Why Our Photographers are the Best in the Business...

Photograph by Lynsey Addario

Photograph by Lynsey Addario

Our expedition photographers never cease to amaze me. Their way of seeing the world is as beautiful as it is insightful and eloquent. Ron Haviv and Lynsey Addario are two of the most respected and honored photographers in the world and both have recently published books. Ron's book,

Cover of "The Lost Rolls," by Ron Haviv

Cover of "The Lost Rolls," by Ron Haviv

"The Lost Rolls," came about when he decided to develop hundreds of rolls of film that were never processed or feared lost. His work has spanned decades of conflict, historic events, political campaigns and everyday life and together they take on a personal statement, often with the effects of age shown by film fogging, light leaks and other imperfections from an analog era. It is a volume of tremendous beauty and ingenuity. Moreover, it is a historical record filled with beauty and tinged with age by a photojournalist whose intellect is as apparent as his photographic talent. Having traveled and worked with Ron in various parts of the world I was always impressed by his foresight into seeing images that will have importance years, even decades from now. A unique and beautiful work that you can purchase here.

Cover of "It's What I Do," by Lynsey Addario

Cover of "It's What I Do," by Lynsey Addario

Lynsey's autobiographical account of her life since she became a photojournalist is a lyrical insight into the turmoil, joy, uncertainty, frustration and passion that has coursed through her during this period in her life. She has covered conflicts throughout the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa for many years and has been awarded for her bravery and tenacious talent. Lynsey was one of the first photojournalists to document Taliban ruled Afghanistan, at a time when editors could care less about this part of central Asia, and this proves to be one of the most eye opening chapters in the book. The book takes us into Lynsey's personal life as well, her loves and losses, dealing with kidnappings, broken hearts and conflict. The life of a photojournalist is often romanticized, this book shows the realityof her profession. "It's What I Do," is a New York Times bestseller and you can pick up a copy here.


Post by Michael Robinson Chávez

5 Astonishing Places you Must See in Peru!

Paracas/Photograph by Alex Kornhuber

Paracas/Photograph by Alex Kornhuber

Peru has so many stunning places that will turn your eyes wide as searchlights. Here are 5 (not sure how we kept it to 5!!) of our favorites:


The desert coastline of Peru offers up some glorious views and dramatic seas. Paracas, home of an ancient pre-Colombian culture is one of the most beautiful stretches. The Ballestas Islands, known for their unique fauna, including penguins and massive sea lion colonies, are just offshore. The beaches, including La Mina, are red sand wonders and there is the Candelabra, a mysterious and massive engraving in the side of the sandy cliff overlooking the blue Pacific. The purpose of the 1,500-year-old engraving is a mystery to archaeologists. In the coastal town of Paracas itself are splendid restaurants and excellent hotels as well as all kinds of activities like kite surfing, boat trips, sailing, fishing, horseback riding, hiking and beachcombing. A desert oasis along the sea, Paracas is a unique and special place.

Andahuaylillas/Photo by Alex Kornhuber

Andahuaylillas/Photo by Alex Kornhuber


North of Cusco are the well known areas of Pisac, Ollantaytambo and of course, Machu Picchu, one of the wonders of the world. But south of the colonial city are a series of amazing towns and sets of ruins including the less visited town of Andahuaylillas. The town is home to a Baroque church that is known as the "Sistine Chapel of America," for its spectacular frescoes that adorn its walls and ceiling. The Andean cuisine in the region is also famous, including, if your up for it, roasted "cuy," or guinea pig, a local delicacy and one that make many a traveler squirm. Nearby is the Incan aqueduct of Tipon, another seldom visited site. We will visit all these places and indulge in "cuy" if you are so inclined, on our Sacred Valley trip on July 1, 2016.

Ausangate/Photo by Alex Kornhuber

Ausangate/Photo by Alex Kornhuber


The spiritual and mystical peak of Ausangate is one of the most stunning regions of the Peruvian Andes. Glorious skies, herds of alpaca and llamas, snow capped peaks that scrape the skies and high altitude passes are just part of the adventure when trekking through this unique ecosystem. A system of lodges, run and set up by local villagers, allow one to trek in comfort, your supplies being carried by an alpaca caravan. Imagine arriving after a once in a lifetime day of hiking, being greeted by local musicians and then feasting on local cuisine including fresh trout and vegetables. Alpaca is also a specialty here. We have a great trip that includes visits to Machu Picchu, Cusco and the rigorous trek to Ausangate.

