It is very difficult to find the right people in a Third World country. The traditions, the culture and the local mentality do not always match with the requirements of the modern world. After more than 15 years of running our business we have form a solid and reliable staff. Our guides, cooks, drivers, office personnel, mule and llama drivers and porters are not only the best in their own areas, but also love what they and will be happy to share their experiences and knowledge with you.
We strongly believe that the guide is the "corner stone" one a trip. A good guide can be the difference between a wonderful trip or a disastrous one.
The main goal of our guides is to lead the clients through a beautiful and unforgettable experience and that is why we always work with the elite of the qualified guides. Their wide expertise allow them not only to run a successful and safe trip, but also to give our clientele a deep inside in the culture and history of the country.
On adventurous trips (i.e. overland, trekking, mountaineering, mountain biking, Sea Kayaking), or “special interest” customized trips (i.e. Photography, Archaeology, Bird Watching), we contract highly specialized guides who are experts in their specialty.
As we are not a massive operator, we rather work with small to medium sized groups. This allows us to give our clients a more personalized and catered service that would not be possible in larger groups. Our guide/client ratio is 1 to 7 on trekking and overland trips, 1 to 3 or 1 to 2 on mountaineering (depending of the difficulty of the chosen route).
Our Mountain Guides have been trained and certified by the German Alpine Club (DAV) and the National School of Ski and Alpinism of Chamonix (ENSA). Nowadays, we have more than 25 Bolivian mountain guides that have the certification of the International Mountain Guides Association (IMGA, UIAGM, IVBV). All of them are active members of the Bolivian Mountain Guides Association (AGMTB), very skilled in their climbing and guiding techniques.
José Camarlinghi (International UIAGM licence CAMJ005)
Jose's love of nature and Mountains started with his first visit to the Andes when he was 14 years old. Since then the "Call of the Hills" has not diluted and he has dedicated his life to work as a mountain guide. Proper training started in 1984 with the aid of the German government and the German Alpine Club (DAV). Then a group of Bolivians were certified as a mountain guide’s instructors. After many years of negotiation, Bolivia succeeded in becoming a member of the International Mountain Guides Association (IMGA, UIAGM, IVBV) in 2005. Jose then achieved his international Certification. He has studied Film Making and holds a Masters degree on Script Writing and has worked on some documentary projects with the BBC. He has lead trekking and climbing groups in Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina and Chile and speaks Spanish, English and French.
Javier Thellaeche(International UIAGM licence THEJ004)
Trained by the German Alpine Club (DAV), Javier was certified as a mountain guide’s instructor in 1984 and has been working as a professional mountain guide since then. He has lead groups around the Andes (Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Argentina) and in the Himalayas. In 2005 Javier achieved the highest worldwide certification: the International Mountain Guides Association (IMGA, UIAGM, IVBV) credential. He speaks Spanish, English and Italian, and is also a Software System Analyser. Besides, Javier is an expert constructor of “Challenge courses”, among other projects he designed and built www.ziplinebolivia.com,
There is no exaggeration in saying that a great part of the success of our trips is in hands of our cooks. They do not only fill us with plenty of food at breakfast, lunch, teatime or dinner, but mainly give our clients a real Gourmet Bolivian experience. Our guides - of course - will use this subject to talk about our culture.
Its surprising how those “hard working”, organize their kitchens and feed everybody (clientele, guides, drivers, porters and muleteers), sometimes in the most critical conditions; a high camp at 5500 m / 18040 ft during a snow storm, or a muddy campsite while trekking in the rainforest.
Lucrecia is our main cook, she often works with her own doughters and friends from the church she assist. Very experienced, Lucrecia irradiates confidence and is always with an smile on her face.
Raymundo worked with us as a porter for many years and also learned how to cook during his trips. He showed such a entusiasm during his job that he became our main assistante when exploring new routes. Raymundo is fluent in Spanish and Aymara, language that - besides learning as his mother toungh - he perfected studying in a proper language school. Now he is also learning English and preparing to accomplish his dream to became a guide.
Jorge is a “self made” mechanic. During the military service in the air force, he was the Commandant’s personal driver. After that he worked as a freelance taxi driver and then as a truck driver’s assistant, travelling the whole country visiting small villages and selling goodies and artefacts. Since travelling in Bolivian secondary roads is a real adventure, Jorge learned how to repair any part of the truck using almost anything.
As a small company we have a very reduced permanent staff in the office. This fact allows us to not excessively charge our trips prices with our office cost.
Co-owner and founder of Andean Summits, José is the Director of the company, and is in charge of the operations. He was the Operations Manager for a Bolivian-French agency based in La Paz at the beginning of the 90’s.
Co-owner and founder of Andean Summits, Javier is the Sales Manager of the company, and is in charge of the administration (Accounting, administrative organization, and software developing). Before Andean Summits he was Systems Manager in one of Bolivia’s largest vineyards and Distillery Company.
Since 1998, Enrique is our “right arm” in organizing the “logistics” for our trips (equipment, food, and personnel). He is also in charge to register and control most of the accounting, inventory, and sales. Before working for Andean Summits, he has worked several years for a large international agency based in La Paz. Partially having studied Agronomy, and medicine in the university, he had finished the Accounting carrier.
Porters & Muleteers
All our porters, muleteers and “muleteers” are local Indians. They have been living in the mountains for centuries and have a deep knowledge of the mountain life. They have been working the last 17 years with several companies and are the most reliable service in the Bolivian Andes. All of them speak Spanish and will be very glad to share with you their points of view and philosophy.
Gregorio is also an Aymara countryman; he lives in Palcoco village near Condoriri region. He is our porters and muleteer’s chef for all our trips in the Central Cordillera Real Since 1998. Besides being a farmer, he also raises Llamas, Alpacas and sheep.
Lucho is a countryman who lives in Alto Peñas village in a hidden valley in the middle of Cordillera Real. He is our porters and muleteer’s chef for all our trips in the Northern Cordillera Real. Besides being a farmer, he also raises Llamas, Alpacas and sheep.