Marc A Goddard

Marc was born in San Francisco, California in 1966 and graduated from San Francisco University High School in 1984 and went on to earn a degree in Geography and Economics from the University of Colorado.

Marc started his rafting and kayaking career while in Colorado and deepened his passion over the next 10 years as he worked as a guide and led expeditions in the United States, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Africa, Chile, Turkey, and Siberia. In 1991, Marc was selected to be a member of Team California who won the World Championships of rafting in Costa Rica (‘92), Turkey (‘93) and 4th place in Africa (‘95).

In 1992, after years spent as a guide, trip leader, and manager on rivers around the world. Marc made his dream a reality by founding, with his close friend and business partner Laurence Alvarez-Roos, Bio Bio Expeditions. For thirteen years Marc has worked very hard, both in the office and in the field to create a first-rate international adventure travel business. Marc also shared his love for teaching by spending 3 years teaching high school geography. Over the years Marc has seen his business grow to one of the most well-respected adventure travel companies in the industry – selected to provide safety for the 2000 International Whitewater Championships, featured in National Geographic Adventure and Outside Magazines. Marc himself was featured in Paddler Magazine as one of the world’s top 10 most active river guides.

When not working in the office or in the field, Marc can be found backcountry skiing in his home mountains, the Sierra Nevadas, kayaking year-round, mountain biking, or pouring over maps looking for his next great adventure. Marc’s excitement for exploration led Bio Bio to do the first raft descent of the Drangme Chu River in Bhutan in 2009. Marc summited Aconcagua (22.800 ft) in 2001 and Russia’s Mt. Elbrus in 2005. Fondly known as the “Wizard of Whitewater”, he lives in Truckee. CA with his son Quinn, daughter Lilian and two dogs – Shanti and Jeffrey.

Laurence Alvarez Roos

Laurence was born in Mexico to Mexican and Dutch parents, raised in the Netherlands and immigrated to the United States in 1978. After graduating from San Francisco University High School, he attended University of California at Berkeley for four years to earn a B.A, in Political Economy of Industrial Societies. His focus was trade relations with Latin America and a minor in Spanish Literature.

Laurence started his rafting career at age 17 on the mighty South Fork of the American river in California. Since 1986 he has been an expedition leader, river guide, safety kayaker, dutch oven chef, self taught ecologist and adventure videographer in New Zealand, Nepal, Zimbabwe, Siberia, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Costa Rica and the United States of America.
From 1993 till 1999. Laurence was the USA Men’s Whitewater Rafting Team captain, competing both in national and international raft race championships. The competition in 1999 included a first raft descent of the Orange River in the green Kalahari in South Africa. At the 2000 World Rafting Championships. Laurence was “safety team” captain on the Futaleufu River in Patagonia. Chile.

Laurence’s fluency in Spanish, Dutch and English make him an invaluable asset on all our South American expeditions. He is an enthusiastic and talented cook who bakes breads on the open fire, makes dutch oven desserts and other exotic river meals. He rock climbs, mountain bikes, and does all the water sports you can imagine – snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, rafting, and swimming. He has run over 50 rivers on six continents with thousands of actual river miles traveled. When not in his second home of Chile, Laurence lives in the mountain playground of Truckee CA with Terry and their Patagonia rescue dog named Canela! His daughters Sabine and Saskia are 7 and 5 and attend bilingual school in Kings Beach!

Alex Nicks

Alex Nicks is a well respected and known professional kayaker and videographer. He has recently expanded his videography business into outdoor & extreme sports presentations and commentating. Alex’s true passion though lies in taking kayaking as a sport to new and uncharted waters. He is hands down one of the world’s most expert rodeo kayakers.

Alex was born in the UK in 1972 and found only the ocean surf big enough to excite his early kayaking career. Alex has kayaked on rivers everywhere. After running rivers on the continent, he found himself suddenly on the Zambezi in Africa. Several years on that river and 100,000 kayaking miles later and he started traveling again.

His favorite river (at least in February) is by far the Futaleufu in Chile where he is our safety kayaker and instructor. With Alex in front of the rafts one never has to worry that a swimmer is going to get past our safety net. There simply is no better kayaker for the job than this fearless Brit. Beyond his accent, he adds intelligent conversation and is an agreeable, helpful team player.

