Our US and Cuba Team
Michael Sanders, President and Founder
Michael Sanders is the President and Founder of Mariah Travel, LLC, formally Environmental Adventure Company, also known as EAC Tours. Michael and Mariah Travel work in conjunction with local and national non-profit conservation organizations and recently recognized by The National Wildlife Federation as One of Best Wildlife Tour Companies in North America.
After years working as a biologist with federal, state and local governments across the United States, Michael founded EAC Tours in 1998. His biography, The Beast in the Garden, highlights his passion for open wild lands and the animals that inhabit them.
Michael has worked on natural science projects throughout the Americas, ranging from polar bear tracking and aurora borealis viewing in the Arctic to bird census and green-sea turtle monitoring in the Caribbean. He has traveled extensively through Europe, Asia, Latin and South American, the Galapagos and most currently Cuba.
Michael’s love of travel and education, paired with his Master’s Degree in Natural Resource Management, makes him the perfect leader for your next adventure!
Mariah Travel's Vision
Mariah Travel was founded and operated by a team of dedicated and experienced biologists, scientists, historians, naturalists and educators. Our travel consultants are experts on the best places in the world to visit, and are committed to understanding and protecting the planet’s natural resources.
We believe our programs contribute to the local economy of our destinations, where we strive to hire local naturalists, guides and support personnel. But equally important, we believe our programs assist with the overall humanitarian efforts worldwide. To all of us, this is a success.
Andres Santana Diaz is Mariah Travel's lead ecologist and exceptional guide into Cuba's National Parks and Nature Preserves. Andres was coveted as an elementary and middle school English professor and later acquired a PhD in Foreign Language Teaching of English and Italian. Andres is one of the highest rated eco-tour guides in his native Topes de Collantes National Park as well as other natural areas in Cuba. His educational hikes and fun sense of humor is the highlight for most of our guest's Cuba tour. An expert in Eco-tourism management, Andres is an incredible asset to Mariah Travel's team.
Nils Navarro Pacheco lives in the Vinales Valley of Cuba, specializing in artistic education. He excels at natural biodiversity conservation and has become one of Cuba's most important illustrators. Nils has published and illustrated noted scientific articles and books, including reptiles in the Wildlife of the Caribbean. He is the author-illustrator of his own books, Endemic Birds of Cuba, A Comprehensive Field Guide, and the Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Cuba. His recent project, A Comprehensive Field Guide to the Birds of Cuba is in the works. Nils is a consummate birding and natural history tour guide, covering all corners of the Cuban geography. Mariah Travel is honored to have him on our team.
Felipe Rodriguez Alonso is an incredible fishing guide, famous among Cuba’s fishing guides, his local community, and fly fishing customers from around the world. An avid, aquatic conservationist, who shares his experience and expertise with the youth of his home town of Jaguey Grande, Cuba. He founded the "Youth Fly Fishing School" teaching the art of casting and aquatic science and conservation. Felipe leads Mariah Travel's fishing programs.
Xochitl Ayón Güemes is the bird curator at the National Museum of Natural History of Cuba has 30 scientific papers and presentation on scientific events. She is the co-author on chapters of two books: Las Aves de Cuba and Libro Rojo de los Vertebrados de Cuba. She has received training in Collection Management at National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution and in monitoring bird communities at Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. At present she is working on a scientific project with the American Museum of Natural History to study Cuban birds.
Edwin Ruiz Rojas, Biologist, Avian Researcher
Edwin Rojas is a native of Cuba and an active participant in study of resident and migratory bird communities across Cuba. An expert in biodiversity associated with different habitat types and has contributed to the checklist of special interest fauna species. Edwin has a Master’s Degree from the Ecology and Systematics Institute in Havana and has been a nature and birding guide for several years. His knowledge and guide experience makes Edwin a perfect candidate for our birding tours.