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active 20 hours ago

Steve Wilson

I love Peru! Its culture, history, food, people and incredible scenery. And I love talking about Peru with culturally-minded travelers and helping them create an experience that reflects their desires. My travel philosophy is that life and travel are about personal reflection and growth, and I'm passionate about sharing that with our guests.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"Peru. We specialize in real human encounters, real adventure, and taking our guests off the tourist track and under the surface of these places, meeting locals and sharing their lives. We also run adventure trips in Vanuatu and New Zealand."

How did you get involved in travel?

"Like many young Kiwis, I set off for my big OE (overseas experience) straight after finishing university. By the time I got back from Europe, a year later, I knew I'd found my life's path. The experience of immersing myself in other cultures made my life and the whole world feel so much wider and richer, and I wanted to share that with others so I started guiding adventure tours in New Zealand's rugged South Island.

I rose up quickly in the ranks of New Zealand's adventure travel industry, and soon found myself managing 70 people and an operation that spanned New Zealand, Australia, and South America. Here I met Katy Shorthouse, an Australian travel operator very much embedded in Peru, who shares my philosophy and vision, and is a fount of knowledge about lesser-known things to do in Peru. We joined forces in Aspiring Adventures with a focus on cultural adventures off the beaten track in Peru. We also run - and in many cases, I personally guide - trips in New Zealand and Vanuatu.

I have explored over 60 countries and my favourite activities are hiking, snowboarding, paragliding, scuba diving, motorcycling, and hanging out with my three kids."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"In 2009 I went to Peru to set up Aspiring Adventures with Katy. Before starting on that she was winding up another project - authoring the Lonely Planet guidebook to Peru - and she invited me along on her travels. In one memorable stint, we got stranded in the altiplano for a night and ended up the main attractions in a local parade, danced with broken glass crunching underfoot at a gangster bar the next night, and in-between discovered an abandoned church with a skull and crossbone-filled catacomb (where we still take our guests!)."

Featured trips & expertise

Sacred Valley Hiking and Homestay - 9 Days
Sacred Valley Hiking and Homestay - 9 Days

Explore Southern Peru's most famous region through a uniquely immersive local experience. This tour will allow you to experience the trails, traditions, and daily lives of subsistence farmers while still making time for the more well-known highlights of the Sacred Valley.

Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu By Bike - 8 Days
Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu By Bike - 8 Days

In the span of just over a week, bike across Peru's most famous region and see the Sacred Valley from a different perspective. This itinerary uncovers both the natural beauty of Southern Peru as well as the historical legacy of the Incas.

Photo by Steve Wilson
Peru Family Tour - 13 Days

This 13-day family adventure includes all the top, must-see highlights of Peru. From the Andes to the Amazon, the itinerary is specifically designed to satisfy and accommodate both children and adults.

Troops of hundreds of monkeys are a common sight on this trip
Peruvian Amazon Adventure - 4 Days

If you enjoy observing animals and birds in their natural environment–along with spending time on the water–this four-day Tambopata trip was designed with you in mind. Explore the incredible Amazon, go fishing for piranha, enjoy a kayaking excursion, and embark on a nighttime nature hike on this action-packed adventure.

Uros floating island on Lake Titicaca
Essential Peru - 14 Days

From the Nazca Lines to Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, and Machu Picchu, this 14-day itinerary takes you to Peru's major highlights. Fly over the Nazca Lines - some of the world's most impressive geoglyphs, then spend some time exploring the metropolitan city of Lima before heading out to explore the colonial city of Arequipa. Next, explore Colca Canyon, one of the world's deepest canyons, then head out to Lake Titicaca - a place rich with history, culture, and natural beauty. Finally, head to the Inca capital of Cusco and explore colorful textile markets and small towns of the Sacred Valley, and hike the short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Rainbow Mountain
Machu Picchu & Rainbow Mountain Adventure - 8 Days

Explore the essential highlights of Peru on this 8-day itinerary. Begin in the metropolitan capital city of Lima, and explore the vibrant city by bike. Then, head to the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, and get a taste of the local culture on a culinary tour. Next, discover the beautiful textiles and incredible ruins of the Sacred Valley, and spend a full day taking in the majesty of Machu Picchu. Top it all off by summiting the colorful rainbow mountain - the perfect photo op!

Recent trip reviews for Steve

Steve

Trip to peru, Peru - Jul 25 - Aug 4, 2019

Traveler: Steve S. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

When the weather is great and everything goes smoothly it’s easy to say the trip was great. The true test of a company is when there are problems and in this case Aspiring has really shown top marks. My 9 year old daughter became severely ill and Aldo, Mayli and Katie immediately reacted with not just practical assistance but the emotional support we required to care for our baby. They provided a doctor at our hotel at a critical point and provided excellent assistance to find treatment... read more

When the weather is great and everything goes smoothly it’s easy to say the trip was great. The true test of a company is when there are problems and in this case Aspiring has really shown top marks. My 9 year old daughter became severely ill and Aldo, Mayli and Katie immediately reacted with not just practical assistance but the emotional support we required to care for our baby. They provided a doctor at our hotel at a critical point and provided excellent assistance to find treatment and navigate the Peruvian health care system and travel insurance process. The fact that despite all the issues we have faced in the last 48 hours we cannot speak highly enough of the guides and company should speak volumes. We have been treated like family and as a frequent world traveler this company gets it and knows how and when to support both the newby world traveler and the salty veteran. If you are on the fence with a provider look no farther, these are the folks to trust. I should mention before the illness we had a wonderful trip and are so disappointed we could not take the next stage to the Amazon. Aspiring has earned a life long advocate.

