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Private Belize Guides – Expert Sport Instructors

Belize Guides

Our Staff in Belize

Our Belizean team of tour guides, chefs and other support staff will ensure that your Slickrock adventure is as enjoyable as it is memorable. Whether learning how to windsurf or sampling home-cooked Belizean meals, you’ll find our team to be passionate, knowledgeable and always wearing a smile.

Staff photo taken in January of 2019, on an Adventure Island at Glover’s Reef trip. Back Row, Left to Right: Martin Ramirez (groundskeeper), Luis Gonzalez (trip manager), Marcy Norales (cook), Lucy Wallingford (founding Slickrock owner), Cully Erdman (founding Slickrock owner), Phil Dowsett (Slickrock CEO), Triina Trei (kitesurf instructor);  Front Row, Left to Right: Magdaleno “MJ” Yacab (trip manager); German Prado (island guide), Zac Ical (island guide), Neri Chi (Belize Adventure Week trip manager and guide).

Philip Dowsett

Phil is a former zookeeper and has known founders Cully and Lucy since December 2010, first visiting the island with Cully in August 2011. Phil has met the Slickrock team each and every year since and developed a real appreciation of the people behind the business, as well as the unique beauty of Long Caye.

In 2008, Phil first visited Belize and founded a tree planting project called Fund a Forest, as well as sponsoring the education of five children from the outset to the present day. The self-funding conservation project in Belize has since expanded to include eco-tourism, namely Slickrock, where he became CEO in November 2018.

Cully Erdman

As founder of Slickrock, 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 47 years of guiding experience, and 34 years offering Belize guided tours, he has extensive knowledge. Cully was named one of the “Top 100 Paddlers of the Century” by Paddler magazine in their year-end 2000 issue.

Cully remains with Slickrock on a consultancy basis and spends every summer at The Gorge.

Lucy Wallingford

Lucy joined Slickrock 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.

Lucy remains with Slickrock as a consultant. An avid backpacker, she spends her spare time hiking the desert terrain near Moab, Utah.

Apolitico “Pol” Salam

This is Apolitico’s 23rd 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 asked him to stay.

Pol is Mopan Maya and originally from Middlesex, Stann Creek District, but now lives in Silk Grass, also in Stann Creek. Pol is our groundskeeper and caretaker with extensive knowledge of the island and a skilled volleyball player.

Charlie Woodward

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 22nd year of guiding for us in Belize.

Neri Chi

Neri has been guiding inland with us for 22 years and is from San Jose Succotz in the Cayo District. He trained in the U.S. as a 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 is co-manager of our Belize Adventure Week program, as well as manager on the island. His huge experience, patience, and knowledge will make you feel safe and sound.

Aurora Roches

Aurora is from Dangriga, Stann Creek District and is of Garinagu heritage. She joined Slickrock 22 years ago and is a highly talented chef making delicious Belize cuisine. In the early days, Aurora has also helped with the thatching of the kitchen and other cabanas, painting and construction, so has had a large role in building up the island from the very early days.

We really admire her dedication and friendliness, as you’ll notice when you visit. Fresh rice, made from the coconuts picked the very same day is just one delicious part of the menu.

Mark “Marcus” Hyde

Mark was born in Belize City, Belize District, moved to the US after high school and spent two years at Brooklyn College. From there, he joined the United States Marine Corps where he stayed for four years, leaving with the rank of Corporal.

After leaving the marines, Mark went to commercial diving school and became a commercial diver around New York Harbor for 13 years, then Tampa for 3 years, finally settling back to Belize. In Belize, Mark became a PADI Divemaster, visiting the world-famous Great Blue Hole for six years. From there, he became boat master, captain, and manager of Ramada marina for two years, two years as manager of Blackbird Caye, owned his own boat business and now tenders boats for cruise ships, in addition to working for Slickrock for 18 years and counting.

 

 

Mary Avila

Mary is our General Manager in Belize City and an experienced tour guide. From accounts and logistics, to food and drinks, she keeps the show on the road behind the scenes.

