Meet the team of experts behind SouthQuest Safaris. We are always ready to design your Latin American journey exactly as you dreamed.

RICARDO CASARIN

Co-founder, Naturalist Guide & Tour Leader

Ricardo Casarin was born in Dourados in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. He has been engaged in nature tourism since 1998, providing various tourism services in the Chapada dos Guimarães in Mato Grosso state as his primary touristic activity. As a guide, Casarin has been leading tours in the Cerrado and the Pantanal since the late 1990s. His current area of work extends to other destinations such as the Brazilian Amazon, the Caatinga, the semiarid region of Northeast Brazil, the Atlantic Rainforest, Tanzania and Chilean and Argentinian Patagonia. A Brazilian Tourism Board (Embratur) Certified Guide, Casarin is one of the best birdwatching, natural history and nature photography guides in Brazil. He is constantly honing his knowledge and techniques through courses, meetings and conferences on the subject. Casarin has received invitations from universities and environmental agencies in different Brazilian states to share his knowledge with biology and tourism students. He coauthored the book “Manual do Guia de Turismo em Área Natural” (2011) along with Leila Cunha.

@casarin.ricardo
JOÃO MARCOS ROSA

JOÃO MARCOS ROSA

Photographer & Tour Leader

Born in Brazil in 1979, João Marcos Rosa began his career documenting the culture and wildlife of Brazil’s ecosystems in 1998. Holding a B.A. in journalism and a post-graduate degree in political culture, he specializes in biodiversity and conservation, themes documented at remote locations in this continental country. Rosa’s work has been published in several magazines, including GEO, BBC Wildlife, Terra Mater, Discover and Argos Forum. Since 2004, he has worked for National Geographic Brasil, taking on challenging assignments photographing giant otters, curassows, harpy eagles, golden lancehead snakes, Lear’s macaws and other animals. He is the author of the books Harpia and Carajás National Forest Fauna (Nitro Editions), as well as the images published in the books Facing Extinction (Birdlife/T&AD Poiser), Atlantic Rainforest (MMA), Biodiversidade em Minas Gerais (Biodiversitas), Flowering Trees (Itaú/BBA) and Biota (UNESP), among others. Rosa has received some of the most prestigious awards in Brazil, including Itau/BBA, New Holland Photojournalism, Avistar and the World Bird Photo Contest. His photographs have been featured in conservation campaigns for Greenpeace, UNESCO and the Brazilian environmental agencies IBAMA and ICMBIO.

@joaomarcosrosa
EDSON VANDEIRA

EDSON VANDEIRA

Photographer & Tour Leader

Travel has the power to transform the destiny of some people. It happened with the photographer and mountain guide Edson Vandeira. In 2008, at the age of 19, he started making his first trips and practicing mountaineering. While taking a liking to the mountains, he also became interested in the world of photography, especially adventure images. Since then, he has not stopped traveling and photographing. Vandeira has solid experience in remote environments and also leading groups in Brazil, the Andes and the Himalayas. He joined 7 expeditions to Antarctica, working there for about 3 months a year, closely following scientists and the incredible wildlife of the continent. His photos allow us to immortalize unique moments of contemplation and beauty, in addition to seeking to raise people’s awareness of issues related to environmental subjects. Because for Vandeira, images are a powerful tool for storytelling. Vandeira is currently collaborating for National Geographic Brazil, being a photographer specialized in adventure, culture and science. His work is represented exclusively by the National Geographic Image Collection (USA).

@edsonvandeira
MARCELLO CAVALCANTI

MARCELLO CAVALCANTI

Photographer & Tour Leader

Marcello Cavalcanti is one of the best-known nature and landscape photographers in his photogenic hometown of Rio de Janeiro. With extensive international experience, having photographed remote locales such as the Inca cities of Peru, the Atacama Desert, the Bolivian Altiplanos, Argentine and Chilean Patagonia, the Canadian Rockies and the Serengeti in Africa. Cavalcanti seeks to portray Rio from the point of view that he considers most important, in other words, the city’s relationship with nature and weather. His photos clearly reflect this, as the lush, widely-recognized touristy landscape gives way to lightning storms, intriguing rainy days, breathtaking daybreaks and twilights and, of course, the most extraordinary and original angles of the famous mountains that surround the Serra da Carioca. The urban forest and its vast fauna are also a constant theme in Cavalcanti’s photos of the city. Cavalcanti also acts as a teacher of landscape photography and runs his own Youtube channel, “Por Trás da Foto” (literally “Behind the Photo”), where he reveals his sophisticated techniques and creativity in short, charismatic videos. Cavalcanti has participated in dozens of exhibitions, both solo and group shows. His photos are seen in art and photography galleries and not uncommonly in newspaper and magazine articles published in Brazil.

