Meet Some of Our Local Experts
Thanks to our worldwide network of local experts, our leaders can take you even deeper into a region, sharing insights into its culture and cuisine, its wildlife and ecology, its human and natural history—plus countless small, unexpected moments in which the layers are peeled back and you are able to really see and experience what a place is all about.
A 36-year veteran of guiding in the Andes, Aurelio Aguirre feels a deep passion for the mountains and the Quechua people who live there. In 1978, he founded the Cusco Mountain Club, which trains local trekking and mountaineering guides, and was recognized as Tour Guide of the Year by the Peruvian government. Skilled at bringing 5,000 years of native culture to life, these guides treat you to a unique Andean experience, and share intimate knowledge of regional customs, history, folklore, music and food.
Paris-born and Sorbonne-educated, author and scholar Marie-Charlotte enchants Backroads guests in Provence with her encyclopedic knowledge and passion for van Gogh. In this photo she's on the grounds outside the St. Paul de Mausole asylum, in front of an ordinary grove of olive trees. She's holding a reproduction of Vincent van Gogh's painting of the exact same scene—and suddenly the unassuming trees are transformed into a riot of vibrant color and movement. Momentarily, you're transported into the world of artistic genius. Walking with her in St-Remy, "in the very nature recreated by van Gogh," is a definite highlight.
A former member of the Bhutanese parliament, Namgay is a gracious host and an invaluable resource during our travels in Bhutan. Accompanied by Namgay, we observe and participate in the rituals of daily life—from our visit to a 15th century temple where we receive a blessing, to the hanging of traditional prayer flags. Namgay is actively involved in the community; he oversees and contributes to numerous programs that benefit disadvantaged children, from sponsoring their education to improving the living conditions at two monastic schools, where young students (many of whom are orphans) learn sacred musical practices and study Buddhist scriptures as well as English, math and science.