Fifteen-Hour Days to the Most Popular Tourist Agency in Huancayo: An Interview with Katty Mosquera

Katty MosqueraKatty Mosquera Cuadros is the founder and director of Adrenalina Tours, currently one of the most famous tourist agencies in Huancayo in the Central Andes of Peru.

From humble beginnings, Katty began in the field of tourism working 15-hour days, often seven days a week. With the help of key family members, she was able to start her own business and is now planning to expand her company to the national level.

Catch her chatting about why tourism is important and describing the most popular tour in Huancayo in the video below:

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Dreams Change

As a child, Katty imagined she would be a teacher when she grew up. It wasn’t until her final year of high school that the direction of her life would drastically change. It’s common for Peruvian high school students to go on a graduation trip and her class headed to Cuzco to visit the famous ruins of Machu Picchu. Not only did she learn about Peruvian archeology and history there, but she would also be inspired by the guides that handled the trip. “I admired their knowledge and talent in storytelling and educating others about Peru,” she explains.

It was decided. “I spent the next five years studying tourism at the local university in Huancayo,” Katty says. “And I took advantage of every vacation to gain experience at various tourist agencies in the Mantaro Valley.” Her only goal was to get hired by the largest and most reputable tourist agency in the area: Huanca Tours. Little did she know what it would mean to reach that goal and how much bigger she would soon dream.

Dreams Evolve

Katty was hired by Huanca Tours as a fresh graduate and was soon managing almost the entire workload of the company on her own! “By 6:30am, I was handing out flyers and selling my tours in the main plaza,” she remembers. “Then, I acted as the guide and took my groups out on tours of Huancayo and the Mantaro Valley.” When she returned from each tour, she would spend the rest of the evening at the Huanca Tours office. Her days turned into 15-hour days and she often worked seven days a week if there were tours booked on Sunday too!

“Despite the heavy workload, I can’t undervalue the rich experience I gained in the field,” Katty says. Not only did I learn a lot about the different tours of the Mantaro Valley, but I also learned a lot about how businesses work. Seeing as how she was almost single-handedly in charge of Huanca Tours and how her clients loved her, sending praise, tips and gifts her way, Katty began to dream bigger. If she could handle Huanca Tours, she could start her own tourist agency and potentially make it even better!

Adrenalina Tours

Dreams Become Reality

Her uncle, who owns a business in Lima, would play an influential role as her mentor. “He was the one who took the Yellow Pages away from me and forced me to use my own creativity to think up a name for my business that would catch others’ attention and stick,” Katty remembers. “And he was also the one who told me that there would be moments I wouldn’t even have enough money to eat, but that it was important to never give up.” Her grandfather, a university professor at UCLA, also pledged his support. He sent her the latest mountaineering equipment from the United States and more recently, loaned her the money to buy her first buses.

Business started off slowly with the help of her mother in the office for almost a year and she learned the hard way that it wasn’t worth it to charge so cheaply. “We now focus on gaining less clients but providing quality,” Katty explains. “And for charging more, we offer a full team of professionals in tourism who stay up-to-date by attending every single workshop available in Huancayo and who are ready for every situation.” They were put to the test when two rebellious tourists strayed from the group and got lost in the snow-covered Huaytapallana mountain. Katty’s entire team participated in the search, finally finding them at 3 in the morning on the verge of hypothermia and in a state of shock. Thanks to the top-notch equipment from the United States and all the workshops, they were able to manage the situation as efficiently as possible and the tourists returned home healthy.

These days, business thrives and family still plays a major role in its success: Katty’s husband handles everything related to transport and her sister is always helping out with marketing. In a way, Katty even considers her employees as family. “I’ve been really lucky to have staff loyal to our company,” she comments as she expresses her thankfulness to all who work for Adrenalina Tours, and then adds: “My grandfather told me that he was supporting me because he didn’t want Adrenalina Tours to be just any other agency. He wanted it to be the best in the business.” And that’s exactly the attitude she takes as she plans to open a branch in Lima and eventually reach all of Peru.

How have family and friends influenced and supported you in your career? Tell us in the comments below!

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18 Comments

  1. Posted September 24, 2011 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Okay…so the coach in me loves this story…she had a dream, a passion…built her skills and expertise. She invested time learning the business on many levels and then accepted support of those who believed in her and her vision. It is rare that dreams of any significant size can be achieved single handedly. It’s important to share our dreams with those we care about…it can make the difference between wondering what if or going for it. Great interview!

    • Posted September 26, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      I hadn’t thought of it that way, Tambre! It really is a well-rounded success story and thanks for underlining that point about sharing our dreams. =) I’ve found that even just chatting about what I’ve been dreaming has opened doors! =)

  2. Posted September 24, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Sam, Thanks for another excellent interview and subject.
    Loved reading about Katy and all she has achieved through study, hard work, willingness to learn, organization skills, and the invaluable help and support from her family. She sounds like the kind of entrepreneur who will go far in life.

    • Posted September 26, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      Aww thanks, Pennie! I think Katty has all that she needs to make it big in life too! It was so amazing talking to her and seeing the determination and hard work in action!

  3. Posted September 24, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    This is a great story, Samantha. Hard work and family support helped Katty make her dream a reality.
    Thank you for sharing this inspiring interview.

  4. Posted September 25, 2011 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    Living in a city where we just got 100k tourists in one six week period, tourism is one of the most important and least valued areas in many countries. I really enjoy this story. Thanks for sharing

    • Posted September 26, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      I know what you mean, Roberta! I didn’t realize how important tourism was until I got a chance to interview Katty about it! =)

  5. Vinny T
    Posted September 25, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Another wonderful post Samantha about how we can transform our dreams into reality. Your story reminds me of my sister-in-law who has done one quite well for herself in the travel industry. Her dreams took her from Peru to Europe, and then from Europe to the Arab Emerits where she oversees tourist operations in that country. Her skills have proved quite lucrative and she now owns a bog-shot apartment there in the world’s tallest building

    • Posted September 26, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      Wow! Your sister-in-law is such an amazing lady! Sounds like she has been all over the world and is a true success! =)

  6. Posted September 26, 2011 at 3:31 am | Permalink

    Another wonderful interview Samantha. It is amazing how you can bring out an inspiring story while sharing information about a special lady in your area. Kathy’s journey proves that family and friends are important in our lives.

    • Posted September 26, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      Aww thank you soo much, Lynn! It’s true — Katty’s story helped me realize how important family and friends have been in my life and career too!

  7. Posted September 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Things can get done when you set yourself to doing it. Overcoming any obstacle is worthwhile.

    Sam, as always, you are amazing.

  8. Posted September 27, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    She started out dreaming of being a teacher, just like me. She came to a curve in the road, and took a different path. But! When you stop and think about it, she didn’t really abandon her first plan, she just narrowed it down. What is she doing with all the tourists and visitors if not teaching them about the rich history of Peru? And taking care of the learning, and their well-being? She’s a teacher after all if I ever saw one! ;)

    • Posted September 29, 2011 at 12:52 am | Permalink

      Ooh! You’re soo right, Paula! =) Life always seems to come together like that, so we have the opportunity to use our natural talents and integrate all of our passions. =)

  9. Posted September 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Another inspiring story Sam. Katty really went for her dream. Great she had so much support.

    • Posted September 29, 2011 at 12:53 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Mary! =) Yeah! Her story made me stop and think about how much support I’ve had on my path too! =)

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