Growing up in Belize City, Belize District, she is the perfect person to locate all of the hard-to-find items we need for the island from in and around the former capital. Everyone who visits us meets Mary, she runs our home base where our boat is docked. This is her 18th season with Slickrock and you will likely see Mary and her warm smile before and after your trip.

Lavern Garcia

Lavern has worked as a chef out on the island for 18 years and has great cooking skills. She comes from Hopkins, Stann Creek District and is of Garinagu heritage.

As with our entire team of chefs, you will notice the hard work they do behind the scenes on your visit; from baking fresh bread for breakfast every morning whilst you’re fast asleep in the early hours, to making lunch and dinner whilst you’re busy on a kayak.

Marcy Norales

Marcy is now on her 16th year as a chef with Slickrock. She is from Dangriga, Stann Creek District and as with Aurora and Lavern, Marcy is of Garinagu heritage.

She is a dedicated and hardworking chef with a great sense of humour. Amongst the delicious meals throughout your stay on the island, keep an eye out for the hand-made key lime pie on Friday night.

Martin Ramirez

Martin originally came to the island to help with the construction and thatching of the cabanas during the off-season. Due to his work ethic and friendly manner, he was invited to work with us 15 years ago to stand in when Apolitico took a rare week off. He takes such good care of the island grounds, that we get him out to the island as much as we can.

Martin is of Maya descent and originally from Guatemala, but has lived in Belize for nearly three decades and resides in Silk Grass, Stann Creek District. You will likely see Martin expertly cut open fresh coconuts with a machete throughout your stay.

Linsford “Reagan” Murillo

Reagan is from Dangriga, Stann Creek District and started driving boats from just 15 years old. He became captain at 17 and is vastly experienced throughout Belizean waters.

From 1984-1989 Reagan worked for Blue Marlin Lodge, then at the (former) Manta Resort out at Glover’s Reef Atoll from 1989-1998 until hurricane Mitch ruined the property, then transferred to their sister resort Blackbird Caye at Turneffe Atoll until 2001. Reagan has run tours of the Caribbean sea and Belize river to cruise ship clientele since 2004 and joined Slickrock as captain of Batfish in 15 years ago.

Magdaleno “MJ” Yacab

Magdaleno is from the village of Benque Viejo del Carmen (“Benque”) in the Cayo District. Prior to becoming a guide, his career started out as a zookeeper at Belize Zoo and he developed an expert knowledge of wildlife. Eco-tourism followed and he has a highly experienced guiding background, having worked for Mopan River Resort, Belizean Sun Tours and Duplooy’s Resort, amongst others.

This is his 13th season with Slickrock and he is now manager on the island. From his encouragement instructing the sporting activities to his friendly persona, he will make you feel at home.

Jose Garcia

Jose is co-manager of the office and also co-manager with Neri on our Belize Adventure Week itinerary, serving as lead guide, driver and assistant river guide. Jose is also a guide on the island, when not running the jungle tours. He has been working with Slickrock for the past 11 years and lives in Armenia, Cayo District, by the foothills of the Maya Mountains.

He is an expert guide with extensive knowledge of the local flora and fauna, and a huge array of tales to share from his experiences in the jungle over the years.

In addition to being a firm part of the Slickrock family, he is the mayor of his village.

Luis Gonzalez

Luis’ family moved to Belize from El Salvador when he was four and he now lives in San Ignacio, Cayo District. He became involved in the tourist industry early, working at several different lodges in the Cayo area. Several years ago a friend took him out to St. George’s Caye where he discovered his aptitude for water sports, especially snorkeling and diving.

Luis is a real natural in the water and is more than happy to share his vast knowledge of the Belizean waters, as well as making you feel at ease with his dedication and passions for a job he really enjoys. This is his 8th season with Slickrock and he is now island manager.

Ryan Chavarria

Ryan grew up in Ladyville, Belize District and started helping out his aunt Mary Avila (Slickrock’s manager) on Saturdays from a young age and has visited Glover’s Reef since he was 14.

