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Peru: Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley of the Incas: May 10-20, 2017

Overview

Trip full - wait list available!

Peru deserves its reputation as a mystical travel destination: From the beautiful colonial gem of Cuzco, to the incredible Inca site at Machu Picchu, to the Sacred Valley surrounded by the Andes, beauty abounds. With its picturesque towns and Majestic Inca ruins, to Lake Titicaca, with its traditional inhabitants living on islands on the lake, Peru is home to an incredible mix of photo opportunities.

Long before the Europeans showed up in America, the Incas had established a great civilization in and around the Sacred Valley of Peru. Many reminders of this world still remain – in the ancient ruins at such sites as Machu Picchu, Pisac, and Ollantaytambo, and in the local people and their traditions. We will stay as near as possible to these archeological sites in order to photograph them in the best light in the morning and late afternoon. And we’ll visit the various towns on their special market days, providing many photo opportunities of the modern day Inca and their traditions.

Andean history comes alive in Cuzco: Quechua speaking descendants of the ancient Incas fill the streets and markets, colonial churches sit atop bases of smooth stonework laid centuries before the Conquistadors, and campesinos (Peru’s rural farmers) in colorful dress move busily back and forth across the plazas.

The beautiful Sacred Valley is home to the lofty Inca citadels of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, both perched high above the towns of the same names. It’s also home to bustling Indian markets and charming Andean villages.

Magnificent Machu Picchu, the most famous lost Inca city, sits high in the Andes in a truly spectacular setting, still retaining its air of grandeur and mystery. Travelers from all over the world arrive daily to marvel at its splendor. The changes in light as the sun comes up over or goes down behind the surrounding mountains are mesmerizing.

Lake Titicaca is famous as the largest lake in South America and the highest navigable lake in the world. However what really makes a visit to its shores magical is the quality of light in the clear high-altitude air as it sparkles on the deep blue waters of the lake. A visit to the traditional islanders on Taquile island is a must.

Hopefully you’ll come away from this trip with the experience of a lifetime and great photos of a wide variety of incredible subjects. 

Itinerary Peru: Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley of the Incas
Day 1:
(May 10)

Arrive from your flight to Lima. You will be transported from the airport to our hotel. We will have an orientation meeting in the evening and go to dinner. We'll spend the night in Lima.

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Day 2:

We'll catch our flight to the beautiful city of Cuzco. After lunch and perhaps a coca tea, we'll go on a tour of this colonial gem, visiting the Cathedral and other churches. We'll see first-hand many of the walls built by the Incas which now form the foundations of colonial buildings built by the Spaniards. We'll catch the last light on the Cathedral and other buildings on the Plaza de Armas, and then photograph these buildings as the light changes to twilight. We'll spend the night in Cuzco.

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Day 3:

Today, we'll have the whole day in and around Cuzco.  In the morning we’ll go on a walking tour with our guide visiting Koricancha, which was the center of the Incan Empire.  We’ll continue to the artisan center of San Blas, before returning to the Plaza de Armas.  After lunch we’ll have some free time, and then in the late afternoon we’ll visit the Inca ruins site of Sacsayhuaman to capture the last light as it plays on the ancient Inca stones.  On our way back down to Cuzco, we’ll stop to take photos of the city as the lights come on at twilight time.  That night during dinner we'll sample Peruvian cuisine and watch a traditional music and dancing demonstration. A final night is spent in Cuzco.

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Day 4:

In the morning we'll drive into the Sacred Valley of the Incas to the beautiful town of Pisac. We'll stop on the way for photo shoots at dramatic vistas of the Andes Mountains, and at Awana Kancha, a weaving cooperative where we'll have the opportunity to photograph various traditional weavers, and close-ups of llamas and alpacas. In the afternoon we'll drive up to explore the Inca ruins situated high on the hills above the town of Pisac. We'll photograph the ruins and the picturesque valley at the last light. We'll spend the night in Pisac.

