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Meet the TEAM

Hi, we are Hernan & Katja - the people behind Natikari- Rancho Verde.

Santuario para la biodiversidad

Hernan

Meet Hernan, the mastermind of the Natikari project. Born and raised in Monterrey, he first came to Sayulita on a family vacation, his aunt had a little house near Mal Paso. In those times Sayulita was still a tiny fishing village with wild, untouched nature everywhere. He was allowed to move here on the condition he finished his lawyer degree first, so he finished in record time, packed his bags and arrived at his destination when he was 21. However, he quickly realised that there wasn't much work around, so he had to work in Puerto Vallarta, mainly in tourism to make his dream come true. At only 22 he bought his first land in Sayulita and started to build his first casita- poco a poco.

He soon started helping others to buy land and in 2006 he was asked by the former owner of the land that is now Rancho Natikari to find buyers. But how to get people invest in land that is protected forest with very limited opportunity to construct and get a return? After long discussions and exchanges of ideas with his friend and then flatmate Pepe and after watching some youtube videos about ecotourism the idea of creating the sanctuary took form. They came up with the rules that bind every owner at Natikari to protect and preserve the place and found more people to invest. 

After 17 years of planning and plotting, Rancho Natikari is finally open to the public to enjoy and experience this true treasure in a tropical paradise. 

Hernan not only had a great vision for this place, he also has a wealth of stories and anecdotes revolving around Sayulita, make sure you get some out of him when you come and visit!

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Katja

Meet Katja, head biologist of the Natikari project- all the way from Germany. She met Hernan on one of her stays in Sayulita who introduced her to Natikari. She fell in love with the project, packed her bags and left her then home in England to help with the conservation side of things. 

Her biologist career started with a bird feeder in front of her parents house and some books on birds. She wrote her diploma thesis on modeling classical conditioning (remember Pavlov's dog?) with neural networks, counted a lot of fish in German rivers and, finally, predicted in her PhD thesis how climate change and non-native species could change freshwater community composition. She still loves to feed and watch birds. Using her food-web knowledge she is often seen adding plants to the garden that insects and birds might like and recording the results from a hammock. 

Katja is also our head donkey wrestler and will most likely be the one taking you on the tour and answering your inquieries.