Our Team

Bernard Schleien
Director & Founder, Latin America For Less

Bernard-edit2982982Bernard in Cusco, Peru

Bernard founded Latin America For Less in 1998, right after graduating from Southwestern University in Texas, with a degree in History. In his life and work, Bernard has utilized the knowledge he received from his liberal arts education, and his philosophy, history, and political science professors have been far more influential than any business readings he may have run into. At the end of the day, he believes life is about balance and connecting the dots.

Bernard is very happy about the fact that he can sell something he believes in, and uses some of his earnings towards contributing to Peru-based human rights organizations. The pursuit of joy and catharsis are essential in his life, and is why he loves traveling so much. Bernard also believes there is more to life than traveling: listening to music with the lights off, slow food tasting, the visual arts, yelling gooooooool, and the laughter of his son Amaru Martí.

Richard Leon
Director, Latin America For Less

Ric Leon, Peru staff, Peru For LessRick at Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

Richard attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, one of the best schools of music in the world. He has lived in both the USA and Peru, as his family tended to move from one country to another due to job reasons. After 4 years of traveling back and forth from Boston and his home town of Lima, Peru, he graduated with a Bachelor degree in Music Business and Management.

He has a passion for travel, drums, music, surfing, and the financial markets where he has been day trading for several years. He can never say no to food, especially if it is Pizza Day at the office which is, to his fortune, once per month. He loves playing with his band called Pan con Tamal and also simply grabbing his backpack and walking into unknown territory to find beautiful destinations. Luckily for the rest of us he always shares new discoveries with all his friends. As an avid traveler he has explored many countries in South America and experienced how travel can broaden his horizons by meeting new people, new cultures, and most importantly new rhythms for his drum set. Helping people is one of his passions and Richard truly believes that what goes around comes around and we all have to do our part to make our small space in the universe the best place it can be.

Anabel Mota
Read Anabel’s articles here.

Anabel Mota, Latin America For Less, Peru vacations, Peru For LessAnabel at Sacsayhuaman, Cusco, Peru

Latin Americans have a habit of shortening people’s names and after nearly 3 years of travel in South America, Anabel has gotten used to hearing “Ana.” She rather likes it.

Originally from sunny San Diego, California, Anabel has been living, working, and traveling in South America since 2010 – and loving every minute of it. Her long-term goal is to travel the world and her preferred way to do this is at a snail’s pace, with enough time to savor the spirit and flavor of each destination. (She is not, however, opposed to hastily ditching a place that strikes the wrong note.)

Anabel has been writing for the Latin America For Less website and travel blog since 2011. Her favorite topics include history, culture, and off the beaten track destinations. She also takes special joy in penning the travel tales of LAFL staff members.

Hendrika Janssen
Read Hendrika’s articles here

Hendrika, Peru For LessHendrika in Iquitos, Peru

Hendrika first fell in love with South America when she traveled to Bolivia in 2006 during a summer break from school. After volunteering as a horse riding instructor in La Paz during this time, she was able to travel extensively around the country. In the coming years, she also visited Peru, and traveled to Cusco, Iquitos, and Trujillo among others. The Peruvian culture and people resonated greatly with Hendrika and so in 2013 she decided to follow her heart, set foot on a new adventure and relocate to Lima.

Britt Fracolli
Read Britt’s articles here.

team, Peru For LessBritt at Machu Picchu, Peru

After spending a year in Mexico City for graduate school, Britt returned to California where she worked as a grant writer until she could no longer ignore the sweet whispers of wanderlust.  Britt bought a one-way ticket to South America in June 2012, starting her journey in Argentina and slowly traveled north through Chile, Bolivia, and Peru.  The diversity of South America’s landscapes and the warmth of those she has met along the way continues to humble her. More than a year later, unable to shake her addiction of Latin America, she now happily calls Peru home and looks forward to exploring more of this diverse continent.

Rachel Ricks
Read Rachel’s articles here.  

Rachel Ricks, Latin America For Less, Peru For LessRachel at Machu Picchu, Peru

Rachel has always loved traveling, and following some adventurous trips at a young age, it was little surprise that she ended up writing about it for a living. Having spent eight years living and working in London, Rachel set off  to Peru in August 2012 with no plans other than to try living in a different country.  In addition to traveling around South America and – of course – writing about her experiences, she set off determined to learn Spanish and get to know a different culture.

She lived in Peru for three months, teaching English and writing her blog in the Sacred Valley near Cusco, before setting off to explore Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.  Along the way, she stood on the ethereal salt flats of Uyuni in Bolivia, sandboard down dunes in Chile’s Atacama Desert, strolled the streets of several Argentinean cities, relaxed on Uruguayan beaches, and looked, mouth agape, at Iguazu Falls.

Rachel’s love for Peru eventually swept her all the way back to Cusco where she started working for Latin America For Less and settled into her new home.  She loves the hustle and bustle of city life as much as the peace and beauty of the countryside, so spends her weekends exploring museums, galleries and restaurants, or setting off for a hike in the mountains. And at the end of the day, Rachel likes nothing more than snuggling down with a good companion, book or movie, plus a mountain of another kind – good food – and she has found plenty of that in Peru.