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Day 5:

Market day in Pisac: We'll wake up early and visit one the best textile markets in the Andes. We'll photograph the villagers who come from miles around in their colorful traditional dress. In the afternoon we'll drive to another Sunday market town - Chinchero. This is a great sunset location, with the last light hitting the picturesque church, and the colorful villagers selling their wares. We'll spend the night in in the nearby town of Ollantaytambo.

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Day 6:

In the morning we'll explore the Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo. From the ruins, we'll have a view of the town of Ollantaytambo, as well as the Urubamba Valley, with the snow-capped Andes rising in the background.  We'll also explore the town of Ollantaytambo - nestled in the Urubamba Valley, it is the best surviving example of Inca city planning with narrow cobblesone streets that have been constantly inhabited since the 13th century. The traditional villagers still utilize the Inca-built irrigation canals that run right through the town. In the afternoon we'll visit Salinas, where thousands of salt pans have been used for salt extraction since Inca times, situated high above the Urubamba Valley. We'll photograph views of the valley, and the last light reflecting in the ponds. We'll spend the night in Ollantaytambo.

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Day 7:

In the morning, we'll visit a a couple of local villages to photograph the traditional inhabitants in their colorful dress, where we'll have special permission to visit and photograph a rural school. In the late afternoon we'll catch the train for the scenic ride along the Urubamba River to Machu Picchu. We'll arrive at the world famous ruins at Machu Picchu in time for dinner and rest. We'll spend the night in Aguas Calientes.

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Day 8:

In the morning we'll visit the world famous Inca ruins at Machu Picchu. We'll have a guided tour and then we'll stay there all afternoon as the vast majority of visitors leave, photographing until the end of the day. We'll then take the 30 minute scenic bus ride down to our hotel in the town of Aguas Calientes. Those who wish can soak in the local hot springs. We'll spend the night in Aguas Calientes.

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Day 9:

We'll wake up early and take the short bus ride up to the ruins to wait for the first light to arrive. We'll spend several hours of free time photographing the ruins. You'll have the option of taking side hikes up to the Sun Gate, the Moon Temple, or to scale the sacred peak of Huayna Picchu, the mountain that towers over the ruins. In the afternoon we'll catch the train back to Cuzco and stay overnight there.

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Day 10:

We'll have free time in Cuzco to wander the ancient streets and photograph, shop and relax. We'll also have some time for image sharing before dinner.  Tonight is our final night in Cuzco.

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Day 11:

In the afternoon catch your flight back to Lima, then onward to fly back home in the evening. (Those with flights the following morning will have the option to spend the night in a hotel).

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Or.............. 3 DAY / 2 NIGHT OPTIONAL EXTENSION

LAKE TITICACA & THE FLOATING ISLANDS  

The extension cost is $895 and includes all ground transport including private bus from Cuzco to Puno, flight Juliaca – Lima, 2 nights, lakefront hotel accommodations with private dock. Fast boat to give us more time visiting the islands on Lake Titicaca, entrance fees, guides, all meals.

Day 11:

(May 20) In the morning we'll depart for Lake Titicaca, making several stops along the way. We'll visit Andahuaylillas, a village with one of the most beautiful churches in the Andes. Continuing on the drive we'll make other stops where we'll have the opportunity to photograph Inca ruins, llamas and alpacas, and incredible vistas of the Altaplana with the peaks of the Andes towering in the background. We'll arrive at our hotel in Puno at the end of the day.

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Day 12:

We'll spend the whole day visiting the islands on Lake Titicaca. In the morning we will meet our fast boat down at the private dock of our hotel. Our boat goes faster than at least 95% of the boats on the lake, allowing much more time on the islands to explore and photograph. The boat will take us to the Floating Islands of the Uros people, unique islands made of the buoyant totora reeds that grow abundantly in the shallows of the lake. These reeds are also used to build the Uros' boats, homes, and many of their crafts. We then go to Taquile, where the inhabitants maintain a very traditional lifestyle. We'll arrive back in Puno near the end of the day. We'll spend the night in Puno.

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Day 13:

We’ll have a relaxing morning at our lakefront hotel before being transported to the airport in Juliaca for our flight to Lima. We’ll arrive in the afternoon and have the option for a day-use hotel room before catching your international flights out that night.

