We are a young and dynamic team with vast experience in responsible and experiential tourism. We love travelling and we have a great adventurous spirit that longs to know places beyond the most popular ones. Exotic places, mystic places, charming places, where local people open up the door to their lives, in order to show us a little bit more of our history and culture. Trips that leave a mark and make you hungry for more.
Totonal is a náhuatl word:
Tonal: destiny, soul, spirit, energy.
We offer true experiences, where you will have a more intense and authentic contact with its inhabitants, stories and experiences that will not leave you indifferent. Through smells, colors, tastes, textures and music, you will feel each of the destinations and you will be permeated by all these wonderful experiences.
We are committed to transmit to our clients our passion for this wonderful country that is México, and to learn about its true essence, without makeup.
In addition to offering wonderful experiences, we work on sensitization and training aspects, both with travelers and those involved in tourism management, with professionals from the local tourism sector and host communities, in order to promote a more sustainable tourism. Thus, achieving that the development of this tourism activity is as equitable and fair as possible.
Far from offering you a massive tour with guides who do not feel passion for what they do, we provide a personalized product, carefully designed to make your experience unique and unforgettable, and with local guides who possess a wide knowledge of their environment and who will love to transmit it with great enthusiasm and from the bottom of their hearts.
As we are also travellers, we know the uncertainties that one can have when visiting an unknown destination, that is why, we take care of every detail so that you feel safe and well cared for. Making your trip smooth and memorable for you, is our priority.
We articulate diverse ecotourism and cultural community initiatives, through thematic circuits and tailor made trips to the center and south-east of México. This articulation is carried out under a fair trade philosophy where these community initiatives receive a fair payment, and their recognition and valorization is promoted.
We are a tour operator certified by Rainforest Alliance and Travelife.
We are also members of several international organizations and associations: Sustainable Travel International (USA); ATD (Acteurs du Tourisme Durable – France); Tourism Concern (for whom we are also their ethical tour operator for Mexico in their Ethical Travel Guide) and we are also the Mexican Representatives in the Community & Rural Tourism Guide of Alba Sud (Spain).
For more information about these alliances, please check our Sustainability section.
We are a team with a long history in the tourism sector and consultancy. We love traveling and we have a big adventurous spirit that wants to explore beyond the most popular places and because of it, we are passionate about sharing with our fellow travelers the experience of knowing the other face of México.
At the age of five, I took my first flight alone (of course, cared for by the airline) to reach my uncles in Mérida who were on vacation and my parents could not go since they both worked. I remember that pleasant feeling of sitting by the window and watching the clouds. My love for that feeling of freedom was born there. That feeling when you let go of everything known and open your arms to that uncertain future when you change context. Since that first trip I made alone and enjoyed so much as a child, my training as a true nomad began. I have lived in more than 7 different cities at different stages of my life. In my veins blood runs from Veracruz and Sinaloa. I lived in the Huasteca Potosina and the port of Veracruz many happy years, I studied in the city of mountains: Monterrey and at the moment I live surrounded by volcanos in the bohemian town of Cholula. All these Mexican latitudes have left a mark on me.
While in the university, I started to fall deeply in love with my country, México, when I began to be aware of all the cultural and natural wealth of this land. Then I had the fortune to meet a group of dancers of the Mexican tradition and that’s when I realized that my heart was asking me to share, with respect and authenticity, that México that continuously excites me. A México that is found in colorful textiles, a México that is savored in exquisite dishes or simply in good tacos, the México of its noble and generous people, a México that still protects ancestral cultures… That México with mountains, jungles and incredible beaches. That’s the México I would love to share with you.
HOW I CAN HELP YOU?
I am mainly in charge of continuing directing several shared dreams that we have in this boat called Totonal and to create, along with Sonia and Isabelle, the perfect trip experience for you on the land where the eagles soar.
I was born in Spain but I consider myself a citizen of the world. That feeling started on my first trip, where I realized the vast world that was out there and could teach me so much about life.
I moved to England to study my Bachelor in Tourism Management, specializing in Responsible Tourism. I started to listen to terms such as sustainable tourism, community tourism, tourism planning, cultural regeneration or world cultures, and that really got me and kept me trapped until today. I am currently studying my Masters in Sustainable Tourism Management, which I am really enjoying.
Learning in depth about the impacts of badly planned tourism that don’t take in consideration the local communities, and seeing in many parts of the world that sustainable tourism was possible, that’s what encouraged me to search for projects that shared that philosophy and values. Because it is not necessary to exploit the communities to make a company profitable. Because it is possible to empower and give visibility to these local initiatives so that they can benefit from tourism, and work to minimize the negative impacts that this may cause to them: cultural, economical or environmental.
And Totonal fully shares those values. What can be more beautiful than to work in what you love, learning from ancestral cultures, and helping local communities to fulfill their dreams and improve their quality of life? Always from the deepest humbleness and the utmost respect to all of them, who have so much to teach us.
Creating an alternative, sustainable tourism that will leave you unforgettable memories, as well as increasing awareness on responsible tourism, is what we do in Totonal every day.
