National Geographic Experts


A National Geographic expert will accompany each departure to share insights and a rare behind-the-scenes perspective. Listed below are some of the experts and the departure date(s) they will be joining.

Christopher Baker
Author, Photographer

The Lowell Thomas Award 2008 ‘Travel Journalist of the Year,' photographer and writer Christopher Baker is one of the world's foremost authorities on Costa Rica and Cuba. He has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, Cuba, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Panama in the National Geographic Traveler series. He is also the author of the award-winning Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro's Cuba, published by National Geographic Adventure Press. His more than 20 other books include the coffee-table book Cuba Classics: A Celebration of Vintage American Automobiles. He has written for more than 200 publications, from National Geographic Traveler to Newsweek, and has been an invited speaker at National Geographic headquarters, the National Press Club, and the World Affairs Council, among other prestigious organizations. Christopher has been profiled in USA Today and featured on the National Geographic Channel, NPR, and dozens of other radio and TV outlets.

Departure Dates
  • May 18 - 26, 2014
  • Jun 01 - 09, 2014
  • Jun 15 - 23, 2014
  • Jun 29 - Jul 07, 2014
  • Oct 26 - Nov 03, 2014
  • Nov 22 - 30, 2014

Massimo Bassano

Born and raised in Italy, photojournalist Massimo Bassano has published his work in National Geographic Traveler and on the National Geographic website, plus in numerous European and Italian publications. Massimo first visited Cuba just after the breakup of the Soviet Union. He fell in love on that visit with the Cuban people, their lifestyle, and their culture. He has returned to Cuba seven times since, sailing the country's coastal islands and illustrating a book on rum, cigars, and the flavor of Cuba. For this assignment, he followed Ernest Hemingway's travels extensively all over the main island and ate fish with the first mate of Hemingway's fishing boat Pilar, Gregorio Fuentes—widely held to be a model for Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea. Massimo also had a lengthy interview with Fidel Castro at Havana's Tropicana Club on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Cuban Cohiba cigar. He regularly teaches National Geographic photography workshops and is a popular expert on National Geographic expeditions all over the world. His acclaimed photography book The Color of Silence details the 12 weeks he spent in a little-known Italian monastery.

Departure Dates
  • Nov 02 - 10, 2014

Raul Touzon

Raul Touzon is a documentary and underwater photographer who specializes in making images that convey what he refers as to “The Eternity of a Moment.” Born in Santiago, Cuba, Raul has traveled extensively, building a collection of photographs that have been featured in many publications including Time, US News and World Report, National Geographic Traveler, and National Geographic magazine. For the last 10 years Raul has been a full time educator and instructor producing and teaching workshops around the world. His images are represented by National Geographic Creative and Getty Images.

Departure Dates
  • Nov 09 - 17, 2014

Juan Valdes

As National Geographic Maps' Geographer and Director of Editorial and Research, Juan José Valdés is responsible for ensuring the accuracy and consistency of its maps and map products. He guides and assists the Society's Map Policy Committee in setting border representations, disputed territories, and naming conventions for the Geographic. Born in Havana and later raised in the U.S., Juan oversaw the development of National Geographic's groundbreaking new map of Cuba.

Departure Dates
  • Nov 16 - 24, 2014