Meet The Tour Leader: Jessica de GierJessica de Gier - Tour Leader
In this new series, get to know the people who will be leading you across Latin America on our Group Tours.
Which tour do you lead?
The Alcion: Central America Discovery group tour which travels from Panama to Guatemala as well as the Eagle: Aztecs, Mayas and Conquistadores, Weaverbird: Spirit of Colombia, Albatross: Ecuador's Highland and Galápagos and Tropicbird: Highlights of Central America.
When did you join Journey Latin America
4 years ago
When was your first visit to Latin America?
I travelled to Latin America about 20 years ago starting in Peru doing a few jungle tours and walking the Inca trail. I’ve since led tours for a few other travel companies in Bolivia and Ecuador before heading to Central America in 2002 where I’ve been based ever since.
What’s your favourite place in Latin America?
That’s a difficult question. I live in Mexico City, as it’s safe, the healthcare is good and it’s a beautiful country with great weather. I’m also a bit of a foodie and the city has so many different markets and restaurants offering the best of Mexican food. But each country is so different and special, it’s hard to say I have a single favourite.
What makes Latin America special?
There’s so much variety in all aspects; landscapes, culture, history, cuisine and the wildlife is incredible!
Where would you say has changed the most in Latin America?
Central America is now easier to travel to, the infrastructure is improving. We’ve seen an increase to in the number of backpackers and once that happens we get more shuttle busses and things progress from there. Border crossings are also easier to do, whereas in the past it could have taken hours.
You’ve been travelling in Latin America for so long, you must have so many memorable stories?
I do have some incredible memories across the continent but I’m really into wildlife and the most memorable experience I’ve had so far would be in Costa Rica when we went to visit the turtles nesting on the beach. Seeing that cycle of the mother turtle returning to her birth place to give birth was incredible, it was an emotional moment.
What would you say are the benefits of travelling with a group?
Sharing your experiences with other people always makes them more special and then there’s also the practical side, such as looking after each other but it also makes the whole journey more special. At the end of the tour when I’m on my own and I’ve seen something amazing it’s not the same without having the group to share it with.
Where’s your favourite place to eat?
The market in Oaxaca. If you love food that’s the place to go! They sell all sorts of things from fried crickets to the hottest chillies.
What question do you get asked the most?
There are a few, but “can you drink the tap water” is definitely one of them. Sometimes you can and sometimes you cannot. We now have the Water 2 Go bottles which has made it safer to drink water from any source.
A question we’re often asked in the office is, is Latin America safe?
Yes I think it’s perfectly safe. It’s all about using your common sense, if you feel something isn’t quite right then you should follow your gut and move away from the situation. On my tours I will always mention an area which I don’t think it’s wise to go but that’s maybe once throughout the whole three weeks of the tour. There’s hardly any chance for anything to go wrong, we joke that there’s more of a chance of tripping on the pavement than finding yourself in trouble.
Join Jessica on our Alcion: Central America Discovery, Eagle: Aztecs, Mayas and Conquistadores, Weaverbird: Spirit of Colombia, Albatross: Ecuador's Highland and Galápagos and Tropicbird: Highlights of Central America group tours.
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
Charlotte Daubeney - Travel Expert
Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.
Millie Davies - Travel Expert
Having caught the travel bug as a child, Millie has travelled all over Latin America before making her home in Buenos Aires for 3 years.
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert
Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
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 Holidays and Group Tour sales team.
Juliet Ellwood - Travel Expert
After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and History and having been fascinated by Latin America since childhood by the book featuring photos of Nazca, Juliet first visited the region in 2003. Since then, Juliet has visited the majority of countries in Latin America but has particularly extensive experience with Peru, a country she loves for many reasons but not least, its incredible archaeological richness and delicious food!