Four day custom tour with one day notice

Jona Poma here:

On Friday July 27, 2018, I got a call from Hotel Villonaco in Loja to help some visitors from Perú with a private guided tour. The people from Perú called me at 8 or 9 pm after getting the Free Walks Loja leaflet at the hotel, and I went immediately to talk with them and help plan their tour. At the hotel I met the father of the family. He was a very kind businessman who came to Loja to have a vacation with his wife and two daughters, but also to make some connections with people from Ecuador to expand his business. This man works with an enterprise which produces natural food products in Trujillo, Perú. It's not the first time we have toured visitors from Perú who are looking look for possible business partners in Ecuador. As soon as I understood all of his expectations for his stay in Souther Ecuador, I prepared a 4 day tour for him to Loja, Vilcabamba and Zamora.

The next day I was waiting for him at the lobby of the hotel to take a walking tour in the center of Loja. We also had visitors from China, Taiwan and Germany who joined the walking tour that lasted about two hours. After the walking tour, I took the family back to their hotel and I prepared myself take the family for lunch. We went to eat local food and drinks. It was so great that the family really liked our food (I think Loja has the best food among the Andes cities) and then we visited some places like the City Gate, the zoo, and "El Churo" look out. The second day we started our tour in the morning with a trip to Jipiro Park, the Wind Farm, and we then headed to Vilcabamba (The Valley of Longevity). In Vilca, we had lunch at a local restaurant, visited the zoo, Yamburara, several shops, and the Vilcabamba River where people take baths to "prolong" life in the "Valley of Longevity," as it's known. On the return trip to Loja, we made jokes about our tour experiences the entire way. We saw a beautiful sunset in the city, and then I took the visitors to shop at Supermaxi, so this food business owner could see one of the area's main grocery retailers. The tour was over at 9 pm.

As you may know, we are two guides, founders, and operators of Free Walks Loja Tours. So for the rest of their private tour, on the days that followed, our other guide, Kevin, took the family to Zamora, Parque Nacional Podocarpus, and the Botanical Garden. I had the opportunity to talk to the family before they came back to Trujillo, and the father of the family was amazed he was having so much fun that he totally forgot to make his other business connections. I thanked him for choosing our services and he gave Kevin and me each a pack of quail eggs from his food company. It was a great tour and it made me think of the link that we, as tour guides, create with our visitors. We said goodbye, but before we parted, the man asked for our email and cellphone number so he could recommend our tours and services to all his friends. That's when I felt we had done a very good job with the family's private tour.

Perú visitors at Jardín Botánico near Podocarpues National Park


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