Steve Wilson profile photo
Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Steve, Steve here! I wasn't involved with the last couple of days of your trip, but I heard about it - the whole ground team plus Katy were all about it! I really appreciate you taking the time to recognise their good work. I know they all really appreciated your family's demeanour both before and during poor Gracie's illness, and would love to see you again sometime... I think you should finish what you started, and get to the Amazon!

Seriously, thanks for being great travelers and great people. Cheers, Steve

Trip to peru, Peru - Jul 3 - Jul 12, 2019

Traveler: Sandro T. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

Our trip to Peru was unique and authentic! Our guide Aldo really contributed to make our trip enrichful by sharing with us his knowledge and taking care of us. The itinerary was great, we enjoyed everything. Our most memorable moment was our stay in Amaru where we could experience the authentic village life by being hosted by an amazing Peruvian family. We strongly recommend this destination.

Steve Wilson profile photo
Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Sandro! Seeing your photos and videos of your trip made me feel like I was there myself - thanks so much for sharing them! You've been a lovely group and we've all enjoyed our time with you. Thanks again!

Trip to peru, Peru - Jul 3 - Jul 12, 2019

Traveler: Elisa M. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

Our local specialist, Katy from Aspiring Adventures, arranged our local experience carefully, based on our preferences as a party of 6 adults with various levels of fitness ability and 2 active children. She got us a trip to experience Peru from the Pacific coast to the Andean mountains to the Amazon jungle. She arranged for us to taste Peruvian local cuisine at luxurious restaurants, a farmer's house, an Amaru village house, a boat picnic setting, and a set-menu dining in a jungle lodge. She... read more

Our local specialist, Katy from Aspiring Adventures, arranged our local experience carefully, based on our preferences as a party of 6 adults with various levels of fitness ability and 2 active children. She got us a trip to experience Peru from the Pacific coast to the Andean mountains to the Amazon jungle. She arranged for us to taste Peruvian local cuisine at luxurious restaurants, a farmer's house, an Amaru village house, a boat picnic setting, and a set-menu dining in a jungle lodge. She got us to experience local lifestyle by having us to stay at hostels, Amaru village house, and a jungle lodge. The Muresan family also appreciated our 'green' experience in Peru.

Aldo Sanchez was our ultimate BEST guide! He was patient, quietly listening to our needs, courteously adjusting our trip based on our requests, happily taking our pictures as a group in 'Instagram-worthy' places :), and most importantly, very passionate and knowledgeable about his mountains! He did not push us to buy anything from any merchants. He did not force us to do anything we were not comfortable with. He also made all those hiking and walking a pleasure because he carried a book with him and he kept on stopping to tell stories about the places we passed as we were walking. He was like an audiobook. No suggestion to improve for Aldo. Keep up your great work and service, Aldo! Thank you for your service to our family.

The Muresan family found Wilhen, the cyclist guide, fun, and careful with ensuring our safety on the trails and road. He went as far as we wanted to, as fast as our kids pedaled, and was willing to take several breaks to give Elisa a break because she was running out of gas from not eating proper breakfast. Her fault totally. Luckily, Aldo got a piece of Amaru potato for Elisa to munch and get a little more energy. Thank you, Wilhen.

The Muresan family enjoyed paddleboarding with David at Lake Piuray. He was competent, patient, and more than happy to have fun with my extremely happy kids. Our kids are fish in disguise. I thought they were goofing around a little too much, but David encouraged them to have serious fun. The kids ended up feeling ecstatic, I ended up relaxing, and the car ended up being quiet because both of them fell asleep after our water activity. Thank you, David. Stay safe, keep traveling, and carry on.

The Muresan family had a great time in Amaru. We loved the welcome 'ceremony' when we arrived. We enjoyed working the field for Fredy's family, using the tools that the Inca farmers had been using for centuries. We loved the cooking in the ground procedure that we witnessed and graciously devoured. We admired the camaraderie amongst Fredy's neighbors, who came to help and showed us how devoted the women were to care for their children. We adored the view from hiking 4000 m hill near Fredy's house. BUT the chill was down to every single tiniest bone in our bodies. It was extremely cold during the night that when we had to pee, we almost decided to pee on ourselves to warm our bodies up. But no, we walked down to the toilets, like proper ladies and gentlemen, to release ourselves. What a reward we got. We looked up the sky and saw what the Inca people saw many centuries ago, with our naked eyes, the clear sky with beautiful formation of the stars and the milky way. It was one of our moments of: man, we were glad we had to pee in the middle of the night. Thank you for your hospitality, Fredy. I will send you the printed picture, as I promised.

