Jim Lutz

Jim Lutz
(800) 342-1796 ext. 6
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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 serves on the Board of the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association, an organization dedicated to sustainable tourism practices in the Galapagos Islands.

Most Recent Posts:

My Grandfather’s Travels Through Latin America with the National Symphony Orchestra in the 1950s and ’60s

Posted by on April 23rd, 2014
my painting by Barbaro de Rivas

When I was young, before I or anyone in my immediate family had been to South America, I remember hearing that my maternal grandfather, Howard Mitchell, had visited South America several times.  Originally from Iowa, he had left home at the age of 16 to study music at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore.  An accomplished […]

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10th Anniversary Highlight Photos!

Posted by on January 29th, 2014
Red Towers, Torres del Paine National Park, Chilean Patagonia

In honor of our 10th Anniversary, we wanted to share a small collection of some our favorite photos from over the years.  Maybe they’ll give you some ideas for future trips.  Click on any photo to see a larger version.  Enjoy!    

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Recap of IGTOA’s 2013 Galapagos Guide Training Course

Posted by on December 20th, 2013

During the week of November 18-22 I had the good fortune to attend the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association’s Five Star Guiding in Five Days course at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora. The course was led by Sam Ham, who is a renowned guide training expert, and Tom O’Brien, a highly experienced and knowledgeable […]

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Conference Highlights Galapagos Conservation Efforts

Posted by on July 15th, 2013

This past April I participated in the annual conference of the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA) in Miami.  I’ve been on the Board of IGTOA for 3 years, and the annual conference has been a great way to meet some of the people most actively involved in Galapagos conservation.   The funds that members […]

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Two Werner Herzog Movies Set in South America

Posted by on April 6th, 2013
fitzcarraldo - south america tours and travel - vaya adventures

Reading Nick’s article on his favorite Latin American movies, I just can’t help giving a shout out to a couple of my own particular favorites. Both are by the same director, Werner Herzog, and both are set in the Amazon: “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” and “Fitzcarraldo.” Aguirre Wrath of God starts off with an […]

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Two New Peruvian Restaurants Near Our Office in Berkeley

Posted by on November 2nd, 2012
Lomo a lo Pobre in all its glory

James Kinard and I from our North Berkeley office have been checking out the two new Peruvian restaurants that opened up in our food-centric city, to see how they compare to the real thing.  Peruvian cuisine is pretty trendy these days, and we were curious to know what dishes might show up in original, authentic form […]

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Uttermost Part of the Earth: The Classic Book on Tierra del Fuego

Posted by on September 7th, 2012
Ona-Tribesmen

This extraordinary book is on our “Suggested Reading” list for Argentina, and is particularly recommended for anyone traveling to Patagonia or Tierra del Fuego. The first person account of E. Lucas Bridges (only the third child born in Tierra del Fuego to non-native parents), the book is a lesser-known classic that combines history, anthropology and adventure. […]

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Why There Should Be A Cap on Tourist Arrivals to the Galapagos

Posted by on August 8th, 2012
the-eric-in-tagus-cove

As a Board Member of the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA), I recently attended a conference in Guayaquil entitled “Defining and Achieving Sustainable Tourism in the Galapagos.”  Attendees included the Executive Director of the Charles Darwin Foundation and representatives of various organizations working to preserve the Galapagos, including the World Wildlife Foundation and WildAid. […]

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Cuenca, Ecuador: A Lot More Than Pretty Churches

Posted by on June 27th, 2012

A comment I’ve now heard more than once about Cuenca, a city in southern Ecuador, is that it is “Ecuador’s Cusco.”  The comparison is apt, because both cities have thriving colonial centers and histories that long pre-date the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. The diversity of people that you see in both places reflects the […]

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Antisana Reserve: Great 1 Day Galapagos Extension

Posted by on June 5th, 2012
Antisana-Ecological-Reserve

If you are doing a Galapagos cruise and would like to add an extra day to see a bit more of Ecuador, the magnificent Antisana Ecological Reserve is a strong contender for “best day trip” outside of Quito. The two most popular day trips from Quito are to Mount Cotopaxi National Park (famous for its […]

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