Holly Wissler, a musician and ethnomusicologist, is one of our most experienced and gifted Trip Leaders, drawing upon her many years of trekking and living in Peru and Nepal. Holly is deeply passionate about Andean culture and music, the topic of her PhD in ethnomusicology and the focus of two documentaries she has produced, “Qoyllur Rit’i: A Woman’s Journey,” on Peru’s largest Andean pilgrimage festival, and “From Grief and Joy We Sing,” illuminating the musical traditions of the remote Quechua community of Q’eros, Peru. A key leader for our Peru team since 1982, Holly is more than at home with the people of the Andes. She is often called “chaka warmi” (bridge woman) because of her extraordinary ability to facilitate meaningful (and fun!) exchanges between travelers and locals. Holly especially loves to bring WT trip members, our trek crews, and the indigenous Q’eros people together through conversation and music making. She plays the 16-string Andean bandurria, so if she strikes up a song, you may be invited to join in on a few Quechua lyrics. “People have said that I bring passion and love to my trips and that I laugh a lot—which I do!” A great storyteller too, Holly speaks Spanish, Quechua and Nepali.
Knowing Holly is a gift! She is an amazing woman with many credentials to her name—but mostly her warmth, true compassion, and concern for others is what stands out. I was honored to be in her sphere—the amount she gave to all of us in a short period of time was incredible.
Holly is magic. She has an unmatched connection to the area and the culture of the people in the Andes. It would be hard to find another person more qualified to lead this trip. I was in awe of how she could make this so much more than a trek. It was a quest for touching the spirit of the Andes and its people and music and land. The best ever.
Excellent does not even begin to describe Holly as a Trip Leader. Her passion, knowledge, and professionalism made this trip extra special.
It is not possible to say enough good things about Holly. She is an amazing person who did so many extra things that were above and beyond the scope of the trip. She provided us with memories that will last a lifetime.
Holly was the most amazing trip Leader. I have been on other trips with other tour groups and she is top notch. She has superior knowledge and went the extra step to make out trip unique to the group and beyond our expectations!
Very knowledgeable, went out of her way for all of us, fantastic guide
Holly made the trip as perfect as it could have been. Her extensive knowledge and experience from living in the community, her charm and easy manner combine to make a fabulous experience. We could not have been happier!
Holly is an intelligent, informative, and incredibly kind and warm person. She helped to make this trip pure magic.
Holly is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about Peru, its people, and its culture. She is an authentic individual with a humanity that is truly impressive. She is not only an exceptional guide, she is an exceptional person and a pleasure to spend time with—the type of person you want to befriend long after the trip is over.
Holly was an amazing guide. Her native knowledge was unparalleled and thus brought so much value to the learning experience and the entire trip.
WT has a real treasure in Holly Wissler. Her passion for Peru, for the people, for the history, for the culture, provided a whole extra dimension for this experience.
Holly is wonderful, period. She made what would normally be a fantastic trip into a phenomenal experience.
Holly's knowledge of the country, history, and people, as well as her language skills, were a great asset. Her cheerful personality made the trip a pleasure.
WT has a tradition of great leaders and Holly is a gem—one of the best.
Holly is super. Her passion for Peru, its people, and natural places made this a truly special trip.
Holly could not have been any more educated or passionate about her love and interest and investment in this land. She was a joy to be with and she not only educated us but she entertained us with her musical talents. She is 'one' with this area and the beautiful people she devotes her life to.
WT has a tradition of great leaders and Holly is a gem-one of the best
We can't say enough about Holly. She is a terrifically skilled guide and a wonderful person with whom to travel. We would follow her anywhere!
Holly took an already awesome experience and made it extraordinary.
Holly was phenomenal on so many levels. Her love of the culture, people, and environment was amazing. She made our trip beyond wonderful.
Holly is a treasure. We really appreciated the cultural aspect she brought to the trip. It made us feel more connected to the people of Peru, and the mountains we were traveling in.
Holly is inspiring. She loves Peru and knows it intimately. She made us all love the Andes. I can't wait to return.
Holly's expertise with the local music, villages, villagers, and her language facility made the trip even more fabulous than it would have been otherwise!
WOW! Holly was fantastic! Her music background made for entertaining camp nights and her knowledge of the Incas was so vast and valuable.
Holly was abounding with knowledge regarding the culture; I came away from this trip with such an appreciation and respect for the people, culture, and Andean region.
Holly was a wonderful guide—knowledgable, flexible, capable in a thousand ways. She made the trip an unforgettable experience.
Holly is exceptional in every way. She has a wealth of knowledge of the area and culture and made the trip so special for each of us.
Holly is the best trip leader with whom I have traveled, ever, at any time, and any place.
Holly is super and was such an enjoyable guide. She made the trip special, as she lives in Peru and is very involved in Peruvian culture, in particular her interest in ethnomusicology with the Q'eros.
Holly was fabulous. She is enthusiastic, knowledgeable, cheerful, and has great rapport with the staff. She is fun an unflappable and I feel very lucky to have met her and had her for our Trip Leader!
The trip was everything I’d hoped it would be and much more. Can’t say enough about Holly. She was a wealth of cultural information and is a warm and caring person.
Your rating scale doesn’t go high enough to rate Holly! She made the trip outstanding.
Holly was absolutely wonderful! The best leader we have ever had, Holly is special and a real asset to Wilderness Travel.
Holly Wissler is a fantastic, capable, extremely knowledgeable woman with a storehouse of information and an unsurpassed passion for Peru.
Holly proves easily to be among the top rung of WT leaders. Personable, organized, marvelously companionable, superbly informed.