We loved the Amazon jungle that we got to experience from Puerto Maldonado. Oscar's lodge was pleasantly clean, rustic, and relaxing. The architecture and landscape looked to be carefully designed for ultimate enjoyment of the city people like us. (Juan) Carlos the chef was strict with dining timetable, but we loved his creations, every single time! Oscar's staff members were courteous and very honest. Perhaps, at the bar, for people who don't drink, Oscar can add selling chips, candies, or small muncheries. We enjoyed the common rooms very much, playing games and getting to know other guests, while swinging at the strong hammocks and imagining a leopard or a snake or a monkey or even a sloth peeking to watch us, humans.

Yuri is a passionate and competent guide. We appreciated that even with his stomach problem, he still stayed upbeat and strong to help us enjoy our time in the jungle. He spotted many animals for us when we couldn't even see the creatures! He found the best place (spots) for us to enjoy the clay-licking birds of Peru, had a picnic breakfast, and walked to another spot to enjoy those beauties! He skillfully took us for long day and night walk through the Amazon jungle and to Condenado Lake. He caught 3 piranha fish with ease and graciously shared 1 with us at the lodge. We 4 are still jealous at Yuri for catching those piranha, because none of us could do that! We appreciated Yuri taking us to try to find an Anaconda (or two or a few) at Tres Chimbadas Lake. Yuri knew Reserva Nacional Tambopata very well and was always being green and environmentally conscious, at all times. Thank you, Yuri. Keep up your great service!

The Muresan family would also like to acknowledge the super boat driver Carlo! Carlo drove very smoothly on Tambopata River, without light, at 4 in the morning!, maneuvering through deep and shallow spots, and avoiding fallen trees! WOW! Carlo also managed to stop his boat, to show us a small monkey hanging on the top of a tree, and several families of Capibara, cleverly camouflaged amongst the mudbanks of the river. To top it all of, Carlo ALWAYS kept his boat clean and tidy, every time we got on board of it. You are the man, Carlo! Thank you for showing us a great time at your Tambopata River.

The Muresan family enjoyed the kayaking down the Tambopata River on the last day at the jungle. Next time, please consider arranging this activity to NOT be on the last day, so that we could dry our wet clothes and not bringing those wet clothes back to the US, in our suitcases, for 2 days.

The Muresan family had a glitch with Mayli. She was not able to answer any of my questions during our trip in Peru. She was not helpful and was incompetent at Cusco airport, prior to our departure to Puerto Maldonado. She needed more training to help clients with their airport experience. I wish we had Aldo sending us off from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado. He would have known what to do!

In conclusion, our trip to Peru was a blast! Thankfully, Mayli is just a little insignificant glitch. Our family had a once in a lifetime experience and will be sharing our reviews (minus Mayli) in Social Media, to promote Peru, Kimkim Travel, and Aspiring Adventures. Thank you.

Steve Wilson profile photo
Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Elisa, thank you for your detailed review and photos.
All your feedback is so very helpful in maintaining and constantly improving our trips, and we take it all on board.
The Family Trip is dear to the hearts of all of us here at Aspiring Adventures and we just love making families like yours happy with it. Thank you so much for trusting us with your family vacation.
All the best,
Steve

Daniel

Continuing adventure machu picchu, Peru - May 20 - May 26, 2019

Traveler: Daniel P. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

Aspiring Adventures (Katy, Steve) did a great job ahead of the trip making sure they knew us and providing 2 itineraries with equipment lists. We were all well prepared. Guide Alex met us the first day introduced himself. You could tell how proud his was of his country (same with Angela), Cusco and the Inca legacy. Right from the start Alex (and Angela) couldn't do enough for us. Whether it was ensuring dietary restrictions were met or getting waiters attend for beer. Note: Angela... read more

Aspiring Adventures (Katy, Steve) did a great job ahead of the trip making sure they knew us and providing 2 itineraries with equipment lists. We were all well prepared. Guide Alex met us the first day introduced himself. You could tell how proud his was of his country (same with Angela), Cusco and the Inca legacy. Right from the start Alex (and Angela) couldn't do enough for us. Whether it was ensuring dietary restrictions were met or getting waiters attend for beer. Note: Angela wasn't on the Inca Trail with us, so most of my comments are on Alex. From my wife, Angela was excellent.

Inca Trail
- Aspiring Adventure equipment was excellent. One member of team rented sleeping bag and thermal rest. That equipment was first rate. Especially liked the built in pump on the mattress.
- Porters were very professional and looked good in matching "uniforms". First night out Alex had all the porters, chef & server, and clients introduce themselves.
- Meals especially the soups (and cake on last day) were great. Lots of variety of food. Went away from table full every time. Servers, chef, water porter & Alex did an excellent job. Alex always making sure everyone was happy.
- Everyone liked the after lunch siesta.
- Alex keep us informed on what we were seeing, why we were leaving a location at a specific time, and what to expect. He answered every question we asked. Let us set the pace of the hike. Almost always bring up the rear but appearing in time to explain something, make sure we were Ok or didn't miss something.
- Inca trail is wonderfully maintained. No litter.
- Sun Gate on Day-4 on Inca Trail was everything I wanted it to be.

