About MT Amazon Expeditions

We were founded in 1983, and have been offering Peruvian Amazon expeditions ever since. The company official name is Margarita Tours, Inc.*, after Margaret, the original owner, but when it was turned over to a long-term employee on 7 Sept 1994, we elected to revise the name we commonly use. Too many prospective clients had visions of non-stop alcoholic drinks in wide glasses with a slice of lime and salt on the rim.... While we might enjoy a Margarita from time to time ourselves, it isn't what we're all about!

What are we proud of? 

  • Our permanent commitment to the Amazon - both to the environment and to the people.
  • Our unflagging support of Project Amazonas, a non-profit organization that was born out of Margarita Tours in 1994. 
  • Our clients. These are people who want to really experience the Amazon ("bugs", humidity and all), and who keep coming back!  From 20-30% of the participants on any given expedition are repeat clients. Many also become regular donors to Project Amazonas. 
  • Our staff. Our Peruvian staff are top-notch, and work very hard to make very Amazon experience memorable in all the right ways. 

What are we passionate about? 

  • Getting out into the field! MT Amazon's owners, trip leaders and Peruvian staff all love getting off the beaten track in the Amazon. 
  • Finding new cool things - each and every expedition - we're constantly learning!
  • Providing young people and students of all ages a horizon-broadening life experience. 
  • Mark Twain. Huh? Sure! Who else had the wit to note “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” (Tom Sawyer Abroad - 1894). Engaged or soon-to-be engaged couples take note - we will offer you a discounted rate!

Our clients come from all walks of life and have ranged from 8 to 80 years of age. Repeat clients always receive a discounted expedition rate, and the 10th expedition is completely complementary. Stop snickering - we've made good for a 10th expedition! About 60% of our clients are from the USA, 10% from Canada, 20% from Europe, and 10% from scattered locations around the globe. 

Meet our Directors, Trip Leaders & Key Staff

Devon Graham (Owner/President/Expedition Leader/Botany, Birding & Fish Collecting Buff)

   Devon   with Margarita - the rescue otter

Devon with Margarita - the rescue otter

Lorrie Smith (Owner/Vice President/Expedition Leader/Herp Fan)

Dick Bartlett (Expedition Leader/Photographer/Author/Herp & Bird Fan)

Matt Cage (Expedition Leader/Herpetology Tours/Photographer).  Matt 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/

Mike Pingleton (Expedition Leader/Photographer/Herp & Bird Fan)

For more than forty years, Mike Pingleton has been pursuing amphibians and reptiles in the field. Along with covering much of the United States, Mike has also pursued herps in Mexico, Panama, Belize, Peru, and most recently, Thailand.   After first visiting the Peruvian Amazon in 2011 as a client of MT Amazon Expeditions, Mike was hooked!  He signed on as a trip leader in 2014.  Mike has written extensively about field herping, including articles for Herp Nation and the International Reptile Conservation Foundation.  Mike is also the author of a how-to manual on Redfoot Tortoises, he has written several children's e-books about herps, and is currently working on two books related to field herping.  His field herping blog is at www.fieldherping.org.  Mike also serves on the administrative board for HerpMapper (www.herpmapper.org), a citizen-science-powered data collection project.  Mike is a computer operations manager at the University of Illinois, and makes his home in Champaign.  He can be reached at pingleto@gmail.com, or through FaceBook.  Mike’s photo collections can be viewed on Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikepingleton/collections.

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Michael Barber (Tropical Fish Expert)

Michael has been a fish enthusiast and keeper for more than fifty years. His journey started with his parents’ gift of a five-gallon stainless steel and slate aquarium with box filter and stainless incandescent hood. As he grew and endured spun fiberglass embedded in his fingers and unexpected electrical groundings, he graduated from live bearers to breeding Pearl Gouramis before the age of ten and Discus before twelve.

His passions are Calichthydae, Apistogrammas and Apistogrammoides pucallpaensis. He has had nearly fifty species of Corydoras, Brochis and Aspidoras in his “Testanzonia”, a large room dedicated to fish, in which at any time he maintains sixty to one hundred tanks. He has bred over fifty species of Calichthydae, dozens of Apistogramma species and many, many more.  He is an expert in the biology and chemistry of breeding cycles, and regimens for the transport and quarantine of imported Amazon fish. 

He ventures to the Amazon basin frequently to collect fish and thoroughly enjoys being a mentor introducing others to their first Amazon expedition with co-leader, Devon Graham. In 2014, he began facilitating shipping fish caught on these trips. In 2015, in partnership with Ian Fuller, they established a new fish collecting venture, GoWildPeru, in Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios, Perú.

Michael is an active member of many fish organisations including: Potomac Valley Aquarium Society (PVAS – current treasurer and past president), Greater Washington Aquatic Plant Association (GWAPA), the Capital Cichlid Association (CCA), James River Aquarium Society (JRAS) and the Catfish Study Group. He is past Co-Chair of the All-Aquarium Catfish Convention. Another membership of note is The American Begonia Society, Potomac Branch.

Michael is available to present to fish clubs about collecting trips with MT Amazon Expeditions. You can contact Michael here.

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Ground and river Staff in Perú

Guillermo Antonio Guerra Perez

Guillermo is first one you'll meet as he greets you at the airport. At a young age Guillermo began working on something he loves - making guests feel safe and comfortable in his home country. He’s an expert in airport transfers, arranging hotels and river transport, and those other unexpected things such as rebooking flights, ad-hoc city tours, or replacing essential lost or forgotten items. Whatever it takes, he knows the ropes.

For sixteen years, he has been working for Margarita Tours and Project Amazonas, Inc., a joint American-Peruvian non-governmental organazation dedicated to the preservation of the Peruvian Amazon and its peoples. 

Fernando Rios Tulumba (Manager/Supplier/Logistics/Jack-of-all-Trades)

Segundo Rios Ramirez (Captain/Mechanic/Chain-saw Expert/Snake Catcher/Can-do-Person)

Emerson Torres Pacaya (Santa Cruz Supervisor/Jack-of-all-Trades/Chef/Animal Finder)

Julio Sinojara Napiama (Madre Selva Caretaker/Native Naturalist Extraordinaire)

Cesar Peña Bardales (Naturalist/Translator/Animal Finder/Adventurer)

 

*MARGARITA TOURS INC is registered with the State of Florida as a Seller of Travel. Registration No. ST36032.