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active 12 hours ago

Leo Cuesta

I'm the founder and president of Uncharted Earth, an adventure travel company that specializes in lesser known and relatively undeveloped travel destinations. We seek out unspoiled nature destinations and authentic experiences to give our customers exceptional adventures that go way beyond typical tours.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"Mountains, rainforests, tropical islands and volcanoes; hiking, snorkeling, diving, climbing, kayaking and mountain biking. Anything active in a beautiful and unspoiled nature setting. We also specialize in interacting with indigenous people and immersing people in traditional culture. "

How did you get involved in travel?

"I've always loved nature-based travel. As a kid I couldn't wait to escape the city to spend weekends at my dad's farm or longer vacations in the mountains or by the sea. I'm a professional dive master and also love to go climbing, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, skiing, kayaking --- pretty much any active endeavor done in nature. In my mid twenties I decided to make a career out of my passion for nature and adventure. I went to business school then worked for adventure travel companies in the US and Colombia before setting up my own adventure travel company. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"In 2011 I had a new company and also a new dog that I adopted. I wanted to explore some very remote islands in the Philippines, accessible only by very long rides in a small boat, braving big waves in the Pacific. I couldn't find anyone to leave my dog with so I had to bring him with me. It was a fantastic trip to some of the most spectacular islands in the Philippines that few people have ever been to, and I had my big white fluffy dog with me riding huge waves, exploring caves, camping on pristine beaches and snorkeling coral reefs. You can read about the adventure here: http://www.uncharted-earth.com/en/community/travel-stories/babuyan-islands-reconned/ "

Leo is part of the following groups: Philippines Travel Agents
View of a reef off the coast of the Philippines
Diving in the Philippines: Cebu, Negros, & Bohol - 9 Days

Experienced divers can experience the Philippines' vibrant marine biodiversity, colorful reefs, and white-sand beaches on this exciting 9-day itinerary. Begin your trip with an easy dive off the coast of Panglao Island before exploring underwater caves and reefs off Balicasag Island. See camouflaged creatures like octopi and frogfish in the volcanic sands of Dumaguete, spot huge schools of jackfish and barracuda near Apo Island, and go wall diving in Moalboal before ending your trip in Malapascua.

Modern banca boats carrying snorkeling enthusiasts near Coron Island
Discover the Philippines: Snorkeling in the Calamian Islands - 6 Days

Explore the natural wonders of the Calamian archipelago on this exciting 6-day snorkeling trip. You'll begin your trip on Coron Island, the third-largest of the Calamian islands and a snorkeling hot-spot that's teeming with marine life. After exploring Coron's World War II-era shipwrecks and reefs, you'll transfer on to Pass Island, snorkel at Smith Point Coral Garden, and go swimming at Barracuda Lake. Then, go on one last snorkeling adventure in Siete Pecados Marine Park before spending one last night in a beach cottage.

Swim with whale sharks in Donsol
Whale Shark Encounter in the Philippines: Ticao & Donsol - 3 Days

On this eco-friendly tour, you will get to swim with wild whale sharks in a protected and responsibly-managed environment. Considered the best place in the world to see the gentle giants, Donsol is also a paradise of soft-sand beaches and magnificent limestone rock formations. Besides seeing whale sharks in their natural habitat, you'll get to snorkel and relax around the islands of Ticao, and float down the amazing Firefly River as bright sparkles alight the surrounding forest.

The Batad rice terraces with local Ifugao men
The Cordillera: Banaue, Batad & Sagada - 6 Days

Trek through the Philippines' Cordillera and marvel at its natural and cultural heritage. Discover famous rice terraces, quaint villages, sacred waterfalls and rivers, extensive cave systems, and the hanging coffins of Echo Valley.

Discover the tropical beauty of Palawan
Palawan: Adventure in Paradise - 6 Days

Palawan's exotic geography and diverse vegetation are exceptional in a country that already has its fair share of awe-inspiring sights. This six-day adventure will have you snorkeling, seeking out wildlife, riding an underground river, and kayaking the El Nido islands. Discover why Palawan is in a league of its own when it comes to tropical destinations.

Explore the waterfalls of Estrella Falls, Palawan
Secrets of Palawan - 6 Days

Go deep into the Philippines' "last frontier" to discover beaches, rainforests, and waterfalls that few travelers explore. See endemic cockatoos in their natural habitat, snorkel coral reefs, and meet the indigenous Batak people. This is a unique trip that takes you away from crowds and lets you experience Palawan's nature at its best.

