Our Team

Jim Lutz
(800) 342-1796 ext. 6

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
(800) 342-1796 ext. 3

James grew up in Ashland, Oregon, a city best known for its annual Shakespeare Festival. Truth be told, however, travel and the outdoors played a larger role in James' upbringing than Macbeth or A Midsummer Night’s Dream. At the age of 12 he found himself on a 4 day hike in Scotland along the River Spey with his brother and two best friends, and from that point forward travel was an essential part of “growing up." After spending a semester abroad in Spain, James returned to the University of Oregon to finish his degree in International Studies, and shortly thereafter found himself on a plane down to Chile. Several years later, after many return visits to South America, he continues to ponder what he missed on the previous trips, and looks forward to the trips to come. In his spare time, James enjoys playing futbol (aka soccer), reading, skiing, making beer, and getting outdoors.

Evan Smith
Destination Specialist
(800) 342-1796 ext. 4

Evan grew up in San Jose, California and after a collegiate career in NCAA golf (he is Vaya Adventures' only scratch golfer), found himself heading to Santiago, Chile to teach English and see some of the world. He moved into the travel industry when he started working for the renowned Portillo Ski Resort in the Chilean Andes (home to the only Skiing World Championship ever held in Latin America), and eventually married a Chilena. He traveled around the continent and expanded his knowledge of the region before joining Vaya Adventures, where he routinely impresses our travelers with his professionalism, attention to detail, and thoroughness. In his spare time, Evan enjoys playing baseball, strumming his guitar, and trying out new restaurants.

Jack McCabe
Destination Specialist
(800) 342-1796 ext. 2

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
(800) 342-1796 ext. 7

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
(800) 342-1796 ext. 5

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.

Nick Dall
Web Content & Development
(800) 342-1796

Nick Dall left his native South Africa after completing his studies, and found himself teaching English in Mendoza, Argentina. What was originally a one-year plan ended up being a lot longer. This allowed him to overland from Peru to Patagonia and see everything else in between. On the way he learned Spanish, spent six months in La Paz, Bolivia, caught lots of trout and developed a bond with Latin America which just won't give.

Rachel Harris
Web and Sales Support
(800 342-1796

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.