Like Madonna or Cher, Hilda is largely known by one name. Her tenure and her status among returning guests is a kind of fame—she’s known and adored for her warmth and her near-miraculous healing touch. We often talk about the holistic aspect of our expeditions. Often, we mean our learning-oriented approach to a geography, encompassing all its facets—natural and human history. Hilda puts the whole in holistic—making every expedition a mind and body experience for our guests.
Born in Cuenca, and raised in Quito, Hilda has worked for Lindblad Expeditions since April 1997. Her start was aboard Polaris, 22 years ago, as head stewardess. Through hard work, resilience and a calling to help others, Hilda pushed her boundaries. She began exploring the world—of wellness modalities—studying Thai Massage, Reflexology, Reiki, Pilates, and Yoga.
She had a natural affinity and revealed a tremendous talent for the healing arts. In 2005, she (and her magic hands) was promoted to Wellness specialist aboard the National Geographic Islander, where she ruled the intimate confines of our treatment room with grace and intuition.
When we launched National Geographic Endeavour II, Hilda was invited to join the team, and Endeavour II has been her home ever since.
Whether it’s a one-to-one session or a maximally attended morning stretch class, Hilda channels her passion for wellness and for the Galapagos islands. She has a remarkable ability to deeply connect with guests, whether it’s intuiting where the kinks are in a massage, creating the miracle of “vacation face” in a treatment, or knowing when to stop for a vitalizing moment of silence on a beach or trail walk.
She customizes her treatments depending on what a guest wants, or needs. Many leave the ship feeling like they’ve been tended by a healer.
A mother of three, and a loving wife; she spends her time off ship with her family, hiking and staying active.
We celebrate Hilda as an explorer of the worlds within—the human body, mind and heart. She is the embodiment of the ‘tonic of wildness’ we seek in nature. Like healing waters, mountain air, or a natural spring, Hilda’s gentle care restores and rejuvenates, awakening us all to the wonders.
Why do you explore?
We never stop exploring; nature surprises us in such a wise and generous way. She teaches us to love her and respect her as is in her whole magnificence.
What is your favorite Lindblad destination?
Even though I have been in most of Central America, Galápagos is my favorite. On Bartolome Island, I met Mona Lisa, a sea lion, who was my companion for a year every Tuesday.
What is the dream exploration you have not done... Yet?
My dream is to visit the Arctic and Alaska, get to know its nature and culture.
Name a female hero(es) and why?
My favorite female hero is my daughter Andrea, who in spite of her age and illness, she taught us to have faith and to remain calm during hard times, to be strong and to persevere.
Another female hero to me is Mother Teresa of Calcutta with her noble mission, sacrifice for others and humility.
What is your advice to the next generation of women explorers?
To travel more, to be smarter and make the right decisions. To be the emotional support for their family, and have very good communication with their loved ones. To keep on exploring without neglecting their family. To be respectful and trustful.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I have been working onboard for 22 years. In spite of my age, people are always surprised to see how active and strong I can be, not only physically but emotionally as well.
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