After 25 years as a family physician, Manuel Marquez, MD, transitioned into a new career as a tour director. Manuel Marquez, MD, has now led groups on tours to locations across the world, including Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina.
Located in Southern Europe on the Adriatic Sea, a part of the Mediterranean Sea, Croatia is home to 4.28 million people. Most of these are of the Croat ethnicity, a group that according to historic records has populated the area since the 9th century.
The broader Croat culture includes a number of sub-cultures, including the Dalmatians, Istrians, and Slavonians. All maintain a strong identification with the Croat culture but are loyal to local variations and expressions, particularly those related to language and food.
Though significantly lower in numbers than the Croats, the Serbs comprise the second-largest ethnic group in Croatia. The percentage of Serbs in Croatia decreased dramatically after the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991, and the group now makes up approximately 4 percent of the country’s population.
The country is also home to those of a number of other ethnicities, including Bosniaks, Albanians, Romani, and Czechs. Each of these groups make up less than 0.8 percent of the national population.
Manuel Marquez, MD, shares his love of travel and history as a tour director and travel guide. Prior to entering his current profession, the Harvard graduate spent more than 25 years as a primary care physician, medical director, and executive officer with the Southern California Permanente Medical Group and Buenaventura Medical Group. Throughout his career, Dr. Manuel Marquez has supported numerous organizations, including Native Future, a group dedicated to the support of indigenous tribes in Panama.
Established in 2004, Native Future works alongside three indigenous groups – the Wounaan, the Ngabe, and the Bugle – with the goal of improving education and protecting land rights. In addition to preserving the cultures of these native peoples, the organization strives to ensure that the precious ecosystems on which they reside are not lost to exploitative industrialization.
The land rights initiatives established by Native Future have enabled the high school graduation of a Wounaan man, whose testimony aided in the approval of Panama Law 72 to protect native land. The organization has also helped the Wounaan people map their lands and document their protection efforts against clearcutting and other damaging practices.
Thanks in part to the assistance of Native Future, three Wounaan communities have received government-approved titles; six more are awaiting recognition.
A certified tour director, Manuel Marquez, MD, has guided travelers through numerous countries across South America, North America, and Europe. Manuel Marquez, MD, has also embarked on many international trips of his own and has accumulated a knowledge base not only of the destinations themselves but also of the necessary logistics a traveler should consider to make the most of their trip.
When visiting international destinations, there are a multitude of variables to consider. Packing can be especially challenging for someone who is not familiar with the climate or temperature of a new destination, so research is helpful. Travelers should also be aware of whether they should bring a power adapter, familiar toiletries, or other necessities that may be difficult to find in a particular location.
Most travelers also prefer not to be taken by surprise when it comes to clothing. It’s not necessary to bring an entire wardrobe; in fact, many find it helpful to choose numerous outfits for a trip and then bring half of what they have laid out. Items that should make the cut are those that the traveler can wear multiple times and layer to create different outfits.
The traveler should also take care to include clothing for different settings. Experienced travelers know to bring one nice outfit and at least one pair of sturdy shoes for every trip, regardless of itinerary.
Bulky items are best worn on the plane, and absolute necessities belong in a carry-on. This is true for medication, a change of clothes, and anything else one could not live without if luggage does not arrive at the same time as the plane. This may not happen, but it is always good to be prepared.
As a tour director with Insight Vacations, Manuel Marquez, MD, leads group motor coach tours across the United States, providing on-board commentary throughout the itinerary. During the journey, Manuel Marquez, MD, strives to help each traveler bond with others and make the most of the group experience.
Although many travelers are devotees of independent exploration, a group tour can offer many benefits not available to those who venture out unaccompanied. One of the major benefits is the convenience and comfort of allowing an experienced professional to make decisions about destinations and time frames. This is particularly beneficial when the tour guide is a local expert or has experienced the destination in depth, as such a person can provide a unique kind of informed insight.
The tour leader can also help the group to let go of old habits and embrace new experiences. A traveler may come to a destination that he or she would not have chosen individually, but that reveals unique insights about the country or culture that the group is visiting. A tour leader may also be able to connect the group with special visits or programs to which the tour company has access, though such experiences are not available to members of the general public.
Finally, the group tour provides each traveler with readily available companionship and community. Group members can bond over their visit to a grand and picturesque destination, share their reflections about the day, and even help one another to open up and make new connections.
Currently serving as tour director and traveling concierge for Insight Vacations, Manuel Marquez, MD, provides motor coach tours of New England fall foliage, the Mississippi River basin, and Western national parks. Manuel Marquez has also directed tours in Cuba and in New Orleans.
Insight Vacations offers a Southern Grace tour for four days in New Orleans, where spectators visit several local historic sites. One of the stops on the Southern Grace tour in New Orleans is the Frogmore Plantation.
Built in the mid-19th century, Frogmore Plantation is an 1800-acre working cotton plantation that produces 900 bales of cotton per day with its modernized cotton gin manufacturing facility. This tour offers insight into the life of slaves and lessons on the Civil War. Listed as a “must see site” by Rand McNally, Frogmore has also received the Rural Tourism Award and was rated as one of the top three attractions for tourists in the Arkansas/Lousiana/Mississippi tri-state area by Southern Traveler Magazine.
Manuel Marquez, MD has had a lengthy career in health care management and currently engages with Travel Corporation-affiliated Insight Vacations as tour director. Among the trips he has led are those taking in the Southwest’s national parks, as well as Yellowstone National Park.
As reported in the New York Times, Yellowstone National Park stands as a hotbed of current research activity, as Danish and American scientists seek to map the system that controls flow of hydrothermal features such as Old Faithful. Research teams have undertaken helicopter flights above Yellowstone, with the aircraft equipped with a large-scale electromagnetic system. Acting in much the same way as an x-ray on the human body, the system pinpoints areas where heated water flows under the land surface.
An area of focus is in understanding major hydrothermal explosions that periodically arise in the park. These involve subterranean pockets of boiling water experiencing an abrupt pressure shift that turns the water into steam and creates activity such as geysers. Researchers expect that this project will further refine their knowledge of how complex volcanic systems operate.
Certified as a tour guide through the International Tour Management Institute (ITMI), Manuel Marquez, MD, has led groups in California and across the western United States. Manuel Marquez, MD, has also built his skills as a guide through familiarization tours and cruises in North America, Western Europe, Africa, and the Galapagos Islands.
A good tour guide needs to possess not only a love of travel and people but also the ability to make a trip fun and comfortable. Tour guides must be able to communicate clearly with a diverse group of travelers while also presenting information in an enjoyable and digestible manner. A good tour guide is a good storyteller, an engaging performer, and a positive personality that visitors will feel comfortable approaching
In addition, because travelers will want to know about local history and culture as well as the area’s best-kept secrets in restaurants and things to do, the guide must have an in-depth knowledge about the destination. A skilled guide can answer questions informatively as well as graciously, while conveying a personal interest in the material at hand.
Finally, the professional tour guide must be able to interact with travelers respectfully and warmly, regardless of the individual’s culture of origin. A talented guide can communicate in a culturally relevant manner and incorporate the norms to which the travelers are accustomed. This must all take place with an air of professionalism and a level of organization that earns the travelers’ respect.