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The Magic (and importance) of local guides in nature tours

As entrepreneurs or as guides specialized in nature tourism, we are used to receive recognition from our clients when things go well at the end of every tour, and in most of those occasions we consider that this recognition, is a direct consequence of our effort, knowledge and skills, although its is true, we usually overlook a key piece in such success: Local guides.

A trip leader, tour conductor, head guide or host, is the one who is most familiar with the historical, cultural and economic context of the region visited, but one who knows the terrain first hand is the local guide, he is the one who grew up in and has worked In this area, it is who knows the shortcuts, the best views, every road, every trail and every secret along the route.

A local guide is the one who recognizes the sing of each bird in the biosphere reserve of Rio Lagartos, it is who knows what plants to put inside your hat to avoid or reduce the altitude sickness in the foothills of the Nevado de Toluca volcano, it is who knows with what roots he must make a tea to drink in case of a “gum fly” bite in the jungles of Calakmul, is the one who knows how to steer a boat in the lagoon of San Ignacio in such a way that it is safe for the gray whale and the passengers.

A local guide, long before being a guide, is or has been a farmer, rancher, shepherd, lumberjack, fisherman, beekeeper, miner or all the above, all this knowledge and experience in the field is what makes him so special.

During a tour, we as guide, and our clients wear the newest technology in footwear, clothing, protection against the cold, heat, humidity and we showcase our feats in every social network we have. Our local guide is always at the head of the group wearing jeans and farmer’s boots, carrying an old backpack with 5 kg of water, food, first aid kit and takes us to our destination without ever turning to see a GPS or a cell phone and despite all that, he makes us look like newbies.

A local guide is who puts our feet on the ground, who reminds us to be humble, grateful and less proud when it comes to leading nature tours. This post is an acknowledgment to all those to whom we entrust our lives and those of our clients when we are in the field: Local Guides

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