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Manuel, your Destination Expert

For Los Angeles Destination Expert Manuel Ocampo, everyone travels for a secret set of reasons – whether they’re chasing freedom, adrenaline, anonymity, romance, mystery… For him Los Angeles is a city that you can get lost in—or might that be lose yourself in?

“I was born in Colombia and have been living in Los Angeles for about 14 years. Before that I was in New York, Pittsburgh, and Hawaii, but Los Angeles is the closest in climate and lifestyle to Colombia.

There are lots of ways to get lost in Los Angeles—the good kind of lost. The kind where you get so absorbed in what you’re doing you forget the outside world.

There are tons of things to do, with the weather being perfect for working up a sweat. From skating and surfing, hiking and mountain biking to yoga and running, we’ve got the best workouts in the country. You can go skiing two hours away in March and come down from the mountains the same day and still go to the beach

I live in West Hollywood, which has lots of top-rated hotels, highly acclaimed restaurants, luxury shopping… if that’s your thing. Otherwise it’s quiet, with lovely neighborhoods to walk around with your dog, places to see, lovely restaurants to eat at. Everything is within walking distance. But you can also go for a hike or bike ride. I didn’t realize I’d moved into such a great area at first.

I first went abroad to study. Three times in all—Maastricht in The Netherlands, Tokyo in Japan, and Sao Paulo in Brazil, to study Japanese Studies, International Business, and Interior design. I then worked in a fast, high-end environment in luxury interior design. Now I’ve been encouraged to start painting and I’m doing a series for a potential show in the near future. I’m passionate about art, and exploring painting and sketching felt a natural fit. Beyond that I enjoy photography, traveling, architecture, fashion sketching and visual communication. I’m a social person who enjoys spending time with friends and family, but I also like to be part of my local community too.

My biggest travel highlight has been exploring several cities in Cuba, a beautiful country and a perfectly preserved Spanish colonial settlement. Walking the cobbled streets, melodic troubadours makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time to 1850. History dances with modernity in Old Havana.

What else? I’d love to explore the 10 wonders of the world.

While I was studying, I loved to immerse myself in the various cultures and explore the local spots.
Meeting the locals helped me find out about the way they live and learn more.

The same goes for introducing someone to your city. It’s the chance to meet people you wouldn’t have met otherwise, even become friends.

Travel has a way a teaching you about the world and yourself. I look forward to introducing you to my city”

Manuel is fluent in English and Spanish, Portuguese (Intermediate), and Japanese (Conversational)

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