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Leaders

Jim Cline

Jim Cline

Jim Cline, (founder and trip leader), is an award-winning cultural documentary and travel photographer based in San Diego, California. Jim is known for his willingness to shoot all around the edges of light, creating images with tremendous impact that capture the essence of a place or culture. He always strives to transcend ordinary travel pictures, and to convey a strong sense of place, and the spirit of the people in his photographs.

Jim’s wanderlust and search for compelling images has brought him to many less-traveled areas around the world. He takes particular interest in the indigenous peoples and traditional and tribal cultures of developing nations, and in documenting these disappearing cultures. Through his images he strives to portray the dignity and timeless beauty of these people living in harmony with nature.

As well as winning numerous awards, Jim’s work has been displayed in the San Diego Natural History Museum and the Museum of Photographic Arts, and in many galleries, both in the U.S. and abroad. He gives frequent slide presentation lectures of his travels throughout the world. Jim and his photographs have been featured in several books. His images have also been published in numerous magazines, newspapers, annual reports, tourist brochures, calendars, websites, and CD covers. Jim founded Jim Cline Photo Tours in 2002 and he currently leads small-group photo tours to various locations around Latin America.  

When not busy running his Photo tours business and leading trips to the best photographic locations in Latin America, Jim works on assignment as a photographer for humanitarian organizations. His images have graced the covers of annual reports  for groups such as Freedom From Hunger, and have appeared on websites, brochures, postcards and other mediums promoting their efforts around the globe.


E-mail:  Jim@jimcline.com
Phone: 858-350-1314
Mob. phone: 858-692-2045

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T&Cs

Cost includes: all airport transfers, in-country flights round-trip Lima -Cuzco, ground transport including train to Machu Picchu, all 10 nights hotel accommodations, all breakfasts and dinners, all entrance-fees at tourist sites, and local English-speaking guides.

Cost does not include: international flights, passport & visas fees, travel insurance, vaccinations and medical cover/treatment, meals not specified, tips to guides, drivers and bellboys, and personal expenses such as beverages/snacks, internet access fees, laundry fees.

Deposit and Final Payment

A deposit of $800 per person is required at time of booking. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure.

Cancellation

On cancellations more than 120 days prior to departure, all monies are refunded less a $275 administrative fee.

  • Less than 120 but at least 90 days prior, total deposit amount is forfeited.
  • Less than 90 but at least 75 days prior, 50% of trip price is forfeited.
  • Less than 75 days prior to departure, 100% is forfeited.

Notification by phone or email is acceptable, but please follow with written notice. In the unlikely event we have to cancel a tour, a full refund will be given.

RESPONSIBILITY

Jim Cline Photo Tours LLC and their agents act only in the capacity as agents in all matters pertaining to hotel accommodations, sightseeing tours, and transportation, and are not responsible for any loss, damage, theft, or injury to person or property resulting from a defect in any vehicle, or the actions of any persons who provide services for this tour or for the action or inaction of any third party. Baggage is at the owner’s risk entirely. The tour operator reserves the right to withdraw the tour at any time, to decline any person as a member of the tour for any cause at any time. All prices are based on current rates of exchange and, while every effort will be made to hold them firm, they are subject to change. All participants are required to submit a signed Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability form prior to the tour’s departure.

HEALTH

It is the responsibility of each tour member to inform the tour operator of any possible health problems or handicaps upon registration. By forwarding a signed reservation form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements.

TRIP INSURANCE

To allow for any unexpected contingencies, all participants are strongly urged to purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance.

ITINERARY

While Jim Cline Photo Tours LLC endeavors to make the itinerary as accurate as possible, it should be considered as an approximate schedule of activities rather than a rigid schedule of events. Trip itineraries are subject to revision due to weather, ocean or trail conditions, government restrictions, and other reasons beyond our control. The tour leader has the right to make changes in the published itinerary whenever in his sole judgment conditions warrant, or if he deems it necessary for the comfort or safety of the tour.

