My husband was in Santiago on business and we decided I would join him as neither of us had traveled extensively in South America. Because my husband was working during the week we decided to hire Hector to show us around Santiago and surrounding areas on Saturday and Sunday. This was a great decision since our time was limited and we love to get a true insider's view of areas we travel to. Hector was delightful, kind, knowledgeable and seemed to pick up quickly on the exact kind of tour my husband and I would enjoy most. (i.e. we want local flavor, not the typical tourist or shopping related spots.) Because Hector was born and raised in the Santiago area, but also studied in NYC for several years, he was exceptionally knowledgeable and passionate about his beautiful country and his English was excellent. One of the things we loved most about Hector was watching him interact with the other local people throughout our drives/tour. He is simply a kind and good person and other people respond to his genuine positivity and respect for everyone we encountered during our travels. Hector does not take incentives from restaurants or other establishments so he really does take you to the places he feels are the best fit for the experience you are looking for. (This is part of why we wanted to be sure to tip him beyond his charge, as he is not making kickbacks from promoting other establishments.) In fact, one of the highlights of our trip out to the coast, was stopping at a simple tiny farming home belonging to a lady who is rumored to make the best empanadas in Chile! It was true!!! Hector knows her through friends and Rosita makes a small number of empanadas on the weekends only to help her with medical bills for her daughter. It was such a lovely experience to visit with her in her neat little home and enjoy her delicious empanadas and a cold glass of Coke. Hector even had us ride a city bus in Valparaiso so we could feel like locals. (He grew up in Valparaiso so he was especially friendly with everyone there.) We've traveled pretty extensively and our experience with Hector was one of the very best we have had. It was just so genuine and he is a lovely person who we felt honored to spend 2 lovely days with.
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