Recent trip reviews for Leo

Overall the trekking was very well organised ... · Philippines - Feb 8 - Feb 15, 2020

Traveler: Dennis S. - Local specialist: Leo Cuesta

Overall the trekking was very well organised with excellent commumication leading up to the trek itself. The rice terraces of Ifugao were truly amazing and better that I expected. Loved the villages and the warm welcome we received throughout our journey. Our guide Marvin was very friendly and led us through well, and has a superb knowledge of the local area, the environment, its people and its customs.

We had to make some initial route adjustmenst due the poor weather and track... read more

Overall the trekking was very well organised with excellent commumication leading up to the trek itself. The rice terraces of Ifugao were truly amazing and better that I expected. Loved the villages and the warm welcome we received throughout our journey. Our guide Marvin was very friendly and led us through well, and has a superb knowledge of the local area, the environment, its people and its customs.

We had to make some initial route adjustmenst due the poor weather and track conditions, and the unforeseen eco-tourism shutdown at Sagada was well covered by the alternative day to the Hapao valley and hot springs. Marvin made it all happen without any stress or fuss.

I would also recommend that hikers be made aware of the need to negotiate the many narrow walls in the rice terraces, some of which are quite high and slippery in places. We had one or two close calls!

For adventurous hikers, this area is a must-do

Leo Cuesta profile photo
Leo Cuesta, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Dennis, thank you for your review and I'm glad you had a great adventure! Thank you for choosing to travel with us and we hope to go on another trip with you in the future!

Hiking in Ifugau · Philippines - Feb 8 - Feb 15, 2020

Traveler: Armin U. - Local specialist: Leo Cuesta

If you are looking for an adventure then book yourself the Ifugao Villages Trek.
Forget the telephone and fl-yin rescue teams. You depend on your buddies and the locals.
We combined our trip with a trip to Sagada. (8 day tour including travel to and from Manila.
Our tour guide Marvin is a local and answers all questions regarding the Ifugao region.
Unfortunately the day we arrived in Sagada all tourist attractions got shut down due to the covit-19.
Marvin took us back to Banaue where we were... read more

If you are looking for an adventure then book yourself the Ifugao Villages Trek.
Forget the telephone and fl-yin rescue teams. You depend on your buddies and the locals.
We combined our trip with a trip to Sagada. (8 day tour including travel to and from Manila.
Our tour guide Marvin is a local and answers all questions regarding the Ifugao region.
Unfortunately the day we arrived in Sagada all tourist attractions got shut down due to the covit-19.
Marvin took us back to Banaue where we were able to visit the hot springs instead.
Top hike. Highly recommended.
(If you suffer from vertigo, dizzy spells or are not steady on your legs do not book this trip!)

Leo Cuesta profile photo
Leo Cuesta, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Armin, thank you for your review and I'm glad you enjoyed your trip! Thank you for choosing to travel with us and we hope to go on another adventure with you in the future!

Philippines Ifugao and Northern Palawan tours · Philippines - Dec 29 - Jan 1, 2020

Traveler: Joleen O. - Local specialist: Leo Cuesta

Leo helped me plan 2 great adventures in the Philippines. Highly recommend!
Ifugao Trek: Jody was an AMAZING guide for the Ifugao trek. Very knowledgable, personable, genuine, fun, and kind. He went out of his way to make sure we got the experience we were looking for while also being safe. We had such a good time we would love to bring our parents back to share this awesome experience. One of the best tour guides we had, that is now a friend .

Northern Palawan Tour: Jhonas was very... read more

Leo helped me plan 2 great adventures in the Philippines. Highly recommend!
Ifugao Trek: Jody was an AMAZING guide for the Ifugao trek. Very knowledgable, personable, genuine, fun, and kind. He went out of his way to make sure we got the experience we were looking for while also being safe. We had such a good time we would love to bring our parents back to share this awesome experience. One of the best tour guides we had, that is now a friend .

Northern Palawan Tour: Jhonas was very knowledgable about the area. We admire his dedication to the community and eco-tourism industry in Coron. He is a master of photography, and took some amazing pictures of us; he worked very hard to ensure that we captured the memorable moments of the Northern Palawan Tour. Jhonas also is an incredible cook; we did not go hungry on the trip, we felt very special and catered to which was amazing on our honeymoon trip.

