Expedition Team

Our team of experts is the key to enriching your adventure


Over the decades of exploring Costa Rica and Panama, the quality of our veteran staff, and their companionship is the reason the Lindblad name is known and respected for top-quality expeditions. And, together with National Geographic, there is no better team anywhere.

The most robust expedition team in Costa Rica & Panama
Explore with one staff member on board for every 12 guests—the most robust team working in Costa Rica and Panama.Every expedition sails with a five-person team including a veteran expedition leader and four more naturalists. Other members of the team include an undersea specialist and a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor. Together they provide you with a greater understanding and appreciation for this exceptional place. 

More specialties and personalities
With more naturalists per guest than any other company in Costa Rica, you’re ensured a healthy diversity of naturalist specialties—marine and terrestrial biology, botany, ornithology, geology, and more—and personalities. You are never directed into groups. You’re free to gravitate to the naturalists whose interests mirror your own. And, our team will make each day of your expedition deeply rewarding.


Meet the expedition team for this departure

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  • Amanda Clare

    Assistant Expedition Leader
    Born near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Amanda always followed her own path and pursued whatever piqued her interests and pushed her limits. She earned two B.A. degrees, one in history, one international studies, from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, she was commissioned into the United States Army, and while stationed overseas, Amanda traveled extensively and cultivated her love of adventure and exploration.  

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  • Elizabeth Portuguez Porras

    Wellness Specialist
    Elizabeth was born and raised in Costa Rica, the Pura Vida (Pure Life) country, known as the happiest country in the world. Since she was a child, she has known her true passion was to become a professional in the areas of health and wellness. She describes herself as an outgoing person as well as the happiest massage therapist in the world; she has a secret for that: “Whatever you do…do it with LOVE”.

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  • Gabriel Ortiz

    Naturalist
    Gabriel Ortiz is a recent addition to the ecotourism field in Panama.  He was born in Panama City and is working towards a bachelor’s degree in administration of tourism.  He started guiding in the Soberania National Park and his love for sustainable tourism and conservation has led him to admire the unique position that Panama offers as a crossroads of the world.

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  • Isabel Salas Vindas

    Naturalist
    Isa Salas is a Costa Rica born biologist, who loves her country and teaching about it.  Known for her professionalism and experience in the field of animal behavior, Isa earned her master's degree in biology from the University of Costa Rica, where she also engaged in research for the chemistry and biology departments. Isa has carried out specialized projects on mantled howler monkeys for Costa Rica’s National Institute of Biodiversity (INBio), and is one of the country’s experts on howler monkey sexual and social behavior. 

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  • José Calvo

    Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor
    Nicknamed “Indio” (Indian) because of his powers of observation and quiet nature, José has almost two decades of experience working as a naturalist and photography guide; as well as being recognized as an expert birder and nature photographer in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is rich in biodiversity — over 893 bird species have been recorded in the country. Since very young José spent all of his free time in the outdoors in the forest, where he soon fell in love with the birds. He particularly enjoys listening to their calls, and watching their behavior. Oddly enough, another one of Jose’s passions is science and technology, and because of this, he was among the first in Costa Rica to experiment with digital photography. As the technology quickly improved so did his love for it.  He truly believes that nature photography is the perfect combination of both of his passions.

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  • Joshua Hall

    Naturalist
    Joshua Hall was born in Panama City and raised in the highlands of the Chiriquí province. He studied ecotourism at a university in Panama and is currently pursuing a degree in tourism business administration. His love of nature can be attributed to a lot of time spent traveling with his mother, a nurse at the Social Security Hospital. In 1983, a foundation called Abundant Life was created in Panama. The foundation was made up of a group of doctors and nurses with a passion for helping those in need. They were pioneers in going to communities in Chiriquí, sometimes hiking more than 12 miles, where they took medicine, meals, and other needed items, often opening up trails guided by the indigenous residents. Joshua participated as a child with his mother and developed a love for nature, rainforests, mangroves, coral reefs and the indigenous communities of Panama.

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  • Kike Calvo

    National Geographic Photographer
    Award-winning photographer, journalist, and author Kike Calvo (pronounced key-keh) specializes in culture and environment. He has been on assignment in more than 90 countries, working on stories ranging from belugas in the Arctic to traditional Hmong costumes in Laos.

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  • Maguil Céspedes

    Naturalist
    Although Maguil was born in San Jose, he was raised in the countryside of Costa Rica, and it was this experience that provided him with a deep knowledge of and a profound love for the rural life of Central America.  It was this passion for nature that led Maguil to study biology at the University of Costa Rica, where he received his master’s degree in 2002. His thesis explored the genetic structure of big leaf mahogany, an endangered species of tree that is commercially extinct in much of Central America.

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  • Margrit Ulrich

    Naturalist
    Affectionately called "Machita" ("Blondie"), Margrit is one of our most cosmopolitan guides with a family that hailed from Switzerland, France, and Germany before settling in Costa Rica's capital city San José where she was born and raised. Hence she blends the well-organized, perfectionist, and detailed personality of a Swiss watch with the easiness and effervescent enthusiasm of a simple tropical girl.

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  • Matthew Ritenour

    Video Chronicler
    Matthew grew up on the Gulf of Mexico, where a love of geography, culture and history were instilled at a young age. He studied anthropology at California State University, Chico, and soon began working at the Advanced Laboratory for Visual Anthropology (ALVA), a documentary production studio that focuses on sharing the results of anthropological research with the public. As a cinematographer and editor at ALVA, he documented research on everything from the effects of drought in California, to looted petroglyphs in the Sierra Nevada high desert, and the global trade in emeralds.

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