Get our monthly news, updates and benefits.
During 10 days, the nine guides selected to lead explorations in Atacama received 10 hours of training every day. Currently, they are still training at the destination.
It is 4 pm in Colunquén, the estate located in Chile’s Valparaíso region where explora breeds and trains its horses and the location of the School of Guides. Nine people intently watch a presentation. It is a classroom where students take notes and make questions to the sustainability manager, who talks about the different environmental conservation and local community projects run by explora. The next presentation will be about Chile’s history. The prior days the subjects covered were domestic wildlife, explora’s philosophy, and geology, among others.
José Miguel (Santiago, Chile) is an attorney and one of the next explora Atacama guides. He was looking for an inspiring job for some time. He sent his application to explora and passed all the selection steps; he is now at the Guide Training School. “This has been a very rewarding experience. It’s a lot of information in little time, but when you do something you’re passionate about, you don’t get tired”, he comments.
The same was true for Valeria (Salta, Argentina). She studied business administration and some time ago, her office work made it difficult for her to do what she really enjoys. When looking for a job in which she could combine sports and nature and relate to people, she found explora. “I felt this job was for me”, says this girl from Salta, who confesses that her experience at the School of Guides is completely different from anything she has done before.
Activities start at around seven in the morning in the intensive camp at the School of Guides in Colunquén. By nine there is a four-hour training with Gaela Hourcq, who is in charge of horses in explora and leads equestrian training for the guides. In 10 days, everybody needs to learn to ride –getting on without a stirrup– and understand the language of horses, explains Gaela. “For some groups the challenge is even greater because they have less experience. This group has been able to outdo itself thanks to its good will”, says the French woman. For instance, Hans (La Serena, Chile), one of the next guides, is a university professor who taught English and had never ridden a horse. However, in less than one week he managed to gallop, he comments grateful for the trainer’s trust in him.
After the horses come presentations and outdoor activities to boost the guides’ physical conditions so they can lead walks and bike explorations. Every day during 10 days. Those in charge of this training are Jessica Dill, Romina Da Pieve and Álvaro Méndez, who make up the Outdoors Team. At the Guide Training School, they support and assess the guides, in addition to inviting experts from every discipline included, such as historians, geologists, astronomers and physical therapists.
At the end of this first learning process, the guides went to Atacama to perfect their training and become experts in what they should be doing starting January 2017, when explora Atacama reopens its doors. As they were told at the School of Guides “You are explora for travellers” and they know it. Training must be perfect.