This is the first part of our three stories covering Damon Beckford’s amazing photography destinations in Peru.
Arequipa and the rainbow mountain
Since a small kid, I’ve always wanted to see the mystical Machu Picchu in Peru.
Back then it was the only thing I knew about this country. But in the last few years, my Peru fever has been very high. This is mostly thanks to Social media and all the epic photographs coming from so many exotic destinations in Peru.
So in September 2018 we packed our bags with my girlfriend and flew to South America to travel across this huge continent. 6 months and thousands of kilometers later, we finally arrived in the country of Peru!
We arrived at the city of Arequipa as our first destination in Peru after spending an epic month in Bolivia.
These two countries are similar in many ways. Fantastic sceneries everywhere you go, huge snowcapped mountains, indigenous people with colorful traditional clothes and bustling markets.
But in my opinion, Peru has something even more. The people are more friendly, the food is absolutely amazing and also very cheap. The country is relatively modern and, well there’s Machu Picchu and so many more epic destinations!
After relaxing a few days in the beautiful city of Arequipa, we took the long night bus back to the mountains and high altitude, heading to the ancient capital city of the Inca empire, Cusco.
Cusco is a beautiful city to explore, but it’s mostly used as a base from where to explore the region and the wonders it has to offer. It’s located in a valley at more than 3000m altitude, so when you arrive here, have a few days to acclimatize to the altitude.
Our first trip was to the newly discovered rainbow mountain. We chose to pay a bit more and take the early tour with a promise to be one of the first people to be up at the mountain. We woke up at 02:30 and hopped on a van and drove around 4 hours to the base of the hike. From there it was a 1h 15 min hike in high altitude and cold temperatures up. The walk starts at 4300m and ends up at Rainbow mountain which is at 5000 m altitude. So be prepared for a small hike that will really take your breath away!
Once we reached the famous mountain, it was covered in a thick blanket of fog. But thankfully after 10 minutes, the fog started to clear up and we got the perfect view of this stunning place! Be sure to hike up the hill opposite of Rainbow mountain to get the best views! I found out that the Black Eye Pro Portrait lens was my favorite lens to use here, as the zoom allowed me to get more detailed shots of the colorful mountain.
After we had our fill of photographing the amazing colors of the Rainbow Mountain it was time to head back to Cusco and get ready for the real deal – Machu Picchu!