Rachael Taylor
Read Rachael’s articles here.

Rachael Taylor, Peru For Less staffRachael climbing near Cusco, Peru

Rachael was born and raised in the steel city of Sheffield, England. Choosing to follow her passion for literature, she graduated from Newcastle University with a BA in English Literature in 2008. Unsure of which direction her life would take at this point, she found herself enrolled on a holistic therapies course and the manager of a busy park café. Then, during the summer of 2009, she discovered an enthusiasm for baking. After a few months of experimenting in the kitchen, using vegetables as a basis for her recipes, there emerged Feel-Good Cakes; her specialist cake business.

Feeling unsatisfied in England however, her thoughts turned to travelling and exploring. She felt hungry for travel and was itching to explore a different continent and culture. She got her first taste of travelling when she went Greek island hopping at 17. When at university, she traveled across India, as well as visiting numerous other European countries in those few years. So in the summer of 2011, during a climbing trip in France, she made the decision that the following year she would take off to discover South America. Travelling across Colombia, she instantly fell in love with Latin America. When eventually landing in Cusco, Peru, she knew that she had found a place that she could call home.

Rachael loves to travel, climb, cook, read, run, dance and sing (badly, in the shower). In England she voluntarily taught English, ran a baking club and assisted with a running club in a school. She finds bliss in coffee, dark chocolate and red wine. Eating out is firmly one of her favorite pastimes. In Cusco, she can be found walking towards the serene Temple of the Moon, sitting in a café with cake, coffee and a good novel or out with friends amidst the bustling centre of the Plaza de Armas. Fascinated and enraptured by the Cusquenian culture and lifestyle, she is often caught smiling at the thought that this is the place that she now calls home.

Page Buono
Read Page’s articles here.  

Page Buono, Latin America For Less, Peru vacations, Peru For LessPage in Patagonia, Argentina

It probably started with an aspiration to become Nelly Bly that planted a seed in the 5th grade; the brave journalist who travelled the world held Page’s attention with a firm grasp – and at the first opportunity for travel she leapt. After spending three months in Guatemala before her senior year of high school, Page hammered through college on the west coast, making trips to Canada when and where they were possible.

After graduating, she landed an internship with the UN Refugee Agency in Uganda where she spent just over a year, working and traveling around East Africa. Outside of Uganda, she spent time in Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan and Zanzibar. What appeals most to Page about travel is the ability experience, at least on some level, a lifestyle completely different from anything she’s ever known, and through the differences to establish connection.

Page studied Spanish in college, and after her time in Africa decided it was important to solidify her Spanish language “skills”, even more convinced that learning the local language, at least on some level, is an essential ingredient of genuine and incredible travel experiences. She was offered the opportunity to travel to Argentina and write a travel guide book for women, which she jumped on. Page went on a one-way ticket, and after the travel-writing gig was up, she stayed behind for another 7 months, working at ski resorts, playing with horses in Patagonia, painting faces in clubs in Buenos Aires, and completing the TEFL course before returning home to connect with family while saving and planning for the next round.

Manuel Vigo
Read Manuel’s articles here.  

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Manuel at Machu Picchu, Peru

Manuel is a Peruvian-American who grew up between both countries. Growing up in Lima, Manuel enjoyed going on hikes in the Andes with friends, and going off’-roading in the country’s northern beaches.

After graduating from high-school in Lima, Manuel took a gap year in Australia, where he surfed Coffs Harbour, and backpacked through Queensland and New South Wales. Manuel moved to the U.S. where he earned a B.A. in International Relations and Philosophy from Florida International University, where he was the jazz music director and a DJ for the WRGP Radiate FM, FIU’s college radio.

In 2011 he moved back to Peru, started a record label, and began a career as a journalist, writing for several Peruvian and U.S. publications. In his spare time he enjoys listening to music, checking out bookstores, collecting records, trying new restaurants, and philosophizing about pop culture.

Diego Ortiz
Read Diego´s articles here.  

Diego Ortiz, Latin America For Less, Peru vacations, Peru For LessDiego, Pucallpa, Peru

Diego is a Colombian-American who was raised in Morristown, NJ. He started writing short fiction when he was a teenager and has pursued creative writing as a hobby ever since. He studied Journalism and Spanish Literature at Rutgers University. He was elected Editor-in-Chief of the Rutgers-Newark student newspaper, The Observer, in 2010.

Diego is an accomplished cyclist. He rode across the United States in 2009 on a charity bike trip that he organized along with a group of friends from New Jersey. The group rode more than 3,000 miles and raised thousands of dollars for Traumatic Brain Injury survivors.

After working for multiple publications in the U.S., he moved to Peru in January 2012. Since then he’s lived and worked in Trujillo, Cuzco and now calls Lima home. He will return to the U.S. next year to earn an MFA in Creative Writing.

Matt Greenberg
Read Matt’s articles here.  

