If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Since the early 1970s, we have worked hand-in-hand with community members, fishing families and scientists. Today, the Baja Expeditions team includes second-generation family members collaborating with team members from all over the world to promote sustainable tourism in La Paz and Baja California Sur. As a community, we share the inspiration we have found here in the Sea of Cortez and our desire to preserve the health of these unique local marine and desert ecosystems.
Timothy Irwin Means Heineman
Born in 1944 in Beaver Falls, Penn., and raised in Arizona, Tim fell in love with the desert and its ecosystems at an early age. Tim turned his childhood fascination with the desert into a lifetime of commitment to conservation – he has run eco-adventures for more than four decades to share his vision with others. Friends chuckle that “gravity brought Tim Means to Baja California” – metaphorically following the rapids of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, where he was a raft guide in his early career, down to the waters of the Sea of Cortez, where he founded Baja Expeditions in 1974 in, what was back then a quiet port and home to fishing families, today the bustling city of La Paz. Forty-five years later, Tim and Baja Expeditions have welcomed many thousands of visitors from around the globe and continue to support local research and education dedicated to ecological conservation. Tim passed away on Aug 13, 2019.
Carlos Timoteo Means White
Carlos grew up with Baja Expeditions along the coastline and in the waters of the Baja California peninsula. He joined the family business at age 18 as a kayak guide and naturalist. When not directing company operations, Carlos also loves his work as a captain of the Catamaran El Mechudo, and in his spare time you will find him checking the swell report and enjoying riding Pacific waves. He subscribes to the philosophy of Yvon Chouinard – “Let my people go surfing” and prides himself on building community around the ocean and sea. His aim is to create unforgettable experiences for guests, continue supporting local job creation within the community, and stay happy while he works! Carlos is attentive to environmental concerns and seeks to promote care for the Earth and conservation of all its natural resources.
Ramiro Demesa Pineda
Ramiro is a sports fan and family man, who's career as an industrial engineer has been focused on eliminating the waste of time, money, materials, person-hours, machine time, energy and other resources that do not generate value. This is his first stint at a conservation oriented aquatic wildlife adventure organization. ¡Manos a la obra!
José Ángel Murillo
Panga Captain & Facilities Crew
Angel grew up in the El Manglito neighborhood on the shores of La Paz Bay, where Baja Expeditions is located. "We always used to play in the sea where we were little, and that is where I imagined myself spending my whole life. My brother and I used to get to ride around in the big Pangas, and now it is my pleasure to be a captain in the La Paz’s pioneer eco-tourism company," he said. Keep an eye out for Angel on his bicycle — he is often spotted cruising around enjoying the evening breezes and visiting with friends down on the Malecón.
Roberto el Duende Camacho
Javier “El Tony” Orozco Chavira
Outfitting Manager & Panga Captain
Tony has been part of the Baja Expeditions’ project for 15 years. Tony spent some time following his adventurous spirit across other seas, and returned to the company in 2011. His early experiences at sea were with his father who also was Panga captain for Baja Expeditions. Tony began to assist on board and helped out the boat crews. He later began to work as a mariner and crew member aboard the Pez Sapo, and a former Baja Expeditions’ boat — 200-foot diving and touring vessel, the Don José. In Tony's words, "It is not enough for people to just visit a place, they have to learn to love and care for it as well. Here, you always discover new things, and my greatest satisfaction is when people are grateful for our work, especially when they come back years later and return to share new stories."
Juan “Tito” Lucero Cuevas
Camp Coordinator, Panga Captain & Cook
Tito has been with the company for 25 years. He came aboard as a mariner and boat crew member, although he now focuses considerably on his delicious cooking. Tito’s family hails from the Island community of El Pardito, and he has also lived on the Pacific side of the Baja peninsula in Magdalena Bay in the towns of López Mateos and San Carlos. These days, you can find Tito supporting one of Baja Expeditions’ seasonal camps for Ecology Project International (EPI), EPI's Mexico programs work with local and international school groups supporting field science research. He also works with partner nonprofit conservation organization Niparajá Society of Natural History and its projects about sustainable fisheries. Tito is so at home on the water, he even spends his spare time at sea!
José “Toño Guitarra” Núñez
Captain-Catamaran, Pez Sapo, Pangas
Nicknamed for his accomplished guitar-strumming and singing, Toño Guitarra has worked with Baja Expeditions during many different seasons over the years. Most recently he joined the company again as a captain in 2014. Toño coordinates his time between Baja Expeditions and personal eco-tourism projects. He loves life at sea, and makes it a point to always be prepared for any eventuality; Toño continues to enjoy his vocation, and takes his seamanship very seriously. Look out for Toño aboard the Catamaran El Mechudo or the El Pez Sapo motor vessel showing off the coastline he calls home.
