From colorful mountains to breathtaking vistas of the Andes, ancient relics, and more – travel photographers flock to Peru for endless opportunities to capture stunning photographs. Whether you’re an experienced travel photographer or dabbling in travel content – from seasoned professionals to iPhone photographers, Peru is full of destinations waiting to be captured. If creating stunning content is high on your list of travel musts, read on for Kuoda’s travel photographer’s guide to Peru.
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From the breathtaking views of the mountains to its ancient Incan architecture, Machu Picchu has long been famed as one of the wonders of the world, and for a good reason – its absolutely mesmerizing collision of natural beauty, history, and adventure makes it one of Peru’s premier destinations to visit and to photograph. One of the best times to take photographs of Machu Picchu is sunset. During sunset, the golden light illuminates the surrounding peaks, making for a spectacular view. One of the most famous spots to get a shot of yourself at Machu Picchu is the Sun Gate, also known as Inti Punku.
This ancient Inca structure provides a panoramic view of the citadel and the surrounding mountains. Another popular spot is the Inca Bridge, which offers a glimpse into the ancient Inca engineering marvels. The surrounding natural beauty of Machu Picchu is also worth photographing. The lush green vegetation and the rugged terrain of the Andean mountains make for a dramatic backdrop and the diverse flora and fauna of the region also offer ample opportunities for wildlife photography. With its stunning views, rich history, and vibrant culture, Machu Picchu is an essential destination to create stunning solo and group photos and also for anyone looking to capture the beauty of Peru through their lens.
Often referred to as the “Imperial City”, Cusco boasts of splendid churches, old houses, and a vibrant culture that offers numerous opportunities to capture stunning photographs. The city’s colonial-era buildings are a testament to its past, and their varied architecture offers an excellent opportunity for architectural photography. The narrow cobblestone streets and alleys also offer an excellent backdrop for street photography.
One of the most iconic spots for photography in Cusco is the Plaza de Armas. This central square is home to the Cusco Cathedral and several other historic buildings. The plaza’s vibrant atmosphere, coupled with its stunning architecture, makes it an ideal spot for photography. Another essential spot for photography is the San Blas neighborhood, located on a hill overlooking the city center. This bohemian neighborhood is known for its narrow streets, colonial-era houses, and colorful murals, offering endless opportunities for street photography.
Apart from the city center, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, located near Cusco, is another essential spot for photography. The valley is home to several archeological sites, including the Ollantaytambo fortress and Pisac ruins. The valley’s lush greenery, combined with the towering Andean peaks, offers an excellent backdrop for landscape photography. Cusco and the surrounding areas are a paradise if you’re looking to capture yourself surrounded by the beauty and history of Peru.
Vinicunca, also known as Rainbow Mountain, is a natural wonder of the Sacred Valley in Peru. With pink, blue, green, and yellow sand, Rainbow Mountain as its appropriately nicknamed, is a result of the mineral deposits and weather conditions over time creating a stunning display that shows up just as beautifully on camera as it does in real life. Travel photographers adore this absolutely picturesque destination. To capture great photos of yourself at Rainbow Mountain visit early in the morning to allow you to take advantage of the soft, warm light of the sunrise and avoid harsh shadows that may or may not affect your photos.
Also known as the White City, Arequipa is one of the most beautiful places to take stunning photos in Peru. Known for its stunning architecture, which is primarily made of volcanic rock, the buildings in the city are unique and have a charm that is not found in other cities. The city’s skyline is dominated by majestic volcanoes creating an atmosphere so surreal and breathtaking at the same time.
The Arequipa Cathedral is an iconic attraction and an excellent starting point for photography in the city. The cathedral’s unique architecture, including its stunning bell tower, provides an excellent subject for architectural and street photography. Additionally, the surrounding streets and alleys are filled with colorful buildings and local vendors, making it an ideal location for street photography.
With its unique architecture, majestic volcanoes, and stunning natural landscapes, Arequipa is a beautiful destination to take stunning photos whether you are a professional photographer or just want to create memories by yourself, with family, or with friends.
Colca Canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States, making it one of the deepest canyons in the world. Filled with picturesque green terraces that are perfect for group photos or for solo travelers who want to capture themselves amidst the natural beauty of the region, the Colca Valley is dotted with traditional Peruvian villages that offer a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the region, with plenty of opportunities for candid shots. The river that runs through the canyon is famous for its rafting, and if you’re feeling adventurous you can capture some truly amazing shots of yourself or a group navigating the river’s rapids.
Few places exist with the beauty, mystery, and multidimensional environment that Huacachina has if you’re looking to take unique photos. This natural oasis is surrounded by sand dunes, with palm trees swaying in the breeze. The contrast between the greenery and the sandy desert creates a stunning and memorable image. The oasis is known for its healing waters, according to legend, and it’s also an ideal place to relax and take in the scenery. Adventure seekers will love the opportunity to practice sandboarding in the surrounding dunes.
The sand dunes also make for a great ATV ride, and exploring the area in this way is an unforgettable experience. The adventurous activities combined with the picturesque backdrop are a landscape and nature photographer’s dream. Don’t forget to capture the sunset over the dunes, as the colors are simply stunning.
Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world is a breathtaking destination that every photography enthusiast should have on their bucket list. The lake offers stunning vistas of the surrounding mountains and landscapes. One of the best ways to explore the lake is by taking a boat tour to the various islands, such as Taquile, Amantaní, and Uros. The Uros Islands are particularly fascinating as they are man-made islands constructed from reeds.
The vibrant colors of the traditional clothing worn by the local indigenous tribes and the bright colors of the boats add to the beauty of the environment and ultimately, your photos. The lake also offers great opportunities for landscape photography. The deep blue waters of the lake, contrasting against the snow-capped mountains, make for a stunning view. The sunrise and sunset at the lake are especially magical as the changing light creates a spectacular color palette for your photos.
While you’re exploring, head over to Amantani or Tequile for some seriously stunning scenery and panoramic views. You can even find some beautiful stone archways to frame your shots or capture some awesome images of the locals going about their daily life. Puno, the city on the shores of the lake, is also a great place for photography. The colorful colonial architecture of the city, combined with the traditional festivals and parades, make for a unique and vibrant atmosphere full of amazing photos of you waiting to be taken.
Pacaya Samiria National Reserve
Budding wildlife photographers can try their hand shooting alongside the professionals at National Geographic, or Planet Earth, at Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, home to dozens of reptiles and amphibians, hundreds of bird species, mammals, and fish, as well as thousands of wild and cultivated plant species.
Here, life is in constant movement. Fertile and diverse, even nowadays one can still discover unique and unknown species never before captured on camera. The reserve, located in the Amazonian jungle in Northeastern Peru, is a paradise of biodiversity inhabited by emblematic species of flora and fauna of the Amazon such as the pink dolphin, river otter, macaw, and black caiman, among others. From towering canopies to flowers in full bloom to the incredible species of the Amazon – you’ll want to keep your camera handy in this incredible jungle paradise, which is the second-largest protected area in Peru.
Charge up your camera battery, free up your memory, and get ready to discover the most picture-perfect destinations of Peru on your tour with Kuoda. Now that you’ve read our travel photographer’s guide to Peru – reach out to us today to start planning your once-in-a-lifetime adventure to Peru.