Expedition Team

Our team is the key to your incredible adventure


Explore the islands and undersea in the company of top experts on a Galápagos expedition adventure. 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 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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  • Ashley Karitis

    Video Chronicler
    Ashley was raised in the foothills of the Cascade Range in Central Oregon. After childhood careers in ski racing, equestrian sports, classical piano, and summer jobs on a dude ranch, she emerged as a unique hybrid of adventuress, hobby farmer, and storyteller. 

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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

    Naturalist
    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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  • José Guerrero

    Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor
    José Guerrero Vela is an Ecuadorian permanent resident of the Galápagos. His mother was born in the Galápagos and his grandfather was one of the first generation of teachers there, which has always inspired him to promote education as the main path to protect the islands.  

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  • Sylvia Earle

    National Geographic Staff
    Marine biologist Sylvia Earle is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. Named one of Time magazine's "Heroes for the Planet," Sylvia has pioneered research on marine ecosystems, with a special focus on exploration, conservation, and the development of new technologies for effectively accessing the deep sea and other remote environments. She is former chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and founder of SEAlliance, which partnered with National Geographic on Mission Blue to further global initiatives aimed at restoring health and productivity to the ocean. Earle has led more than a hundred expeditions, logged over 7,000 hours underwater, and has authored more than 190 scientific, technical, and popular publications.

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  • Vanessa Gallo

    Expedition Leader
    Vanessa Gallo’s grandparents arrived in the Galápagos Islands in 1936, making her the third generation of her family to live and work in this magical archipelago. She left the islands for the capital city of Quito for high school, where she discovered that learning foreign languages was one of her main interests. Coming from a family of naturalist guides, it was not a surprise that she also became one at the age of 17. Vanessa left the islands once again for Switzerland, where she earned a diploma in tourism and strengthened her language skills and knowledge of the travel industry. She has also travelled extensively to destinations including as Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Canada, the Canary Islands, Mauritius, and many European countries.

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