Expedition Team

Our team is the key to your incredible adventure


Explore in the company of top experts on a Galápagos and Peru adventure tour. Benefit from their knowledge—team specialties include marine and terrestrial biology, botany, geology, and more—and passion for the Galápagos to observe and understand more of all you’ll see. And explore Machu Picchu & the Land of the Inca with top guides. They are deeply knowledgeable about the history and culture of Peru. Above all, each is passionate about the wonders of the region and dedicated to helping you achieve the richest experience possible on your Galápagos expedition.


Meet the expedition team for this departure

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  • Benjamin Ayala

    Naturalist
    Ben is a German-Ecuadorian naturalist guide who grew up on San Cristobal, the eastern-most island of the Galápagos Archipelago, home to the political capital of the province.

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  • Christian Saa

    Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor
    Christian was born on the island of Isabela in the Galápagos archipelago. He grew up on a farm and had a magical childhood devoid of cars, electricity, telephones—just pure nature and playful sea lions along the beach. At the age of seven, he moved with his family to Santa Cruz Island, the economic hub of the Galápagos Islands. His father began to work in tourism and took Christian around the islands during school vacations. It was during this time that Christian learned to love and understand the real value of this unique archipelago, and he decided to devote his life to its stewardship. A lifelong passion for nature and its creatures took root in his heart, and he eventually decided to become a naturalist, which he has now been doing for 18 years now.

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  • Gianna Haro

    Naturalist
    Most of Gianna´s memories seem to be dreams, made on flawless white sandy beaches with black lava rock contours and gorgeous turquoise ocean waters. Most of it happened while barefoot, in an enchanting place that some people regard as an ideal natural laboratory, the Galápagos Islands. For her it was home. Gianna grew up going to the beach nearly every day, snorkeling in crystal clear waters, playing with wild flowers, having sea lions steal her ice cream, observing marine iguanas, and identifying invertebrates. The latter was by no means technically accurate—she dubbed each new discovery with its own made-up scientific name. At some point during those early years, being an observer became an innate ability and she knew she wanted to be a biologist. 

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  • Ixora Berdonces

    Undersea Specialist
    Ixora was born in the Galapagos Islands, back when the streets were made of sand and gravel. Void of TV and tablets, her childhood friends and pristine natural surroundings made for an inspiring upbringing. She was always drawn to the ocean and her local environment, with her first adventures taking place underwater, in mangrove estuaries, and perched in treetops. Not surprisingly, she was scuba diving before the age of 12 and led her first diving trips as a Dive Master in the Galapagos Marine Reserve when she was 18. 

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  • Liza Diaz Lalova

    Video Chronicler
    Liza fell in love with the ocean as a child growing up on the Ecuadorian coast. Her passion for storytelling and photography began at the age of seven, when she began filming her friends as they recreated stories from her parents' library. Liza later combined her audiovisual passion with her love for nature by majoring in Environmental Communication and Digital Animation. In 2010, she began making documentary films, animations, and photographs aimed at inspiring communities to care for their natural habitats. Liza now lives in Galapagos, where she first came as a student in 2013, and has continued on as a volunteer for various conservation, education and arts organizations. She is now a professional conservationist and artist dedicated to inspiring and educating in small communities around Ecuador using creative audiovisual communications.

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  • Paola Luque

    Naturalist
    Paola was born in the major Ecuadorian port city of Guayaquil, raised near the ocean and rivers. Since childhood she felt a deep connection with nature, which led her to settle in the Galapagos Archipelago in 1998, on the central island of Santa Cruz. Here she got involved in the tourism industry, with a particular interest in food and cooking.Her passion for the sea and traveling then led her to sail the world's oceans to remote destinations, working as crewmember and chef on private yachts for 5 years.

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  • Paula Tagle

    Expedition Leader
    Paula grew up in Guayaquil where she obtained an undergraduate degree in geology from the Polytechnic University of Guayaquil. She enjoyed many field trips all around Ecuador and during her vacations traveled in Central and South America in the hope of learning more about her people and culture. The last year of her studies she worked at a mine looking for a more ecologically responsible way of recovering gold. Interested more in volcanoes than in raw materials, she came to Galápagos, a mecca for geologists, in 1992. She was bewitched by the other wonders of the islands and became a naturalist guide for the Galápagos National Park.

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  • Roberta Schiess

    Naturalist
    Born and raised in the Galápagos, Roberta Schiess Bahamonde’s grandparents were among the first permanent inhabitants of Santa Cruz Island, arriving from Switzerland in the 1940s. Her mother is also a naturalist guide in the Galápagos, so this is a profession she has been exposed to her whole life, and she often accompanied her mom as she guided visitors. 

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