saqsaywaman historical ruins, and other archeological sites for great morning light and shadows. Return to the hotel for breakfast, followed by a visit to the San Pedro local market. After lunch on your own, walk to the Center of Traditional Textiles of Cusco. Witness and photograph traditional weaving process.
Overnight Novotel (B, L; B)
 

March 20: Cusco-Home

Photo By: Karen Adams Clark

Photo Location: Peru, Sacsayhuaman

Enjoy early morning photography with Kathy, returning to the hotel for breakfast. After checking out of the hotel, you will have a few hours to do any last minute shopping, enjoy more time in Cusco or relax and work on your images. Late this afternoon or early evening, take a return flight* to Lima, where you should be able to connect with an overnight flight home (departing Lima around midnight), landing at home March 21. If your airline of choice departs Lima in the morning you can make a reservation at the Ramada Airport hotel for March 20, and fly home March 21 at anytime. (B, L)

Photo Leader

Kathy Adams Clark
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Kathy Adams Clark

Kathy Adams Clark is a professional nature photographer and owner of a stock agency representing thirteen photographers. Her work has been published in a variety of national and regional publications including National Geographic Books, The New York Times, and Sierra. Kathy teaches over fifty photography workshops and classes each year. Her work may be viewed weekly in the Houston Chronicle's “Wonders of Nature” column, written by her husband, Gary.

Kathy enjoys traveling with people new to photography as well as with folks with advanced skills. She has an ability to explain complicated photographic terms in easy-to-understand language. She likes to teach those hungry for new information but also understands that photography can be a solitary task. Each person traveling with Kathy is treated as an individual, but the group always has fun.

Kathy is an accomplished naturalist as well as a photographer, skilled in 35mm film and digital cameras. She is very passionate about nature, birdlife, and wildlife. Gary Clark who is an acclaimed naturalist guide in his own right will co-lead some trips each year with her.

A lifelong naturalist, Gary Clark has studied birds, mammals, and butterflies in North, Central, and South America and in East Africa.  He is an award winning professional writer whose column “Nature” appears weekly in the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express News.  He has authored feature articles in state and national magazines and has written six books that include photographs from his wife, Kathy.  He frequently conducts birding workshops and leads birding tours.  He is founder of the Piney Woods Wildlife Society of Texas, former president of the Houston Audubon Society, and former vice-president of the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory.  Gary is a full professor at Lone Star College.

Because of both Kathy & Gary's love of nature, and the work they do, Strabo Tours is proud to make a donation to the Houston Audubon Society for each trip they take part in.

This was the trip of a lifetime for me. I was challenging myself to learn all sorts of new things, photography, a new culture, and was immersed in it. It surpassed my expectations and I met so many beautiful souls along the way. Kathy was fantastic, I give her a 10++!!!

D. Whitney

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 8 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $300 if 5-7 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.

Testimonials

Everywhere we went was a highlight. Every place had something special. Kathy was a 10+, she was always there to give photo suggestions, help with equipment and locating things to photograph. She is an excellent teacher!

B & R Nelson

Lots of very helpful one-on-one attention and advice. Very knowledgeable on birds as well as photography. And very pleasant to travel with. Logistics of tour were smoothly handled. Kathy was a 10!!

D. Brewer

Kathy is always good, but she went the extra mile. She assisted me in getting the best hummingbird photo’s I have ever taken. I particularly appreciated all the time and effort Kathy spent in setting up lights and backgrounds to enable us to get wonderful hummingbird shots. Results were fantastic. Great trip!!!

J. Braud

Additional Notes

Kathy Adams Clark is a professional nature photographer and owner of a stock agency representing fifteen photographers. Her work has been published in a variety of national and regional publications including National Geographic Books, The New York Times, and Sierra. Kathy teaches over fifty photography workshops and classes each year. Her work is seen each week in the “Nature” column in the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express News, written by her husband, Gary.

Kathy enjoys traveling with people new to photography as well as with folks with advanced skills. She has an ability to explain complicated photographic terms in an easily understood language. She likes to teach those hungry for new information, but also understands that photography can be a solitary task. Each person traveling with Kathy is treated as an individual, but the group always has fun. She is skilled in all makes of digital cameras. www.kathyadamsclark.com

*Three internal flights in Peru: The internal flight cost is estimated at $600-$700, and is not included in the land cost below. Prices can change until ticketed. Strabo Tours will book the flights for each participant in order to attempt at having the entire group on the same flight schedule. The cost will be charged to participant credit cards. International flights can be booked by participants, round trip Lima (LIM), once the internal flights have been ticketed.

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.

Airfare

Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.

Exceptions:

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.

Insurance

Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

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