Leo Cuesta profile photo
Leo Cuesta, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Joleen,

Thank you for your review and I'm glad you enjoyed your honeymoon trips with us! It was a pleasure having you as our guest and we hope to go on another adventure with you in the future!

JoyB · Philippines - Jan 8 - Jan 23, 2019

Traveler: Sara H. - Local specialist: Leo Cuesta

I wasn’t sure what to expect as this was my first trip to the Philippines and my first experience with kimkim. The trip more than met my expectations and frankly, I was blown away. Leo from Uncharted Earth kept in touch, answered my questions, and made and adjusted arrangements quickly and graciously. He sent photos, bios and cell numbers for everyone I would be guided by in the Philippines so I knew who was supposed to be meeting me. While in the Manila area the guides, Don-Don, EJ and Jhon... read more

I wasn’t sure what to expect as this was my first trip to the Philippines and my first experience with kimkim. The trip more than met my expectations and frankly, I was blown away. Leo from Uncharted Earth kept in touch, answered my questions, and made and adjusted arrangements quickly and graciously. He sent photos, bios and cell numbers for everyone I would be guided by in the Philippines so I knew who was supposed to be meeting me. While in the Manila area the guides, Don-Don, EJ and Jhon were fun, friendly and knowledgeable. They helped me try new foods and I had a great time seeing the sights. I seriously underestimated the effects of heat and humidity and they adjusted accordingly, cheering me on and helping me out at Taal Volcano, Laguna Waterfalls and the boat ride down the rapids. We also saw historical buildings in the area. All must-see excursions. The Bayleaf hotel was also nice while in Manila. Ana Santos from Uncharted Earth was always available throughout my tour modifying travel plans and getting another driver for me when plans changed at the last minute; a flight was cancelled so that she had to fix my stay at the hotel and transportation. The only time I had problems the hotel was supposed to arrange transportation; I called Ana and she fixed that, too. While in Donsol, Donsol Eco Tours and Elysia Hotel were wonderful, adjusting for the change in flights cheerfully, the food was grand and I highly recommend the firefly boat ride, Krishna was a great guide. I would highly recommend Donsol Eco Tours and the Elysia Hotel for anyone seeing the area. While in Palawan, Stephen Tuboc showed me the sights and arranged my island hopping schedule so that I missed the crowds at each stop, the boat crew provided an amazing meal, as good as any restaurant, right there on the beach- heaven. They even managed our time so that I got to see a magical little enclosed lagoon all by myself. Truly a mind-blowing day. The Atremaru hotel was also wonderful, peaceful and felt like you were really living in the jungle. I would highly recommend Stephen as a guide, really knowledgeable. Everywhere I went the scenery was amazing, food was wonderful and I’m sure it was because Uncharted Earth did such a good job selecting the tours and lodgings. If I’ve forgotten anyone, I apologize. Two huge thumbs up.

Leo Cuesta profile photo
Leo Cuesta, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you for the detailed review Sara, my team and I are all very happy that you had such a wonderful time with us! You were a great guest and we hope to go on another adventure with you in the future!

Law Family Tour · Philippines - Dec 27 - Dec 30, 2018

Traveler: Carina L. - Local specialist: Leo Cuesta

Our trip was wonderful..Our drivers Ana and John were excelkent .Friendly and amazing druving skills and patient with our regular stops. They were wonderful to accomodate another person in our tour at the last minute.Marvin our guide was good and found great restaurants fir lunch Hillside Inn in Batad and Misty Inn in Sagada were both charming and served delicious food.
The terraced rice fields and Echo Valley were amazing and despite the long drive well worth it.Abother trip off my bucket list.Thanks Leo for your help and advice
Carina Law

Leo Cuesta profile photo
Leo Cuesta, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Carina, thank you for your feedback and I'm glad you had a wonderful trip! It was a pleasure for my team to show you a bit of our country.

We also do tours in Colombia, another amazing country. You might want to consider that for your next vacation!

Thank you for traveling with us and we hope to take you on another adventure in the future!

Active · Philippines - Aug 8 - Aug 12, 2018

Traveler: Blair M. - Local specialist: Leo Cuesta

Johnas was WONDERFUL. Thank you for a wonderful trip. Everything was handled expertly.

Leo Cuesta profile photo
Leo Cuesta, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you for your review Blair, I'm glad you had a great trip despite the less than perfect weather! Thanks for choosing to travel with us and we hope to go on another adventure with you in the future (we also do trips in Colombia, you might want to consider that for your next vacation)!