Every Discover Corps trip is led by an English-speaking local guide who knows exactly how and where the spirit of the country moves. Since we’ve worked together for years, they’re more than just staff; they’re part of our extended family. As our guest, they’ll welcome you into that family and show you unparalleled hospitality and service.
Since our guides live in their countries, they are unmatched in their depth of knowledge about the country and in their passion to share it with visitors. In addition to the adventures you encounter, they’ll sweep you into both organized and spontaneous discussions that provoke a deeper understanding of life in that country. Below are our primary guides on just a few of our trips (please note that guides can vary from group to group):
Kenya: Safari & Conservation
Guide: Lincoln Njiru
Lincoln was born and brought up in central Kenya where he developed a passion for things of nature
early in life. Pursuing this early passion seemed the obvious thing to do as he went ahead to graduate
with a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource Management from Egerton University, Kenya. Years that followed saw him work as a Conservation Officer in one of Botswana’s game reserves before proceeding for further studies at the University of KwaZulu Natal where he graduated with a Masters degree in Environment and Development. He thereafter returned to Kenya to work in the Maasai Mara where he was involved with wildlife conservation programs for a number of years and also involved with endangered species conservation with a focus on rhino conservation in Kenya. Lincoln’s passion lies in biodiversity conservation with interest in conservation initiatives that have a community focus and contribute to improvement of livelihoods.
Costa Rica: Wildlife Safari
Guide: Karla Taylor
Karla has been guiding in Costa Rica for nearly 25 years and brings a wealth of knowledge about the area. She is passionate about wildlife, conservation, and the beautiful nature that inhabits her country. She loves to teach children about the importance of the issues that threaten the wildlife in Costa Rica and strives to create a personalized experienced for all her travelers. Watch a video of Karla talking about this trip here.
Alaska: The Great Exploration
My name is Marisa and I was born and raised here in the South Fork Valley of Eagle River, Alaska. Now, if I am not guiding, you can probably find me rowing around my pink drift boat and fishing on the Kenai! I graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in Recreation & Tourism Management. I spent the better part of a decade living in Cooper Landing and working as a rafting guide and fishing guide on the Kenai Peninsula during the summers, and in recent years returned to Anchorage during the winters as a tour guide here.
Costa Rica: The Sea Turtle Initiative
Guide: Tara Tiedemann
Originally from Wisconsin, Tara now lives in Costa Rica. Her love for Central America began long ago when she spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala. In that role, she witnessed how sustainable tourism could positively impact local communities. Since then, she has dedicated herself to developing and operating responsible travel programs across Central America. Watch a video of Tara talking about this trip here.
Belize: Wildlife Volunteer Adventure
Guide: Martin Ack
Mr. Ack grew up in the Ke’kchi Maya village of San Miguel. As TIDE’s tour guide he loves sharing his knowledge of Maya culture and showing guests and Ridge to Reef participants the archeological sites and Maya history in Toledo. Through his passion for conservation Martin is pursuing a degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of Belize and views himself as a responsible steward of natural resources. Martin is an asset to the Ridge to Reef team as he guides participants on excursions throughout the expedition. Martin ensures that each participant enjoys a true Belizean adventure.
South Africa: Wildlife Conservation Experience
Guide: Lily Jackson & Conraad Loubser
Lily is originally from the UK but has lived in South Africa for a number of years where she has worked in responsible tourism. Conraad is a native of South Africa and is a certified naturalist guide. He is most at home when he’s out in the bush and loves sharing the natural wonders of his countries with travelers.
Tanzania: Safari & Service
Guide: Esther Simba
Originally a secondary school teacher, Esther “Mama” Simba became a Language & Culture trainer for the US Peace Corps, and was the founding country Director for Cross-Cultural Solutions Tanzania. Today, she facilitates women’s empowerment workshops and shares her love of Tanzania with travelers who come to support her community. Watch a video of Mama Simba talking about this trip here.
Peru: Children of the Andes
Guide: Miguel Revatta Tagle
Miguel was born and raised in Cusco where he studied tourism management. He has worked in all areas of the travel industry, including travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, and even the Andean Railway Company that runs the train to Machu Picchu! He is thrilled to return to Andahuaylillas, his family’s hometown, and share the village with Discover Corps travelers.
Croatia: Dolphins & Islands Expedition
Guide: Petra Ban
Petra was born in Zagreb, capital of Croatia. Traveled and explored Croatia and world by hiking, biking and rock climbing. After graduating computer science, worked for twelve years in IT as consultant and project manager – and then decided for a change! Petra loves to work with clients in nature, showing them beauties of Croatia and of local nature, people, food and culture – which are deeply interconnected! The ultimate goal of every trip is making people participating happy and creating experiences that last for lifetime. Privately, Petra is a mother of two beautiful daughters and together as family, they travel around Croatia and world – to open their minds and teach them to respect people and nature from the youngest age.
Dominican Republic: Heart & Soul of Caribbean
Guide: Leslie Smith
Leslie has been in the education field for 10 years. She started with educating others about environment issues and the importance of sustainability. Her passion for education and the world lead her to get a Masters in International Relations and a Certification in International Development from Webster University. Leslie has been developing curriculum since 2012 for institutions in the United States, as well as in Latin America. She believes that in order for learners to care, open-up, and absorb new thoughts and ideas, the educator must be willing to gauge and incorporate the learners interests, skills, and abilities. When she isn’t cracking jokes with students or lecturing, she enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and playing with animals.
Australia: Beachside Wildlife Adventure
Guides: Manny and Sharon
Sharon and Manny are a wealth of knowledge for everything Australia. Both originally from the not-so-sunny island of England, Sharon & Manny settled in the Australian sunshine several decades ago. They can not only show you the best places to eat and experience the laid back lifestyle that Australians are known for, but have almost a second sense of finding kangaroos, wallabies and koalas in the wild.
Guatemala: In & Beyond the Classroom
Guide: Orlando Arizandieta
Orlando is trilingual in Spanish, English, and Norwegian. In addition to having over a decade of experience in international volunteerism, Orlando has also worked for the Guatemalan government and with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. He has worked to eradicate poverty, produce green energy, and promote multiculturalism and ethnic diversity and history.