Expedition Team

Our team is the key to your incredible adventure


Explore the islands and undersea in the company of top experts. Benefit from the knowledge of our Galápagos Island travel guides —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 enjoy their company; you’ll find them highly engaging and fun to share a drink or dinner with, as well as a trail hike.


Meet the expedition team for this departure

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  • Arturo Izurieta

    Guest Speaker
    Dr. Izurieta has extensive experience in research, management of protected areas and management of local affairs. He has worked for more than 30 years in strategic projects and facilitating relationships between government authorities, native communities and scientific communities in Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Australia, Malaysia and Central America.

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  • Carlos Navarro

    Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor
    Carlos J. Navarro is a biochemist specializing in marine biology, a M. Sc. in Environmental Management and a freelance wildlife photographer/author. Carlos has spent most of the last 30 years living along the shores of the Sea of Cortez and participating in numerous scientific, conservation and environmental education projects on the vaquita, marine invertebrates, sea birds, great white sharks, baleen whales, jaguars and crocodiles. Carlos’ six years of jaguar research provided the basis of ONCA MAYA, a non-profit organization dedicated to jaguar conservation based in Cancun, of which he is a founding member and still serves as a scientific advisor. He loves being underwater, either free-diving or using SCUBA gear and have had the chance to explore the underwater realms of Alaska, Mexico, Svalbard, the trans-Atlantic ridge islands, the Caribbean and both coasts of South America from Panama to Chile and Brazil to Argentina. 

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  • Celso Montalvo

    Naturalist
    Celso was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. At the age of nine he arrived in the Galápagos for the first time and he was profoundly touched by nature, observation, and isolation.  When he saw the sharks, rays and turtles swimming in the bay, he was triggered by a sense of wonder that he did not feel before.  Celso believes education is key to preservation. After graduating from the Naval Academy at the age of 17 he moved to New York to continue his education.

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  • Christian Saa

    Undersea Specialist
    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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  • Javier Cando

    Naturalist
    Javier was born on Santa Cruz Island and raised in the cool evergreen highlands where he developed his love and passion for nature and natural sciences. At age 17 he moved to Quito, the capital of Ecuador to attend university and study the English language.

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  • Jonathan Aguas

    Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor
    Jonathan was born into one of only a handful of families that reaches back five generations in Galápagos, in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on San Cristobal Island. He first left the islands when he won a highly-coveted scholarship to finish his studies in the U.S.  This was the start of his life-long passion for science and languages. He earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative biology from the University of Florida and later spent time in Europe, where he learned French. He is now fluent in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

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  • Joshua Vela

    Video Chronicler
    Joshua is our first Video Chronicler from the Galápagos Islands! He grew up on the island of Santa Cruz where he developed a strong connection with the natural world that surrounded him, and where he learned the importance of conservation.

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  • Juan Carlos Avila

    Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor
    Juan Carlos was born in Quito, Ecuador. He spent part of his elementary schooling in the province of Cotopaxi, a beautiful area in the Ecuadorian Andes ringed by volcanoes. In 1989 his family moved to the Galápagos and settled in the highlands of Santa Cruz, the second largest island in this archipelago. It was here that Juan Carlos finished high school and gained his deep love for nature.

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  • Kelly Meade

    Grosvenor Teacher Fellow
    Kelly V. Meade is a teacher at David Starr Jordan High School in Long Beach, Ca. She teaches students to empower their growth mindset in her Medical Chemistry, Epidemiology & Public Health, and General Chemistry classes. Kelly is the director of the California Partnership Academy, Aspirations in Medical Sciences (AIMS) Academy, where she provides students with a combination of rigorous academics and career technical education through work-based learning. In Kelly’s spare time she works closely with her International Honorary Organization for Woman Educators, Alpha Delta Kappa – Zeta Chapter or she is outside backcountry hiking, snowboarding, enjoying hot yoga, or paddle boarding. Other extracurricular activities include being her schools District Science Fair Coordinator, working with the California Department of Education’s Phase 6 NGSS Statewide Rollout Writing Team for Environmental Literacy and writing curriculum for the University of California Curriculum Institutes. Internationally, Kelly has worked alongside the Peace Corps volunteers in Uganda at the Kabwohe Clinical Research Center teaching Life Skills and Health Education. She also volunteered with Angel City Choral in South Africa and the United Kingdom to promote music education. Her highest mountain climbed so far is Kilimanjaro, the Arrow Glacier Route, and she is motivated to go higher. In 2017 Kelly was selected as a National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions Grosvenor Teacher Fellow and completed an expedition to Antarctica where she developed curriculum that focused on the value of water. Kelly’s Motto: bridge the gap between students and the environment they live in through digital journeys.

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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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