TGL Peru 2018

TGL Peru shows you Cusco, Machu Picchu, all while also giving back through our work with Picaflor House!

Join us for a travel photography workshop with a purpose,
in incredible Peru!

Combined with wandering the cobbled streets of Cusco, and spending precious time with the amazing kids at Picaflor, TGL Peru is a slam dunk of a trip. Soaring peaks and carved valleys lead the way to a bucket list topper: Machu Picchu. We are so excited to be sending our fifth team to this amazing place!

2018 brings yet another team of photographers to the ancient city of Cusco, Peru, to work alongside Picaflor House! Picaflor House works tirelessly to provide a safe place for children who are struggling in Cusco. Whether from the street, or orphaned, facing poverty, or otherwise, Picaflor House offers food, education, and a safe place to any child who needs it. Picaflor and TGL have started a small after-school photography program at the center, to help the children learn to express themselves, learn valuable skills, and allow others to see the world as they experience it. Our team will come in to do workshops with the kids, play, encourage, and continue to build on their photo skills and personal expression. For 6 years these kids have come to meet us and explore their town behind a lens – they’ve even had gallery showings in Cusco and the pride is tangible! They’ve come a long way and we’re excited to build on what we’ve done together so far. 

When not with the children we will explore hilly and bright Cusco city and the surrounding area, as well as ascend the majestic, mysterious, bucket-listing Machu Picchu. The rules around visiting Machu are changing. Let us take the charge and plan the best possible visit for you not only as a tourist but as a photographer too.

To top all this off, you’ll be experiencing and photographing Peru along the unbelivabley talented landscape photographer Varina and Jay Patel. Not only talented, Jay and Varina are impeccable teachers both in person and online at Visual Wilderness. They know how to meet you right where you are at and figure out exactly where you need to go as a photographer. Not just technically speaking – though that is always part of it – but in terms of your personal vision, making connections to your work, finding new and exciting compositions, and coming away from it all feeling like you’ve truly grown as an artist, proud of the work you created, and doing so knowing that you gave back to a community at the same time.

This is it everyone! With the rules changing at Machu Picchu we don’t know if we will be able to run this trip in 2019 yet. Join us this year with incredible leaders, a great time of year to visit Peru, access to Machu Picchu at the times a photographer needs, and of course experiencing a whole other part of the country while working with Picaflor.

Trip Dates

April 22nd – May 1st, 2018


$3100 USD

Group Size




This trip is physically moderate to demanding. This is because Cusco is a hilly city and we’ll be doing a lot of walking, both in the city and with the kids out in their town. Additionally, Machu Picchu is no walk in the park: we take a bus to the entrance but there is 15 minutes of switch backs to the main viewpoint. Additional hikes are optional but offer astounding views; however, they can be physically demanding.
The emotional demands of this trip are easy to moderate. There is indeed ample poverty around Cusco and for some this could be very difficult, especially after getting to know the children. However, majority of the time with the NGO will be uplifting, exciting, and fulfilling. You’ll walk away sad to say goodbye but extremely moved by the experience.
The standards of accommodation, quality of meals, and access to amenities of this trip are good to very good.

Accommodation is simple but clean, comfortable, and safe. You can expect a simple room with two twin beds, an ensuite bathroom, and clean sheets, towels, and blankets. Hot water can be hit and miss, especially if we’re all trying to shower at once.

Meals are of good quality, though fairly basic. Rice, beans, and a protein are common; pizza and pasta is usually also available. Breakfasts will be taken at the hotel and will be simple: toast, jams, fruit, coffee or tea. Lunches will be on the go. Dinners will be taken in various restaurants. Water, juice, and pop are readily available.

Amenities such as bathrooms and convenience stores are available in most places. Toilets will be western style.

Level of safety in Peru is very good to excellent.

The most common issue for tourist is pickpocketing, but statistics are en par with almost anywhere well touristed in the world. TGL will offer tips and advice for your belongings and cash in team newsletters.

Safety at Machu Pichu requires sturdy footwear and extreme caution on ledges, stairs, steep drops, and any kind of edge. The drops could be significant as the area is extremely steep.

As part of our ongoing partnership with Globateer, the parent organization behind Picaflor House Community Project, all participants must complete a background check and provide the information prior to arriving in Peru.

TGL Peru shows you Cusco, Machu Picchu, all while also giving back through our work with Picaflor House! 
TGL Peru shows you Cusco, Machu Picchu, all while also giving back through our work with Picaflor House!

What is Included?