Colca Canyon/Photo by Alex Kornhuber

Colca Canyon/Photo by Alex Kornhuber


Andean condors soaring over the deepest canyon in the world is the main draw for people from all over the world to travel the long distances in order to get to the Colca. However, many arrive in the tour bus, see the condors and then turn around and head out. Colca needs time, time to wander from one village to the other that line the rim of the canyon. Time to meet the people in the villages, each one wearing the distinctive clothes that are unique to each village. Time to fish for some trout, or just stop in one of the rustic restaurants to sample the delicate fish. Wandering through the Colca is like going through a time warp, especially if you time it right for the festivals in the villages. Nowhere else in the world like it!

Mito/Photo by Alex Kornhuber

Mito/Photo by Alex Kornhuber


Few travelers ever get to Mito, a district in the central Andes of Peru not far from the city of Huancayo. Aside from the bucolic and pastoral setting Mito is famous for its fresh and remarkable fruits and vegetables. It is also famous for the "Huacones de Mito," an ancient festival that takes place at the beginning of each year. Participants adorn themselves with incredible masks that show respect to the Andean gods and dance, play music and celebrate for days on end. It is a spectacle few outsiders witness and a true look into customs that have not changed for many generations. It is well worth the trek to get there, plus the food in the region is some of the best in the whole Andean chain.


Posted by Michael Robinson Chávez

A Oaxacan Suite: Made with an iPhone

About a year ago I went to Oaxaca with a group of students from the Ross School on Long Island. I was a photo coach/teacher along with the world renowned photographer Ron Haviv (who will be leading future trips for HPE!). We were offering the students advice, editing their work and helping them see Oaxaca in new ways. The whole region is amazing for travel photography: great faces, landscapes, colors and celebrations. Smart phones have turned everyone into a photographer and we wanted to stress to them that you can make wonderful photographs with an iPhone or similar device. All of the above photos (scroll through them!) were made with an iPhone 5s. The new generation offer far superior quality as do the Galaxy phones.

It's so convenient to make photographs with them! And the quality is getting better with every upgrade. In addition you don't have to carry around heavy equipment or fuss with changing lenses. Though, they do have their limitations when it comes to varying your perspective, compressing your foreground, background, etc.. We will talk a lot about pushing the limits with phone photography for those that prefer that on our photographic expeditions.

Photos and post by Michael Robinson Chávez

A Look Back

Photo by Michael Robinson Chávez

Photo by Michael Robinson Chávez

Going into the way back machine for this one! 1997, on the streets of Puno, Peru with a Leica M6 and a bag full of Tri-X film. It was wonderful traveling around Peru with just the one camera and film, very simple and a great way to photograph the celebrations, streets and people. While I don't miss the nasty chemicals needed to process the film, I do miss the craft of working in the darkroom and seeing the images magically and slowly appear before your eyes. We are going down to Peru in July for a trip to the Andes, Machu Picchu and hidden away towns in the Sacred Valley of the Inca. Come join us on this photographic expedition!



A Study in Blue

Photo by Adriana Zehbrauskas

Photo by Adriana Zehbrauskas

A photograph of a Mexican street by our own Adriana Zehbrauskas. Mexico is a photographer's dream, full of life, color, mystery, culture and exoticism. All this will be on display when Adriana leads our photographic expedition to the colonial gem of Oaxaca for their annual Day of the Dead celebrations this October. We specialize in taking people to the "hidden planet," places that most travelers and tourists never get to see. In Oaxaca we will visit small villages and private homes to get an intimate look at the celebrations that are part of this fascinating holiday. To see more of Adriana's work, follow her on Instagram at @adrianazehbrauskas and follow us @hiddenplanetexpeditions! #hiddenplanet

Head On Photo Festival Contest is Open for Entries!

The Head On Awards are now open for entries! Cash, prizes and a month long #photography exhibition up for grabs! Enter now at headon.com.au/awards

Take part in Australia’s leading #photography festival, offering $50K in prizes across 4 categories.

Members of the Hidden Planet team have exhibited at the festival and it is a truly inspiring and excellent event. And a great reason to head to Sydney! Think we are going to have to arrange an expedition down there....





A Peruvian  Causa.

A Peruvian Causa.


Peru is a gastronomic paradise...the food and restaurants just seem to get better and better every year. On our Peru itineraries we make sure you get to eat at some of the best the country has to offer. Each region, the coast, mountains and jungle has its own distinct cuisine and the best restaurants fuse it into culinary creations that are truly unique. We are not going to number these, as rating from one to ten would be impossible! Just know that they are all excellent!