Non-Inca Trail
- Angela was excellent accommodating Devina & Susan every wish. Giving them more or less time as they wanted. . Great explanations & tried really hard with dietary. Very proud of her country.
- small issue - itinerary activity was changed. "Farm to Table" was cancelled. The replacement activity turned out to be great. Devina and Susan just would have liked to know about it ahead of time.
- "rustic hotel" in the Amazon was wonderful.
- food was excellent, and Angela was very attentive.
- Driver was excellent & always help Susan with mobility issues in and out of the vehicle. Helping with luggage.

Steve Wilson profile photo
Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dan, thanks so much for your thoughtful and detailed report!
Katy and I enjoyed working with you in the months before the trip, developing the trip and communicating its details to the members of your group.
Trips like this, where the group is split for several days - in your case most of you went on the Inca Trail with Alex, and two group members explored the jungle and Sacred Valley with Angela - present their own logistical challenges, and I'm proud to see the team carried it off without... read more

Dan, thanks so much for your thoughtful and detailed report!
Katy and I enjoyed working with you in the months before the trip, developing the trip and communicating its details to the members of your group.
Trips like this, where the group is split for several days - in your case most of you went on the Inca Trail with Alex, and two group members explored the jungle and Sacred Valley with Angela - present their own logistical challenges, and I'm proud to see the team carried it off without a hitch!
The one fly in the ointment was with the farm to table supplier deciding they didn't feel like running the activity for us - luckily we were able to arrange a good alternative and everyone was happy, but we're looking for a more robust arrangement for future trips!
At the end of the day, it's our brilliant guides who make the trips, and as always, Alex and Angela have shone.
It's been a pleasure creating this amaazing trip for you and your family, and we hope to see you again in the future! Thanks again Dan!

Jay

Pearce/patel trip to peru, Peru - May 20 - May 26, 2019

Traveler: Jay P. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

We had an amazing time in Peru, largely due to our guides. Alex was fantastic, a fountain of knowledge and very friendly and accommodating. Anjela was very helpful, patient and loved sharing her love of Peru with us. The food, drinks and entire experience was enjoyable. We hiked the Inca Trail with Alex and he let us move at our own pace and had no trouble answering our questions. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who asked.

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Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Great to hear you'd recommend the trip to anyone., Kunal! We worked hard before the trip to communicate consistently with all the members of your big group and I believe we succeeded pretty well, laying the groundwork for Alex and Angela to show you all the best of Peru! Thanks so much for choosing to explore Peru with us, and we hope you had just as awesome a time on the next leg of your trip. in Bolivia!

Trip to peru, Peru - May 8 - May 19, 2019

Traveler: Kent P. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

What a great experience it all was from the beginning of the trip to the end. Our trip to Peru was very adventurous and memorable. We took the Andean Adventure but added additional excursions to our trip. Steve spent much time talking to us and customizing our trip. He was very reassuring about the places that we would visit.
After the trip was booked Katy took over and the experience was just as great. She provided us with all the necessary information, from what to expect to what... read more

What a great experience it all was from the beginning of the trip to the end. Our trip to Peru was very adventurous and memorable. We took the Andean Adventure but added additional excursions to our trip. Steve spent much time talking to us and customizing our trip. He was very reassuring about the places that we would visit.
After the trip was booked Katy took over and the experience was just as great. She provided us with all the necessary information, from what to expect to what should be brought.
From getting off the plane to meeting Luis for the first time everything was perfectly organized.
Luis was an awesome guide. He obviously loves his job and his passion for his culture and country is clear. We can't say enough about Luis as you always worry about spending a long time with someone you don't know, but we did not have to worry about it at all as he was fun to be around with and easy going.
Our full day hike through the Andes was challenging at times due to the altitude but at the end, it was a great experience. We finished that day at our homestay. Our host Irene was welcoming and authentic. We felt we had a true picture of farm life in the Andes. Machu Pichu was everything we hoped it would be. Unfortunately, we missed our biking day at the salt mines due to a transit strike but if we were to go back we would definitely try to do it. Thanks to the great team, Luis and Mayli, we organized something else and was able to see the salt mines the day after.
All aspects were memorable and we were especially happy with trying different Peruvian cuisine. Thanks to Luis in the Andes and Arturo in Lima we were able to go to more local restaurants.
We spent a whole day with Arturo on a food tour in Lima. Arturo has a big smile and a bigger laugh and made our day taking us to the market where we tried many kinds of fruit and sharing Lima's history. He also took us to a great local restaurant called Gloton's in Miraflores.

Steve, Katy, Mayli (organizer in Peru), Enrique (driver), Miguel (horseman) and especially Luis ....thank you for an amazing memorable trip. We would recommend Aspiring Adventure to anyone looking for a unique customized adventure in Peru. What a great team!!!

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Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Kent, thanks so much for your detailed review and kind words about the team! The behind-the-scenes crew really pulled out all the stops to deal with the strike that day - we're so proud of their hard work, and love to see it recognised! We really enjoyed having you and Colleen - come again anytime!