Jorge “George” Sánchez Méndez
Panga Captain & Camp Crew
George is a key player at Baja Expeditions’ seasonal camps for Ecology Project International (EPI). EPI's Mexico program works with local and international school groups supporting field science research. George knows all the secrets of how to find the right conditions in the right coves at the right time to support the scientific research of the school groups. When not on the job, George can be found doing many of the same activities — his hobbies include going to the ocean and camping on Espíritu Santo Island!
Silviano Orión Flores Jordán
Panga Captain & Camp Coordinator
Orión grew up right near the Baja Expeditions shop; his father was among the first Panga captains and team members that collaborated with the company during the early years. Orión joined our team in 2003 to support our San Ignacio eco camp. He always lends his great technical knowledge to make sure things like engines and pumps stay in good working order. Orión has worked as a Panga captain and coordinating activities in our camps since 2012, and is a beginning entrepreneur as well!
Josefat “Josey” Ortiz Chávez
Cook, Boat Mariner, & Local Guide
One of Josey’s favorite activities is surfing. From a young age he figured out how to combine his passion for the sea with with his talent for cooking, and one of his early endeavors was the restaurant he opened for surfers in Todos Santos. Later, he was invited to join the Baja Expeditions team, and for more than a decade now has worked with us a cook and a guide, as well doing stints as warehouse manager and supporting both the sales and operations teams. Josey has many talents, and likes to mix things up to keep it all interesting!
Machinist & Facilities Crew
Alberto has been with us for 25 years. He is the machinist who keeps all of our diesel and gasoline engines running smoothly. Alberto fondly remembers different routes that the company has traced over the years — both by land and by sea, "We crossed all the ranches in the Sierras and I also loved the visits to the Pinturas Rupestres (prehistoric cave paintings).” El Puppo lights up when he talks about the sea: “My passions are sailing, scuba diving, and whale watching. Contemplating the beauty in nature is nourishment for my spirit. I feel like an ambassador of my land. Whenever I have the opportunity to share my experiences, I do so with the pride of being Paceño (from La Paz)!"
San Ignacio Eco Camp Manager, Head Naturalist Guide
Raised in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, José came to La Paz originally to study Marine Biology, found his calling, and stayed for many more years. José has worked as a kayak & naturalist guide, and more recently camp manager, for more than two decades with Baja Expeditions. He notes that he has lived many incredible learning experiences and shared once-in-a-lifetime happenings; although groups of guests sometimes never meet again, they take away lifelong memories. José notes that imparting knowledge of marine and terrestrial biodiversity and the complexities of the interactions within the environment is always rewarding. José ensures that all our guests are left with a bit more knowledge about the workings of the natural world, and a motivation to help care for the Earth's natural resources. Look for José and his family each year at our San Ignacio Eco Camp.
Rafael “El Fay” Valencia Díaz
Cook & Camp Crew
Fay has been with Baja Expeditions since 1996, when he started out as a kitchen assistant. He has always loved cooking, and has brought his creativity and unique recipes to our camp to rave reviews from guests. Nowadays, you can sample Fay’s delicious fare in San Ignacio's Lagoon during gray whale season. Fay is always ready to lend a helping hand, and when he is not working, he enjoys spending time on the water with family and friends during his downtime.
Antonio “Toyotita” Valencia
Camp Crew, Kitchen Assistant
Tony started working with us in 1998 keeping an eye on our eco camps in the low season. Almost two decades later, he continue to enjoys his work with Baja Expeditions, now helping to coordinate the goings-on at both of our eco camps at Espíritu Santo Island and in San Ignacio Lagoon. When asked about why people call him the Little Toyota, Antonio chuckles, ”I got that nickname because I can handle the tough jobs!” (Like "The Little Engine that Could!")
Luis Alfredo Valencia Arce
Luis has been with Baja Expeditions for three years. He enjoys working with extended family members (lots of Valencias at BE!) and especially likes working outdoors in natural environments. Luis provides support in our camp in San Ignacio during the gray whale season. When working in camp, Luis is detail-oriented, makes sure that guests have what that they need to get the most out of their experiences, and helps to keep the camp in ship shape.
“El Chava Chilo” Moreno Jordán
Chava joined the company in 2015, helping watch over camps during the low season. Today he is a camp assistant welcoming guests to our Espíritu Santo eco camp during the fall high season. During the winters, he supports our eco camp in San Ignacio Lagoon with our gray whales viewing project. "On every trip you learn something different," he said.