HOW I CAN HELP YOU?
I am Totonal’s General Manager and I can help you choose the best experience for you, coordinate your trips in México, design your experience and be your link with the local communities. I mainly serve the Spanish and Anglo-Saxon market, but also national clients, and I do it with joy! Since I would like to contribute to the growth of domestic tourism and Mexicans to acknowledge the true treasures that their country has! Also of course, I deal with many other things that arise day by day, such as supporting the Marketing Department, coordinating daily tasks, creating content for the website or other platforms, and along with my colleagues, giving talks about sustainable tourism and conservation of the environment in schools and universities. Basically, all that is necessary to show the other face of México that only few know and it is wonderful.
I was born in France, between the city of Nantes and the vineyards. I always had this curiosity to go out and discover new places. Since my childhood, my family has taught me how to travel. We did not necessarily go to tourist places, but rather to small villages where we could interact with the locals, go hiking and discover, after a few hours trekking, a wonderful waterfall or an impressive view. I quickly became interested in the different cultures of the world and wanted to make my life as a great journey. I began with my studies to travel in different cities of France with moving location almost every six months. I liked the feeling of freedom I had, the feeling of going with the wind.
Through these experiences, I decided I wanted to study in tourism and specialize in the sustainable development of tourism, with the aim of promoting another way of travel, away from mass tourism. From the various jobs I have had, I have always been in the search for the improvement of the tourism and the activities of the visitors in order to be more in contact with nature and people.
I discovered Mexico 5 years ago thanks to my studies and I felt in love with the country, its population, its landscapes, its diversity and its gastronomy. One author said, “To love a country well, you must eat it, drink it and hear it sing” (Michel Déon) and I think that’s what happened to me.
After that, even when I returned to France, my heart and mind always remained in Mexico. I also realised that in Europe the majority of people think of Cancun and the Riviera Maya as the whole of Mexico, when there is so much wealth to discover throughout the country. That is why I wanted to return to Mexico and join the Totonal team, to offer travelers another vision of Mexico. Thanks to the team of Totonal I can achieve this goal! We share the same values ??and the desire to offer the tourist a different experience during his stay.
HOW I CAN HELP YOU?
As I am French, I am in charge of the French market. Thus, I advise future travelers on the destinations that they will be able to know, the activities that they can get involved in, while trying to have the smallest impact on the environment and respecting the receptive communities. You can tell me what your interests are and I can help you create your personal and customised holiday, so that you can spend an unforgettable time feeling the Mexican essence in every moment of your trip! In addition, thanks to my knowledge of sustainable tourism, I contribute to sustainable projects with the Totonal team.
HOW I CAN HELP YOU?
I am in the Reservations Department. I look for hotels with identity and charm, that are locally owned and meet the quality standards of Totonal. I make quotes and attend personally to the national market, so, I remain at your disposal to give you the best travel tips that best suits your needs.
My name is Gabriela Tornero and I am from México City. I studied Business Administration, since I like to help coordinate and optimize the resources within my reach. Before working at Totonal, I worked at Seguros Monterrey New York as a new talent coordinator. The reason why I decided to work in Tonotal is Marisol Herrera, quite simply. She explained to me with so much passion about traveling under a responsible tourism perspective and by it reducing the negative impact of tourism and the damage to the ecosystem, that I just couldn’t say no.
Among this, one thing that struck me the most, of which I was not aware is the disintegration of local societies. She explained that Totonal works with rural cooperatives and that enchanted me, for all that it implies. Which I will resume with the word “help”. Help spread the cultural wealth that México has. Help raise awareness to care for the ecosystem. Helping to reactivate the economy of the cooperatives that are visited, by means of a fair pay, valuing and dignifying its work.
In short, it is helping to add by contributing to the improvement of the place where we live. This is how I perceive working in Totonal under the philosophy of Responsible Tourism.
HOW CAN I HELP YOU?
So, I am proudly part of Totonal’s team and today I am in the administrative and management area of the national product. I can help you live a wonderful experience in barely known places but very rich in culture in the Mexican country.
I am Mexican, originated from Veracruz and Puebla. Since I was little, I lived in México City and then Puebla but before I started studying at university, I lived in France where I discovered what it meant to be in contact with other cultures. I was fascinated by the experience and I realized that travel opens up opportunities for you to broaden your horizons and the world is filled with diversity and wealth. When I had the opportunity to travel to Europe, I made the conscious decision that traveling would be a recurring element in my life. After completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Science, I went to live in Canada, a country where it really felt like home to me. I could say it was like a love at first glance. Afterwards, I returned to Mexico and after living in different cities, I arrived back in Puebla, my current place of residence.
Undoubtedly, what I take from all these travel experiences is that through interaction with other people and cultures, make you realised that we are all equal at human level. Totonal represents for me a place of expression and personal growth, working with people from different countries and traditions, where we put ourselves on the same wavelength in terms of culture, missions and values ??of the company. We respect the environment and the different cultures that define us, to succeed in strengthening the greatness of Mexico. We are proud of having a country with great wealth, especially with the natural wonders we have. It is the joy of the Mexicans workers, always joyful and characterized by their sense of service. What better than to show our friends around the world what we are made of!