Alex Obregon

Originally from Costa Rica, Alex grew up surfing and playing in and on everything that he possibly could. He started kayaking in his mid twenties on the rapids of the Pacuare River, not far from his home in the small village of Cahuita on the southern tip of the Caribbean coast. Alex’s first introduction to whitewater was, in his words, “like meeting the genie of the lantern. I never thought I would go as far as I have. If I could redeem my frequent river running miles. I could probably raft free for the rest of my life!” He likes sports and loves the river because it keeps him on the edge and demands his best. “It’s flow shows me at every moment that there are no limits to the things one can do. Water has shown me incredible places and faces; out of the ordinary people who have shown me life in so many positive ways. Now, I am proud to be part of an excellent team of athletes from all over the world who share the same passion. It is always a rewarding pleasure for me to share my experience of many years of river lessons.” In addition his whitewater expertise in rafting and kayaking, Alex is also an excellent chef, writer, carpenter and craftsman who brings an incredible sense of style to everything he does. Alex has lived and worked all over the globe and currently calls Tahoe his home away from home.

Cooper Freeman

Nothing gets Cooper going like building a strong team to tackle some of the world’s finest whitewater. Cooper followed in the footsteps of Marc and Laurence launching his guiding career with the legendary California outfit Whitewater Voyages when he was 18 years old. After graduating with high honors from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Environmental History, he became Voyages’ youngest Tuolumne River manager ever at the ripe age of 21. Since then, Cooper has organized, guided, and led expeditions in Africa, India, Patagonia, British Columbia, and all over the western U.S. Cooper is equally at home finding the smoothest lines on the river, giving impromptu talks on local geology, ecology, and history, creating enchanting rhythms on the djembe around a starry night campfire, pouring over logistics and finances for a complex expedition, or whipping up a delicious feast in the wilderness. When not running rivers, Cooper works for the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center in northern California to help solve the worlds problems, which makes him just want to run rivers! Cooper loves guiding for Bio Bio Expeditions – the perfect company to share his favorite wild rivers with exceptional people.

Cristian Vargas

Cristian Vargas serves as our illustrious Head Chef at the Futaleufu Adventure Camp in Chile. Born in Amsterdam to Chilean parents, Cristian spent his early years in Holland before moving back to Chile. Cristian is a professional chef having graduated from the University INACAP in Santiago, Chile. His degree is in Administration of Gastronomic Production and International Cooking. He worked in many high-end Santiago restaurants before heading to San Sebastian, Spain to serve as head chef at an avante-garde restaurant. Although he loves the fast paced, exciting life of working in big city establishments, Cristian was also drawn to the outdoors. He was able to combine his passion for food with his passion for adventure by traveling to Futaleufu, Chile and working as head chef for a fly fishing lodge. We first met Cristian in Futaleufu and from time to time we would be lucky enough to have him come to the Bio Bio camp as a “guest chef”. Soon enough we had to have him work for us!! He also realized how much fun we have and what great people come to raft with us, and he knew where he wanted to be! Cristian has worked as our Head Chef since 2005. He creates the menu, places the food orders and arranges delivery (a daunting task in the middle of Patagonia!), and oversees the kitchen and bar staff. He has transformed the BBX dining experience to truly gourmet with a Latin American flair. He can creatively and deliciously meet any specific dietary requirements, from vegetarian to food allergies. Cristian is always happy to teach our guests how to make Chilean empanadas or the delicious salsa known as pebre. After dessert he can teach a different type of salsa when our bar transforms into a dance floor playing Cristian’s best Latin dance tunes!

Damara Stone

Damara was born in Guadalajara, Mexico to hippy, nomadic parents who introduced her early on to the joys of travel and adventure! Damara was first drawn to Chile as an exchange student while attending the University of Nevada, Reno where she earned degrees in Anthropology, Spanish and Nursing.

She was introduced to whitewater rafting on the Bio Bio River which changed her life forever! She returned home to become a professional river guide, and the rest is history! She has returned to Chile almost every winter since (over 25 years now!) and has also explored rivers and mountains in Africa, Russia, Central America, Asia, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, and all over the western US. She considers the Futaleufu a “home away from home” and is so grateful to have spent so much time in that paradise.

