active 19 hours ago

Luke Waterson

With my travels, I see myself as trying to emulate the explorers of old: it was reading the accounts of individuals like Sir Francis Drake or Alejandro Humboldt as a teenager that inspired me to want to travel in the first place. Fast forward a couple of decades and I am a travel writer specialising in the South American wilderness (the Andes and Amazon Basin primarily).

My travel writing has appeared in the Independent, Telegraph, GeoSaison, BBC Travel, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Avalon Travel Publishing, Insight Guides and many others. My debut novel, Roebuck, is set in the South American jungle during the 1590s, and follows the misadventures of real-life gentleman explorer Anthony Knivet.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"As a novelist: Historic Fiction
As a travel writer: Andes, Amazon, South America, Caribbean, Eastern Europe, UK, Adventure Travel, Hiking, Culinary Travel"

How did you get involved in travel?

"I always dreamed up travels as a child, tracing imaginary routes on atlases. As soon as I finished university, I headed off to Canada and spent the following 18 months travelling from there overland down through the Americas to Tierra del Fuego. Afterwards, I started writing about it: initially for local newspapers, then for Lonely Planet, and finally for other publications from BBC Travel through to the Telegraph, the Independent and national newspapers/ leading travel publications everywhere from the US to Sweden and Germany."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"The first time I ever took the bus in the Andes from Ayacucho to Huancayo, I didn't realise the main highway was a track barely wider than the width of a truck that followed the rim of a very sheer valley. After several hours of heart-in-mouth moments, we reached the half-way point where the villagers had just decided to close the road because they wanted to have a fiesta. We were left with no choice but to get off the bus and join in for the next six hours or so. The locals had rarely set eyes on any foreigners before, and we were given seats of honour alongside the mayor!"

Featured trips & expertise

The spectacular Incan ruins of Choquequirao, reachable by two-day trek
Peru's Best Incan Ruins (That Aren't Machu Picchu)

Machu Picchu draws well in excess of one million visitors annually, but hundreds of less-frequented Incan ruins lie scattered in the jungle and mountains around Cusco. Most are surrounded by equally spectacular scenery, and many are reachable via epic hikes. Here's a list of the most impressive Incan ruins to visit while evading the tourist crowds.

Train at Abra la Raya on the Cusco to Puno Line
Peru's Best Train Rides

All aboard! Trains are a practical solution for traveling in Peru: they transport travelers between key destinations around the country, and they're also a wonderful way to take in the landscape and get a taste of old-world glamour. The following rail journeys are classic adventures you won't want to miss on your trip to South America.

Hiking in the Peruvian Andes can be done solo or with a guide
Options for Touring Peru

Travelers love Peru for its incredible food scene, stunning landscapes, and mesmerizing ruins of ancient civilizations. It's a place that's well-prepared for tourists, but as the third-largest country in South America, Peru is also vast in size. Read on for tips as you plan your adventure.

One of the Ecuador's dramatic train rides, the Naríz del Diablo
Options for Touring Ecuador

By South American standards, Ecuador is a fairly small country. Most major destinations — with the exception of the Galápagos Islands — are within a day's drive of each other. Follow these suggestions for how to structure your visit and make the most of your time in this geographically diverse nation.

An inviting arc of sandy beach on Cayo Levisa, in Pinar del Río province
Best Beaches in Cuba

The island of Cuba is lined with white sandy beaches and surrounded by turquoise Caribbean waters. But it takes a little effort — and some dedicated travel planning — to break away from the crowds and find your own slice of paradise. Follow this handy guide to the best beaches in Cuba and you'll be relaxing under a palm tree in no time.

Planning Your Honeymoon in Cuba

It's not hard not to fall in love with Cuba. Set to a soundtrack of jazz, rumba, and salsa, it's a place where icy mojitos flow freely, classic cars cruise the streets, and historic hotels evoke the glamour of a bygone era. The perfect place, in other words, for a romantic getaway just after your wedding.