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WHAT IS HEART OF TRAVEL?
Heart of Travel is a small, women owned business, born out of a deep-rooted love and passion for travel, art, history, food, nature, culture and adventure. Founded by two friends, Chelsea Glass of California and Ana Castillo of Guatemala, Heart of Travel seeks to showcase the often undervalued and misunderstood countries of Latin America. We are here to dispel myths and foster positive economic growth while respecting local customs, cultures and communities.
Rooted in these core values, Heart of Travel is designed to provide clients with an ideal travel experience that meets their specific wants and needs, ultimately turning their vacation into a deeper and more meaningful experience. Heart of Travel allows clients to explore new places in an authentic and non-touristy way.
In addition to providing participants with expertly curated and crafted itineraries to meet their unique needs and interests, Heart of Travel is committed to upholding high ethical standards and sustainable practices to ensure they are making a positive impact on local communities, cultures and economies.
We are here to change the way people travel and shake up an industry historically dominated by men.
We are here to provide people with a travel experience that is not only fun, but also encourages people to broaden their perspectives and look at the world from various lenses.
We are here to create a type of tourism that is sustainable and empowering for local communities and individuals and kind to our environment.
We are here to to teach and to learn, to share experiences and connect with people from around the world.
We are here to challenge the status quo and shift paradigms as well all embark on a constant journey of discovery and growth.
We are here to be good and honest people and have fun while we’re at it!
WHAT IS A TRIP WITH THE HEART OF TRAVEL LIKE?
While touring Latin America’s many beautiful countries, participants will be immersed in the culture and daily life through authentic interactions that further their intrigue and understanding of Latin America’s history and culture. In addition to meaningful interactions with local communities, participants will engage in fun activities and adventures that highlight the following areas of interest: history, art, culture, outdoor adventure, wildlife, agriculture, culinary arts, craftsmanship, dance, music and nightlife.
Every trip is it’s own unique experience and itineraries can vary greatly depending on the destination as each place has its own character. As you browse through our different destinations and tours available you’ll note that we seek to highlight each place’s strengths but all our itineraries offer a well rounded and dynamic experience..
HOW WE GOT STARTED
At the age of 19, Chelsea boarded a plane to Guatemala on her first ever solo trip abroad. Knowing little about Central America, and not a word of Spanish, she hadn’t the faintest clue of the incredible journey she was embarking on. What was supposed to be a few weeks turned into three years, a new language, hundreds of friends from around the world, new jobs and skills, and more importantly a deeper insight into the world we all live in.
After living in Guatemala and working as a tour guide and English language teacher, Chelsea returned home to Sacramento to pursue a M.A. in Spanish & Latin American studies from Sacramento State. With half of her heart still in Guatemala, she began coordinating group tours to Guatemala, México, Peru and Cuba for adult students at the Spanish school she worked at for before embarking on her journey as a full time entrepreneur in the travel industry with long time friend, Ana Castillo.
Born in Guatemala and raised in the city of San Lucas, Ana is 100% chapina through and through. Life, however, has taken Ana, affectionately known as Chiva, all over Asia and to many parts of Latin America and the U.S. After living in Tennessee for a few years at a young age, Ana developed total fluency in both English and Spanish leading her to pursue a career teaching ESL abroad in her early 20’s. While studying to get her TEFL certification she met Chelsea in 2011. Within days the two were fast friends, an experience that deepened both of their understanding of, and appreciation for, one another’s culture.
Ana began assisting Chelsea on tours in Guatemala on a freelance basis back in 2015 so when Heart of Travel was first getting off the ground in 2017 there was no question that the two had to work on this project together. Today the pair are 50/50 partners and are having a blast turning their dreams into reality, building up and supporting an incredible team and taking on the day to day obstacles of running a small business with a smile and whole lot of grit.
CARLOS: Remembering our friend and mentor.
Carlos was born and raised in Guatemala City and his career as a competitive taekwondo fighter took him all over the world in his late teens and early adulthood. After years on the road he settled in the colonial town of La Antigua Guatemala where he founded Guinness Travel in 2010. Specializing in adventure travel, he took a chance on 19 year old Chelsea and hired her on as his first ever “gringa” guide.
Over the years their friendship and professional relationship grew as they faced challenges together, celebrated successes and were always working on their next big project. Carlos “el Pélon”, also came to know Chiva well to as she began to take on freelance guiding jobs with Chelsea and him starting in 2015.
On February 12, 2017, Carlos lost his life in a tragic motorcycle accident on the outskirts of Antigua. Forever loved and always missed, Carlos was an instrumental part in getting Heart of Travel off of the ground and preparing Chelsea and Ana, personally and professionally, to embark on this journey. To put it quite simply, the girls “learned from the best”. A prime example of strength, dedication and focus, Carlos remains a guiding light in our venture.
Gracias por todo vos Carlitos.. te queremos mucho y nos hacés falta cada día.