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Sketches of Perú: A Photographic Exploration with Cultural and Culinary Highlights

Including the Festival of the Virgen of Carmen

July 9th-18th 2014

6-9 participants $3350 each based on double occupancy; 10-12 participants $3150 each.

$625 for a single supplement

Lake Titicaca and the Peruvian Altiplano 

Extension thru July 22nd

$1450; $250 Single Supplement


Instructor Adam L. Weintraub



We won’t just brush the surface on this tour. Despite the great tourist infrastructure of the Cusco region, we’ll be exploring far beyond the norm – from The Sacred Valley to Lake Titicaca, and many other places. The overriding spirit of this workshop is to provide a wickedly fun experience, fantastic food, and an authentic photographic and cultural experience…


Festival of the Mamacha del Carmen in Paucartambo

Between the 15th and 18th of July of every year, thousands of believers and visitors come to celebrate the festivity of the Virgen Del Carmen, also called Mamacha Carmen (patron Saint for the mestizo population), in the small town of Paucartambo, about 3 hour’s drive from Cusco. This village of a few thousand people has whitewashed houses, red roofs and blue doors, windows and balconies. It still retains its Colonial architecture with a stone bridge and narrow cobblestone streets. Paucartambo sits in a unique valley, about two hours from the point where the Andes meet the Amazon.

In the traditional festival, closely knit fraternal groups practice over the course of a year in preparation for this moment. At the entrance of the town’s church, they pay homage to the Mamacha del Carmen in song, dance, rhythm and joy. The reunion starts in the main square of the town, where bands play their instruments and a chorus sings in Quechua, representing the many faces in the history of Peru.

Streets, windows, doorways and alleys are lined with the faithful, who pay homage to this singularly unifying and revered idol. Backs draw down and heads hang heavy knowing that the power and prayer of La Virgen del Carmen is now among them. As she heads back to the temple, the Diablos crawl and cower on rooftops and perches, unable to step on the same ground her bearers pass over. At the end of the procession, they have a little war against the devils, in which the believers come out winning.



ADAM L. WEINTRAUB is a photographer based in Seattle, but cultured in Cusco. His workshops and tours combine inspiring artists who offer insight and collaboration in an intimate setting. He has more than 15 years of local knowledge and connections in Cusco, where he used to run a B&B overlooking the picturesque Cusco valley. He is currently involved in efforts to create a permanent archive of the famed indigenous Peruvian photographer Martin Chambi. Adam is a past three-term President of Blue Earth Alliance and is widely published, collected, hired and admired for his personal work. His recent book, Vista Andina, offers a contemporary photographic perspective on the Andean region of Cusco. He currently distracts himself with his hip new Gastro-Bar, Museo del Pisco, situated in the center of Cusco, bringing the magical elixir of Peruvian Pisco to the masses.




Please note that times, locations and events may change.

Meals: All breakfasts & most lunches are included. Dinners included where noted (B, L, or D).

Transfers: All inclusive from Lima.


DAY 1 WED July 9 Arrive LIMA

We’ll get started at 10am in the hotel lobby for a walk around the fish market of Chorrillos, a ceviche lunch, and neighborhood walk in artsy Barranco.  We’ll then head over to the pre-Incan ruins of Huaca Pucllana before a few hours rest or shopping. 6:45pm in the hotel lobby for 7:30pm dinner at Panchita, by the world-renowned Gaston Acurio.

Casa Inca Peru (B, L) 



10am departure for the airport to meet those who arrived on July 9th; as a full group, we’ll board our 1 hour flight to Cusco. Our private van will then take us through the Upper Valley plateau with striking Andean peaks through to the Sacred Valley. We’ll drive on to Ollantaytambo, the oldest continually inhabited town of Incan ancestry, and have a regional overview by Joaquin Randall Weeks, proprietor El Albergue hotel.

Adam will give a photographic overview, logistical review and trip itinerary breakdown. We’ll broadly discuss working in foreign cultures, indigenous communities, high-altitude light and other photo tips & techniques.

El Albergue de Ollantaytambo   (B, L) 


DAY 3 FRI  July 11                 OLLANTAYTAMBO – MORAY – MARAS

We’ll visit Moray, the natural agricultural amphitheater of the Incas. Then we drive to the Salt terraces of Maras after a brief visit to the town, its church and a few friendly locals. We’ll share a hearty box lunch on the plateau perch over the valley. After lunch we’ll walk down into the Sacred Valley from the marvelous Salt Terraces of Maras (optional drive for those not so sure-footed).

El Albergue de Ollantaytambo   (B, L) 



6:30am Inka Rail train to Machu Picchu! After we leave our overnight bags at our hotel in Aguas Calientes, we bus up to Machu Picchu for a private 2-hour tour while the crowds are present. Then we have free time the rest of the afternoon to capture best light at Machu Picchu with the least amount of crowds. The last bus down is at approximately 5:00pm (be in line by 4:45pm).

