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Emily Matthews

I'm the tour director at South Olé! While I used to work as a guide, my kids have (happily) slowed me down. Now I coordinate tours from our offices in Estepona with our excellent crew of guides, drivers and experience specialists.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"We specialize in custom tours, which means the traveler tells us how they like to travel and we create the trip anywhere in Spain, Portugal or Morocco."

How did you get involved in travel?

"About us personally: Jorge is a Venezuelan with family roots in Granada from before the Spanish Civil War. We've had fun comparing notes with his 90 year-old grandmother about life in the 30's. We've been to visit her native town, as well as his grandfather's. Emily: a Tarheel who's family moved to Sevilla when she was a teenager. She fell in love with Spain first and Jorge second. Our passions are to travel Spain together, go sailing, Ribera wines and great tapas!

South Olé Spain Tours is a family business run by Jorge Villamizar and Emily Matthews. We actually created the idea for it on a napkin at a café in Málaga during our time in college. It would take years of experience in the Spanish service and tourism industries and our own travel in Spain, for us to realize that there was a need to show visitors Spain's rich history and culture in a personalized, familiar way. We began in Southern Spain and worked our way north to Madrid and Barcelona, eventually expanding to all of Spain, Portugal and Morocco. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"Most of the best trips are simple. After 2 days of train rides and plane rides to get to Belgium (long story) with my mother-in-law and 2 kids, we were incredibly happy to have a clean, comfortable, friendly hotel waiting on us in Gant. It began to rain, but we made it just in time to the river boat rides. As we slid under the bridges, past monasteries, castles and dungeons sipping on craft beer with the kids napping, life seemed perfect! The tour commentary was interesting, personable and funny, and the group was small enough to converse with our fellow travelers. This sensation is what Jorge and I try to instill in our custom trips."