Our Staff in Belize
Our guides are top professionals – commonly with 10 years experience or more. All are expert sport instructors who are also knowledgeable about the geology, tourism in Belize, history, and ecology, and they are enthusiastic about sharing their expertise. Getting to know them is a highlight of every trip! Most importantly, all of our guides are simply great people and fun to be with. Find out for yourself why our guests tell us our staff is the best they have met on any adventure kayaking tour.
Staff photo taken in March of 2018, on an Adventure Island at Glover’s Reef trip. Left to right: Kyle Lowis (island manager trainee), Luis Gonzalez (trip manager), Neri Chi (Belize Adventure Week trip manager and guide), Lauren Bibby (kitesurf instructor), Magdaleno “MJ” Yacab (trip manager); Regan Murillo (boat side man), Mark Hyde (boat captain), Lavern Garcia (cook), Lucy Wallingford (Slickrock owner), Martin Ramirez (groundskeeper), Steven Castaneda (island guide).
[photo credit at top of page: Jasmine Ardishiri]
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As founder of our company, Cully has extensive experience leading kayak trips with an emphasis on instruction and participation. An avid adventurer, he has led numerous expeditions and has been featured in shows on ABC, ESPN, TBS and Discovery. With 46 years of guiding experience, and 33 years offering Belize guided tours, he has extensive knowledge to share. Cully was named one of the “Top 100 Paddlers of the Century” by Paddler magazine in their year-end 2000 issue.
Cully spends every summer at The Gorge and often instructs in our windsurfing school.
Lucy joined the company in 1986. As Vice-President and office manager, Lucy was involved with the development of our Belize programs from their inception. She guides at Glover’s Reef and is responsible for our renowned menu. An avid backpacker, she spends her spare time hiking the desert terrain near Moab, Utah.
Charlie is both a manager and a guide for us. He spends most of his year in Idaho. He works as a geologist, community college teacher, outdoor educator, and outdoor adventure guide. He also designs and installs renewable energy power systems– solar, wind and hydro–through his own business. He discovered sea kayaking and warm-whitewater on a trip to New Zealand in 1990. This is Charlie’s 21st year of guiding for us in Belize.
A native Mayan, Neri has been guiding inland with us for 21 years. He is a U.S. trained river guide, having worked for Bill Dvorak during the summer of 2001, guiding on the Arkansas and Dolores Rivers in Colorado and the Green River in Utah. He specializes in the natural and environmental interpretation of the jungle and is an expert in Mayan history. He manages our Belize Adventure Week program.
Mary is our Belize City manager. She does everything! A Belize City native, she is the perfect person to locate all of the hard-to-find items we need for the island. Everyone who visits us meets Mary, she runs our home base where our boat is docked. This is her 17th season with Slickrock.
Mark Hopkins has been guiding since 1988 and started out leading sailing and canoeing trips in Maine. Since then he has worked as a guide and instructor in Jackson Hole, New Mexico, the Virgin Islands, and Alaska – where he also worked as a commercial fisherman. Now based out of Oregon, he spends part of the summer running sea kayak trips in the San Juans and has another career running his own graphic design business. This will be Mark’s 20th winter working for Slickrock in Belize and enjoys putting Marie Sharpe’s hot sauce on every meal he eats while there, and slaying bonefish during his off-time.
Magdeleno “MJ” Yacab
This is MJ’s 12th season with us. He is an experienced river guide, having worked for several years for Mopan River Resort, Belizean Sun Tours, and Duplooy’s Resort, all in Belize. He’s a fabulous addition to our team; we are very happy he has joined us. He is from the village of Benque Viejo in Western Belize.
Luis’ family moved to Belize from El Salvador when he was four. He got involved in the tourist industry early, working at several different lodges in the Cayo area where he still lives. Several years ago a friend took him out to St. Georges Caye where he discovered his aptitude for water sports, especially snorkeling and diving. When he first came out to our island we quickly learned that he had a lot to teach us about the underwater world of Belizean waters! This is his 7th season with Slickrock.
Jose assists Neri on our Belize Adventure Week itinerary, serving as lead guide, driver and assistant river guide. He has been working with Slickrock for the past 10 years, and lives in the foothills of the Maya Mts. deep in the rainforest. He is a long time expert guide with extensive knowledge of the local flora and fauna, and we always learn new things from him on our excursions through the jungle and caves on our adventures. And not only that, he is the mayor of his small village in Belize: Armenia, located right on the Hummingbird Highway.
German has lived all over Belize. Raised on Ambergris Caye, lived for many years in the town of San Ignacio in Western Belize, and now lives in Corozal, in Northern Belize. He is very adventurous, loves the sea, and has guided for many years. Originally working at Jaguar Paw in the jungle ziplining and Belize river tubing, he got deeper into learning jungle plants, animals, and birds. His extensive knowledge of nature and Maya history is a huge asset. He is always willing to answer your questions and go the extra mile to be helpful, and his enthusiasm is infectious, you’ll love him as much as we do. This is his second year with us.
Steven Jamie Castaneda
This is Steven’s second year with us, here is his message to all of our prospective fellow travelers. “Hello my name is Steven Jamie Castaneda. I am a born Belizean, I know how to speak 3 languages which are Spanish, English and Creole. I grew up in the town of San Ignacio in the Cayo district where there are hills and mountains all around and of course adventure at every corner. Growing up in Belize has made my life so adventurous and also a never ending learning experience. With such a beautiful country I have been curious and have always been explored the nature in Belize. Falling in love with nature and all the awesome adventures I became motivated in becoming a guide so that I can show the world the unique wonders of Belize. I have now been a guide for the past 5 years. Most of my experience has been inland, Doing a lot of Mayan archaeological site tours, caving adventures, horse back riding, hiking in the mountains,and bird watching. Now being out here on the island working with Slickrock Adventures has really help me to broaden my knowledge as a guide learning and teaching about marine life. Also the water sports here are great .I have no personal favorite but when the waves are there, I go catch them with the surf kayak. I love Belize And I love meeting new people and showing them my beautiful country.”
The most recent addition to our team, Triina is our kiteboarding instructor for December and January. She comes from Estonia, from a small village Häädemeeste. She began kiteboarding as soon as it came to her country, and gained the Estonian Championship 3 times. She participates in all types of watersports, and we hope to show her a few she hasn’t learned yet (a long shot, we realize). She loves every second spent in nature, from surfing to snowboarding.
This is Apolitico’s 22nd season with us, he originally came out to help with the rebuilding after Hurricane Mitch, and he was such a fantastic addition to our island family that we wouldn’t let him leave. A Mayan from the community of Silk Grass, Apolitico is our groundskeeper and caretaker. We truly could not do what we do without his help. All of our guests enjoy trying to beat him on the volleyball court!
Aurora joined us 21 years ago in our island kitchen. She is incredible! We love having her out on the island with us. She is from Dangriga, Belize. When not on the island, she spends her time raising her family. She loves working for Slickrock and plans to spend many more years working with us and she hopes all the guests love her Belize cuisine.
Laverne has worked with us out on the island for 17 years. You will love her cooking! She comes from Hopkins Village, a Garinagu community. She speaks Garifuna, Creole, and English.
Marcy is now on her 15th year with us. She does a fantastic job helping Aurora and Laverne in our dining hall. Marcy is Garifuna, and from Dangriga, Belize. When not on the island she enjoys helping her friends with new hair styles and experimenting with new recipes.