Alejandrina, or Ale (pronounced Alley) guided our second-ever tour in 2009 and has been with us ever since. In fact, this mother-of-two may be why Peru is our number-one destination. Everybody raves about her passion for her country.
We rang Ale in Cusco so she could introduce herself to you.
To start, congrats on being Out Adventures’ longest-running guide!
Wow! Thank you. I feel very old. I’m just kidding, I’m 42-years-old and mature in the good way.
All our clients love you. What do you love about us?
When I lead straight groups I have to follow rules. But when I lead gay trips I feel like I’m amongst family. I don’t need to pretend to be professional all the time.
Over the past 7+ years, do you have any favourite memories of us?
Yes! There was a customer last year who managed a big company but struggled on the second day of the Inca trail. He was shaking like a leaf and crying but pulled through. I was so proud. He hugged me and said, “Ale, you have no idea how much you helped me.” I was touched!
We have two Peruvian tours: The Inca Trail and The Peruvian Amazon & Machu Picchu. What’s your favourite activity between them?
On The Inca Trail, it would be the time we spend at the farming and weaving community in Cusco, but can I tell you the truth about The Peruvian Amazon & Machu Picchu tour? I actually struggle with the Amazon. I have a phobia: I hate frogs.
You hate frogs?!
Yes. I sometimes have to pretend I don’t to complete the tour, but it can be quite challenging for me.
Tell me a bit more about the weaving community.
They are all Quechua women. I love the time we spend there, because it is a good way to leave a positive impact on these women who are often submissive to their husbands. Gay people are free. They break the rules. They come out of the closet, and this can be a good lesson for some of these women who need to free themselves.
I hear you’re Quechua.
My Mom was Quechua and my dad was Aymara, but I feel my upbringing gave me more Quechua identity.
What are your favourite stops along the Inca trail?
Going through the cloud forest because we have time to spot beautiful birds, orchids and – if you are very lucky – the spectacled bear. It has a patch around its eyes like sunglasses.
Like a raccoon!
But much bigger.
Let’s talk about Peruvian cuisine…
Peru is divided into three regions. In the coastal region I love the seafood. My favourite would be ceviche, which is raw fish marinated in citrus and a little spice.
In the Andes the cuisine has more carbs. My favourite dish here is guinea pig casserole.
And in the jungle it would be mashed plantains with chicken.
What do you want people to know about Peru?
I like to teach people about our society; the traditions and beliefs. For example, not many know that here in the Andes people are very superstitious.
What kind of superstitions?
When we have cloudy, cloudy days the old ladies will blow. They blow and blow because they think the clouds will move away quicker. And people born in January, February or March have more power…if they blow it’s more effective.
Anything else you want to mention?
Yes! I want people to know how I distinguish your tours. I call The Inca Trail an “active tour”. It’s very physically demanding. And I call The Peruvian Amazon tour a “comfort tour” because it’s much easier. We don’t do heavy trekking.