Our experts - tour leaders and collaborators

The following people (in alphabetical order) lead our expeditions on a regular or occasional basis. Please direct questions about trip scheduling, pricing, accommodations, logistics, etc., directly to Margarita Tours - trip leaders are not responsible for such details, and are on trips to interact with, and to contribute their expert knowledge to expedition participants. Margarita Tours personnel take care of the other details, allowing the expedition leader to dedicate his/her time to you, the client. Our leaders have myriad interests and talents, not all of which are mentioned here. If you are planning on a given expedition, we encourage you to contact the leader directly, as well as contact Margarita Tours.

In alphabetic order:

Dick and Patti Bartlett

Dick and Patty Bartlett have spent many years traveling through the US, Central and South America in search of reptiles and amphibians, and are experts in the husbandry and captive care of these fascinating animals. Dick spends considerable time on the road searching out rare North American amphibians and reptiles, while Patty does lots of professional writing when she is not accompanying Dick on one of his wild goose chases. Together, the Bartlett's have authored or coauthored over 30 reptile and amphibian care guide books and field guides, as well as numerous magazine articles. Mr. Bartlett is also a reptile and amphibian photographer whose work has appeared in natural history magazines and books. Patty's photographic talents are right up there too - but she spends more time focusing her lenses on insects. With the Bartlett's on a trip, there is rarely a dull moment as they both have remarkable senses of humor (remarkably deranged in Dick's case, possibly), and they are always ready to head out on the trails in search of the next interesting find. The Bartlett's recently published the only currently available guide to Amazon reptiles and amphibians, filling a big gap in field guides for the region - check it out. The Bartlett's reside in northern Florida where they tend a menagerie of dogs, tortoises and other animals, as well as tend an extensive collection of rare aroids and other plants. You can contact the Bartlett's directly at rdbartlett1@aol.com

Matt Cage

Matt Cage has extensive experience guiding trips and traveling to the American tropics.  Matt has been a trip leader for MT Amazon Expeditions since 2010.  Prior to that, Matt was a client of MT on multiple tours.  Matt has traveled extensively and photographed wildlife in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America.  Matt has also visited Africa, Australia, and Europe.  Matt is a life ling field-herper, who learned it growing up in a household where vacations to field-herping destinations was the norm.  For this, he thanks his his Father, Young Cage.  You can see Matt's photos in many published books and papers.  Matt is a Wildlife Biology major from Colorado State University (Go Rams!) and currently lives in the Denver, Colorado metro area.  Contact Matt at cages2000@msn.com or through his Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cage150.  View Matt's photos at his website http://www.cages.smugmug.com/

Devon Graham

Devon Graham is a tropical biologist with a degree from the University of Miami (1996), Florida. He has been fascinated with the tropics and with animals all of his life, and has lived, studied and worked in several countries in Africa and Central and South America, as well has having visited tropical areas of Australia and Asia. Devon's specialties are in ornithology and botany, but he is also interested in many other aspects of tropical ecology. Since 1994, he has spent extensive time each year in the Peruvian Amazon, and is currently President and Scientific Director of Project Amazonas, Inc., a non-profit humanitarian, conservation, and research organization which operates four field stations in the Peruvian Amazon. When not in the Amazon, Devon teaches in The Honors College of Florida International University, writes, and does consulting in the fields of tropical ecology and biology in Florida and elsewhere. No word yet on when he'll grow up - he is pictured here draining the water out of his boots, trying to outstare a marmoset, and imitating a smoky jungle frog. Devon can be contacted directly at devon@projectamazonas.org


Mike Pingleton

Mike has been involved with field herping for more than forty years, and field activities have taken him to many places around the world. The Peruvian Amazon is one of his favorite destinations, and after initial visits as a client, he now leads expeditions for MT Amazon. Mike is an operations manager for a computer center at the University of Illinois; retirement is just a few years away and he plans to spend even more time in the field.  Mike has been writing about field herping for several decades at www.fieldherping.org, and also serves as a project administrator for HerpMapper, a citizen science data collection project (www.herpmapper.org).  A portion of his herp photography can be found on Flickr.

Jim Riach - knowledge of indigenous issues

Jim Serach - experience in student and academic travel

Lorrie Smith

Lorrie Smith officially joined our "family" in 2004, though she had been coming to the Amazon with Margarita Tours as a client for many years. Just goes to show that anyone can aspire to, and achieve greatness! A die-hard herper at heart, Lorrie is particularly fond of snakes of all types, and regularly road-cruises in search of reptiles in the southwest US where she resides, as well as in adjacent areas of Mexico. Ms. Smith's strong business background is a great asset to Margarita Tours, and her sense of humor also livens up any expedition! For Ms. Smith, getting away to the Amazon is a welcome and necessary break from dealing with the pressures of the modern business world. Lorrie can be contacted directly at trakracer@aol.com.

Ground Staff

Fernando Rios Tulumba is a native of the Mazan area (Rio Napo) of the Peruvian Amazon, and has been working with Margarita Tours for over 20 years. Previously, he worked in fisheries management and forestry for the Peruvian government. Fernando is a man of many capabilities, from boat piloting, carpentry, and plumbing, to expedition organizing and outfitting and dealing with local bureaucracies. Having spent many years working in the forest and on the rivers of the region, Fernando also has a keen knowledge of the flora and fauna of the region, and is always willing to share his knowledge and love of the forest with others. Fernando oversees expedition organization and outfitting, as well as ground facility and boat maintenance and development.

Segundo Rios Ramirez is one of our riverboat captains. He follows in the footsteps of his father (Fernando Rios) in being a multi-talented, capable and hard-working individual. A favorite among passengers, Segundo enjoys participating in fish collecting, herp searches and other activities. His keen eye and extensive experience in finding creatures generally ensure that he comes up with more "good" stuff than anyone else. His skills as an expert tree-climber often come in handy as well, such as when he was able to obtain this yellow-tailed cribo (left) which had climbed 20 feet up into a vine tangle. In addition to his other talents, he is also a master with the chainsaw, and personally cut most of the timbers used in the construction of our riverboats, as well as building materials for various of the ground facilities that we utilize. Segundo has worked with Margarita Tours since 1995. Often to be found at the wheel of one of our vessels, Segundo occasionally needs expert assistance from "professional navigators", such as these two orange- winged amazon parrots that we rescued from a hunter and rehabilitated.

Emerson Torres

MS people