Trip to peru, Peru - Jan 29 - Feb 7, 2019

Traveler: Lindy F. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

Steve and Katy at Kim Kim made the planning for our first trip to South America incredibly easy. They sorted out everything for our 8 day trip - hotels, transfers (planes, trains and buses), entrance tickets to all the sites and most meals. We saw most of what there was to see in the Rainforest with our guide Yuri, who was amazing with a machete! Aldo took us around Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Moray and Machu Picchu; sharing with us interesting history about the Incas. He even climbed Huayna Picchu with us.

Thank you all for making our trip so memorable!

Sent from my iPad

Steve Wilson profile photo
Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thanks for your review Lindy! Great to hear we made planning your trip incredibly easy - those last minute changes getting to the start of the trip due to the polar vortex grounding flights in Canada had us all sweating - fantastic that it all worked out in the end, thanks to our hardworking ground team!

I know Katy is in touch with you about why you saw 'almost' everything in the jungle, not 'everything'; if there's anything else you'd like to add about why you rated your trip only 4.5 stars instead of the full 5, please let us know - we really appreciate your constructive criticism!

Amazon/manu adventure, Peru - Nov 10 - Nov 15, 2018

Traveler: Chris C. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

Steve was very responsive. Nestor, our guide, Alex and Guido as well as our boat crew were excellent. The trip accommodations were more basic than expected. The definition of our overnight accommodations as lodges was stretching it. Hot water did not exist for the entire trip. The activities were outstanding!

Steve Wilson profile photo
Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Chris
Thanks for taking the time to review your trip to Manu for us! I’m disappointed you rated your trip only four stars and will be contacting you privately to discuss how we can improve. All I’ll say here is that accommodations in Manu are more basic than elsewhere in Peru, and we do try to set expectations accurately, for example with mentioning there are no hot showers in the introduction to the trip here in kimkim. Anyway, I’m glad the awesomeness of Nestor, Alex and Guido and the activities they facilitated helped make up for the basicness of the accommodations!
Cheers
Steve

The amazon & inca trail - 12 days, Peru - Aug 31 - Sep 11, 2018

Traveler: William M. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

I contacted Steve with KimKim travel after striking out with other agencies who were unable to build an "off the beaten path" adventure to Peru. Steve listed and then executed an amazing itinerary which far exceed our expectations.

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Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Bill!

Thanks for your review, and thanks for being such awesome off the beaten track explorers - it's thanks to you that we discovered an awesome new waterfall to include in our trips to Quillabamba! We loved hosting you, Adam and Lauren, and hope to share another adventure sometime! (In fact Katy said something about joining you in Patagonia?!)

Cheers!
Steve

Trip to peru for family with two older teenagers, Peru - Jul 22 - Aug 2, 2018

Traveler: David M. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

Steve and Katy and the Aspiring Adventures team did a great job. They helped plan and set up a highly custom tour of Peru for us and really dealt with a lot of added complexity and changes when the weather impacted the original trek we had planned; and then when one of us had some health issues and had to change plans. Really appreciated their hard work and expertise. Very happy with the trip.

Our guides arranged by Aspiring Adventures (Arturo in Lima, Justino in Sacred Valley/Trek/Machu... read more

Steve and Katy and the Aspiring Adventures team did a great job. They helped plan and set up a highly custom tour of Peru for us and really dealt with a lot of added complexity and changes when the weather impacted the original trek we had planned; and then when one of us had some health issues and had to change plans. Really appreciated their hard work and expertise. Very happy with the trip.

Our guides arranged by Aspiring Adventures (Arturo in Lima, Justino in Sacred Valley/Trek/Machu Picchu/Cusco, and Wilhelm for Mt. Biking) were all fantastic. Highlights:

In Lima, Arturo took us to the Central Market and we walked around and tried about 15-20 kinds of fruit that don't exist in North America, and then took us to a local place (we were the only tourists there) for a fantastic lunch. If you are a foodie, don't skip Lima and see if you can book Arturo.

Trekking was great, stunning, but at those altitudes actually quite hard--be aware. Even if you are in good shape hard to catch your breath.

Machu Picchu and the hike from there up Waynapicchu were fantastic. It is amazing that a place as celebrated at Machu Picchu can still exceed expectations. If you aren't trekking in, make sure to get in line for the bus by 4:30 or 5:00 am to miss most of the crowds and see the sunrise. (Our guide made sure we did and it was well worth it.)

We went Mt. Biking in Sacred Valley for a half day followed by a gourmet picnic in the most beautiful setting (all arranged by our guides). First time Mt. Biking for all of us. It was amazing. Route chosen was 90% downhill and exciting but manageable for first timers. Totally recommend (my 15 year old declared this day to be the best thing we have ever done on any trip.)

Aspiring Adventures also arranged for us to have a cooking class in Cusco at Marcelo Batata with Chef Jose. (http://www.cuscocookingworkshop.com/culinary-experiences/cooking-class-or-culinary-experience/) This was fantastic. We have had great experiences with cooking classes on other trips, but this was by far the most fun and interesting chef/teacher we have ever had.

