On a recent trip with Intrepid Travel, I explored and documented a part of Peru that was new to me. Having been to Lima, Cusco and the Incan site of Machu Picchu before, I was anxious to learn more about Southern Peru, home to Lake Titicaca, the Uros Islands, and Arequipa. During my week-long adventure, I documented this cultural paradise, full of opportunities to meet and learn from local communities.
01 of 09
Baby Alpacas on the Way to Colca Valley
On our way to the Colca Valley, we stopped at a lookout point to capture the surrounding mountains. Women line the road selling souvenirs, where they also keep baby alpacas that make for an excellent photo opportunity. They treat their alpacas like pets, just as dogs would be treated in the U.S.
02 of 09
Reflections From Arequipa to Pueblo de Chivay
On our drive to Pueblo de Chivay, we stopped to capture the surreal landscape of the Southern Peru countryside. The iridescent waters cause an intense reflection with the clouds, creating the perfect mix for a dramatic photograph.
03 of 09
A Homestay in Pueblo de Chivay
When we arrived at Pueblo de Chivay, we met our Intrepid Travel homestay family, Señora Julia and Señor Pedro (pictured here). They have lived on their farm for their entire lives, where they grow quinoa, potatoes, beans and a variety of other food. They grow every single food they eat, and Señor Pedro wakes up before dawn to tend to the fields. We were able to help plow the potato fields one evening before preparing dinner. We peeled beans, potatoes and enjoyed a feast with the family. We also got up the next morning to help Señor Pedro plow the fields with his bulls. A homestay in Southern Peru is the perfect way to understand and document local culture. If you ask nicely, you may find the perfect opportunity for a stunning portrait.
04 of 09
Mountain Views in Pueblo de Chivay
Part of the serenity of Pueblo de Chivay is that there's no wifi connection, allowing you to enjoy the surrounding environment uninhibited. There are a number of small hikes surrounding the village, all perfect for a morning walk and meditation.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Alpacas in Pueblo de Chivay
Alpacas are an essential part of life in Southern Peru. Most families rely on their animals for their livelihood, and alpacas are no exception. The animals' wool provides a thick layer of warmth in the cold months, and they also keep the fields clear, as they graze on the land for their food. If you plan on capturing these animals, keep your camera focus on automatic, as their quick to move their heads for another bite of grass.
06 of 09
Getting to the Uros Islands
The Lake Titicaca port connects the Uros Islands to Puno, where an array of colorful boats are docked, ready to transport travelers to see local families. The water reflects the sky, creating the perfect depth for a landscape capture.
07 of 09
Family Homes in the Uros Islands
Each family lives on a uniquely built reed island. The center of the island holds a root, which keeps the entire island afloat. The older the island, the harder the straw floor. Families are able to transport their islands based on where they wish to migrate. All they have to do is lift the central root, placing it down again in the place they wish to anchor. The oxygen in the root keeps them afloat.
08 of 09
Boating Culture of the Uros Islands
LIfe in the Uros Islands is entirely sustained by boat. Locals set sail every day to feed their families, using nets to bring in the day's catch.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Detangling Nets in the Uros Islands
Each day, the men of the Uros Islands set out to fish in Lake Titicaca to provide meals for their families. In the afternoon, women untangle the nets so the men are able to re-pitch them before nightfall.