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 team:

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 & Adventures was created. 

In 2009, Mario met his wife Joanne and moved to the US. His dream was to make Turpial Travel succeed and eventually expand.  In 2013, Turpial Travel started offering tour packages to Chile and eventually the dream is to continue to expand to other South American countries. 

Today, 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 whenever he gets a chance.


Joanne Ruddell: Chief Travel Consultant

Joanne is half American/half Chilean and was born in Peru.  She lived her childhood in Peru, her teenage years in Chile, and eventually moved to the US to finish her college degree. Since then she has lived and worked in the USA, Europe and Latin America. She has work experience in local, regional and international development affairs.  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). 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 travelled extensively throughout South America and the world since she was little.  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.


Roger Manrrique: Venezuela Travel Consultant/Expert

Roger was born in Mérida, Venezuela. He studied biology in Los Andes University (Venezuela) and is our specialist in Andean fauna, Venezuelan wildlife, entomology (branch of zoology dealing with insects), and lepidoptery (branch of zoology dealing with butterflies and moths). He has worked over 20 years in lepidoptery and has 15 years of experience in Venezuelan birding. He holds one of the most important private collections of butterflies in Venezuela. Roger discovered three new butterfly species and a frog! The South American Handbook and the Venezuelan Handbook Travel Guide recommend him as a wildlife expert. The Lonely Planet, Venezuela Footprint, and Birding in Venezuela travel guides recommend him as a Venezuelan birding expert – specifically for the Andean Region. Roger speaks English and Spanish and looks forward to showing you his country’s wonders!

Tiare  Edmunds Gorman: Chile Travel Consultant/Expert

Tiare was born in the Chile. She was raised in Easter Island and is of Rapa Nui descent. Tiare studied in New Zealand and holds a bachelor degree in Tourism and Management. She has over 10 years of experience in the Chilean tourism sector. She has worked as a tour guide for the major cruise lines as well as luxury hotels. She is an enthusiastic and professional guide who enjoys leading successful and productive teams. When she is not working as a tour guide she is helping run the family business hotel. Tiare speaks Spanish and English.