@marcellocavancanti1
ALYSON MELO

ALYSON MELO

Naturalist Guide & Tour Leader

Alyson Melo holds a degree in biological sciences from the State University of Londrina (UEL), Brazil and has a postgraduate degree in Biogeography of Neotropical Birds from the University of Bonn – Germany. Melo has extensive experience in conservation and ecotourism in the Pantanal and Amazon. He had been coordinating ecotourism projects, including the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Institute (IDSM), Jaguar Research Center, sponsored by the NGO Tropical Nature and Business Plan for Ecotourism for Indigenous people in southern Amazon, through Conservation Strategy Fund – CSF. As a researcher, Melo worked with bird conservation at the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA) and was a member of the Project TEAM (Tropical Ecology, Assessment and Monitoring Initiative), sponsored by Conservation International (CI). With an expertise of over 20 years, currently, he works with consultancy and Naturalist/Birder Guide. He already developed and or helped to complete bird checklist for several locations in Brazil. Therefore he is formally ornithologist, he has extensive experience guiding naturalists and photographers groups. He loves to share his experience with the guests about places, geography, culture, plants, mammals, reptiles and birds. Currently lives in Bonito, a charming ecotourism destination in Brazil with his family. He speaks fluent English and very good Spanish.

@amelowildlifephotography
RAPHAEL SANTOS

RAPHAEL SANTOS

Naturalist Guide & Tour Leader

Raphael Santos is a Brazilian professional guide specialized on wildlife photography (graduated on Biology). He has been working (non-stop) since 2001 totally focused on birds and mammals in different regions of the Brazilian territory (Amazon Forest, Pantanal, Atlantic Rainforest, Brazilian Savana, Caatinga and Southern Grasslands which is also known by Pampas). His experience in Brazil and other countries as Argentina, Chile, Uruguai, Ecuador, Colombia, South Africa and Australia gives him an exceptional overview about the ecoturism. During his carrer he wrote several articles for specialized magazines, book chapters and coordinates field research investigations all over Brazil. Every single client just say good recommendations about him who is one of the best tour leaders nowadays available in Brazil.

@raphasantos_birding
DIOGO LUCATELLI

DIOGO LUCATELLI

Naturalist Guide & Tour Leader

Diogo discovered a passion for the natural world early in his life and his curiosity led him to study Biology, Ecology and Natural Resources in his hometown, Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. After graduating, he immersed himself in getting to know and understand the wild wetlands of the Pantanal. In 2012, joined the team at Caiman Ecological Refuge in Southern Pantanal and by 2013 he was an integral part of the Onçafari Jaguar Project, going through training with South African trackers and rangers, and working as biologist, guide and tracker. He was also the head guide at Caiman for 2 years. Since late 2016, Diogo decided to expand his horizons, and he now guides trips to central and Southern Amazon, Northern and Southern Pantanal as well as birding trips to Brazilian Northeast. His love for Brazil’s environment, wildlife, people and culture are evident in the way he shares insights and experiences with the guests. Tracking, birding and wildlife photography are only a few of the means through which he feeds his passion for nature.
@diogolucatelli
FÁBIO PASCHOAL

FÁBIO PASCHOAL

Naturalist Guide & Tour Leader

Fábio Paschoal has been in love with animals since he was a child, so he decided to study Biology. He graduated at University of São Paulo in 2005, took a technical course in Tourism and began working as a bilingual guide in the Pantanal and Amazon in 2008. He was the editor and reporter at National Geographic Brazil from 2011 to 2016. He also writes content for Biology textbooks, works as a translator for dubbing and has a passion for wildlife and nature.

@fabio_paschoal
MANOELA BERNARDY

MANOELA BERNARDY

Naturalist Guide & Tour Leader

Manoela Bernardy is Brazilian, 36 years old and has worked as a naturalist guide in the Pantanal for the last 14 years. She has guided groups in both Northern and Southern Pantanal. Manoela loves nature and has always been enchanted by the wildlife that surrounds her. She is especially passionate about birds and has a natural ability to spot and identify them by their calls. What started as a hobby soon turned into a profession that she noticeably adores and excels at. Manoela’s experience and charisma coupled with her ability to communicate fluently in Portuguese, English and Spanish makes her a highly sought after guide within the community. She loves nature photography and likes to travel herself to natural habitats as a way to improve her knowledge and discover new places and cultures.

@manoelabernardy