Maria Elena Muriel is a ecotourism guide-trainer, planner, and coach, as well as advisor in tourism interpretation. She has guided for many years for cruise lines as well as many ecotour companies, leading birdwatching and whale watching tours, plant community tours, sea turtle programs, cultural history, and astronomy tours for many resorts and hotels in the Los Cabos area. In 1999 she took her first ornithology class at the University of Baja California but didn’t really become involved with birding until 2008, when she joined the Sonoran Joint Venture/Pronatura Northwest Mexico Bird Tourism Project. Through her participation in this program, Maria Elena gained skills and expertise to lead birding tours. Since then her guiding has become more focused on birders and she specializes in trips to see the endemic and rare species of Baja California Sur, including Estero de San José and the Sierra La Laguna Biosphere Reserve.
Maria Elena recently gave a presentation on the birds of Baja California at the 17th Annual San Diego Bird Festival in 2013 and co-led a post-festival field trip from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. She has traveled and spoken extensively, including giving the keynote address at a number of tourism conferences and meetings. She served as the Spanish section Director of NAI for six years and expanded the organization’s network considerably in Latin America. She has also conducted several Certified Interpretive Guide training courses in Mexico, Panama, and the Dominican Republic and trained tourism guides throughout Mexico. Maria Elena is one of only 120 NAI Certified Interpretive Planners and the only one in Latin America, collaborating with Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas to design interpretive trails, visitor centers, and provide input in the development of private tour companies. Maria Elena also volunteers with the schools and education departments in the Los Cabos region, offering field trips talks and conferences for students of all ages.
- Certified by the Mexican Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR) (since 1984)
- Certified Interpretive Guide through the National Association for Interpretation (NAI)
- Certified Interpretive Planner (NAI)
- Registered Coach: Eppley Institute for Parks & Public Lands of Indiana University
- First Aid and CPR
|Bird Guide Experience||★★★★|
|Natural and Cultural History Interpretation||★★★★|
The guides highlighted on this website, working closely with Site Coordinators from Pronatura Noroeste, have completed various levels of certification and have proven themselves to be capable, responsible, and trustworthy leaders.