Rated the 4th best restaurant in the world, Central is considered not only the best restaurant in Lima and Peru, but in all of Latin America. The menu is arranged "vertically" so the food come from the diverse and numerous altitudes found in Peru. The results are nothing less than spectacular. Dishes include rare ingredients such ascushuro, a bacteria found in the mountains after a rainstorm, freeze-dried tubers and magenta colored cacti. Here is a link to Central's website: http://centralrestaurante.com.pe/en/


Peru is famous for it's cebiches and few can argue that the purest and one of the most delicious is served up at Picanteria in Surquillo, a working class neighborhood of Lima. Common tables line the main dining room and a counter is overflowing with fresh fish. You pick your fish and ask them to prepare it in a plethora of possibilities: Cebiche? Sudado(a fish stew)? Tiradito? Or try all 3, the fish are usually big enough to divide them up! Picanteria is one of the restaurants we will be eating at on our Sacred Valley itinerary.  http://www.picanteriasdelperu.com/


Northern Peru has its own distinct cuisine revolving around seafood and hearty meats such as goat and duck. Fiesta is a restaurant that caters to that palette and its reputation as one of the best kitchens in the country is well deserved. Arroz con Pato (Rice with Duck) and Seco de Cabrito (Goat Stew) are two traditional dishes that are best served with a hearty Malbec and an extra plate. The portions at Fiesta are extremely generous. http://www.restaurantfiestagourmet.com/restaurante.html


Perhaps Peru's most famous eating establishment, Gaston Acurio is a legendary chef and is credited with bringing Peruvian cuisine around the world. His restaurant, rated the 14th best in the world, is keeping the tradition alive in Lima. Twists on classics, like apple ceviche, dominate the eclectic menu. If the restaurant is full the bar is a good choice where perhaps the best Pisco Sour in Peru is made. http://en.astridygaston.com/


Always one of my favorites and for me, the best cevicheria in the city along with Picanteria. Unlike the latter, Mercado is more about fusion of disparate flavors, blending them into what can only be called one of a kind dishes. The best cuts of fish, always. Cachete de Mero, a dish that uses just the cheek meat of the Mero fish is perhaps the best item on the menu. Sublime and full of flavor, it will just get you warmed up to try their incredible Causas, chilled yellow potato bites adorned with peppers, crab meat, octopus and a host of other possibilities. http://www.rafaelosterling.pe/en/el-mercado.html


Wow, this list is making me crazy. Just when I think we have reached the apex we hit new heights. Osaka is a blend of cusines, Japanese and Peruvian, that is surprisingly quite common in this country. It is a true representation of the best seafood along the Pacific Rim. Traditional Peruvian recipes are given a Japanese treatment, like Wasabi Cebiche. A perennial favorite. http://osaka.com.pe/


Another great example of Peruvian fusion. This wonderful restaurant however, blends ingredients from the Amazon with coastal cooking and spices. The result is tropical dishes that taste like nothing you have had before. Passion Fruit blending with seafood, rare Amazonian herbs coupled with fish and meats, the combinations are enticing and unique. How about scallops bathed in camu camu sauce? Only at Amaz. http://www.amaz.com.pe/


We are now in Cusco at one of the colonial city's most atmospheric and best restaurant. Cicciolina specializes in tapas, Peruvian tapas. They get their herbs and produce fresh from the Sacred Valley of the Inca and fuse it with duck, chicken and veggie dishes. Located on the second floor of an old colonial home the rustic yet elegant atmosphere is perfect for Cusco. The wine list is extensive and the dishes incredible. This is one of our go to restaurants on all our Cusco itineraries. http://www.cicciolinacuzco.com/english/cicciolina_restaurant.html


Hard to beat this location. This restaurant is located next to ancient Incan ruins south of Cusco in a seldom visited area of the Sacred Valley. We will be taking our guests to this incredible archaeological zone on our Sacred Valley itinerary. Quinoa Taboulleh, trout ceviche and refreshing local drinks made with locally sourced ingredients are just part of the allure of the Parador. A perfect place to take a break for lunch during an expedition. http://www.cuscorestaurants.com/el-parador/


Another gem in Cusco, which is rapidly becoming the second culinary capital after Lima. (Sorry Arequipa!) Is this the best comfort food in Peru? Many say yes. Distinct flavors on familiar dishes are the call at Baco. That, and an extensive wine list. Fresh cheeses, Peruvian olives, grilled lamb pizza, saltado de salchicha...the list is sure to please everyone. Widely considered as one of the best restaurants in Cusco.