Country Info

Peru

Peru

Health Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website.   To see whether this country is currently affected by Malaria click here.  The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Money: Peruvian currency is called nuevo sol. Currency exchange rates

ATMs, Credit Cards, Travelers Checks:

Internet Access:  Wireless Internet access are increasingly common in Peru, which means you can take your smart phone and laptop with you.  All but the cheapest hotels have Wi-Fi, which is usually free.

Electricity - Converters & Adapters Required

Visa ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport is required to enter and depart Peru. Tourists must also provide evidence of return or onward travel. Travelers to Peru will receive a card from Peruvian Immigration upon arrival stating the length of approved stay (usually 90 days). Extensions are not available, and overstays will result in fines.

 

FAQs

Are there customs levies in Peru? There is a slight chance you will be stopped by Peruvian customs. After you go through immigration and you have collected you luggage you press a button. if you get a red light you may be asked about your photographic gear. I think the reasoning for charging an extra fee is if they say that it is professional equipment. Or if they think that you are bringing it over to either give or sell to someone in Peru. If you have a proof of your actual profession, also the itinerary form Jim Cline Photo Tour showing you are on a photographic tour, or if you speak Spanish and why you have that gear, it may be all helpful.
What is the tipping practice in Peru? A tip of about one dollar is good for a bellboy who assists you with your suitcase. If it’s a nicer hotel (such as in Lima) and the guy is helpful I would probably give $2. A coin of 5 Soles is worth about $1.75 or so, so I might give one of those. But $US are fine for tips. As far as guides and drivers, we can discuss the details when we are there. Usually, I give the tips for some of the smaller ones, and as a group we figure out what should we tip the main guide and everyone gives their tips individually. I checked my notes from last year, and the total for all guides, drivers, boat captains, etc. was about $60 U.S. It may be just a little higher due to inflation, etc. Approximately, 50% was given to the guide we had for several days, and the balance was given as smaller tips. You can use either $US or Soles, so it can be an opportunity to use your last soles, or USD if you are out of Soles.
Concerning equipment to maximize the photo opps on this tour, what is suggested? Jim suggests participants ideally bring the following: A digital SLR (or Micro 4/3) camera with lenses offering a focal length from wide (24mm or wider) to telephoto (100mm or longer), a circular polarizing filter for scenic shots, and a laptop or notebook computer running image viewing software. Additionally we strongly recommend a back-up device such as a portable external hard drive.
Should the currency conversion be done in the US or at the Lima airport? There is really no need to change money before you leave the US or in the airport. There is an ATM in the hotel and several within a block or two on the main street in front of the hotel. The hotel front desk should also be able to do an exchange, though the rate may not be very good. There are also many ATM’s in Cuzco and everywhere else we visit. Also, US dollars can be used when needed, such as any tips when first arriving, etc.
What is the fitness requiremet for this trip? We don’t walk any long distances, but we are walking on a lot of uneven terrain and many stairs at the archeological sites. You do have to be able to walk both up and down some stairs at the archeological sites such as Machu Picchu. Remember, Cuzco is situated at 10,900 feet, and other sites are almost as high. Machu Picchu is at about 8,000 feet. In Machu Picchu, it’s a short walk of less than 0.5 miles from the entrance to where you have the classic view. The trail is flat for a while, then you have to go up for a while which includes some steps. It usually takes about 20 minutes going in, and about 10 minutes leaving. Then when we are in the site, we go very slowly down into the ruins. You can see it in all the classic shots of the site. Those are shots with a wide angle, which make it look bigger than it actually is. When you leave, it is almost level, a few steps here and there. At times, there are optional longer hikes for those who are physically fit, but you are not required to take the full path. On the island of Taquile, at Lake Titicaca, we take a hike of almost 1.5 miles, but we do it very slowly and take photos along the way. We usually take close to 2 hours to arrive in the town plaza. There is uphill in the beginning, and then it is mostly flat for most of the walk. After lunch we go down a different way, and it is almost all stairs. It must be about a 300-400 foot elevation change. Every year, there are few people who choose to stay down with the boat and explore around the shoreline and only walk part of the way up.
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Testimonials

“This trip was fantastic, a solid ten [on scale 1-10].  I had so many favorite parts of this trip:  Our time at Machu Picchu, and the walk down about 2,000 feet of stone steps with three children from a family Jim knows well; the stop at the weaving co-op, the brewing of corn beer, the alpaca store, and the home we visited. Oh, of course, the grade school was a wild ride, full of more photo ops per second than anything else except the moving mist over Machu Picchu.  