  • All Ground Transportation

    From the moment you arrive to when you depart, we have you covered. Taxis, buses, tours, you name it.

  • All Accommodation and Meals

    Rooms are double rooms with twin beds, paired by gender, and accommodation is always clean, comfortable, and safe. From dinner the arrival day, to breakfast the departure day, we will keep you well fed and hydrated.

  • All Entry Fees and Guides

    Entry fees, shooting permits, guides, passes, etc. If the team is going to shoot there, we’ll get you in. We’ll even be sure to tip any guides on behalf of the whole team.

  • All Photo Instruction

    You’ll have 2 leaders available all day long to field as many questions as you can muster, provide one-on-one help, and offer group topics and instruction as required by the scene at hand.

  • A Donation to the NGO

    While there are a lot of factors involved that determine the exact amount – which we’re happy to be completely transparent about – you can rest assured we make a substantial donation to our NGO partner post-trip.

What is Not Included?

  • Flights

    We’re open to people from every corner of the world. This means we cannot possibly offer a flight that would suit everyone. If you can get yourself here, we’ll take care of the rest!

  • Insurance

    We require every participant to have adequate travel insurance, and to carry copies of this insurance at all times.

  • Passport and Visa

    Each participant is required to ensure their passport is valid for the time of travel, and to research, learn, and meet all the requirements of an entry visa specific to their country. If there are fees associated with the entry visa, they’re not included.

  • Alcohol and Souvenirs

    We do not provide alcohol for our participants, so that’s up to you. As well, as much as we really really like you, we can’t buy your gifts for you. Souvenirs are on you!

  • Internet

    Some hotels have wifi, others do not, or sometimes it simply doesn’t work. When wifi is available for purchase, it’s up to you if it’s worthwhile. Some participant opt to purchase a local SIM card and data plan – a great option that we don’t cover.

TGL Peru – Behind the Scenes!

The NGO: Picaflor House

Picaflor House works with disadvantaged or impoverished youth and children on the streets of Cusco, Peru. Some of the children are orphans, while others just lack basic needs. We will be doing a camera drive to collect more cameras for the photography club, plus a few laptops, to help them have an outlet for expression, a way to explore their creativity, and also to build self-esteem.

Picaflor House is a grassroots organization whose aim is to be completely locally run. Currently they provide English classes, arts and crafts, dance, sports, and reading. The focus is to get children off of the street, support families, and provide education. They also hope to be a haven for trafficked girls in the near future.

TGL Peru shows you Cusco, Machu Picchu, all while also giving back through our work with Picaflor House!

Who Are Your Leaders?

Varina is a wilderness photographer, writer, and photography instructor with roots in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Northern Idaho. She spent most of her childhood outdoors, playing in creeks, climbing trees, building forts… and nurturing a life-long love for nature. She now lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, Jay, where they have spent more than a decade building their freelance photography business. In between filming video courses in beautiful places around the globe, editing lessons at home, and handling various business concerns, Varina spends her time dealing with the insanity of parenting a handful of teenagers, rock climbing with Jay, practicing Yoga, and trying to fit in a few more hours of sleep.

I could start off like this – “Seeds of Jay Patel’s appreciation for beautiful places were planted early in his childhood….” but it would get boring really fast. I will just sum it up and say that I am a Landscape and Wilderness Photographer who loves to capture dramatic light. These days I spend my time traveling and photographing the world with my beautiful wife Varina Patel and enjoying outdoor activities like running, hiking, cycling, snorkeling, scuba diving and more. Varina and I have spent more than a decade building our photography business that offer video courses about all aspect of nature photography.

TGL Testimonals

Nancy A.

Traveling with TGL on the all-female trip to Thailand was, by far, my most exciting, emotional, and educational travel I have experienced to date. It has been a month since my return, and I still cannot stop thinking about my trip-mates, the girls of COSA, and the beautiful people and scenery of the country. Can’t wait to do another trip … Read More

Nancy A.

Michael J.

If you are looking for a photographic journey…with meaning…then TGL is something you should consider. Being able to pursue a hobby that I love in a new and interesting location is fantastic. Top that off with diving into the local culture, avoiding tourist areas, and…most importantly…creating a positive impact with local people makes TGL trips something in a class all … Read More

Karen H.

I absolutely loved being a part of this amazing Cuba team. The team leaders did a fantastic job, keeping us on track even in the face of constant change. I’ll be honest that before we left for Cuba, I wondered what impact we’d have on a group of skateboarders. I decided to let go and have faith it would all … Read More