Condors Among the Ruins Trek 2 days/1 night
This spectacular tour offers you unique opportunities to trek through little-visited Incan ruins in beautiful countryside, as well as to spot the magnificent Andean condor in its natural territory. Not only are the landscapes stunning, but they are also dotted with lovely, colourful Andean villages, which make for a wonderful insight into the high mountain life. We will visit a viewpoint high on the Apurima Canyon, which is Cusco's answer to the Colca Canyon, to photograph condors, also returning the following day to ensure you get the perfect shot! This tour is one-of-a-kind, run only by us at Photo Tours Peru!
With you expert guide, Flavio, you will experiment with new techniques and different perspectives in order to achieve beautiful images of a wide variety of subjects. You will be encouraged to share your skills with others as well as learning new ones, in this unique blend of photography masterclass and interesting trek that is suitable for beginners or more advanced photographers.
Day 1: Chonta - Quillarumiyoc - Tarawasi - Chonta - Apurima Canyon
Great opportunity for flora, fauna, cultural, macro, sunset, condor, night & astro photography
At 5:00am we will collect you from your hotel and head out from Cusco to Chonta, from where our hike begins. We start off by descending to the amazing Inca site of Quillarumiyoc, which means Temple of the Moon. It was an Inca ceremonial site dedicated to the worship of water and, more importantly, to the moon goddess “Quilla”. Quillarumiyoc itself is a fascinating site about 1 km off the highway along a dirt track. The complex comprises a series of water channels following the course of a narrow gulley which descends from the sombre mountain overlooking the site. These water channels flow past sacred rocks, including the Great Stone, carved with a geometric representation of the moon herself, which has given the site its name.
The entire valley occupied by Quillarumiyoc and cut by the stream which feeds its water channels is littered with limestone outcrops – “huacas” or sacred stones – which, when one looks at them as the ancients did, appear to have landed there not so much from another geological region, but from another time. They stand, enormous and imposing, some
with their bases carved into simple altars and others left entirely in their natural state – for they needed no alteration from the hand of man to denote the mysterious nature one senses today and which for the Incas imbued them with religious significance. These sacred stones litter the valley, grey and immutable like an abandoned village, all the way up to the steep slopes of the local Apu, or sacred mountain, which dominates the landscape and seems to force itself into all the photographs one takes of the site.
From there, we continue on to Tarawasi, another astounding Inca site, which was used as a ceremonial center, as well as a resting place for the Inca chasquis (Inca runners who delivered messages over long distances). The exceptional polygonal retaining wall, noteworthy for its 28 human-sized niches, is in itself worth the trip from Cusco. On the wall below it, look for flower shapes and a nine-sided heart amid the patchwork of perfectly interlocking stones.
Then it will be time to climb back up to Chonta, where we will have some free time to explore the village before lunch. After a delicious meal, we will walk for approx. 1 to 1 and a half hours to reach an unrivalled condor viewpoint over the valley. Here, we will spend the rest of the afternoon waiting patiently to capture stunning photos of the king of birds: the Andean condor. Then we will head back to Chonta for dinner, and we will camp the night there. (L / D)
Day 2: Apurima Canyon - Cusco
Perfect opportunity for fauna, sunrise & condor photography
On our second day, you will have the option of rising early to photograph the wonderful sunrise over the Andean mountains, or you can rest until breakfast! After filling our stomachs, we will head down the trail to the condor viewpoint once again, where you will be able to use your new skills to photograph the impressive birds. We will have a different light this time, which will bring a whole new quality to our photos. You will have plenty of time to enjoy watching the condors swoop down and soar around the canyon before we walk back to Chonta for lunch. From there you will be transferred back to your hotel in Cusco. (B / L)
We recommend you bring: