The Almaz Story
WHO WE ARE
At Almaz Journeys, we are passionate about Latin America and her myriad landscapes, cultures and cuisines, after years spent living and traveling throughout the region.
Every day, our goal is to translate our passion into unforgettable private journeys for you. And luckily for us, we happen to be working with some of the most awe-inspiring countries and locales anywhere in the world!
We will of course take you to the unforgettable places no sophisticated traveler would dare to miss, but that is really only the beginning of your journey with us. After talking with you to find out what excites you and the kind of memories you hope to create, we then dig deep into our extensive repertoire to dazzle you–with authentic, unforgettable moments with people who share your interests and are eager to welcome you into their world.
And, of course, you can count on attention to every detail of your journey, and always in the utmost luxury available.
But there’s something else we offer that we think is just as important – our team’s deep love for and experience in Latin America. We travel extensively in the region because we truly love it, and as a result can offer you the most well-informed, up-to- date opinions in crafting your journey.
More than just a perfectly-executed trip, we want you to come home having caught a glimpse of the soul of the place you’re visiting – and eager to return for more.
From the faded glory of Havana’s old city to the ruins of Machu Picchu, from the lush mountains of Colombia’s coffee region to the mighty Amazon river basin and beyond, let Almaz Journeys show you the wonders that await you in this region we love so deeply.
Our founder Joe Sandillo’s passion for Latin America began early, working toward fluency in both Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese in high school and college in Florida. Joe was bitten by the travel bug during undergraduate studies at the University of Florida, when he spent nearly a year living and studying in Brazil and traveling to Argentina and Paraguay.
Joe returned to the U.S. determined to utilize his dual passions of Latin America and travel, beginning in 1999 with Exeter International, the leading tour operator specializing in luxury travel to Central & Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus. As one of Exeter’s top-producing managers, Joe organized countless deluxe journeys for Exeter’s Latin American as well as U.S. clients, and traveled extensively both throughout Latin America as well as Exeter’s top destinations. A brief stint in the public and non-profit sectors took Joe to Washington, D.C., where Joe administered and traveled to U.S. government programs throughout Central America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Ultimately, however, Joe’s heart lies in the luxury travel business so he returned to Exeter International in 2012 as Director of Sales and Marketing for Latin America. In that role, Joe dramatically increased Exeter’s sales by building strong relationships with industry partners across Latin America and tailoring Exeter’s journeys to the specific needs of each and every client.
With the foundation of Almaz Journeys, Joe is able to fully devote his passion and expertise to creating unforgettable luxury travel experiences across Latin America. Joe’s zeal and experience is mirrored by that of our team, and it informs every aspect of our work creating unforgettable custom journeys for you.
Since launching Almaz Journeys, Joe has been featured in the press and named to both the Travel + Leisure A List and Conde Nast Traveler’s list of Top Travel Specialists.
Passionate specialists in Latin America
Everyone on our team has a personal connection with the region, and nothing gets us more excited than traveling and creating new memories there. We bring all this to bear in planning your upscale journey, to give you the trusted, up-to-date input you expect.
Amazing, authentic experiences
Perhaps our favorite part of what we do is hitting the road in search of lesser known places and fascinating people to provide unforgettable experiences for you. These cover everything from food and wine to art, music to architecture, nature to history, and whatever else you can dream. In short, we offer authentic experiences and meaningful, person-to-person connections that define luxury travel.
Tailor-made, private journeys
While there are of course “must-sees” in every destination, no two Almaz journeys are the same – there’s simply too many amazing things to see and do in Latin America! We only offer private, customized journeys, so we always start with a conversation to learn as much as possible about you and how you like to travel. Interested in photography? Why not visit the studio of young, and as-yet unknown dynamo photographer at Cuba’s Institute of Higher Art! Avid foodies? Explore new Peruvian cooking trends with one of the country’s top chefs. The list goes on and on, and we work to find the right fit for you.
Our local stars
It goes without saying that we invest a lot of time and effort hand-picking the guides and drivers who will be the backbone of your journey. They are experienced, professional, and attentive to your needs. Our expert English-speaking guides are passionate ambassadors for their countries, and we make sure they’re also well-briefed about you before you even step foot off the plane – allowing you to hit the ground running! Our deluxe vehicles are always the best and most comfortable available. And of course, you can rest easy knowing you have 24-hour access to local Almaz Journeys staff.
Hands-on, personalized VIP service
Whether the first conversation we have to get you dreaming, checking in on you midway through your journey, or a warm welcome home note, our team is personally invested in the success of your journey. We listen carefully to you when planning and pay close attention to every detail in bringing your journey to life, all in anticipation of hearing your amazing stories when you return!
Almaz in the Press
- Agents hope Biden win signals an easing of Cuba travel rules (Travel Weekly, 12/22/2020)
- Joe again named to Travel + Leisure’s A List (October 2020)
- Almaz founder Joe Sandillo named a Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist (March 2020).
- Joe again named to Travel + Leisure’s A List (September 2019)
- Joe Sandillo featured in Andrew Harper Traveler magazine Summer 2019 (pp. 40-41)
- 13 Under-the-radar Places to Plan Your Next Family Vacation (Travel + Leisure, 6/9/19)
- The 13 Places Around the World You Must Visit, According to Our Expert Travel Advisors (Travel + Leisure, 5/5/19)
- Joe Sandillo’s 6-day Cuba Itinerary (Travel + Leisure, 5/2/19)
- Six Ways to Have a Luxury Trip to Colombia for Less (Forbes, 4/29/19)
- Joe Sandillo Joins the Travel + Leisure A List (September 2018)
Excited to learn more?
Get in touch with us with us today to start planning!