Maras Mines & Andean Secrets
$220 per person
- Explore the photographically rich Maras salt mines in your own time and photograph at your leisure in order to seek out the best and most interesting compositions.
- Capture huge landscapes, abstract details and portraits of locals.
- Meet and photograph locals in incredible locations.
- Explore surprise locations away from the tourist crowds.
- End the day with a landscape workshop overlooking monolithic mountains and abyssal valleys to shoot these amazing scenes making the best use of the early evening light.
HEADING TO THE SACRED VALLEY?
If you would like to end the day in the Sacred Valley or have a train to catch from Ollantaytambo let us know and we can make the arrangements to drop you there on time
SUNDAY BONUS MORNING
If this tour is booked on a Sunday it will include a visit to a local Andean market that is only open Sundays. Expect to see very little tourism and a lot of locals buying fruit, veggies and wools as well. The workers of this market are typical Quechua people and still dress in a very traditional way. For this reason, this is an amazing location for portraits! The combination of colours in their clothing and hats make for great images. You can also approach specific people for great portraits.
- Entrance fee to salt mines
- Photography assistance during entire tour.
- Professional photographer guide
- Transport in a private vehicle throughout entire day.
- Pick-up and drop-off at hotel in Cusco
- Food and drinks
- Personal insurance
- Drop-off in Ollantaytambo or the Sacred Valley at the end of the day.
- Mid-range zoom for all purpose landscape/portrait shots
- Prime lens for portraits (50mm, 85mm or similar focal length)
- Telephoto for use at the salt mines.
- Tripod and filters (ND, CPL etc.) there will be long exposure opportunities at the lake where we eat lunch, so we recommend a strong ND (10 stop or more) to achieve smooth water effects.
TOUR PRICE (ALL AGES)
- 220 USD per person. Based on a minimum of 2.
- Private Tour from 400 USD
- Big Group prices on demand.
Departure/Return LocationFrom your hotel or hostel in Cusco
Departure TimePlease be ready for a departure at 9h30
Return TimeApproximately 17h00
What to wearComfortable walking shoes and seasonal clothing
IncludedEntrance FeesGuidePhoto AssistanceTransport
Not IncludedAccommodationExtrasInsuranceLocal FlightsLunchMeals
We begin our tour by picking you up from your hotel or hostel with our private car to begin our drive into the Andes.
Our first stop is at a lesser known viewpoint that gives you a spectacular mountain view. There's a pretty neat spot here that allows for a unique picture in which you can place your subject directly in front of the mountain range in the background (break out the telephoto lens for compression of scale!) We can take this shot for you with you as the subject if you so wish. We explore this location for around 30 minutes before jumping back in the car and moving on.
We make a quick stop in Chinchero to pick up some local empanadas to eat for lunch a little later in the day.
We stop by a local artesenal textile market in Chinchero to learn a little of the textile making process that Chinchero is famous for, after the demonstration we will have the opportunity for a great portrait session with the ladies there, they are always wearing full traditional outfits and are happy to have some photos taken of them.
We arrive at Maras salt mines. This is a known location so expect tourists, these go in big groups and so are rushed in and out. Our private visit to the salt mines allows more time to explore and seek out better compositions for your images. We know some great spots in this photographically rich location. We explore here for around 1h.
We move to a lake deep in the Andes. This lake is surrounded by colourful fields of agriculture and the Andes mountains as it's backdrop! At this lake we will take some time to relax and eat our empanadas before shooting in the area. The area is full of llamas, alpacas and other animals, here we can get close and take plenty of photos of them.
We reach our next location that is around 4000m ASL where we find a full panoramic view of the area with wonderful scope for landscape photography. This location is a private field belonging to a family of potato farmers that give us access to this unique location! If we are lucky on this field we can find friends and family of the owners farming the lands and herding their sheep, this makes for amazing on-location portrait documentary work. The light and direction of the sun at this hour allow for very complete landscape shots with highlights, shadows and different tonalities.
Begin the drive back to Cusco.
Arrival in Cusco, drop-off at your hotel.
We will be grateful for your honest and objective feedback.
Pedro P. (Portugal)
Stunning locations and beautiful Peruvian people – that’s what you can expect of this tour.
Highlight of my trip.
Great care and attention from my photographer guide with tips along the way.
