Transforming an ordinary journey into a unique and captivating adventure is one of the most important tasks for our expert travel guides at Kuoda. With a boundless passion for exploration and an unwavering commitment to creating unforgettable experiences, Peru family travel experts like Percy Ayala have established themselves as revered tour guides in the mesmerizing landscapes of South America. To get in touch with guides like Percy, reach out to us today to start planning your trip.
Kuoda recognizes the sacrifices that parents make for their families and what an important role they play in our lives. When speaking with one of our travel guides, Percy, a father of two – we learned even more about how his family has impacted his career, how he interacts with families visiting Peru for the first time, and how chasing his passion has changed the dynamic of his family forever.
As a tour guide of nearly 24 years, Percy joined Kuoda with a mission to enrich travelers’ lives with first-hand stories, unique experiences, and deep relationships that were far outside of what one would find in a guidebook.
“I’ve been working as a tour guide for almost 24 years and it has completely changed the way my family lives, and how we think about travel and experiencing the world and different cultures. Sometimes that means stopping in places that aren’t necessarily on the tourist trail and really getting into the community – that’s what our guests want more than just to take a picture at Machu Picchu and leave.”
Growing up in an indigenous community outside of Cusco, his family were farmers and relied on century-old traditions of living off of the land in order to make a living – as Cusco and its surrounding communities rapidly modernize, tourism became a way for Percy and his family to hold on to their native traditions.
“I grew up in a small community with native Quechua traditions. When I share things about my life with our guests, I share things about my childhood and the way I lived my life with my father. He was a farmer in the mountains. It makes me feel closer to my roots to share these traditions with our clients – they learn about me and my family and they start to feel like my family too,” he said.
Percy’s family is one of the many with Quechua roots that have discovered a powerful connection between their rich cultural heritage and the opportunities presented by tourism. Embracing his ancestral traditions and profound knowledge of the region, Percy offers authentic and immersive experiences to visitors from around the world through Kuoda. From guiding treks along ancient trails to sharing their traditional cuisine and crafts, they embody the spirit of hospitality, pride, and preservation – Percy’s family prides themselves on keeping their culture alive – something Percy strives to do with his children and hopefully their children, too.
Reflecting on his humble beginnings, Percy fondly recalls, “I started as a porter, carrying backpacks for tourists on the Inca Trail on the way to Machu Picchu – it was my first time ever with foreigners.” Little did he know that these initial steps would mark the inception of a remarkable transformation. As he followed the trails of his ancestors, an innate desire to connect with travelers blossomed, and he seized every opportunity to immerse them in the captivating tales of his family for generations past. In that pivotal moment, he discovered his true calling in sharing travel experiences with visitors.
Today, as a seasoned tour guide in Cusco, his passion is evident through every encounter with his guests, as he weaves the rich tapestry of his heritage into the journeys of those who are fortunate enough to embark on this transformative expedition alongside him.
“I have one son, he’s 23 years old and he studied business administration. He’s working in a hotel right now. He speaks English and Spanish, and it’s opened so many doors for him,” he shares with a sense of joy and accomplishment. As for his daughter, just 8 years old, Percy supports her in her future endeavors, but of course hopes she will follow in his footsteps. “If one day she decides to work in tourism, I’ll support her too,” he said.
Reflecting on the contrasting childhood experiences between his own father, a farmer, himself and his son, Percy recognizes the opportunities his children possess, and the vast possibilities that lie ahead for them. Through his loving guidance and unwavering support, he hopes to nurture their aspirations and empower them to create their own unique paths in a world full of promise.
As an integral part of the Kuoda team, Percy understands that travelers and their families are seeking far more than a mere guide – but ambassadors who can enrich their travel journey with authentic local experiences and captivating stories. Guests embark on an exquisite exploration where every step is imbued with cultural significance and personal connection.
“I’ve always known Kuoda’s clients are looking for more than just a guide – they’re looking for local experiences and stories for their travel journey. At Kuoda, I’ve always been encouraged to share my own experiences and the ones of my family. It makes being a father all the more special when I get to see other fathers traveling with their families.”
Known to many guests as “Uncle Percy,” fatherhood is something that Percy doesn’t take lightly on and off the job. “Sometimes when our clients are traveling with kids, they feel like they can’t do more adventurous things like climbing Machu Picchu – so I tell them to leave the kids with “Uncle Percy,” he said.
“The kids and I would have our own days together and climb the Sun Gate, learn about history. I’m a father myself so I love when I travel with families and that they trust me with their travel plans. Being a father isn’t something I just turn off – if I’m not being a dad at my home, I’m being an uncle for families traveling with Kuoda,” he said.
Traveling with your family will always be an unforgettable experience, but even more so with curated experiences and stories from local travel guides like Percy. Going beyond the guidebooks for every family he works with, Percy’s passion lies within sharing his culture, community, and experiences with visiting families – creating new friendships and sharing his roots with those who visit.
“The pandemic taught us that travel is important, not just traveling to tourist places but experiencing culture, new ideas, and communities. My father never had the opportunity to have these kinds of experiences with foreigners, but my kids will – this is how we keep our roots and don’t forget where we came from while also educating others about it.”
As you begin to think about your family’s next adventure with Dad, contact us today to get in touch with an expert travel designer, and get paired with an amazing guide just like Percy.
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