Vantage's Adventure Leaders are friendly, experienced travel experts who journey with you, providing service and local insight during your trip. Natives or long-time residents of the area where you're traveling – and always English-speaking – they provide add the extra dimension that you can only get when you travel with an "insider."
On Vantage Small-ship Adventures, our Adventure Leaders sail with you, providing briefings about upcoming ports, coordinating social and cultural activities on board ship, answering questions, and generally making sure that your experience is the best it can be. They also coordinate with the expert local guides who lead sightseeing tours and shore excursions.
On Vantage Land Adventures, our Adventure Leaders are with you every step of the way — leading sightseeing tours, sharing insights, and generally removing the barriers that exist between local resident and visitor. You can count on your Adventure Leader to smooth the way, take care of the details, and turn your Vantage Adventure into a truly memorable experience.
Keith's credits his love of the African countryside and its wildlife to his father, a former forest ranger who often took Keith into the bush with him when he was a young child. After graduating from high school, Keith learned more about the land as a cartographer, served in the military and worked in manufacturing. Later, when he decided to start his own business and move to Johannesburg, his love of the African veldt brought him into the tour guide business and, lucky for us, to Vantage. Keith's passions include hiking, fitness and reading, but his greatest passion is surfing, which he calls "a truly amazing way of relaxing with Table Mountain as the backdrop as you sit on the surfboard in the ocean waiting for the next wave."
A native of Kenya and Tanzania, Hoti greatly enjoyed growing up in these peaceful countries, where he took advantage of the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy. A former secondary school teacher, Hoti has spent many years both traveling abroad and leading tours in his native region. When speaking of the beauty of his homelands, he advises his travelers to "bring enough memory cards for their digital cameras, since you can never have too many!
"Hoti was amazing – very knowledgeable and willing to share his culture and country in a very personal, down to earth style. His every day was spent making sure all of us were happy, comfortable, and satisfied. His warm personality and humor were infectious."
South & Central America / Antarctica
Ignacio "Nacho" Eiras
South America Escorted Tours
This native of Argentina, known to one and all as Nacho, receives high praise from Vantage travelers for his outgoing personality and for his extensive knowledge of the history and customs of all of South America. He particularly enjoys introducing travelers to the local people.
"Nacho was a very patient, kind, and thorough program manager. He brings his wealth of travel experience and love of South America to visitors. More than being merely a guide, he genuinely wanted us to feel his continent – he provided a unique treat when he showed us local details."
Asia & South Pacific
China Small Ship Cruises
Ray came to Beijing from the far-flung reaches of Inner Mongolia. Once in China, he studied English and tourism and got right to work as a tour guide in his adopted city. He has since done quite a bit of traveling himself in Asia, Australia, and Europe, but Tibet remains his favorite place. As a Buddhist, he feels at home there amidst its rich culture and wonderful people. “I see Tibet with a different perspective,” he says. “And I want to share that with my travelers.” Ever the student – of English, of Buddhism – he loves learning about Western culture from Vantage travelers. More than this, he loves teaching them about China’s history and introducing them to local people and their culture.
China Small Ship Cruises
Kelly, who leads our popular tours to China and the Yangtze River, gets extremely high marks from Vantage travelers for her cheerful, easygoing personality and for her extensive knowledge of the history, culture, and local customs of all regions in China. When she's not leading tours, Kelly enjoys mountain climbing.
"Kelly was well organized. She watched after everyone’s physical comfort and safety. She made herself very available to everyone and was attentive to their personal needs. She had very good communication skills, kept us on time, has a good personality, and is very responsible and mature."
China Small Ship Cruises
Jonathan has been guiding fascinated travelers through China for more than ten years. But he started his professional life on a different track. After receiving his graduate degree, he taught English at the Beijing University of Technology. However, this didn’t give him a chance to share his love for his country. So he returned to school to become a tour guide. After rigorous training in the English language and Chinese history, he now combines his love of teaching and learning every day. “I strive to create a journey for Vantage travelers that will be the most rewarding, interesting, and fun experience of their lives,” he says. One way he does this is by knowing when to close those history books he studied. He tells travelers stories that aren’t written in books, and ensures they’ll have ample opportunity to mingle and chat with his fellow Chinese.
Long Le Nguyen
Southeast Asia Small Ship Cruises
A native of Hanoi, Vietnam, Long earned a degree in Tourism Management at the Hanoi Teacher Training University and hasn't left his hometown since (except to travel, of course – to far-flung places like Egypt, China, Malaysia, and the United States.) For over a decade, he has led groups of travelers into the cities and towns of his region to witness the natural beauty and to experience the daily lives of local people. Among his favorite experiences to share with American travelers, Long cites Luang Prabang's morning alms-giving ceremony and a visit to a fishing village on Tonle Sap Lake. He has met many new friends as a Program Manager; on a 2005 trip to the United States, one couple even flew from Atlanta to Boston just to take Long out for dinner.
"You have a real gem in Long. He is so very bright. He excels in efficiency and courtesy. His sense of humor puts everyone at ease and keeps our learning fun. He helped us pass the time on the bus trips with his knowledge."
Varapat (Boyd) Veeravantanond
Southeast Asia Small Ship Cruises
Boyd may have been born in Chicago, but he’s Thai through and through. His parents lived in the U.S. while his father pursued his studies, then they returned to Thailand when Boyd was a young boy. After earning a degree in tourism in 1997, he worked with a travel-agent friend leading tours, and has been doing it ever since. Boyd is a connoisseur of Thai culture, and shares it with Vantage travelers with aplomb. “The people, traditions, and Buddhism of my culture still fascinate me, and I hope they fascinate our visitors.” His favorite spot to take travelers is the Grand Palace in Bangkok, a complex of gilded temples and revered Buddha statues. For Boyd, those temples aren’t the only thing that glitters. “Any traveler to Thailand should return home with our local gem stones and handcrafted jewelry.”
India Escorted Tours
Dinesh got his initial glimpses of incredible India as a child with his father, who was posted in every region of the country with the Indian army. Today, Dinesh knows the country like the back of his hand, but specializes in Northern India, including Agra, Jaipur and Rajasthan, South of India, the beaches of Goa, and Nepal. He has become an expert in the country's different cultures, religions, faiths, languages, and customs. Dinesh, who has now worked in the travel industry for more than 20 years, holds degrees in English literature, history and economics. He lives in Gurgaon in the national capital region of New Delhi – The Millennium City – with his wife and two children.
"Dinesh Kanyal was exceptional. We have traveled with Tauck and Abercrombie before and Dinesh far exceeds their guides. He was kind, fatherly, knowledge and adapted to our needs completely."
Australia & New Zealand Escorted Tours
A true Kiwi, Elizabeth loves leading tours around New Zealand, where she lives on a farm on the South Island. Elizabeth likes to get to know her Vantage travelers on an individual level so that she can share knowledge relevant to their interests — especially if they want to know about New Zealand's agricultural industry! She enjoys helping travelers connect to different cultures and make life-long memories, claiming that they're the best souvenirs.