El Mapi by Inkaterra (B, D)



Take the 5:30am bus back up to Machu Picchu for first light around 7am to photograph and observe the Sanctuary of the Incans. Be back in Aguas Calientes train station for the train back to Ollantaytambo prior to a slow drive back to Cusco to capture sunset over the Sacred Valley.

Tambo del Arriero (B)


DAY 6 MON July 14         CUSCO

After a morning review of our photographic work thus far, we will head off for lunch and then tour the ceremonial site of Q’enko and the fortress of Saqsayhuaman, just outside of Cusco. We’ll follow this up with a late afternoon private visit to the Martin Chambi Archives to have a look at the private collection of Peru’s famed photographer. We will enjoy a gourmet dinner at Museo del Pisco with Teo as our invited guest.

Tambo del Arriero  (B, L)


DAY 7 TUES  July 15   CUSCO 

Free day to explore Cusco, make more images, shop. Adam will host private one on one review sessions with each participant to discuss individual interests, needs and vision. This will help prepare us for the upcoming festival’s unique opportunities.

Tambo del Arriero  (B)



It is a short four-hour drive to Paucartambo through rugged Andean landscapes with dynamic panoramic vistas. We’ll arrive in the midst of a carnivalesque atmosphere for one of the most dynamic festivals in Peru. The Virgen del Carmen is paraded around town through narrow cobblestone streets, among reverent followers.  The festival goes on all day with dancing, fraternal meals, and a cacophony of color; it is a feast of dancing, singing, costumes and camaraderie in this quaint colonial era town.

Casona de Frida, Paucartambo (B, L, D)



The festival begins again in the morning with reverence at its finest as the various ensembles congregate at the gravesites of their departed. Respect, joy and song fill the cemetery as each group pays homage to past members of their troupe. By the afternoon, we assemble in the central plaza for the Guerilla – or the “local’s war- and it’s worse than it sounds. This is the big day as the festival culminates in madness. Be prepared to get sprayed with water, flour, beer, smoke from burning chili peppers or worse…!

Casona de Frida, Paucartambo (B, L, D)


DAY 10 FRI  July 18                       PAUCARTAMBO – CUSCO

We return to Cusco early in the morning with a light box lunch at the top of the Andes. Once in Cusco we’ll give you some time to do some editing and organizing.

Tambo del Arriero  (B)




Lake Titicaca and the Peruvian Altiplano Extension

$1450; $250 Single Supplement


DAY 11 SAT July 19       CUSCO – LAMPA 

We’ll leave our beloved Cusco for some of the most dramatic high-andean plataue scenery – truly unique to this world. We’ll make a few stops along the way to visit some small towns and breath-taking vantage points (no high cliffs, just dramatic vistas). We’ll arrive in Lampa in time for wonderful high-altitude light in a truly local village – no tourists here!

Hotel La Casona de Lampa   (B, L, D)


DAY 12 SUN July 20                 LAMPA – ISLA SUASI  

After breakfast, early in the morning we travel via private boat to the famous floating islands of Uros, built on totora reeds in the middle of Lake Titicaca, hosting traditional descendants from over 500 years. We proceed to the historic Island of Taquile (Takile), with unique local indigenous population and famous weavings. We’ll walk around the island, enjoying its terraces and the local herdsmen who are preparing wools for their very special weavings and colors.  We push on towards our own private island: Isla Suasi and the Casa Andina Private Collection hotel. In the afternoon we will have an island walk and a flora/fauna tour with vicuña, alpaca and cormorants; there are optional spa services; there is also some of the most magical evening light and nighttime image making at one of the most comfortable highest-elevation locations in the world.

Hotel Casa Andina Private Collection Isla Suasi   (B, L, D)


DAY 13 MON July 21                       ISLA SUASI, LAKE TITICACA – LAMPA

A leisurely morning on our own private island as we prepare to return to the port of Puno by 3pm. A short drive will bring us to the wonderful colonial town of Lampa, enjoying its quiet streets, spectacular church, and catacombs.

Hotel La Casona de Lampa   (B, L, D)


DAY 13 TUES July 22                   LAMPA-LIMA

We’ll set off from the Peruvian highlands for our farewell tour in Lima, visiting one of the best museums with a private guided tour of Peru’s archaeological and cultural layers at Museo Larco – with lunch on site; then the catacombs of San Francisco and the famous central plaza and Bolivar plaza prior to your International Flight. Bon Voyage!




The fee for the workshop is $3350 or $3150, depending on how many registrants we have. This includes all instruction & materials, lodging, all breakfasts & most lunches, all entrance fees and transfers within Peru. The internal flights in Peru are also included. There is an additional $625 charge for a single room, though due to the uniqueness of the Festival in Paucartambo, all participants must share rooms; the Singles Supplement pricing reflects this anomaly. The Extension fee is $1450; the Single Supplement is $250. Please inquire with any concerns.

Extra expenses might include: individual excursions outside of group activities, some meals where noted on the Itinerary, alcoholic beverages, as well as tips for our guides and drivers. You may expect this to total between $25 to $30 per day depending on personal preferences.