Peru: Uncovered

Commissioned by Contiki Holidays

Instead of a singular country, Perú is best thought of as a diverse series of regions, each with its own particular culture, traditions, microclimate, language, and landscapes. Topographically speaking, Perú is divided into coast, highlands, and jungle. Having been afforded the opportunity by Contiki to live, breathe, and document a sliver of all three of these divisions gave me a comprehensive view of Peruvian life in its totality – something I am incredibly grateful for.  In Lima I felt the weight of over 9 million inhabitants, perpetually filling the streets and crowding the sidewalks. In Arequipa, Peruvians lived life at a different pace. “The White City” was quiet and inviting, offering a wide selection of craft breweries, coffee shops, and pisco bars. In the Colca Valley I witnessed feats of ancient engineering that are still in use today: Inca aqueducts and irrigation systems that are used to feed thousands of farming terraces in a sprawling landscape. Above me, a veritable dinosaur (The Andean Condor) glided on thermal winds looking for signs of a potential meal. On Lake Titicaca, I was humbled by the warmth and kindness of indigenous communities that have called a series of floating islands (Uros) home for thousands of years. They invited me into their homes, shared their traditions, and offered genuine insights about their lives away from modern civilization. In the Sacred Valley I tasted salt from Maras, a salt mine that has been around since before the “discovery” of America. I took a train to Machu Picchu and was transported to a time when Inca Civilization was the pinnacle of modernity on our planet. Witnessing the clouds slowly rise and dissipate around the oasis in the Andes was a truly life-changing moment. Finally, I saw the immensity and wild nature of the Peruvian Amazon. On a personal note, this was the highlight of the trip. The jungle is loud, intimidating, wild, and untamed. At any given moment, if you look down at the jungle floor, you’ll see a place teeming with life – billions of little workers trying to survive the perils of the Amazon. Above, the sound is deafening; monkeys and birds rule the jungle canopy, constantly marking their territory to potential rivals. Perú’s stunning diversity of people, wildlife, and landscapes cannot be overstated.

I hope my photographs portray a valuable piece of their story.

Lima

Arequipa

Peruvian highlands & Colca valley

Lake Titicaca

Cusco & The Sacred Valley

Machu picchu

Peruvian Amazon