Expedition Team

Share the adventure with knowledgeable, engaging companions


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 are no better Panama and Costa Rica tour guides 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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  • 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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  • Emily Hyde

    Assistant Expedition Leader
    Emily grew up in the beautiful, rainy Pacific Northwest. Born and raised on Vashon Island, she then moved to nearby Seattle to attend the University of Washington. After completing her degree in English Literature, Emily spent the next year preparing for and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with her older brother. There she discovered a passion for backpacking and spent the next few years walking all over the world, from the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand to the Spanish El Camino to the Laugavegur trail in Iceland.

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  • Eric Wehrmeister

    Video Chronicler
    Eric began his life on the far western edge of Chicago, where the concrete meets the cornfields.  His inspiration has always drawn from the expansive beauty of the natural world, as well as the endless forms that populate it.

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  • Federico Chacón

    Naturalist
    Federico Chacón, or “Fico” as he is better known by his friends, started guiding one-day nature tours on weekends and holidays at the age of 18 right at the time he started studies at the University of Costa Rica. It was just a part-time job, that was mainly his brother’s idea, but little by little it grew to become his career and his passion. 

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  • Gabriel Ortiz

    Naturalist
    Gabriel grew up in the outskirts of Panama City and became member of the Panama Eco tourism family back in 2007.  He has led many expeditions in Central America and South America working as a naturalist.  His expertise in natural history has inspired travelers to understand and appreciate travel to the neotropics, an area he considers a gift, as one of the most productive parts of the planet with vast arrays of traits and interactions among species.

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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
    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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  • 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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  • Max Vindas

    Expedition Leader
    Known for his passion for nature and dedication to conservation and ecotourism, Max Vindas has been guiding natural history trips in Costa Rica since 1993. On his first trip to the rainforest at age eight, Max realized his love for the outdoors and wildlife observation. Since then, he spends as much time as he can in the forest, sharing his knowledge with visitors to his country.

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  • Taylor Edwards

    National Geographic Staff
    Conservation Biologist Taylor Edwards is an Associate Staff Scientist at the University of Arizona Genetics Core, where he and his team conducted the public testing for National Geographic's Genographic Project (an innovative global program in which people can trace their ancestry back 60,000 years using markers in their DNA). His background includes a combination of wildlife ecology and molecular biology, and he blends the two disciplines in his own research to answer questions about the conservation of species. 

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