Q & A with South American expert Andreas Holland

MACHU PICCHU: 'I’ve been there hundreds of times and it still takes my breath away!'
MACHU PICCHU: 'I’ve been there hundreds of times and it still takes my breath away!'

Andreas Holland first visited Peru in 1979 on a three month archaeological site near the start of the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu before becoming a guide in the mountains and jungles of Peru and Bolivia.

Now a South American Expert with World Expeditions, Andreas' expertise ranges from Peru as a gourmet destination famous for its unique cuisine to information about the 100th Anniversary of the re-discovery of Machu Picchu.

How did you get started in your current profession?

I was working on an archaeological site between Cusco & Machu Picchu in late 1979 and was asked if I could guide a group on the Inca Trail - I was happy to agree even though I'd never walked the trail before!

What's the most memorable holiday you've been on?

A family trek in the Vilcabamba Range in southern Peru with my wife Rachel and our five children.

What's the most practical travel advice you've ever been given?

 Be prepared for anything!

What's the one spot in South American that a traveller should not miss?

 I would have to say Machu Picchu - I've been there hundreds of times and it still takes my breath away!

 What's the scariest situation you've ever been in?

Sitting strapped in an open doorway of a small single engined unpressurised aircraft with no oxygen supply at 24,000 feet (7,300m) directly over Mount Salcantay in Peru when I was working with a National Geographic film crew.

Do you have a travel horror story to share?

Thankfully not!

Is altitude sickness something I should worry about?

No - as long as you take it easy for the first few days and pretend you are 80 years old for the whole time at altitude you will be fine.

What level of fitness is required for the treks you lead?

It is difficult to define what is the minimum fitness level to be able to take part in one of our treks, but when asked "am I fit enough"? I always answer by saying "if you enjoy walking you are probably fit enough to join any of our treks".

What's the best way to carry money?

In a simple money pouch hung around your neck that is always out of sight and try never to access that pouch when on a street as someone may be watching.

What's your favourite South American food?

Anything prepared in Peru!

What's one thing you always carry on your travels?

A sense of humour.

What's your favourite spot in South America?

At any high altitude campsite in the Andes on a clear moonless night - the starlight is bright enough to let you read a book (or poem)!

Any tips for the solo travellers/female travellers?

 Whether you are a woman or a man - it is always best to travel with a friend or partner when you are away from 'home'.

What's the next big trip?

An 18 day journey to my favourite archaeological sites & restaurants in Peru - magic!