Everyone in our industry knows that guides can make or break activities and tours. We pride ourselves on finding guides that always “make” the experience, guides who have local expertise, personality and something unique. Andy Sosa is a freelance guide whom we’ve been working with in Mexico since 2020, who has precisely these attributes.
To describe Andy as charismatic is an understatement. We hope to draw attention to more of our guides and it seems fitting to introduce a ‘Guide Profile’ series with this big personality. Find out what makes Andy the perfect companion for your travellers’ trips in Mexico.
“I’ve been in this business for so long. I started guiding in 1998, but I’ve been involved in the tourism industry since ‘86. I started as a waiter, bartender, and even sold water activities on the beach. I started guiding without knowing how good I was with people. I just always wanted to provide a personalised service and make a difference.”
“What really gives me a kick is to be able to share my culture. When people are really interested, ask questions, and get involved…to me, that’s my perfect day. Why? Because I know that they really want to absorb everything that I know.”
Andy added that during the pandemic, in the absence of travellers, he realised that working with and guiding people was his “life mission”.
“I just like to be surrounded by people! To meet and interact with new people. I really enjoy it.”
Andy has known Bogar Michel, one of our Account Managers for the Americas, for some years, having connected in hotels while representing their respective companies. When Covid-19 hit the tourism industry and Andy lost his job, he created his own website and focused on developing his freelance guiding.
“During the pandemic, he [Bogar] knew that I got laid off. [When travel started coming back to Mexico] he contacted me and said ‘Andy, I’ve been seeing all your videos and everything you post on Facebook, Instagram and your website, and I love what you’re doing’.”
After discussing how Andy could become involved with Discova, he soon became a freelance guide for us.
“Us, the Mayans, we still have our traditions and our own ways, our rituals and our prayers. I speak Mayan and I’m so proud of that. It’s the knowledge about my culture that I love to share.”
That ability to speak to Mayan locals means that Andy can also create a more authentic, engaging experience for his guests.
And, given how long he’s been a guide, he’s gained endless insight into not only his own heritage, but the way people think and what travellers expect, and how to handle the unexpected. A personal motto of Andy’s sums up that skill:
“There’s always gonna be a fly in the soup, you just gotta learn how to scoop it out!”
“My culture really is the most important thing to me. Where I can really show its architectural history and my knowledge is at Chichen Itza. It’s next level. When I get in front of that first monument, there’s a different vibe in the atmosphere. I get goosebumps just talking about it! And I’ve gone countless times. Every day is different, every group is different.”
“I think you gotta be real. When it shows that you really love it [guiding] the experience is totally different.”
That authenticity also carries forward into how Andy tries to connect travellers with other local people. I try to get the groups involved with the people they meet along the way.
“When we take groups to Sian Ka’an [an incredible Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site] we go by small boats. The guys who steer the boats are all Mayan-speaking people, and when I start speaking Mayan to them, they’re like an open book! Initially they’re a bit shy, but then they become really comfortable with me and the guests.”
It’s that personal interaction that turns a straightforward excursion into something that’s culturally immersive and, ultimately, unforgettable.
“To prepare myself I get a manifest of the group or people. This way I know where they are from and check every detail. I confirm that everything is met according to the needs of the clients, such as transportation, rooms, meals, events, tours, schedules, etc., always going the extra mile. I like to be fully prepared for every step, every supplier that is dealt with. One of the most important things to me is to introduce myself to the suppliers as well.”
In this way, Andy begins to understand his guests before he even meets them, and develops rapport with suppliers in preparation. This, according to him, makes for a smooth, seamless experience on all fronts during a tour.
Connecting people and places with a world of possibilities
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