Jim was attentive, kind, respectful, and an intrepid leader, considerate guide, exceptional planner, great coach, helpful teacher, and wondrously made us all feel like real photographers.  Jim's leadership throughout was perfect: never intrusive, always there when you needed him, excellent choices for stops/locations, hotels and restaurants, lovely local guides and willing subjects. He was helpful with camera/equipment/lighting/positioning/ and many other aspects of photography.  Plus, the local guides on this trip were excellent: well prepared, very helpful, unfazed by wandering photographers, excellent English and knowledge of local history and customs.  Thus, I would recommend this trip to a friend because it was fun, interesting, educational, fabulous country, and a good length.   I took some great shots, and my photographic skills did improve. 

I have not been on a lot of these trips, but from listening to others who have, this ranks right up there with the best, and better than some I heard about that were led by other leaders. I really hope I am able to join Jim again on another voyage.   Thank you for all you did to ensure that the trip was fabulous.  I really hope to go on another trip with you all.”  -Edith S. 2013

 

“This was a fabulous experience, certainly the best trip Kathryn and I have taken in a long, long time.  The sites, hotels, restaurants, local guides were all superb.  I really liked the personal touches Jim arranged for us to photograph locals he knew from prior trips.  Jim was attentive to a real variety of personalities and very gracious.  Thanks so much, I can't recommend your trips enough!”  - Brent & Kathryn S. 2014

 

"You {Jim} made the Photo Tour fun, doable and so creative.  You have a special way with the people and sharing that with you was the best part." -Kayla G.  

 

“I'm still in a "Peru afterglow".  What a wonderful trip with a great group. Jim was great. My pictures of people were much better than any prior trip, thanks to Jim. I liked the relaxed way the trip was run - everything ran smoothly and Jim was always there to help if we had any difficulties, but it didn't feel regimented. It covered the "must sees" of the mountain area of Peru, but also got to great off the beaten track shots - I liked having a guide that provided some background, history, answered questions, but also having plenty of time to shoot. In the two prior photo trips I've taken, there was only shooting - no tour guide information. I like the balance of both that this tour had. I also liked having plenty of room on the buses. I think there was a very good balance of planned activities/meals and free time. And last, but definitely not least, Jim - he was excellent!” -Meredith H. 2013

 

"There are a lot of great memories from our Peru trip, but most important, I learned a lot and have some outstanding photos. I learned a lot from Jim on the trip and look forward to joining another Jim Cline tour again." -Bob S. 2013

   

“This trip was absolutely fantastic!   It exceeded all expectations, and mine were quite high...  I totally understand the repeat business.  I'm on the interest list for Guatemala Fall 2014... can't wait to travel with you again.  Jim was the best ever.... I knew he was constantly looking out for those of us at the far end of [our walking] pack.   The local guides were excellent, very knowledgeable and fun too.

This trip definitely offered a good value for what we paid, for example, I couldn't believe the high quality of the food and I liked all the hotels, they were good choices in great locations.  I'm happy with the pictures I took.  Thank you for a fabulous trip!” -Judy B. 2013

 

“Jim really helped us learn about people photography!! Thanks for everything again.” -Robert & Judy K. 2014

 

"I definitely want to do another trip with Jim because the one in Peru was the best I have ever gone on so far in my life." -Kem L. 2014

 

"Jim has so much expertise that I can't imagine any trip going more smoothly or being more chock full of history, cultural insights, photo ops, interactions with local people, excellent accommodations, great food, and lots of exercise.  During the tour, our group seemed to be constantly on the move - by foot, bus, train, or and I loved it all. The funny thing is that though our schedule was packed, the trip had a leisurely feel. There was no rush about taking pictures and no hesitation about stopping for impromptu photo ops.  I enjoyed the trip immensely and offer a genuine 'Thank-You' to Jim for everything he did to make it such a complete pleasure for participants.  Hoping to participate in another trip in the future."  -Pat F. 2015

 

“What a wonderful trip! I so appreciated Jim’s leadership and guidance.  Thanks so much for all!” -Ann T. 2013 

We take pride in our trip testimonials. We hope you’ll take a moment to read those below written by previous participants of this tour. 