Damara and Bio Bio Expeditions co-founder Marc Goddard are blessed to be the loving parents of Quinn Walker (born in 2006) and Lilian Paz (born in 2008) who are following in their parent’s footsteps with a love of rivers, mountains, adventure, fun, learning, culture and amazing experiences. Damara has worn many hats for Bio Bio Expeditions and at the Futaleufu including: writing for the website, teaching yoga (she co-created the “Futa-Flow” yoga series), leading trekking groups, rowing a cat, paddling a ducky, guiding a bike ride, horse ride or hike, helping in the kitchen, driving shuttle, or bandaging up cuts and scrapes as the camp nurse. Besides rafting and adventure Damara also loves yoga, dance (especially salsa and tango), all manners of sliding on snow, cooking (but not baking), reading, writing, art, poetry, mountain biking, Burning Man, meditation, speaking Spanish, Latin American culture, live music, playing guitar, piano and accordian, but most of all spending quality time in quality places with her loved ones. Damara hangs her hat in Truckee, California in the heart of her beloved Sierra Nevada.

Diego Ibañez

Diego Ibañez comes from one of the founding families of Peruvian whitewater adventure. Along with his cousin, Piero Vellutino, Diego grew up in Arequipa, Peru in an adventurous family that started exploring the rivers of the Andes in the early ‘80’s. He remembers that his first time in a raft was with his family at age 5 and that he has never been far from the river ever since. Being on the river has a very special meaning to Diego and he loves every moment on the river that he gets!
Before working as a guide, Diego studied Hotel Management in university, finishing in 2001. During this time he worked in the general Peru tourism industry, mainly at the front desk of 5 star hotels, perfecting his English and problem solving skills. After finishing his studies, Diego began river guiding and kayaking. As a whitewater kayaker Diego has run hundreds of different rivers around the world including first descents in both Peru and Argentina. His kayaking pursuits led him to Uganda, Zambia, Ecuador, Chile, and all over his home country of Peru. As a raft guide Diego has captained boats in Peru, Chile, and Argentina. He has also led trekking trips all through the Andes and southern Patagonia and helped organize adventure races, and rafting and kayaking competitions in Peru and Argentina. Diego is a true professional: wilderness first aid certified, Wilderness First Responder, swiftwater rescue certified and is a certified IRF instructor for Class 4-5 raft guides.
As part of the Bio Bio Team, Diego has a constant smile and an unflappable personality. He is a team player – comfortable leading Andean treks as well as Class 5 whitewater as either a river guide or safety kayaker. Diego is one of our best salsa dancers and loves sharing his love of life, fun, and adventure with our guests.

Diego Valsecchi

The eldest of 11 children, Diego was born and raised on a ranch in Argentina and is the epitome of a “Renaissance Man”. He grew up an equestrian raising polo horses, learned the fine arts of culinary magic from his Italian grandmother, and has become not only one of the best whitewater kayakers in Argentina, but one of the best in the world.
Diego has traveled the world working in countries from Switzerland to Nepal to Uganda as well as all over Latin America. He has summitted Aconcagua, run first kayak descents of multiple creeks and rivers in areas as remote as Iran, and speaks 4 languages. After ensuring that you have a safe and fun experience on the river, don’t be surprised if you see Diego demonstrating his salsa moves, preparing an incredible meal for you or sharing a “mate” from his native Argentina.
Besides guiding, Diego is a talented wine maker and is working on a degree in environmental engineering. Diego is a warm, caring, and incredibly talented individual that you will meet on our Chile, Peru, and California trips.

Johny Snyder

Johnny Snyder, a top kayaker and guide has a passion for spending time in the very wildest, remotest places on the Earth. His expeditions have been featured on many major media outlets such as, PBS, BBC, the Discovery Channel, Fox Family network and the Travel Channel. His outdoor experiences and masterful leadership abilities has made him one of the most sought after guides at premiere health resorts in the Berkshires of Masssachussetts. His love for the outdoors, kayaking, mountain climbing and leading expeditions has helped him tap into the pure energy of life that he brings to all his professional services.