Photographic Workshop: Peru 2014

Peru for photographers, a special journey - rain forest to Machu Picchu. | Boyd and Barbara Norton

The Jungle Region of Tambopata and the Tambopata Research Center

The Ancient City of Cusco and Machu Picchu


The Tambopata National Reserve contains some of the wildest, least impacted habitats in the world. In this one million plus hectare protected area, rainforests and tropical savannahs meet in a land where roads have never existed and rivers are the only means of accessing its dense forests and bird>filled marshes. This huge wilderness gets its name from the Ese>Eja words for “Tambopata” (Bahuaja) and “Heath” (Sonene). These are in turn names for two prominent waterways and areas in the modern day Tambopata province.
The numbers of species that make their homes in this rainforest demonstrates why the Tambopata region is often referred to as the most bio-diverse place on Earth. It harbors: More than 10,000 species of plants. Over 600 species of birds. 200 species of mammals. More than 1,000 butterfly species. Well over 100 species of amphibians and reptiles.

October 8-18, 2014

This is our 6th trip to Peru and it is an unsurpassed photo opportunity in places not many tourists see.


Refugio Amazonas Lodge is a 32-room lodge located in a 200-hectare private reserve within the buffer zone of the Tambopata National Reserve. We will practice yoga twice a day before and explore private nature trails with our Spanish / English-speaking guide. Natural attractions include an oxbow lake with giant river otters, mammal clay licks, troops of monkeys, and hundreds of bird species. The canopy tower provides easy access to one of the world’s final biological frontiers: the rain forest canopy. Opportunities for cultural interaction with an Ese’eja people include an ethno botanical walk, visits to small-scale farms and Brazil nut camp.

Excusion Details

Included in the cost: All scheduled excursions with private English;speaking guide services. All domestic Peruvian airfares. All hotel and lodge accommodations based on double occupancy (matrimonial bed upon request and availability at time of arrival). All private scheduled land transportation in Lima and Cusco. Fixed time boat departure during Tambopata program and train to/from Machu Picchu. All private group transfers in Lima and Cusco. First Class train to/from Machu Picchu. Meals as specified in the itinerary, B=Breakfast; L= Lunch; BL=Box Lunch; D=Dinner. Entrance fee to all historical sites including one day Machu Picchu entrance fees and bus services to the ruins.
Not Included in the cost: International airfare. Meals where not indicated, international airport departure taxes or visa fees, excess baggage charges, additional nights during the trip due to flight cancellations, alcoholic beverages, soft drinks or bottle water, snacks, insurance of any kind, laundry, phone calls, radio calls or messages and items of personal nature. Second day entrance fee to Machu Picchu or bus ticket to the ruins. Second day guide for Machu Picchu ruins. Tips.

