REI Adventures Names Top Guides in Annual Awards; Seven Guides from Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Iceland, Nepal, Peru and United States Honored

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REI Adventures, the active travel company that is part of national outdoor co-op REI, has announced its “Top Guides” awards, an annual recognition honoring the best of the best. Seven international experts from Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Iceland, Nepal, Peru and the United States who represent some of the travel company’s most incredible destinations were named

REI Adventures Top Guides - Seven international experts from Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Iceland, Nepal, Peru and the United States who represent some of the company’s most incredible destinations.

"Our guides are remarkable in many ways – for establishing trusted relationships with every guest to bringing a region’s cultural and natural history colorfully to life before one’s eyes,” says Cynthia Dunbar, general manager of REI Adventures.

REI Adventures, the active travel company that is part of national outdoor co-op REI, has announced its “Top Guides” awards, an annual recognition honoring the best of the best. Seven international experts from Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Iceland, Nepal, Peru and the United States who represent some of the travel company’s most incredible destinations were named.

“Everything we do at REI is guided by our belief that a life outdoors is a life well lived. REI Adventures is a core part of our mission to connect people to meaningful outdoor experiences. Our guides are remarkable in many ways – for establishing trusted relationships with every guest to bringing a region’s cultural and natural history colorfully to life before one’s eyes,” says Cynthia Dunbar, general manager of REI Adventures. “As we celebrate our 30th year, our guides remain our most valuable asset. The seven REI Adventures Top Guides who join the cohort of others named in prior years are masters in sharing their energy and passion for nature, active lifestyle and incredible communities.”

REI Adventures’ Top Guides are determined from independent customer reviews, which are available on the travel company’s website. The travel leader also gives significant consideration to guides who best represent REI’s values and brand, and partner with the co-op to strengthen the company’s travel offerings around the world. In addition to the wide range of responsibilities an REI Adventures guide has in the field, they limit the environmental impact of each trip. This includes using Leave No Trace principles and wherever possible utilizing reusable or recyclable materials.

The seven guides who received an REI Adventures Top Guide award and the trips they led last year are:

  • Badri Kumar Dangi from Nepal – Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, Everest Base Camp Trek, Everest Lodge to Lodge Trek
  • Bill Quade from the United States – Appalachian Trail Hut-to-Hut Hiking – Presidential Peaks and Pemigewasset Wilderness itineraries, White Mountains Hut-to-Hut Snowshoe
  • Edwin Huaman Pillco from Peru – Machu Picchu: The Inca Trail Trek
  • Jackie Garcia from Costa Rica – Costa Rica Family Adventure, Costa Rica Ultimate Adventure
  • Jen Skubicki from the United States – Arizona Ultimate Adventure – Grand Canyon & Beyond, Bryce Hiking Weekend, Family Zion & Bryce Hiking, Grand Canyon Phantom Ranch Hiking, Grand Canyon Phantom Ranch Weekend, Rocky Mountain National Park Adventure, Sequoia National Park Backpacking, Superstition Mountains Backpacking, Yosemite Hiking & Camping, Yosemite Backpacking – High Country
  • Kristján Thordarson from Iceland – Iceland Hiking, Iceland Winter Adventure
  • Tomáš Minařík from Czech Republic – Czech Republic Hiking, Prague to Budapest Cycling, Vienna to Prague Cycling

Traveler Kudos
Trip reviews from guests reveal the life-changing nature of their travel and how guides make a lasting impression. Comments about this year’s winners include:

“Badri was amazing. He is experienced, professional, motivating, patient and friendly. He could relate to both the entire staff as well as the group of trekkers. He is the best guide I’ve ever had for an organized trek.”

“Bill taught us so much about hiking, the area, the history, the environment. This was my first real hiking adventure and I really can’t wait to participate in another one. All I can say is thank you.”

“Edwin is the most experienced guide that I have had the privilege to work with. He had exceptional knowledge of the Inca history and culture as a Quechau born and raised in the Sacred Valley. He organized special side events and ‘surprises’ that made the trek even more special.”

“Wow, Jackie was a phenomenal guide. It was clear she cared about each person individually and that she wanted to ensure each person’s happiness and enjoyment. By the end of the trip, I truly understood what it meant and what it felt like to live the ‘pura vida.’”

“I was very impressed with Jen’s leadership skills. She led a group of eight guests, one assistant guide and one camp host to the utmost detail. Her knowledge and passion for the area made the adventure even more exciting.”

“Of the many group trips I have completed in the last 30 years, I have never had a guide who is as caring about his participants. Kristján made sure everyone had the best possible experience.”

“Tomáš was the most incredible guide I have ever had. He was very much ‘in tune’ with all of us. Besides patience and knowledge, he had a great sense of humor (and) he told great stories. He could almost ‘read our minds’ – he knew how much information to give us and when enough was enough.”

About REI Adventures
Award-winning REI Adventures has been a global leader in worldwide guided active adventure trips since 1987. As the travel business for national specialty outdoor retailer REI, the company offers unique itineraries focused on sustainable, human-powered outdoor adventure, including hiking, biking, kayaking, climbing and more. Guests experience iconic destinations as guides take them off the “beaten path,” and provide opportunities to explore a destination, get to know the local people, their culture, the flora and fauna and discover things they would not be able to duplicate on their own or with another travel company. REI members receive a special discount price on most trips. For more information, full itineraries and trip reviews provided by guests, visit http://www.rei.com/adventures.

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Megan Behrbaum
REI
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