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About our tour leaders


About our tour leaders

We firmly believe that our tour leaders are some of the best out there – we’ve had tour leaders repeatedly nominated for the Wanderlust Guide of the Year award as well as one who has come away with the title a few years ago. In fact, we’re always proud of the consistent praise they receive from clients, who tell us that not only do these inspiring tour leaders have an unbeatable blend of knowledge and people skills, they also know just how to uncover the hidden sides to all our destinations that make your trip unique. 

What makes our tour leaders different?

Every year we receive hundreds of applications to become a Journey Latin America tour leader. Those successful are chosen based on a number of criteria and skills we feel will truly enhance your experience of Latin America:

  • All our tour leaders must be fluent in Spanish and/or Portuguese.
  • We look for people who have lived in Latin America and know it like a local, so they can offer a real insight into the countries they take you to.
  • They must be sociable, great company and possess the right temperament to help a group gel, relax and have fun.
  • Their knowledge of Latin America must rival the local guidebooks.
  • Most of all, they must love sharing their enthusiasm and passion for Latin America  and take pleasure in showing clients hidden restaurants, undiscovered viewpoints and secret ways to get the most, and best, out of each country.

We demand a lot from our tour leaders, but it is a job they are passionate about. So much so that many of our tour leaders have been with us for years (several over a decade) – and one, Etienne Frans, has been leading our tours for over a quarter of a century. They love what they do, and it shows in their performance and in the fantastic feedback we are proud to receive from our clients.

The best of the best

The latest figures speak for themselves:

  • 98% of clients rate the leader’s overall performance as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.
  • 98% of clients rate the leader’s local knowledge as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.
  • 96% of clients rate the leader’s social skills as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.

What’s more, in 2010, Pete Selman made it all the way to become Guide of the Year in the Wanderlust Guide of the year Awards, achieving first place out of a total of 1,500 global guide nominations sent in by clients. Since then Daniele Binaghi made the final in 2014 and has been shortlisted in 2015 and 2016. 

But what means the most to us is that our clients consistently praise our hard-working tour leaders for their dedication, enthusiasm and insider knowledge, repeatedly attributing a large part of their enjoyment of the tour to their tour leader. Here are just a few of the things they had to say:

“We have travelled widely in Latin America with different companies, and enjoyed them all. But JLA's tour leaders have been particularly good, familiar with their adopted countries and culture and enthusiastic about their job.”

JF, Cambridge.

“The whole experience was memorable. A well-organised trip with lots of interesting things to see and do with people we got on well with and a knowlegeable, friendly, helpful guide.”

JR, Swansea

“Brilliant, amazing and so informative and well organised by our guide. Some wonderful memories, I would not hesitate to recommend it to a friend”

AM, Newry

“I have done two trips with JLA and have found both to be an excellent experience. The tour leaders and the local guides have been superb and have made the holidays memorable and informative. I get the impression that tour leaders take their work very seriously and are committed to providing an excellent experience for their clients. Both trips I have done have been with small groups which I like very much.”

JG, Brentwood

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The Leading Specialists

  • Since 1980
  • The original pioneers in travel to Latin America - the first and still the best
  • Award-winning holidays, crafted with care
  • Nobody knows Latin America better

Travel with the Experts

  • All our staff are in-depth Latin America specialists
  • Our team shares  a unique insight into Central and South America
  • Get the inside track with expert advice based on first-hand experience

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Wanderlust

Wanderlust Reader's Travel Awards - Top Ten Tour Operator 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015

Latin American Travel Association – Award for Customer Service 2012

Sunday Times Travel Magazine – Specialist Tour Operator 2012

Sunday Times Travel Magazine – Best Value Tour Operator 2011

Sunday Times Travel Magazine - Editor's Award2013

British Travel Awards – Best Small Tour Operator Central & South America 2011, 2012

Condé Nast Traveller – Top Ten Specialist Tour Operator: 2010, 2011, 2012

Guardian and Observer Travel Awards– Top Ten Small Tour Operator: 2009, 2010, 2012

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