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Tristan Whitworth

Latin America / Polar Team Leader

I'm the Latin America specialist here at NWS, and I also co-manage our product for the region. My story with the continent started with a 2009 trip to Costa Rica and the romance has been strong ever since. From the ruins of Tikal in Guatemala and the highlands of Colombia, to the pristine barrier reef of Belize and working behind a bar in Honduras, my travels in Latin America have brought me much joy!

Q & A With Tristan

Where have you travelled to in the last 12 months?

I spent two weeks in Vietnam last summer for my honeymoon. Absolutely fascinating place and I would go back in a heartbeat. Plus, we are still married, so a very successful trip all-round. I also went to explore the Brazilian Amazon and Pantanal with NWS, which truly was a life-changing adventure. Other than that, the past year has been quiet and I have mostly been exploring locally.

Where are you planning to travel in the next 12 months?

I’m very excited about a couple of trips planned to the South of France where I grew up. I haven’t been back in almost two years! My wife and I are also looking into a trip to her homeland, Peru, and we have a few European getaways planned as well to Amsterdam, Italy and Spain (one can’t go too long without a serious chorizo binge).

What is your first travel-related memory?

Driving down to France to visit my mom’s family. We’d set off in our old Ford Fiesta, take the ferry and head down to the Mediterranean coast. I’ll always remember my parents arguing about which classical music tape to play, or my mom refusing to picnic in certain road-side rest areas if they weren’t picturesque enough.

Aisle or window seat?

Aisle. I like to walk around and stretch my legs. Plus I’m too afraid to ask people if I can climb over them.

Do you have any travel habits or rituals?

Yes, a cheeky pre-flight beer is always a good one. Or a coffee if we’re talking early morning. I just like to ease into my flight mode, not to mention how amazing airports are for people-watching!

What are you most likely to splurge on while travelling?

Probably food. Not in the sense that I’ll look for the most expensive places to eat, quite the contrary. But I want to leave a country with a special meal or dish in mind that I will forever remember that place by. Eating truly is a major part of travel for me. It says so much about a region’s identity. My favourite ever travel meal? A giant avocado picked before my eyes on a beach in Colombia, with a bit of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. It was heavenly!

What’s your favourite thing about working at NWS?

First of all, I love how passionate and knowledgeable everyone is about wildlife and the regions they cover. It’s truly inspiring! When it comes to my own role, I enjoy the challenge of growing our expertise on Latin America. We are industry leaders within our niche, and my long-term goal is that NWS is recognised as Latin America wildlife experts too.

What do you like doing outside of NWS?

I’m a sports fan. Watching sports, playing, debating…I was raised a sporty child and my competitive juices have never stopped! Other than that, there’s nothing I enjoy more than cooking a stir fry for my wife, with a glass of red wine in hand, after a long walk in the British countryside. Pretty standard I guess!

If you could do just one NWS safari, which one would it be?

Let’s be clear, there isn’t one Latin America safari I wouldn’t enjoy doing. However, the more I read and hear about Antarctica, the more I really am drawn to the White Continent. I love the idea that it is the last frontier and I think crossing the Drake Passage and having to earn your entry is very cool.

Is there a standout destination in your mind?

I have to go with Brazil here. I spent time in the Southern Amazon and Pantanal recently, and was just blown away. The wildlife was fantastic throughout, the accommodation we use are all in incredible locations, and some properties are perfect examples of luxury and comfort blending in perfectly with pristine wilderness. There’s also a lot to do and see which can be added on to a wildlife-focussed trip, with iconic sites in Rio and Iguassu, as well as postcard-perfect beaches. As a foodie, I was also extremely impressed by every single meal (although not all that friendly to vegetarians).

What is your best travel souvenir?

Being the first through the gates of the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. It was 6am and our guide got us in before the hordes of tourists from the resorts. We walked through the winding canyon that leads you to the famous treasury, then climbed hundreds of steps up to the monastery, walked past the roman amphitheatre, peaked inside old troglodyte homes…. All of this before sunrise. We walked 25km that day and at the end of it I felt like Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade. I was exhausted but privileged to have walked in the footsteps of Johann Burckhardt.

What is the best travel advice you have received?

To just go with the flow. It’s a simple travel philosophy that I always try to stick to, no matter what comes up during my travels. Whether it’s flight delays, local transport strikes or torrential downpours…it’s part of the journey!

What is your spirit animal?

I have a fascination with sloths, so I’ll go with that.

'My role here is to design the best safaris possible to show our customers the stunning secrets of the region, and I also look forward to creating new itineraries.'