Highly recommend Aspiring Adventures.

Steve Wilson profile photo
Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Wow, thank you for the detailed review, and recommendation, David! I'm so happy you and your family had a marvellous time in Peru, especially given the necessary changes from plan A to plan B (because the Lares Pass was impassable due to the snow level during an unexpected cold snap), and then from plan B to plan C when one of your family had a health issue. This kept us on our toes for sure, but I'm delighted you maintained a positive mindset and created such wonderful memories together. And... read more

Wow, thank you for the detailed review, and recommendation, David! I'm so happy you and your family had a marvellous time in Peru, especially given the necessary changes from plan A to plan B (because the Lares Pass was impassable due to the snow level during an unexpected cold snap), and then from plan B to plan C when one of your family had a health issue. This kept us on our toes for sure, but I'm delighted you maintained a positive mindset and created such wonderful memories together. And how cool that your 15 year old rated the bike day as the best thing you've ever done on any trip, that makes me, and the whole team at Aspiring super happy, and very proud! Thank you for choosing to travel with us, we hope to see you again someday!
Kind regards, Steve, Aspiring Adventures.

Peru 2018 vacation, Peru - Jun 15 - Jun 26, 2018

Traveler: Leanne C. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

We were in great hands with our guides Aldo (Sacred Valley) and Yuri (Jungle)! We enjoyed their knowledge of the history, animals as well as what was likely to change given current environmental threats. Since our teenage boys moved quite a bit faster than their parents, they spent a lot of time ahead with the guides on some hikes. The notorious hard-to-please teens were also thrilled with this trip. They really enjoyed the mountain biking and the bits of knowledge they gained along the way in both parts of the trip. We'll be back to Peru!

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Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hola Leanne,
Thank you for writing a review - I'm delighted that your whole family had a ball in Peru with Aldo and Yuri. Designing and running trips that fit for both parents and teens is a fine art and I'm glad we've succeeded - when the teens are thrilled that tells me we did a great job - yay!
Drop us a line when you're keen to explore Peru again, we'd love to help you explore another region of this wonderful country!
Kind regards, Steve, Aspiring Adventures

Peru 2018 vacation, Peru - Jun 15 - Jun 26, 2018

Traveler: Jeff C. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

Our guides, Aldo and Yuri, were absolutely awesome. They were both very focused on giving us a good experience and sharing the best of their country with us. All of the food we had on the trip was either very good or excellent. Peruvians definitely care about the quality of their food. Yum!

The one area for improvement would have been a little better information on appropriate clothing and expected whether. Our packing list suggested 3 pair of shorts and 2 pair of long pants. We never wore... read more

Our guides, Aldo and Yuri, were absolutely awesome. They were both very focused on giving us a good experience and sharing the best of their country with us. All of the food we had on the trip was either very good or excellent. Peruvians definitely care about the quality of their food. Yum!

The one area for improvement would have been a little better information on appropriate clothing and expected whether. Our packing list suggested 3 pair of shorts and 2 pair of long pants. We never wore shorts in the Sacred Valley and even though it was warm enough in the jungle for shorts, we chose long pants much of the time because of the bugs. So, we definitely would have been better prepared with more long pants and less shorts.

Steve Wilson profile photo
Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hola Jeff,
How fabulous that you enjoyed experiencing Peru with Aldo and Yuri! We take great care in designing the various meal options on each trip so I'm delighted that you loved the Peruvian cuisine - yum alright!
Thank you for your feedback about the packing list, it's super important to me that we get the small details like that correct. I agree with you that pants are the best option when in the jungle. I've taken a look at the list we created for your trip, and it actually says: "2... read more

Hola Jeff,
How fabulous that you enjoyed experiencing Peru with Aldo and Yuri! We take great care in designing the various meal options on each trip so I'm delighted that you loved the Peruvian cuisine - yum alright!
Thank you for your feedback about the packing list, it's super important to me that we get the small details like that correct. I agree with you that pants are the best option when in the jungle. I've taken a look at the list we created for your trip, and it actually says: "2 trousers, 2 shorts", which sounds about right to me for the length of your trip. Perhaps it was a bit cooler that normal while you were in the Cusco/Sacred Valley area? For future similar trips I think we'll keep the recommendations at 2 pairs of shorts but increase the number of pants to 3. Zip-off pants are a great option to cover all bases too, so we might specify them to help save weight.
Anyway, thanks again, I appreciate the comments!
Kind regards, Steve, Aspiring Adventures

Group departure - salkantay trek to machu picchu - 5 days, Peru - May 30 - Jun 6, 2018

Traveler: Marianne H. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

Aldo, our local guide, was a wonderful, knowledgeable leader and kept the many pieces of our trip in order while also making sure we were all safe and comfortable and that we learned about Peruvian history, culture and natural resources. I cannot speak highly enough of his skills and what a special person he is.
Our chef, Jonah and his assistant Eduardo, also made this trip memorable. The food that they provided for us could have been served at any top-rated restaurant in the world. This was... read more

Aldo, our local guide, was a wonderful, knowledgeable leader and kept the many pieces of our trip in order while also making sure we were all safe and comfortable and that we learned about Peruvian history, culture and natural resources. I cannot speak highly enough of his skills and what a special person he is.
Our chef, Jonah and his assistant Eduardo, also made this trip memorable. The food that they provided for us could have been served at any top-rated restaurant in the world. This was such a delightful and unexpected part of the trip - and they managed to do this three times a day using a kitchen that had to be transported by horseback!
The hiking was strenuous, especially the uphill portions climbing to over 15,000 feet. It challenged all of us on the trip but with Aldo’s help and support from each one of the six people in our tour family, we all conquered the difficulties and were exhilarated by the adventure.