Overall the tour provided great images which is exactly what I wanted from this trip.
Awesome experience. Wish I had see guys sooner so I could book more tours.
My best friend and I did a half day Salt Mines, Mountains and Farmers tour with Alex. It was an awesome day and we highly recommend this experience to anyone who has a spare day or two in Cusco or surrounds. Alex picked us up from the hotel and took us to some beautiful sights and locations we wouldn’t have thought to visit on our own. He’s got plenty of insider tips (including the location of the most delicious empanadas!). Alex took some incredible photos of us along the way, and also gave us advice on how to take our own photos using our smart phones. I love that Alex and Andean Photo Expenditions are passionate about responsible travel and believe in creating relationships with the local community. It was really beautiful to see his friendships with everyone we met along the way. Thank you Alex – you’re a gem! We had such a wonderful time!
We went out for the day with Alex (leaving from Urubamba, which was very convenient). It was a great way to tour the Sacred Valley without having to do any of the planning, and the spots were also more unique than the typical tour that everyone else was offering. Alex was awesome – super cool, easy to chat with- he gave me a crash course on how to improve my shots (I am at the super amateur photography level) but even better, he graciously worked in a lifestyle photo shoot of my husband and I throughout the day. I got the images 24 hours later and couldn’t be happier with them- what an amazing souvenir from our trip! We’re looking into an Argentina/Chile trip next year and I’ve got my fingers crossed that Andean Photo Expeditions expands into that area by then! Highly highly recommend this experience, whether you are into photography or just using a cell phone camera.
The team respond quickly, answering queries you may have, such as do you need to tip (everyone is paid well, so no, unless you really appreciate the tour) or do you need an SLR camera (no, whatever goes – except drones, there are several no fly zones). Our private driver was excellent, safe and fun. Service is door to door. The tour provides more than ample time to take photos at each spot and if you want Alex will take photos of you too. Doesn’t matter if you are a professional photographer, keen amateur, point and shoot merchant, or just doing it for the ‘gram on a smartphone, Alex was keen to help us get the photos we wanted, sharing his enthusiasm for photography and Peru. Can’t recommend this company enough, wish we had more time in Cusco to take another of their tours. Thank you Alex and Ronal (almost certainly spelt the last wrong) for a fabulous day.
A highlight of our time in Peru and Chile
This was a highlight of our visit to Peru and Chile. The Sunday market in Chinchero was vibrant and the stall holders were very welcoming of us and our cameras. Moving high into the hills we had a great chance to take pictures of the glacier, valleys and farmers looking after their animals. We finally went to the Maras salt mines – a landscape out of this world.
Our guide Pedro had a very relaxed style, gently providing tips and encouraging us to be a little more adventurous.
All in all, a great day out.
5 Days with this Company Wasn’t Enough
If you’re not traveling with these guys, you’re doing Peru wrong. Not only are they incredible photographers, and not only do they know Peru inside and out, but they are genuinely a joy to be around. Informed, educational, helpful, and gracious. I can’t say enough good things about this company, and I certainly wouldn’t go back to Peru without their help.
Fabulous photo tour!!
We absolutely enjoyed the photo tour we did with Alex!! Not only was he knowledgeable about Peruvian history and culture, but he provided many tips on how to improve my photography. The colourful market provided a wealth of photo opportunities (and great empanadas). The portraiture of the Andean ladies was wonderful. We enjoyed the lake, the mountains and everything in between. My photographs are superb!! Some of the best I took during my entire trip. Thank you Alex for a wonderful day!!
Great day trip outside of Cusco
This was my second tour with Andean Photo Expeditions and Pedro, and it was another great itinerary. The driver was a great driver and we felt very safe. Pedro was kind to accommodate my gluten allergy. I am a photographer, but my friend who isn’t very interested in photography also joined the tour and had a great time just as a spectator of beautiful places, and learning from Pedro and other locals we met. Don’t miss the chance to get out of Cusco and see some let visited places in the region. Highly recommend!
This is an amazing experience, from the beginning up to the end you will have opportunities to practice portraits and landscape photography. The landscape is amazing, the salt mines , the community working . Alex is very patient and competent, he gives several ideas of compositions and light. I strongly recommend this tour, I also did 4 additional tours with Andean Photo Expedition.