Our Team

Jim Lutz
Founder/President
(510) 292-4479
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Jim is the founder and President of Vaya Adventures. Jim developed a passion for Latin America while living and working in Ecuador after graduating from Harvard University. He has lived, worked, and traveled extensively in South and Central America. A native of New Jersey, Jim now lives in Berkeley, California with his wife and 3 young children. He is also the President of the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association, an organization of over 40 travel companies that work to promote sustainable tourism practices and conservation in the Galapagos Islands.

James Kinard
Destination Specialist
(510) 292-4482
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James grew up in Ashland, Oregon and graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in International Studies, spending a semester abroad in Spain. After graduating James headed down to Chile and began his now very extensive travels throughout South America. In his spare time, James enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, playing futbol (aka soccer), reading, skiing, making beer, and getting outdoors.

Evan Smith
Destination Specialist
(510) 292-4491
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Evan grew up in northern California and is Vaya Adventures' resident scratch golfer. After graduating from college he traveled down to Chile to teach English and see some of the world. Before long he moved into the travel industry, working at the renowned Portillo Ski Resort in the Chilean Andes. He traveled around the continent and greatly deepened his knowledge of South America before joining Vaya Adventures, where he routinely impresses our travelers with his professionalism, attention to detail, and good humor. In his spare time, Evan enjoys spending time with his Chilean wife and son, playing baseball, strumming his guitar, and trying out new restaurants and wines.

Jack McCabe
Destination Specialist
(510) 356-2885
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Originally from Chicago, Jack McCabe earned a degree in International Studies with a focus on Latin America from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The irony of studying Latin America from a flat cornfield in Illinois was not lost on him, and he has since dedicated his time to exploring the more exciting terrain far south of the border and helping others do the same. When not hiking up volcanos in Costa Rica or skiing down them in Chile, he enjoys strumming the charango and sipping pisco.

Matthew Harahush
Operations Manager
(510) 746-8691
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Matthew is the Operations Manager at Vaya Adentures. He grew up in the city of Long Beach, NY, and graduated with honors from Hofstra University with a degree in civil engineering and a minor in mathematics. He brings experience in financial analysis, project management, and operations to Vaya Adventures, and keeps us all on schedule. He has lived, worked, and traveled in South America, primarily in Chile, and in his spare time he likes to travel, ski, and try out new restaurants.

Gabrielle Venturi
Destination Specialist
(510) 269-4292
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Gabrielle was born and raised in Denver, but has spent most of her adult life outside of the United States. She graduated with degrees in English Literature and Spanish from the University of Toronto, and afterward worked for 5 years on research projects at a Mesoamerican Studies foundation. A city girl with mountain roots, Gabrielle has lived and traveled extensively in South & Central America and is just as comfortable tottering in high heels on the tango floor as she is trekking the wilds of Patagonia.

Rachel Harris
Web and Sales Support
(510) 292-4488
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Originally from the backwoods of Maine, Rachel now resides in a distinctly metropolitan area in Santiago, Chile. After a few years in Mozambique with the Peace Corps, she visited South America, fell for the Chilean culture, and decided to stick around. In her spare time, Rachel can usually be found reading, outdoors, reading outdoors, strumming her ukulele, or on a quest for the next great microbrew.