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Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Marianne

Yep, Aldo, Yohan and Eduardo are incredible... by sheer goodwill they turn what could be a difficult experience into an unforgettable adventure - exhilarating for you, and for us too, to receive a series of reviews like yours for what was clearly a very special trip!
Thanks so much for your review - we hope to see you again someday!
PS - Thanks for the photos you posted here - there are some real beauties!

Christine

Group departure - salkantay trek to machu picchu - 5 days, Peru - May 30 - Jun 6, 2018

Traveler: Christine J. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

I truly cannot say enough good things about this trip and the people involved in the experience. Before the trip, we coordinated with Steve and Katy and our questions were answered and last minute additions handled promptly and easily. I definitely recommend reading all of the information sent carefully and sticking to the packing recommendations. If you are a high information person, definitely call to get the scoop on when meals are, when you are stopping, etc, if you like that kind of... read more

I truly cannot say enough good things about this trip and the people involved in the experience. Before the trip, we coordinated with Steve and Katy and our questions were answered and last minute additions handled promptly and easily. I definitely recommend reading all of the information sent carefully and sticking to the packing recommendations. If you are a high information person, definitely call to get the scoop on when meals are, when you are stopping, etc, if you like that kind of detail.

The trek itself was incredible. We had the amazing Aldo as our guide and he is such an incredible guide and person. He answered our endless questions, had solutions for any issues that came up (altitude sickness, cold temps, fatigue, etc) and kept an endlessly positive attitude throughout. Our chefs, Johan and Eduardo could not have been nicer or more helpful, and the food was beyond expectations. I kept saying that they need to write a cookbook to sell! And they worked with my food allergies too, so I knew I was in good hands. We even had two horsemen who managed the pack horses, the luggage, and the emergency horse for the times when altitude, fatigue, and body injuries were a little too much. Having them there was great peace of mind. Everyone worked so hard and with smiles on their faces and jokes for all.

The trek is certainly challenging physically, especially with the altitude, so I recommend altitude sickness pills ahead of time, a few days in Cusco to acclimate, LOTS of water, and training! It also got to negative temps on the first night beneath the Salkantay mountain (holy gorgeous stars - we saw the Southern Cross!!!) and recommend warm clothing and even hand and toe warmers since they are easy to pack. Our wonderful team had hot water bottles for us for that night which made such a difference! Having a small day pack for rain gear, gloves, snacks (which were often provided) is very helpful as you are not with your bags generally during the day. I had a fanny pack and ended up putting most of my stuff in my mom's day pack. Renting the sleeping bags and mats was also nice since we didn't have to lug those around the airport. It is hard to imagine carrying all of my belongings on my back, so renting a mule was well worth it!

We kept joking that we would almost forget that the end of the trek was Machu Picchu, because honestly if we hadn't done that piece, it still would have been a memorable trip. It was certainly the icing on the cake!

The journey of the trek itself - from the Humantay Lake hike in the beginning to get our "sea legs", to summiting at 15,500 ft, to descending through plantations and jungles and small villages, to eating wild fruit (strawberries, passion fruit, limes) along the way, to the Cocalmayo hot springs, to the coffee plantation, to Machu Picchu (and Wayna Picchu if you are up for an extra 45 min steep ascent that is beautiful!), everything exceeded expectations, especially for the price. Aldo and his team at Aspiring Adventures truly made it easy to enjoy every moment and treated us to a luxurious camping experience. My mother and I carry with us memories of a lifetime and we will never forget it. Thank you to all, especially Aldo, from the bottom of our grateful hearts!

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Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Christine - wow, thank you! Detailed reviews like these are so helpful for other travellers thinking of taking a trip, and so awesome for us to read! Knowing you experienced and appreciated little touches like hot water bottles and detailed gear lists, makes all the hard work we put in behind the scenes worthwhile! We try hard to exceed expectations and it means the world to us to know we succeeded. Thank you!

Salkantay trek to machu picchu - 5 days, Peru - May 31 - Jun 5, 2018

Traveler: Alexie L. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

Aldo was an amazing guide who went above and beyond all expectations!

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Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thanks for your review Alexie. Yep, Aldo is amazing, isn't he! We know we're lucky to have him!

