Paola and her passion for Uruguay

Follow your heart. We say it so often, but not enough people actually do it. One exception is Paola Perelli, our local partner in Uruguay. Travelling got Paola poured in since she was young. Therefore she had no choice but to find her way in the travel world. Her ultimate goal was to introduce the world to her so beloved Uruguay and in 2000 this dream came true when she decided to start her own travel agency.

Working together for journeys to Uruguay

At Sapa Pana Travel we work intensively with a local partner at every destination in order to be able to organise the tours for our customers in the best possible way. These are small-scale organisations with people who share the same passion for travelling and the destinations we offer. We have been working with most people for many years and have become good friends. Sapa Pana Travel, for example, works together with the Paola team as long as she offers trips to Uruguay.

"Paola, I've known her for a long time. We meet on average 2 or 3 times a year and each time her eyes start twinkling again when she tells me about new places or new travel routes she has discovered in Uruguay. She is always trying to improve her service and travel products. She is an avid rider and outdoor athlete and I always find it a relief to talk to her about Uruguay. Uruguay really is a hidden gem and she was one of the first people to see it!"

Johan in conversation with Paola

In our online series Gente Mágica interviews, Johan talked to Paola about her great passion for Uruguay and how her support for the three boys changed not only their lives, but hers as well. Watch the conversation on our Youtube channel or listen to it as a podcast via Spotify orItunes.

Please note that the introduction of the interview is in Dutch, the interview itself is in English.

Watch the online conversation

 

Not a tourist destination for a long time

When Paola started organizing trips in Uruguay, the country, however unfairly, was not seen as a tourist destination. The tourists who visited the country at that time came from neighbouring countries Argentina and Brazil and stayed an average of one and a half nights in the country.

In the beginning, Paola combined her two great passions: Uruguay and horseback riding. She organized and accompanied seven-day horse riding tours. In the following years she expanded this with a wider range of travel possibilities. Slowly but surely, Uruguay gained popularity as a tourist destination and travellers from Europe found their way to this small country with its beautiful interior and idyllic beaches.

 

A better future

A couple of years ago Paola moved to La Barra, a picturesque town in the province of Maldonado, not far from the coast. A lovely place, where she wants to grow old. However, she discovered that many rural youngsters in this region leave school when they are 15 or 16 years old, to help on the farm. The youngsters, who enter the labour market in this way without a diploma, usually don't get much further than low paid jobs on the counrtyside. She decided to train three young people as guides so that they could work for her during the holidays. The condition was that they would finish school and obtain a diploma. Last year these boys turned 18 and graduated from high school. They also learned English. One of them is now working in a 5 star hotel in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo. The second is determined to go to university. The third boy works on a large farm and is planning to start a company in horse care. A plan that Paola supports with her organization.

Uruguay

This country does not have real tourist 'highlights' such as the Iguazu Falls on the Argentinian-Brazilian border or the Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru and has therefore remained under the radar for many travellers. Uruguay, however, is a wonderful travel destination, which really surprises everyone who visits the country. The historic town of Colonia, with its picturesque streets where time seems to have stood still, the many farms and bodegas that have been transformed into small-scale accommodations, where you can enjoy a delicious glass of red Tannat wine, sitting on the veranda, while the warm evening sun disappears behind the treetops and the rolling hills. And what about the endless, mostly deserted beaches, where you can make long walks or simply enjoy the sun and sea while a summer breeze touches your hair. These are certainly highlights of Uruguay that are worth a visit. Most people don't really want to leave when they've been to Uruguay. And the fact that this is not yet known to the general public is actually secretly not a problem at all.

More about Paola and her beloved Uruguay

This is my story about Paola Perelli and her beloved Uruguay. Do you want to hear her story? In our online series of Gente Mágica interviews, I talked to Paola about her great passion for Uruguay and how her support for the three boys changed not only their lives, but hers as well. Watch the conversation on our Youtube channel or listen to it as a podcast via Spotify or Itunes

Please note that the introduction of the interview is in Dutch, the interview itself is in English.

Watch the online conversation