Colonial & Natural Mexico
Nature & Wildlife
My passion for travel has taken me many places in my life, and allowed me to learn and experience so much. Having the opportunity to share that knowledge and experience with others is a joy. Learning about my clients, how they like to travel and what kinds of things they enjoy, enables me to suggest the destinations, accommodations and activities that best suit their style. I approach each trip as a puzzle, and feel a great sense of satisfaction when I’m able to fit the various pieces together into a comprehensive and thoughtful whole that is unique and customized to each individual client.
Ecuador (16x), Galapagos Islands (13x), Peru (19x), Chile (8x), Argentina (8x), Brazil (4x), Bolivia, Uruguay, Colombia (2x), Costa Rica (3x), Guatemala, Panama, Mexico (10x), Australia, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Morocco, France, Canada (7x)
BS in Education & Earth Science, University of Kansas
Natural Habitat Adventures – Sr. Adventure Director (14 years)
- Trendsetter Award, 2016 – Luxury Travel Advisor
- IGTOA (International Galapagos Tour Operators Association) – Board Secretary
Most Memorable Travel Experience
Swimming with whale sharks is hands down the most epic wildlife adventure of my life, and one I have had the great fortune to experience TWICE! The first time was in 2012, when seven friends and I chartered a day boat to take us from Isla Holbox, Mexico to nearby plankton-rich feeding waters, where males pass through on their annual migration. We could see them swimming below our boat, and had to trust our guide when he told us to jump in. I have never felt so small… these whale sharks measured around 30 feet from mouth to tail, and seemed to go on forever. They are gentle, but fast, and we had to swim hard to keep up. The second time was in 2016, from La Paz on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. This area attracts smaller females and calves. The whale shark we swam with here moved slowly, so we were able to spend a long time with her in the water, and marvel at her size and beauty. Absolutely thrilling, both times, to be among these majestic creatures.
Recommended Right Now
In Peru, I’m loving the new Belmond Andean Explorer, a sleeper train which travels from Cusco to Lake Titicaca, and on to the city of Arequipa (or reverse). The train itself is a picture of luxury, with stylish décor, world class dining and top-notch service. The cozy cabins are well appointed, featuring local textiles and en suite facilities. But this trip is about more than the train itself… the route is among the world’s highest in altitude, traveling through remote Andean plains, and taking in the local culture along the way. In addition to two nights on board, spend a day experiencing some of Lake Titicaca’s highlights, visiting the islands of Uros and Taquile for a first-hand look at the traditional way of life still maintained here. The route concludes in the “White City” of Arequipa, among Peru’s prettiest, and off the typical tourist track. This is also the jumping off point to Colca Canyon for spectacular scenery, archaeological sites, hot springs, and a chance to see the iconic Andean condor. Spend a couple of nights at Belmond’s Las Casitas, or the charming Colca Lodge, to cap off the experience. The Andean Explorer is an ideal extension for a visit to Cusco and Machu Picchu, or a return trip to Peru for those seeking a more in-depth culture and nature experience.
My Most Recent Trip
In April 2018, I visited Colombia for a second time. This country is a true South American treasure, with hip cities, charming small towns, stunning accommodations, glorious nature, and a food and art scene rivaling many of its southern neighbors. The highlights for me included the lush coffee region with its exotic fruits, rich diversity of birdlife and homey haciendas; the city of Medellin, an unexpected surprise with its flowers, gentrified neighborhoods and warm people; the coastal city of Cartagena, vibrant with color, history, music and dance; and the village of Barichara, widely considered Colombia’s most beautiful with red tile roofs, cobbled streets and delicious organic cuisine. Colombia is well on its way to becoming a major South American hot spot, and I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to experience it while it is still authentic.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
This hotel has topped my list of world favorites for over a decade. Set along the river on the outskirts of Aguas Calientes, Peru at the base of the Machu Picchu ruins, this lodge is full of character and offers cozy accommodations in individual casitas amidst a jungle-like atmosphere surrounded by over 300 species of orchids and numerous nature trails. Truly a fabulous experience in itself.
Sol y Luna Lodge & Spa
Sol y Luna is located in the town of Urubamba, Peru, in the Sacred Valley between Cusco and Machu Picchu. This lodge offers upscale accommodations in individual casitas, surrounded by colorful gardens and flanked by the Andes Mountains. The Deluxe Villas are a special treat, with spacious bedrooms, natural finishes, and impressive luxury baths.
Located north of Quito, Hacienda Zuleta is a country home and working farm belonging to the family of a former Ecuadorian president. A stay here provides guests with a lovely combination of highland culture, nature and wildlife. A range of excursions including hiking, biking, horseback riding, and visits/activities with the nearby community are included with a stay here, along with delicious home cooked meals. This is easily my favorite lodge on Ecuador’s mainland.
On Costa Rica’s Guanacaste coast is the eco-resort of Punta Islita. The property is built on a hillside overlooking a secluded black sand beach, and accommodations are in comfortable villas and casitas, with plenty of local charm and special amenities. The hotel maintains a close relationship with the nearby community, which benefits guests with personal contact, art workshops, and a committed team of exceptionally trained staff. This is my favorite spot in Costa Rica for relaxation, local culture and seaside activities.
Located on the outskirts of Torres del Paine National Park, this lodge provides cozy accommodations surrounded by some of the most remote and pristine landscapes in the world. Each spacious guest villa has a designated guide, so activities each day are private and totally customized. The attention to detail and level of service at this lodge are unrivaled. This is the most exclusive way to visit the crown jewel of Chilean Patagonia.
For adventurers, this unique experience can’t be beat. Set in the heart of Bolivia’s Uyuni Salt Flats, these comfortable campers are decked out with cozy beds, heat and AC, and bathrooms with hot water showers. Bicycles are available for exploring the salt, which stretches in every direction for miles and miles. An on-site chef prepares meals to order, and sunset fireside cocktails are a special highlight.