WHY NEOTROPIC EXPEDITIONS?

IT ALL STARTED IN 1991, AND WE HAVEN’T SLOWED DOWN SINCE. FROM THE AMAZON JUNGLE TO THE CARIBBEAN SEA, AND THE ANDEAN HIGHLANDS TO THE GALAPAGOS, WE PERFECTED THE ART OF NEOTROPICAL EXPLORATION.

For the past 25 years, we´ve pioneered new ways to explore. Our non-stop trailblazing makes us the undisputed leaders of specialty travel in the Neotropics.

Through our constant exploration, field research and interaction with local communities we´ve developed a system for creating in-depth, curated and sustainable journeys and active adventures in Galapagos, Ecuador and Colombia.

With headquarters in Quito, we´ve become the only multi-destination operator that combines exclusive adventure, community and foodie experiences in Ecuador. We´ve mastered the art of land-based Galapagos experiences, with stays at our premium and comfort hotels in the three largest Southern Galapagos Islands. In Colombia, we rank highest in the biking operator segment with three offices countrywide.

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SUSTAINABILITY

We are rooted in nature, and spiritually connected to our ancestral values of respect and harmonious interaction with native communities. We minimize our environmental and cultural impact wherever we go. We are Rainforest Alliance Certified, and particularly in Galapagos, we champion community-based experiences. As a result, 70% of all moneys from your trip are invested in these local communities and their sustained development.

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LOVE FOR OUR WORLD

Our diverse itineraries give you the chance to fully immerse yourself in the culture and natural history of a destination.

We believe these authentic interactions allow us to better understand, appreciate, and protect the world in which we live.

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AMAZING GUEST SERVICE

We are passionate about providing incredibly personalized client experiences. As travelers, we are acutely aware of what makes a trip memorable and are convinced premium guest services are at the core. So naturally, we take care of every detail of your journey, from the moment you make your reservation until you board your flight home.

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OUR ROOTS IN ADVENTURE

Alfredo Meneses started his guiding career at the age of 19. In 1991, with his brother Marcelo, they founded our company and quickly developed new modes of travel and destination routes to explore. In 2002, we pioneered the first Galapagos kayaking and multisport itineraries.

As a way to ensure quality accommodations in the islands, we started the Opuntia Hotel network which we manage under standards of sustainability and green practices. Recently, with our neighboring Colombia blossoming into a peaceful destination, we added some spectacular journeys and adventures across different ecosystems in the country. Today we continue doing what we do best; developing new ways to learn, explore and live each destination.

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THOUGHTFUL CREATION

We know that Galapagos isn’t only about wildlife, and Ecuador isn’t just about the Amazon (and that Colombia isn’t spelled Columbia!). At Neotropic we embrace natural history, contextualizing each destination we operate.

In Galapagos, we pair unique culinary experiences with wildlife viewing; in Ecuador we combine spiritual moments with meaningful cultural encounters; and in Colombia we bring together coffee tasting and mountain biking. Every Journey focuses on natural history, culture, food and community-centric experiences that elevate it from a simple tour. Our Adventures share the same focus as our Journeys, but include longer walks and active experiences such as kayaking, biking, or rafting.

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MEETING AND EXCEEDING NORTH AMERICAN STANDARDS

We believe in nothing short of excellence. Our team of seasoned guides and service crews are the best in their field. We provide ongoing training and certifications for all our staff, and we constantly upgrade our equipment to ensure your client´s maximum safety and comfort.

We developed and continue to manage our own Technical Safety Standards for adventure travel based on Latin America’s best practices. We also carry full liability insurance.

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PRIVATE TRAVEL OR SCHEDULED DEPARTURES

We believe everyone should experience the joy of adventure and nature travel. With our Essential Journeys and Adventures, your clients have affordable opportunities to experience the incredible Neotropics.

On a shared-basis, these scheduled departures cover some of our most popular itineraries in the Galapagos and Colombia.
In contrast, we offer extremely personalized, custom-made itineraries for those who prefer a private, exclusive alternative to group travel in all three regions.

What makes us different?
WE FOCUS ON YOUR PERSONAL TRAVEL EXPERIENCE.

Field leaders founded our company – experts with vast knowledge of what adventurers anticipate in a high-quality expedition.

So we team with only the best and brightest. We believe the knowledge and storytelling qualities of our guides make a world of difference in your travel experience.

On the backend, our customer care and logistics managers ensure your trip is meticulously prepared long before you arrive. We thoroughly scout locations, using our first-hand knowledge to design itineraries filled with unique cultural and foodie opportunities.

So What is our Story?

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It all began, over 25 years ago, when our co-founder Alfredo Meneses rafted the first whitewater gorges of the Amazon and Andean regions, falling in love with adrenaline and adventure. So in 1991, with sheer enthusiasm and quality rafting gear, Eco Adventure was born.

In 1993, we expanded our adventure activities to trekking and mountain biking, thus creating the well-known “multisport” concept. His brother Marcelo Meneses joined him as co-founder and the company became Ecuador Adventure, including sea kayaking, whitewater kayaking and bird watching tours to its line of activities.

In 2002 we created the first Multisport excursion in the Galapagos Islands, introducing sea kayak, horseback riding, trekking, biking, and developing the concept of land-based tours, changing the way travelers explored Galapagos since the mid 1970´s.

In 2007 we ventured into our first hotel operation in San Cristobal Island, Galapagos. Today Opuntia Hotels is a network of 7 leading waterfront properties in three islands. In 2013 we added Colombia to our portfolio and developed the first high-end soft adventures and journeys in the Santander, Medellin and Santa Marta regions. Shortly thereafter, we changed our name to Neotropic Expeditions, and included a line of high-end luxury itineraries in all three regions: Galapagos, Ecuador and Colombia.

Alfredo and Marcelo still explore and travel together, searching for beautiful, unimaginable places to inspire their next adventure.

TRAVEL WITH THE EXPERTS

One of our most valuable asset are the people we work with. Your trip leader is the single most important factor in the quality of your travel experience. Over the years, we´ve worked hard to built a team of extraordinary naturalist and adventure guides to lead our trips.

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Alfredo Meneses

Our lead guide and Chief Exploratory Officer started his career at 19, working as a Mountain Travel Sobek tour guide for South American circuits. Since then, he has gained valuable experience working for many other leading adventure operators.

His guests always take a special liking to him, responding to his charisma, sympathy, and sensibility. Alfredo has been everywhere in Ecuador and seems to know everyone, even when you think that you are in a forgotten town or uncharted region of the rainforest. With vast knowledge of biology and natural history, he has extensive rainforest experience. He is a kayak instructor, and has kayaked in America, Africa and Europe, completing over 50 river descents. If you ever sit at a dinner table with him, you’ll forget you’re a client and immediately feel like his old friend.

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Andres De la Torre

Andres was born and raised in Quito, although with his blue eyes and perfect English, many guests don’t believe it. With over 25 years of guiding experience and a degree in Biology, Andres is one of our most seasoned and knowledgeable guides. He loves to share detailed information about natural history, geology, botany, and evolutionary biology, and is a great match for guests who are especially interested in these topics.

Andres is also an avid mountain biker and hiker, and when he’s not guiding or hanging out with his wife and daughter, you can find him speeding along the trails around Quito. Andres leads nature, culture, and multisport tours across the mainland and the Galapagos. He has traveled all over the Americas, and his favorite part of guiding with Ecuador Adventure is sharing the history and beauty of such a huge variety of destinations.

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Miguel Vera

Miguel is a guide dedicated to his craft. Before trips, you can always find him reviewing every detail of his itineraries and constantly making improvements. In addition to his skill in outdoor adventure, he has a special knack for leading culture tours, always adding a special significance to his guests’ experience.

Miguel seems to know everything about Ecuador’s natural and cultural history. His guests appreciate his knowledge and dedication and tend to refer to him as a natural leader. In recognition of his mastery of his craft, Miguel won REI’s Top Guide Award in 2009.

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Felipe Meneses

Felipe has spent a tremendous amount of time traveling all over Ecuador and developing some of our most remote and unique journeys. He loves being in the wilderness and spends his free time running adventure races, volunteering as a Search and Rescue operator, biking, and kayaking.

Felipe loves guiding guests who are interested in science, ask tough questions, and like an intense physical challenge.

Felipe grew up in Quito and earned his degree in biotechnology here, but he and his wife recently moved to a farm in the shadows of Cotopaxi and Ilinizas, where they grow broccoli and artichokes, raise horses, and ride the singletrack trails around the farm. Now a full-time farmer, Felipe isn’t guiding as much, but still finds the time to share his passion for the outdoors every few weeks.

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Juan Fernando Duran

After an early experience working on a documentary about the Huaorani people, Juan Fernando found his passion in helping travelers get to know the wonders of his country. He studied ecology and tourism in Quito, as well as quality management during a year-long exchange in Germany. Juan Fernando has over 12 years of guiding experience, and has also worked in sales and operations.

He speaks fluent Spanish, English, and German. Juan Fernando has traveled and guided in every corner of the country, but his favorite spot is his rural cabin on the slopes of Volcan Tungurahua, where he goes to get away from it all. He is known as a people person, and is able to lead all kinds of individuals and groups, from endurance athletes to grandparents, to an unforgettable journey. Juan Fernando loves plants and birds, but what he loves most is sharing his passion for nature with inquisitive and active travelers.

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Tomas Espinosa

I’ve been guiding for 10 years all through out Ecuador, andes, amazon, cloud forest, pacific and Galapagos islands.

Nature is my passion, anything related to it, plants, animals, birds, insects, water!!!
I love outdoor sports and activities, biking, hiking, fishing, climbing volcanoes, kayaking at the pacific or flat water Amazonian rivers….etc. Put those two things together and I have the perfect job, at the perfect country.

I love to show people either from Ecuador or other countries, the beautifull and unique place we have here in Ecuador.

SUSTAINABILITY AND COMMUNITY INVESTMENT

Yes we “visit” beautiful places, but we actually seek to make a difference. We are committed to the preservation of our fragile and unique ecosystem along with the wellbeing of its people. This includes a leave-no-trace policy and a green footprint in the development of local communities.

We are sustainable:

  • Our environmental practices stem from a lifetime of close contact with pristine ecosystems. Before environmental standards were deemed necessary, we surpassed industry and national standards.
  • We process and recycle all waste in each Island’s processing plant.
  • We are the first tour operator certified by Rainforest Alliance in Ecuador. This certification is not yet available in Colombia, yet our sustainable policies and processes mirror those of Ecuador.
  • We are certified with “Marca Q”, a local certification for sustainability and quality assurance.
  • We subscribe to TAP – Travelers Against Plastic and Leave No Trace standards.

We invest in communities:

As a travel operator, the wellbeing of our planet is our most important objective. It´s social and environmental welfare is critical to us – not just as a business, but as passionate humans who love what this world has to offer.

We believe in adding social value, hiring locally, using local resources, and committing 70% of all trip moneys to local families living in fragile ecosystems, such as the Galapagos Islands.

By traveling with us, you help us guarantee the places you visit stay beautiful and pristine for generations to come.