Matt Greenberg, Peru adventures, Peru For LessMatt, Amazon, Peru

Matt comes to us from the suburbs of Chicago where he was born and raised. He graduated from the University of Tampa in Florida with a major in writing and a minor in English. During his college years, Matt spent a year teaching English in Costa Rica, where he fell in love with Latin America and fostered a desire to write about its culture. In Costa Rica, Matt was bit by the travel bug; this took him to venture throughout Central America and Europe. He now indulges in South America’s rich and foreign treasures.

Matt came to Peru to instruct English and quickly found the country had much to teach him. Even more than the delicious cuisine, it was the warmth of the people, the beauty of the countryside, and the bustle of Lima that captured his heart and imagination. He travels as much as his time permits and has become known as the “Tango King” in certain corners of Buenos Aires. Friend to the penguins of Puerto Madryn, the gauchos’ cattle of the Argentine pampas, and the llama of Peru, Matthew cherishes the sacred and vibrant wildlife that can be found all over South America.

In his free time, Matthew can be found writing, reading, or catching the latest movies. While Matthew does not miss the harsh Midwest winters, he does long for basketball and cheering on his beloved Boston Red Sox, a family inherited obsession. Nevertheless, Matthew has happily found a new home in Latin America.

Steff Lazo-Herencia
Read Steff´s articles here

Steff Lazo-Herencia, Peru exploration, Peru For LessSteff, northern Peru in the Mangroves of Tumbes

“Where are you from?”  This is one of the most perplexing questions to Steff who’ll warmly respond, “Earth!”  The complexity of this question is not easily answered because she was born in Lima, Peru; spent her early childhood in Arequipa, Peru; middle childhood in Lincoln, Nebraska; and the rest of her life in Austin, Texas—the place she considers home.  Though wanderlust frequently guides her to paths of exploratory travel.

Her early experiences, filled with dramatic environmental change and cultural adaptation, only add to her predisposed interest in her environment.  Her love for the planet´s life forms and mechanisms guided her to pursue the natural sciences. Nevertheless, the social sciences are essential in understanding the modern environment. Thus, she bridged the two and graduated with degrees in Geology and Geography from the University of Texas in Austin. She has worked in environmental education and water research with both non-profit and governmental organizations over 13 years. Why water? It’s a resource we all need; whose planetary travels are timeless!

Water work involves a lot of field work and requires a spirit of adventure. This led Steff to spend many years in Peru chasing rivers through mountains, valleys and into the Pacific Ocean. Since water is related to every planetary thing, it’s a great excuse to travel to remote areas and experience the grandeur of nature. Her connection to Latin America is logical because she is Peruvian, and this continent, specifically Peru, has so much to see! Peru alone has more bird species than North America and Europe combined! It also has the Amazon River, the Humboldt Current, the Andes Mountains, and the deepest canon of the world (the Cotahuasi)! Naturally, she wants to share these fantastic experiences and Latin America’s captivating charm with the world.  And thanks to Latin America for Less, she can.

Javier Puente
Read Javier´s articles here.  

Javier Puente, Peru For Less staff, Peru For LessJavier, Teotihuacan, Mexico

Javier is a historian of modern Latin America and rural Peru, who works as a postdoctoral fellow at Lehigh University – after years attending the Pontifical Catholic University in Peru and Georgetown. He has collaborated with diverse LAFL projects since 2007, and remains engaged with the agency’s innovative approach of offering a top-notch, well-informed, and inspiring journey experience to motivated travelers seeking for something truly unique.

Life, according to Javier, is a seemingly endless process of self-discovery, triggered by a multiplicity of events that connects us to new peoples and environments. Traveling has historically been a crucial component in the making of the human web that we now called “the world” – from Ibn Battuta to Marco Polo and Inca Tupac Yupanqui to Ferdinand Magellan. Recent developments intend us to believe that we do not really need to leave our desks to embrace this essential habit, that everything is a click away, and that we are more connected to the world than ever before. Nothing challenges these erroneous assumptions more than indulging yourself to be part of one of the most important human traditions: visiting new places, shaking the hands of people you do not know, and opening your heart and mind to the unknown. While unveiling the secrets of places you only had dreamed about, you will also realize how much is yet to be unveiled about yourself.

When he is not igniting the minds of the American youth inside the classroom, Javier packs his few belongings and leaves in the next available bus or plane. So far, this apparently irresponsible attitude has taken him to experience some magical (and totally unexpected) moments, of which he has particularly enjoyed his time in the Sacred Valley, Mexico City, and Bogota.

Juan Miguel Mifflin

Web and Graphics Designer

jmmifflin
Juan Miguel, Staff Photo

Juan Miguel Mifflin is our loveable and quirky web and graphics designer here at Latin America for Less. He attended the prestigious Catholic University in Lima, Peru. He’s lived in Lima, Peru, his entire life. In his free time Mifflin enjoys going to concerts, the theater and seeing movies. On Sundays he likes to tour the museums in downtown Lima because it’s less crowded. Mifflin has traveled widely around Peru, including trips around the coast like the cities of Ica, Nazca, Chiclayo, Arequipa, Cusco, Piura and Pisco. According to Mifflin, Chachapoya has the most beautiful sites in all of Peru. He next wants to explore the Peruvian jungle. Mifflin’s dream vacation destination is Asia, especially China and Japan.