Tag Archives: Tour leading

Relaunch and Rebrand: Slothing Around Latin America

Welcome to my first blog post back after 18 months out. Way back then, in what seems like a previous life, I had finished up my stint leading tours in Central America and I was about to start my mammoth 171-day tour of South America. From Slothing Around Central America, to Slothing Around Latin America, this blog is evolving quickly like a well-reared Pokémon.

I’ve returned to this blog via the inspiring photos popping up in my Facebook Memories from last year. I had a job to blindly lead a group of tourists around 79 cities I had never been before (apart from my previous home, Buenos Aires). I had no days off for just under 6 months, I was sometimes working 20-hour days, but I was always on call for any tour or group issues anyway. I have never been more tired, or more stressed out, than over that tour. But I have also never felt more alive.

When events are changing rapidly all around you, it’s easy to live purely in the moment and not reflect on what you have achieved. Every day I wanted to see, or do, or learn something new. It’s a philosophy I’ve kept with me. I haven’t quite forgotten the small details of the people we met, the stories we heard, and the places we visited. It’s important to reflect on those memories from my previous life. As always, I hope you find them as entertaining as I do.

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Border Tips and ‘Tips’

Immigration officials can accept monetary tips for a more efficient service in certain Central American countries. Tipping creates a bidding war in border queues. Back in April on the Honduras to Nicaragua border my group’s passports were processed first, despite me being third in the queue, because I outbid my competitors ahead of me. It’s part of the dark arts of tour leading.

However other countries forbid this kind of incentive. A few weeks after that issue I had a problem on the Costa Rica to Panama border as a client did not have the necessary entry stamp into Costa Rica. Negotiation on borders, in Spanish, can be challenging, but I knew I couldn’t ‘tip’ Mr Immigration in Costa Rica, or else I’d probably end up in a cell. After much arguing (read pleading) we eventually all got through fine. You never stop learning in this job.