Meet The Tour Leader: Daniele Binaghi
As part of our Meet The Tour Leader series, we introduce you to Daniele Binaghi who has been leading our tours for over 8 years.
Which tour do you lead?
During the time I've spent with Journey Latin America, I've been leading most of the tours, both in Central and South America, including some 'guinea pigs' (first times) tours. I still miss a few of them, as we have many, each one showing a slightly different aspect of such a special part of the world.
When did you join Journey Latin America?
That's a very good questions! I had to check my archive as it was quite a long time ago... 2012 with a Penguin tour in Chile, 16 travellers (two of which I'm still in touch with). And I've been coming back to Latin America every year since, spending 4 to 5 months a year exploring every corner of such a large and intriguing part of the world.
When was your first visit to Latin America?
The first time I got to Latin America was in 2005, during my 30-months round-the-world trip. I actually overstayed my flight back to Europe, spending a year and half wandering around, meeting new people, improving my Spanish and learning Portuguese, climbing volcanoes and camping among Moai, watching a football match at the Maracaná stadium and eating my first Argentine asado, trekking national parks and floating on a boat over the Amazon river...
What's your favourite place in Latin America?
I'm afraid I don't have an answer to this question. In fact, I never have. There are so many different things that make places special for one reason or another, the people, the culture, the smells, the tastes, the history, the colours... It's just impossible to isolate a single one.
What makes Latin America special?
I think my previous answers says it all. There's a variety of things that engage all your senses, your brain, heart and soul too, which makes you want to experience more and more.
Where would you say has changed the most in Latin America?
Infastructure, in most cases. Take the internet access for instance, when I was going around the first time I got there, the only chance to send an email was visting a local (often scrappy) internet café, no, if you find one you should take a picture of it as they've almost disappearred, replaced by free WiFi, mobile phones, fast internet etc. Hotels, roads, transports have improved a lot during the last years. Our staff has managed to keep up the pace and really get the very best of our itineraries.
You've been travelling in Latin America for so long, you must have so many memorable stories?
I've been blessed with fantastic groups during the years, and therefore with fantastic memories. One of my favourite is probably the sunset after-dinner time spent with one of those groups outside the Refugio Torre Central in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, casual chat, occasional wit, good wine, astonishing view of the 3 towers in the sunset light, great friendship (long-lasting - we still see each other every now and then).
What would you say are the benefits of travelling with a group?
Joining a group allows you to do things that you potentially might not consider if travelling alone. As well as taking care of the practicalities and logistics, in my opinion being with a group of great companions gives your heart and mind new ways to experience the world.
Where's your favourite place to eat?
I must admit, I'm a big fan of Argentine and Brazilian meats, so every time I'm planning a tour through those countries I find muself in the middle of a pavlovian effect storm. Every country's cuisine has something to offer, and being an Italian I can only appreciate the food variety and quality.
A question we often get asked in the office is, is Latin America safe?
In my experience, Latin America is much safer than most people would think. Sure big cities will their share of petty crime, but nothing more than the usual we're already used to in European cities. And travelling as a group surely makes things much safer, as there are more eyes to watch your back.
Your edit for Latin American inspiration
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.View Extraordinary Inspiration
Real Latin America Experts
Ben Line - Travel Consultant
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Manager of the Tailor-made Department.
Jamie Swan - Travel Consultant
Jamie backpacked across Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil before joining us; he has a degree in politics and is also a keen sportsman..
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Consultant
Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made team.
Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Consultant
After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.
Lina Fuller - Travel Consultant
Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Consultant
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Escorted Groups team.