Alma María Quirós Rodríguez
Reception and Sales
Raised in Tijuana, Alma has now spent enough time in La Paz that you can hear it in her local accent! Alma has had two different stints collaborating with Baja Expeditions – she first came aboard in 1985 and worked until 1991 in finance and administration. She knows all the nuts and bolts of the operation, and she jokes that they used to called the La Paz offices "The Fort." Alma also works locally as an English teacher, and keeps everyone on their toes with English vocabulary and conversation. Alma has come back aboard recently to help out in reception, bookings and sales.
Víctor Octavio Hernández Romero
Victor is another member of our team who grew up right near our offices in the El Manglito neighborhood in La Paz. He came on board in 2013, helping with camp set-up and equipment maintenance. He makes an annual trek to San Ignacio, like the whales, to help with set-up and take-down of our seasonal eco camp. Victor is also honing his skills as a Panga captain, and enjoys his time on the sea.
Since Sara was a child she knew that she wanted to work in the tourism industry but in a more sustainable way. She studied ecology in high school in Mexico City and realized she couldn’t follow that path in a metropolis. Her search for a career opportunity eventually led her to reconnect with La Paz in 2012, a city that had been her playground during her childhood summers. After she graduated from alternative tourism and started her social service at Baja Expeditions in 2017 she has been part of our team ever since. Every day, Sara makes sure your eco-adventure is a success.
Sebastián del Valle Reynoso
Naturalist and Kayak Guide
Sebastián was raised in mainland Mexico in Michoacán. He came to La Paz in 2011 to study alternative tourism. From a young age, Sebastián loved life outdoors – he loved all kinds of animals, and visiting small rural towns and ranches. He was fortunate to learn to scuba dive at a very young age with his family. He grew up to believe in learning beyond the classroom, and feels that a week in the field is the same as a year in an indoor classroom. One of Sebastián’s favorite quotes: “I don’t want to protect the environment… I want to create a world where the environment doesn’t need protecting.”
Naturalist Guide, Dive Instructor
Originally from French Reunion Island off the coast of Madagascar, Helene has been pleased to spend her last seasons in the waters of Baja California. The unique bio-diversity of the region has underscored her love for nature and open spaces. “I have learned to appreciate the silences of the outdoors. There is nothing like sharing the habitat of majestic animals like whale sharks and giant mobula rays. The most gratifying part of my work is to share knowledge and enjoy new experiences with our guests in such spectacular places. I especially love Espíritu Santo Island,” she said.
Saúl Dueñas Arteaga
Local Guide & Panga Captain
Saúl is another native Paceño on our team, and joined Baja Expeditions recently to support our wildlife and natural history programming, as well as our kayak outings and expeditions. It is important for Saúl to follow the ethics of leave-no-trace camping. He takes pride in helping guests learn about local biodiversity, the fragility of the regional ecosystem and how they can best take care of it. Saúl also likes to help out and volunteer – always looking for opportunities to support a beach clean-up or other local activities.
Kevin Alan Rottner Reichensper
Originally from Western Germany, Kevin has been a friend of Baja Expeditions for years. Today, he works as a scuba technician, attending to all of the technical aspects of the equipment necessary for diving expeditions. An avid diver himself, he is happy to support other divers and ensure the proper functioning of gear. Kevin often participated in Baja Expeditions events over the years, and formally joined the team four years ago. Kevin notes that both he and his wife share the company’s mission and vision, and are fascinated with the Sea of Cortez and its diverse fauna. They both actively support efforts for conservation of nature, and work to minimize their own impact on our environment.
Arturo Angulo Romero
Fleet Maintenance Assistant
Arturo has known the company for years as he lives in the El Manglito neighborhood where our La Paz offices are located; he began helping out with periodic projects starting six years ago, and joined the team year and a half ago to offer more dedicated support with carpentry and fiberglass work. Arturo is detail-oriented in all of his undertakings; he also does painting and finishing work. Arturo makes it a point to keep the Baja Expeditions fleets ready to navigate. Arturo is an avid bike rider, and you may see him around the neighborhood on two wheels.
Ana Martina Méndez Barrera
Facilities Cleaning & Maintenance
Ana has recently become a grandmother and is happy to be able to work where she is close to home! Ana came aboard about a year ago to support the Baja Expeditions team in keeping the facilities shipshape! "It is a place where I feel at home working, and I hope that my work contributes to the harmony of the space for the team and our visitors," she said. Ana does an impressive job work keeping a busy shop in order!
Mayra Ortega Bareño
Mayra is a native Paceña and passionate bookkeeper.
Shakira studied sustainable breathing at Yale and has over 200 years experience in diverse anthropomorphic industries. She firmly believes a smile is the only transcendental language and defends her presence with the creation of disorder.