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 50 countries and my favourite activities are hiking, snow boarding, paragliding, scuba diving, and hanging out with my two 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

Photo by Steve Wilson

Peru Family Tour - 12 Days

This 12-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.

Lares Trek - 3-Day Itinerary

A shorter alternative to the Inca Trail, the Lares Trek offers an experience just as stunning. Despite the high altitudes, this trek follows a less rigorous route through local communities, making it ideal for those who are looking for something accessible, unique, and immersive.

Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu - 7 days

Discover the ancient ruins of Choquequirao, the “sister city” of Machu Picchu, along this challenging yet rewarding trek. The 65 km trek passes through lush jungles, deep canyons, and snow-capped peaks en route to Machu Picchu. If you’re up for the adventure, this is one of the most beautiful treks in the Cusco Region.

Highlights of Southern Peru

Southern Peru has a long list of both natural and man-made wonders. Come for Machu Picchu, but depart with the memories of the beautiful places scattered across the high, southern altiplano: countless ruins, vibrant local communities, and natural wonders that will open your eyes to the beauty of Peru.

View from the Santa Cruz trek in Peru

Best 10 Treks in Peru

Peru — a nation with abundant natural diversity, from coast, to mountains, to jungle — has long attracted lovers of the Great Outdoors. The Peruvian Andes, running like a backbone down the centre of the country, contain mesmerizing variations in landscape that make for some of the best trekking in the world. Cloud forests, 5000m+ cordilleras (mountain ranges), the world’s deepest canyon and the striking remains of ancient civilizations all await.

Best Treks to Machu Picchu

A visit to Machu Picchu is the highlight of most people’s trip to Peru. In fact, this ancient Inca Citadel attracts over a million visitors each year. Many visitors get there by way of the classic Inca Trail. Yet, there are numerous treks that take you there, each unique in their own right.

Recent trip reviews for Steve

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.

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

300 messages
active 20 hours ago