From helping Mary to run errands and undertake house maintenance, Ryan has worked under Mark and Reagan to become an assistant boat hand and trainee captain of Batfish. Captain Mark introduced Ryan to working on tender boats for cruise ships in 2013 and he now tenders for ships at Belize City and Harvest Caye towards Placencia in addition to Slickrock.

Kyle Lowis

Kyle Lowis joined Slickrock in the winter of 2014 and is now the general manager of the Slickrock booking office. He trained as a river guide with Dvorak Expeditions in 2014 before coming to the island the following winter. Applying the skills he learned in Colorado, Kyle became an excellent fit to the Adventure Island team, specializing in wind sport and kayaking on the island whilst discovering the beauty of the marine environment surrounding.

Kyle lives in Mosier, Oregon, and enjoys kayaking, kitesurfing, mountain biking, and skiing. He often bounces around the western US before he comes down to Belize to share his love for island sports. Kyle was born and raised in Tahoe City, California, and graduated Montana State University: Bozeman with a degree in Film and Photography.

German Prado

This his third year with us. German has lived all over Belize. Raised on Ambergris Caye, lived for many years in the town of San Ignacio, Cayo District and now lives in Patchacan, Corozal District 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. His enthusiasm is infectious and you’ll often hear him singing and playing the guitar.

Luna Wasson

Luna joined us this season as a member of our US office team, and will spend time helping run office operations as well as assistant guiding on the island. She spent two months as a trainee guide on the island during the 2018-2019 season and is excited to continue working with Slickrock.

Luna is from Jackson, Wyoming, and holds a degree in geology from Middlebury College. Her interests in geology and the outdoors have lead her to work as a cross country ski coach, outdoor trip leader and educator, and guide. She currently lives in Hood River, OR, and enjoys skiing and mountain biking.

Nancy Leslie

Nancy grew up in Placencia, Stann Creek District and this is her first year with Slickrock. Her family owned Morris Caye, an island off the coast of Placencia and she grew up between the mainland and the island, as well as visiting islands in the region and exploring the ocean from an early age.

Her career has included waitressing, Montessori teaching, running a summer art school and managing hotels in Belize.

She volunteered with non-profit Fragments of Hope to help with coral restoration throughout the coast of Belize in 2018 and has transitioned into guiding with Slickrock, where she can share her real passion for snorkeling.

Gian Avila

Gian is from Benque Viejo del Carmen, Cayo District and has joined Slickrock this year. He has been guiding for eight years and is President of West Cayo Tour Guide Association on a voluntary basis.

He used to run daily tours to Lamanai Mayan ruins in Orange Walk District. Previous guiding included working for Francis Ford Coppola’s Blancaneux Lodge, Chaa Creek and Viaventure.

Whilst a natural on the water, his career initially focused on inland activities such as cave tubing, visiting Mayan sites and river kayaking.

Shamika Martinez

Shamika is from Hopkins, Stann Creek District and this is her first year with Slickrock.

Her family are fishing and diving experts, so she has grown up with the ocean, diving and marine wildlife identification being second nature. Her cousin and uncle were the original Slickrock guides in the early 1990’s when we first moved our base from Placencia to the island and she grew up visiting Glover’s Reef with her family from a very young age, so knows the area like the back of her hand.

Before joining Slickrock, Shamika worked for S.E.A. Belize (Southern Environmental Association) to undertake marine research, which included identifying and tracking turtles. If you are interested in marine wildlife, Shamika is more than happy to share her encyclopedia knowledge with you.

Gissell Rodriguez

Gissell is from Santa Elena, Cayo District and this is her first season with Slickrock. She has an Associates Degree in Tourism Management, five years of guiding experience and Vice President of Cayo Tour Guide Association.

For four years, she concentrated on daily trips to Xunantunich Mayan ruins and most recently as the head guide at Pacz Tours where she led kayaking, zip-lining, cave tubing and visiting several other Mayan sites such as Caracol by the Guatemalan border.

Gissell is also interested in wildlife, having been a naturalist guide on trails and used to work part-time as an animal caretaker at BWRC (Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic).