Our Team, a rainforest jungle family

Here you will meet all the team: guides, directors, office staff and more...

Xavier Andrango

COMMERCIAL & TOUR COORDINATOR

Xavier´s love for nature, wildlife, and conservation started at an early age with his family vacations around Ecuador. He holds a degree in ecotourism and has many years of experience as a guide and working in the commercial area at an office.

The Amazon rainforest is his favorite place in Ecuador; he calls it a magical place. His deep knowledge of this area is applied to make sure that you have a great experience.

He believes the power of photography can be used to help conserve our planet and the animals and plants that live in it. Through his pictures, he wants to sensibilise the public to be aware of the need to protect wildlife.

INSTA: @xaviec.photography

Javier

Javier Aznar Gonzalez de Rueda

GUIDE: Photo Safari Tour

Javier Aznar is a professional photographer with a Biology degree from Spain who focuses on natural history and wildlife conservation and its relationship with humans. 

He is an Associate Fellow at the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP), and he is a member of The Photo Society. His photographs have received multiple international awards, including the Portfolio winner in Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018. Frequently, he gives lectures about photography and conservation in Photography Festivals around the globe, such as in the GDT, MontPhoto, etc.

Javier’s work is in international magazines such as National Geographic, Ranger Rick, BBC Wildlife, Geolino, and others. He is a Sony Alpha Ambassador. 

INSTA: @javier_aznar_photography
WEB: www.javieraznarphotography.com

Katy B

Katy Balladares

MANAGING DIRECTOR

Katy belongs to the second generation of people born in Mandaripanga. Her grandparents migrated and founded this kichwa community to live there, respecting the environment and their culture.

She moved to Coca to attend high school and to pursue a college degree which she did. When she moved out from Mandaripanga, she knew she had to protect “their land.” That is why she has been working for 15 years to organize their people with projects in conservation of resources, sustainable agriculture, gender equality, economic growth, quality education, and the health and well-being of its people.

In 2016, her dream of opening Mandaripanga Yasuni Jungle Expeditions was a reality. This sustainable tourism project helps her achieve her goals for her community and their surroundings.

She is the managing director of this project and others. She will go beyond to make sure all visitors leave with a great experience and a sense of protecting the Amazon Rainforest and its inhabitants.

Erick Camacho

Erik Camacho

GUIDE: Nature + Culture Tour, Kayak Tour

He is 23 years old and was born in Dayuma. He has lived all his life there, a small town right next to the jungle. During his time in school, he shared classes with Kichwas, Shuaras, and Huaorani kids. There he learned about their culture and ancestral knowledge. That motivated him to pursue higher education in tourism and conservation.

After he graduated, he worked as a volunteer with a foundation in the upper Napo River area. This foundation has a lodge and a small scientific station, where he gained more knowledge about the rainforest’s flora and fauna. After obtaining his guide license, he started working for Yachana Lodge and Mandaripanga.

He has been guiding since the start of the project. He is one of our regular guides because he says, “Mandaripanga is unique; I can not get enough of that place. Every single thing is special for me.”

Fredy Gualinga

Fredy Gualinga

MANAGING DIRECTOR AND GUIDE: Amazon Adventure Experience

Fredy is Managing Director of Mandaripanga. Before starting this project, Fredy was General Manager for Sani Lodge. He is from a kichwa community located along the Napo River. From an early age, he enjoyed being in the jungle, walking, and exploring the forest. He started as a native guide, then a bilingual naturalist guide, all this to begin his dream.

He is constantly exploring new areas looking for animals, and planning new trails and itineraries. Besides having a vast knowledge of the jungle´s flora and fauna, he has all the cultural baggage inherited by his shaman father. While Fredy still guides a few tours, most of his time is focused on improving the tourism project and day-to-day running of the company.

He has guided in all major lodges in the lower Napo River area, always having the best reviews from his passengers.

Ramiro Hualinga

Ramiro Gualinga

GUIDE: Kayak Tour and Amazon Adventure Experience

Ramiro was born in the kichwa community of Sani Isla, located on the shores of the Napo River.

He started as a native guide at a young age; this is how he shows his interest in protecting and conserving his home, the Amazon rainforest. Guiding is also his way of transmitting their ancestral knowledge to the people visiting the Yasuni National Park area. He worked for Sani Lodge as an administrator. With more knowledge about the importance of tourism to preserve the rainforest, he started working as a native guide for the Mandari Panga project.

A couple of years ago, he started to study to get his bilingual guide license. Finally, he can directly share his knowledge about the jungle with our visitors. He is very excited to be a Mandari Panga guide because he has the chance to keep learning about the pachamama (mother earth).

Olger

Olger Licuy

GUIDE: Birdwatching Tour

Olger Licuy was born in Nuevo Rocafuerte, a small village on the shores of the Napo River on the border with Peru. When he was nine years old, he moved to the kichwa community of Sani Isla and grew up in that community.

At 15, he started working at La Selva Lodge; that is when he began studying birds from the Amazon. It took him about six years to learn all the birds of Ecuador. When he was 24 years old, he was a professional guide and started leading birdwatching tours around Ecuador.

He has traveled to the United States, Central America, and South Africa to learn more about the birds of other countries.

He is an excellent birdwatching guide for Ecuador tours, especially those in the Amazon rainforest (his home). He is a well-known guide within the birdwatching community in the country. We are delighted to have him on our team.

amazon lodge ecuador fauna tapir

Gonzalito

Gonzalito is a South American Tapir (Tapirus terrestris) rescued by the Environment Ministry of Ecuador in Coca when he was months old. He was placed at the zoo outside of the city to recover and get checked by a veterinarian.

The Ministry asked us to reintroduce him to his environment. Gonzalito has been at the campsite since 2020. Little by little, he started to explore the area, and now he leaves for days but always comes back to the campsite to welcome our guests.