The Turpial Travel Team is made up of young travel professionals that love to travel and are highly reputable South American travel experts with excellent experience and credentials. The team is committed to the nature, culture, history, and people of South America. Our aim is to give our guests unforgettable experiences while ensuring that our activities are sustainable and have a low environmental impact.

When you send us an enquiry you'll be contacted by a local expert in the area/country you've expressed an interest in. The expert will have intimate, firsthand knowledge and experience of the products and destinations we sell enabling us to provide you with the best advice. 

We are committed to making your trip unique and unforgettable. Building a relationship with you, satisfying your needs and exceeding your expectations is extremely important to us. We look forward to helping you experience the trip of your life.

Meet the owners:

Mario Castillo: Founder & CEO

The founder, Mario Castillo, is an experienced travel professional with hotel management and travel agency background.  Mario was born and raised in the city of Maracay, Venezuela. He holds a bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering and he’s been in the tourist industry since his early 20’s.  His hotel experience comes from owning Posada Turpial, a hotel located in the famous beach town of Choroni in the Henri Pettier National Park. The hotel was famous not only for the quality of its accommodation and service but also for its restaurant. As the hotel grew, so did the travel operation requirements.  Because of Mario’s long-standing, close and personal relationship with all the local suppliers, he started organizing excursions and offering transportation services locally and throughout the country. As such, in 2005 Turpial Travel Agency was created. 

In 2009, Mario met his wife Joanne and moved to the USA. His dream was to make Turpial Travel succeed and expand to other countries.  Today Turpial Travel offers adventure packages to Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela and the dream is to continue to expand to other South American countries. 

Mario oversees the administration and operation of the travel agency. He keeps check on the quality of the activities and destinations we book for our clients. He also oversees the development of our programs and tours. He speaks Spanish and has working knowledge of German and English. In his free time, Mario loves spending time with his family and traveling.

Joanne is half American/half Chilean and was born in Peru.  She grew up in Peru, Chile, the USA. She holds a bachelor in Business Administration from Lake Forest College (USA), a MSc in Local Economic Development from the London School of Economics (UK). She has lived and worked in the USA, Europe and Latin America. Joanne is bilingual in Spanish and English with working knowledge in French, Italian and Portuguese.

Joanne has a passion for travel. Due to her parent’s line of work in international development, her family traveled extensively throughout South America and the world.  When she was 12 her family did a trip around the world, a memorable trip she remembers to this date.  

Joanne’s extensive experience in travel is reflected in the way she prepares the trips for her clients. When applicable, she shares her experiences and knowledge. Joanne also evaluates each activity and ensures their sustainability and low impact to the environment while supporting the local people.  In her free time, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family and friends and traveling to new places even if it is only one hour away.