 

"I thought this Peru trip was so great! Everything was planned and confirmed to the nth degree and everything went as smooth as possible.  You guys really know what you're doing (take that from a veteran of many photo workshops).  I am telling everyone how smooth everything went.  Can't wait till the next one!!" -Len O. 2015 

 

"I was originally excited about the photos I shot during Karl's Myanmar tour, but my images taken on this year's Peru tour blew me away! In comparing my shots, photography techniques and understanding from all three tours I've done [with JCPT] - all have substantially improved- thanks to you."  -Phil P. 2015


“Thank you for a marvelous trip, it was fantastic with no disappointments!  The photo opportunities were excellent and varied; I was able to photograph subjects to which I'm usually drawn but I also had the chance and challenge of photographing subjects, especially people, that I normally don't seek out.  So I got some shots that I’m very happy with and my photography improved.

Jim did an incredible job of managing the trip. Jim did a herculean job organizing it, and always with good humor and zest.  That contributed a great deal to the group’s enjoyment and good feeling.  Shepherding 10 strangers in a strange land takes a great deal of tact, firmness, and diplomacy and Jim handled every situation with aplomb. Jim did a great job of attending to people's needs both photographic and logistic.   The local guides that Jim works with provided a great deal of information and both were congenial and really seemed to be involved in the group's activities.  The restaurants we attended and the food, were excellent. I enjoyed all of the restaurants - they were consistently good with a wide variety of Peruvian food, which was well-prepared and nicely presented.

Although Machu Picchu was the jewel in the crown and there were other great sights (Lake Titicaca and the Andes) it was the vitality and the openness of the people that has stayed with  me.  If someone wants a vital experience with another culture; solid instruction photographing people and places in that milieu; and a out-and-out good time, this is the trip to take.”  -Louis S. 2013

 

"For me, this trip was not only perfect, but probably the best photo experience I have ever had.  The trip was a great value, I would recommend it to anyone. The pace of the trip was perfect. Because of your efforts, anyone who did not get super images has only themselves to blame. I enjoyed the opportunity to take fantastic images that I could not have done on my own. The frequent unplanned stops that yielded wonderful surprises, and the small towns along the way that were a joy to see. I especially appreciated your aggressiveness in finding the perfect situation for us. This was the perfect photographic workshop. Jim, you were first class. As good as I have ever experienced. You ought to be very proud of yourself. I try to go on a lot of these trips, and yours was so far ahead of anything I have experienced before that there is no second place.  The planning and execution were flawless, and each day seemed to be better that the previous one. The trip was so exceptional that I'm afraid any other leader will come out second rate." -Aaron T.

 

"What a wonderful adventure in Peru. All I can say is that it was AWESOME, MARVELOUS, TERRIFIC.......and I could go on and on.  I thought the planning and the execution of the trip was superb!  The organization, and also the spontaneity, everything flowed well.  Small group, great planning, hotels/meals/sites – great stuff!    

Jim was very attentive to each person in the group. He took us to wonderful places and timed each visit with the right light for better photography.  My photos are terrific and would never have been as good without his guidance.  By bringing the photos of the people from previous trips back  to the people at places he visits, it opened the door for warmer receptions everywhere. Traveling with a man who has 2 godchildren in remote villages in Latin America has to be a unique experience – each and every time. In Pisac, his god-son and family came down from their home in an outlying village to visit with him. Yes, he has a godchild there! That is a testament to the type of person he is!

The hotels were very comfortable, and the restaurants were we ate were all very, very good. My favorite places were Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca, and market day in Pisac, and I loved it all! I'd go anywhere with Jim Cline;  thanks for your good taste and generosity.”  -Rita F. 

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