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Luis "Champi" Rodriguez

Born in 1970 in Quito, Ecuador, Luis credits his parents with fostering his long-held love of nature. With mountain climbers and mariners in his family heritage, Luis adopted a passion for Ecuador’s biodiversity early on. He received a bi-national education at Lycée La Condamine, a French-Ecuadorian elementary and high school, and spent a year in the U.S. as an exchange student where he learned English and first began to explore environmental studies.

On returning to Ecuador, Luis worked with teams in the Upper Amazon rain forest studying the impact of oil exploration. In that setting, he opted to pursue a naturalist guide training course that would qualify him to work at ecolodges on the Napo River in the Limoncocha Reserve. In 1990 he became a certified Galapagos National Park naturalist guide, qualifying him to work aboard tourist vessels, and shortly thereafter earned his scuba diver certification as well.

In 1995 Luis moved to Lyons, France, to indulge his desire to travel extensively in Western Europe, but Ecuador called him back in 1998 when he returned to work as a guide in the Galapagos, this time with the aim of diving professionally in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Two years later, his job included underwater photography, videography and scuba diving instruction. Luis’s varied guiding experience includes natural history, scuba diving, kayaking, and school/university course trips. A Pacific crossing aboard the largest high-performance sloop in the world, on which Luis traveled as a scuba guide, launched a series of guiding stints aboard visiting private mega-yachts.

Music, playing guitar and reading about human and natural history are Luis’s main interests, while his favorite activities are surfing, swimming, kayaking and, of course, scuba diving. He and his wife Cristina Paz have two young sons, Emilio and Adrián. The family lives just outside Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos.

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