Registration Not Active


Day 1 / Arrive in Lima
Upon arrival in Lima go through customs, collect your luggage and meet a Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC representative at the terminal’s exit. From the airport we walk 30 yard across a parking lot and register into our hotel for the night.
Hotel: Ramada Costa del Sol Airport Hotel
Meals aloft
Day 2 / Lima L Puerto Maldonado L Refugio Amazonas
Early morning breakfast at the hotel. After we check out of the hotel, we walk back to the airport and check>in for our flight to Puerto Maldonado. The flight will take approximately 2 hours with a brief stop in the city of Cusco to drop/pick up passengers. We do not change planes or disembark. We continue to Puerto Maldonado from Cusco. Upon arrival reception and transfer to the Tambopata River port in Puerto Maldonado. Puerto Maldonado is situated at the confluence of the mighty Madre de Dios and Tambopata Rivers and is a bustling, booming tropical frontier town. Its principal activities are gold mining, Brazil nut collecting, timber extraction, agriculture and ecotourism. After a brief stop at our offices we will depart on a 30>minute drive to the Infierno Community port, followed by 2>1/2>boat journey by motorized canoe to Refugio Amazonas. The ride from the Tambopata Port to Refugio Amazonas will take us past the Community of Infierno and the Tambopata National Reserve´s checkpoint and into the buffer zone of this 1.3 million hectare conservation unit. Lunch aboard the boat.
During our voyage we may see bird species typical of the river or forest edge such as: Black Skimmer, Pied Lapwing, Capped Heron, Jabiru Stork, Roadside Hawk, and several species of kingfishers, swallows and flycatchers. When we arrive at Refugio Amazonas we will unpack and unwind. Refugio Amazonas is a comfortable yet unobtrusive lodge owned by Rainforest Expeditions. We will receive a short orientation and a complete briefing about the lodge trails and activities. Time permitting we will be able to do a late afternoon photo activity.
Dinner at the lodge.
Optional)activity)after)dinner: Tonight we will be out at the river’s edge scanning the shores with headlamps and flashlights to catch the red gleams of reflection from caiman eyes.
B,L, D included
Day 3 / Refugio Amazonas
Oxbow Lake – Canopy Tower – Farm and EthnoLbotany
After an early breakfast we get ready for our morning activity. This morning we visit an oxbow lake. We will paddle around the lake on a canoe or a catamaran, looking for chances to photograph wildlife such as hoatzin, caiman and horned screamers, hoping to spot and photograph the otters, which are infrequently seen here. You will also be rewarded with overhead sightings of macaws.
Later we visit the canopy tower. A thirty>minute walk from Refugio Amazonas leads to the 25>meter scaffolding canopy tower. A bannistered staircase running through the middle provides safe access to the platforms above. The tower has been built upon high ground, therefore increasing your horizon of the continuous primary forest extending out towards the Tambopata National Reserve. From here views of mixed species canopy flocks as well as toucans, macaws and raptors are likely. After our visit to the tower we return to the lodge for lunch.
After lunch we continue with our activities by visiting a farm located five minutes downriver from the lodge. The farm is owned and managed by charismatic Don Manuel from the neighboring community of Condenado. This is a great opportunity to photograph the every day live of the local people and their farms. Don Manuel grows a variety of popular and unknown Amazon crops > just about every plant and tree you see serves a purpose. We will also visit the ethno>botanical trail. Along this trail we will find a variety of plants and trees that are used by the local population with at least the same variety of purposes. We will learn about the medicinal (and other) uses of Ajo>Sacha, Yuca de Venado, Uña de Gato, Charcot>Sacha, Para>Para, among several others.
Dinner at the lodge. After dinner you may want to join other visitor for the evening lecture prepared by the staff of Refugio Amazonas, which cover topics regarding conservation threats, opportunities and projects in the Tambopata National Reserve.
B,L,D included
Day 4 / Refugio Amazonas
Parakeet Clay Lick – Brazilian Nut Forest – Peccary Clay Lick
Early morning breakfast. This morning we depart the lodge to visit the parrot and parakeet clay lick. A fifteen>minute boat ride and sixty minute walk from Refugio Amazonas is a clay lick used both by parrots and parakeets. From a blind you will see and be able to photograph parrots and parakeets descend on most clear days to ingest the clay on a bank. Species such as Dusky headed and Cobalt winged Parakeet descend at this clay lick. With luck we will also see some or all of the following species in the early morning rush: Mealy and Yellow>crowned Amazons, Blue> headed Pionus, Severe macaw and Orange>cheeled (Barraband`s) Parrot. We visit the lick at dawn, when parrots are most active.
Lunch at the lodge.
In the afternoon we take a short hike to a beautiful old growth patch of Brazil Nut forest that has been harvested for decades (if not centuries) where the precarious remains of a camp used two months a year by Brazil Nut gatherers can still be experienced. We will learn about the full process of the rain forest’s only sustainably harvested product> from collection through transportation to drying.
Later in the afternoon we visit the peccary clay lick located twenty minutes from Refugio Amazonas. These wild rain forest pigs show up in herds of five to twenty individuals to eat clay in the late morning. Chances of spotting them are around 15 , but well worth the short hike. Other wildlife also shows up including deer, guan and parakeets. We return to the lodge. Dinner at the lodge.
Night photography walk option: You will have the option of hiking out at night, when most of the mammals are active but difficult to see. Easier to find and a greater chance to photograph are frogs with shapes and sounds as bizarre as their natural histories.
B,L,D included
Day 5 / Refugio Amazonas
El Chuncho Clay Lick
Very early morning wakeup call. We walk to our boat for our trip to the magnificent El Chuncho clay lick. This a three hour boat ride and probably the best chance we will have to spot a jaguar on the beach. The clay lick is located deep in the Tambopata National Reserve. After a brief walk (~5 minutes) we will set our photography gear up and have the chance to see dozens of large macaws feeding on the special sodium rich clays of the riverbank. The Chuncho clay lick probably attracts more large macaws than any other clay lick in the world and the sight of dozens of macaws taking flight is truly unforgettable. We will spend most of the morning at the lick since we will also hope to see monkeys and other mammals that may visit the lick this morning. Breakfast will be served at the lick this morning.
Later in the day we return to the lodge for lunch. Our ride down river will be much faster but we will continue to look for wildlife along the way.
B,L,D included
Day 6 / Refugio Amazonas – Puerto Maldonado – Cusco
After an early breakfast, we depart by boat back to the city of Puerto Maldonado, directly to the airport, in time for our flight to Cusco. Arrive in Cusco later in the afternoon. Meet Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC representative and transfer to hotel to relax. Free evening to explore this historical city on your own. Overnight in Cusco.
B included
Day 7 / Cusco – Machu Picchu
Early morning breakfast at hotel. Transfer to train station for our trip to Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is located in the highland jungle of the Urubamba River. The complex is so well hidden by the towering jungle covered ramparts of the Cordillera Vilcabamba that it was never discovered by the Spaniards. Machu Picchu preserves the most perfect picture of what the Inca world must have been like. Its origins and purpose are lost in time. In the afternoon, you will retrace your route back to Aguas Calientes and walk to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
B,L,D included
Day 8 / Machu Picchu – Cusco
After a very early breakfast we return to the complex of Machu Picchu for the sunrise and a chance to do some amazing photography of the complex. Time on your own to continue the exploration of these amazing site before returning to Aguas Calientes for our train ride back to Cusco. The journey to Cusco takes about 4 hours.
Upon arrival in Cusco we transfer to our hotel. Free evening for dinner. Overnight in Cusco.
B included
Day 9 / Cusco – Lima – OUT
Morning free to relax and explore/photograph life in Cusco. At noon we return to the airport for our flight back Lima and our connecting flight back home.