HOW CAN I HELP YOU?
Social relations are my passion, which is why I am the person in charge for the Business Department of Totonal, offering Mexican companies services for the improvement and development of their human capital. Also, I take care of Totonal’s relationships with strategic partners, always on the look out for alliances with companies aiming to the same objective as us.
I admit it, I am nomadic by choice. It has been 10 years since I left the town that saw me grow up in the mountains of Madrid to launch myself into a world of potential unknown to me. A couple of years later I fell in love with another nomad who did not have to insist too much to convince me to travel together to destinations I hardly knew how to identify on a map. Strolling along the beaches of Kuta (on the island of Bali, Indonesia) I realized that something was wrong with the tourist system and that certainly had to exist an alternative to mass tourism and the negative environmental and social impacts derived from it. This made me remember the terms used by one of my university professors: ‘sustainable tourism’. So I threw myself into the active search of this concept, which led me to live in the French Alps many winters. Over time, I finally decided to take a master’s degree in responsible tourism from Leeds Beckett University in the United Kingdom, where the concept of responsible tourism was shaped and the sustainable development became something essential in my way of life. I ended up doing my final thesis on how to use different communication techniques to promote sustainable behavior that favors the use of low emission transport methods. At the end of my thesis, my journey began towards responsible tourism in its purest state, which brought me almost by chance to the offices of Totonal Travel Agency in Puebla.
HOW I CAN HELP YOU?
In Totonal Travel Agency, I deal with everything related to marketing and communication of sustainability. I can send you the most incredible photos of the destinations that you plan to visit and also tell you stories and tales of all the places I have visited and the people I have met. In addition, I can give you information on how to mitigate the carbon footprint on your trip to México by either providing an economic donation to local reforestation projects or participating actively by planting your own trees in certain community projects we work with.
Since I was little, I found on literature the best way to discover universes, cultures, landscapes and personalities page by page. However, all my travels did not go further than my imagination. During my second year at University, whilst studying Applied Foreign Languages ??everything changed, I do not know if it was because of the course itself or because of the passion that the teacher had when sharing herknowledge. Sitting in the auditorium of the university, in the Mexican History and Cultures class, I was fascinated every day by the pre-Hispanic beliefs… maybe it was a coincidence, but I think that class started my adventure in this wonderful country.
The following year I had the opportunity to go on a student exchange to Mexico. It was twelve incredible months visiting several states, learning the language, tasting new flavors, listening to children laughs, sharing smiles with old people … discovering ancestral traditions of the past and present. This trip was undoubtedly a very enriching approach to this incredible country.
Since then, traveling has become a way to write new chapters of my life, filling pages with colors and discoveries, learning from others, sharing and knowing other realities. Then I spent seven months in Argentina and two months traveling alone through the neighboring countries of Chile, Peru and Bolivia. This truly was an adventure where I could connect with other cultures and landscapes, but above all I learnt to connect with myself.
Traveling taught me the importance of valuing other people. It taught to not only visit a destination and its must-see spots, but to go out to find the people, get involve in their traditions and customs, falling in love with its culture. My traveling experiences made me change my perception of tourism and made me want to invite other travelers to be more curious.
HOW I CAN HELP YOU?
I would like to help my French compatriots to write a page of their book, designing authentic journeys in contact with nature, with Mexican communities and cultures.
Get in touch with me if you want to make that trip you’ve always dreamed of in Mexico, I guarantee you an experience that will exceed your expectations.
I was born in Veracruz and since I was little I had the opportunity to travel with my parents abroad, but also in Mexico. I remember that I enjoyed those experiences very much. When we flew by plane, I always ended up talking with the flight attendants (with the English level of a 9-year-old girl …); I loved socializing with everyone! I liked to observe the environment around me, specially during our visits to lesser known archaeological sites in Mexico. Here I was fascinated to admire the handicrafts and the houses of the local people still living in the nearby communities. Since then, I began to admire the richness of my beautiful country.
At the age of 18 I travelled to France, making a dream come true. I was in Europe for 6 months, and I took every opportunity to visit new places, meet people and enjoying the local gastronomy. When I returned to Mexico, I was motivated to begin my studies in International Relations, a career that allowed me to have the basics to collaborate with people from other countries, and to gain greater knowledge about my country.
After living in Cholula and Mexico City, life brought me to Playa del Carmen, where my first job (where I stayed for almost 6 years), made me feel that we have to take care of Mexico and prove wrong the stereotypes most visitors come in their minds with. Mexico is culture and nature, is gastronomy, is kindness and its full of smiles and warmth.
HOW I CAN HELP YOU?
Like my colleague Cristina, I am in the Reservations area, keeping contact with our local providers and partners (either guides or small communities) that share our own values. I strive to create successful relationships based on win-win situations.