Machapichi, hiking, adventures, good food. , Peru - Apr 7 - Apr 15, 2018

Traveler: Donna W. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

Tom and I had a wonderful experience in Peru. Every detail was taken care on so we could just relax and enjoy. Luis was very knowledgeable and so easy to be around. He spoiled us! Paul was our driver and he too was very helpful. Aspiring Adventures had every detail planned so that our trip was seamless. Love the bike ride down the Andes and this special group did a great job of making us feel comfortable. The value was terrific! Two recommendations. Try another accommodation in... read more

Tom and I had a wonderful experience in Peru. Every detail was taken care on so we could just relax and enjoy. Luis was very knowledgeable and so easy to be around. He spoiled us! Paul was our driver and he too was very helpful. Aspiring Adventures had every detail planned so that our trip was seamless. Love the bike ride down the Andes and this special group did a great job of making us feel comfortable. The value was terrific! Two recommendations. Try another accommodation in Olyamtamba and make sure local drivers in Santa Teresa have seat belts. That's picky so as you can see the entire trip was wonderful and we will definitely use this group again. Their planning let us VACATiON!
Tom andDonna

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Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Donna
Great to hear you and Tom had a wonderful experience - and indeed, how could you not, with Luis and Paul taking care of you!
I'm delighted you appreciated the planning that went into making sure the trip ran smoothly and apparently effortlessly, while avoiding allergens as far as humanly possible.. the Kuychipunku kittycat let us down there!
Thanks for travelling with us and we would love to host you and Tom again!
Cheers
Steve

Trip to peru, Peru - Oct 15 - Oct 19, 2017

Traveler: Marlynn R. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

The trek was the highlight of our 3 week trip to Peru. Food, cooks, overall trekking experience was great. All places we stayed were great, especially the overnight at the hot springs. There was an issue with my sleeping bag: The zipper in my $40 rental sleeping bag was broken from day one. I had to put extra layers on to keep warm on the 1st night. In the afternoon the guide was nowhere to be found and I told him at dinner. Someone went to fix it, but they didn't try the zipper and I went to bed and the clasp fell off so the zipper was broken.

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Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Marlynn

It’s taken me a few days to respond to your review because I’ve been getting to the bottom of how this came to happen with your sleeping bag. Simple gear failure is the answer, and I’m so sorry it caused you this experience .

Wilhen, our equipment manager, personally checked your sleeping bag before it went out on your Salkantay trek, but it evidently gave way on the way in and started opening itself. Aldo got it to close again, but then the clasp came off in your hand.

Our... read more

Hi Marlynn

It’s taken me a few days to respond to your review because I’ve been getting to the bottom of how this came to happen with your sleeping bag. Simple gear failure is the answer, and I’m so sorry it caused you this experience .

Wilhen, our equipment manager, personally checked your sleeping bag before it went out on your Salkantay trek, but it evidently gave way on the way in and started opening itself. Aldo got it to close again, but then the clasp came off in your hand.

Our conclusion is that the zips on our National Geographic brand sleeping bags are not strong enough, and we’re sending them all off to get replaced. We’ll also be sending out an extra sleeping bag, to cover any cases like this, on our trips from now on.

I apologise once again for the sleeping bag and I hope other aspects of your trip went some way towards making up for it.

Kind regards
Steve

Trip to peru, Peru - Jun 16 - Jun 28, 2017

Traveler: Sandy L. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

Excellent planning! Amazing guides!

Very organized! Well planned

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Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hola Sandy, thank you kindly for your review! I'm delighted that you and your family had an amazing time in Peru. What a stunning day you had at Machu Picchu - look at that sky!! It was a pleasure helping you design and plan your trip, and Katy and I are glad you enjoyed the company and leadership of Luis, your Aspiring Adventures guide. We hope you'll return to Peru some day!
Kind regards,
Steve, Aspiring Adventures

Archaeological sites in the sacred valley, Peru - Feb 4 - Feb 4, 2017

Traveler: Janice R. - Local specialist: Steve Wilson

Steve was good at arranging the trip, dropping off the Tourist Tickets at our hotel the day before our tour, and finding us a good guide. Our guide, Aldo was just great. He was flexible and agreed to take us to Pisac earlier than planned, so we could see it while fresh. When a portion of the Pisac Inca site was inaccessible, he found a way for us to see the site by entering at a different place. No, he didn't break any laws doing so. It was a beautiful day, so he arranged for us to walk down... read more

Steve was good at arranging the trip, dropping off the Tourist Tickets at our hotel the day before our tour, and finding us a good guide. Our guide, Aldo was just great. He was flexible and agreed to take us to Pisac earlier than planned, so we could see it while fresh. When a portion of the Pisac Inca site was inaccessible, he found a way for us to see the site by entering at a different place. No, he didn't break any laws doing so. It was a beautiful day, so he arranged for us to walk down a path, through the Inca site to meet our driver in the town of Pisac. When we expressed an interest in Andean condors, he took us to a wildlife rehab center where we could see these impressive birds close up and also watch them take off and fly.

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Steve Wilson, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Jan, I'm delighted that you had a wonderful time exploring the Sacred Valley with Aldo! How terrific that you had a chance to meet the condors up close - they're very impressive birds aren't they?! Thank you for choosing to travel with us and for taking the time to write a review about your experiences. We hope to see you again some day!
Kind regards,
Steve, Aspiring Adventures