Cattara Philosophy

The inspiration behind Cattara is the Tara - She who has crossed over. Tara is a special goddess in the Tibetan pantheon of deities who helps overcome obstacles and impediments and represents compassion, purity, and complete and undifferentiated truth.

At Cattara we seek to create inspirational experiences for our travelers, awakening an awareness of life and mindful of the cultural and environmental well being of the places we visit. Each trip is designed to immerse you in the local culture and reveal a region’s true spirit. Our goal is to create one-of-a-kind journeys for active people who want to see the world a little differently. We believe travel is a path of life-enriching experiences where participants come away renewed, replenished, and inspired. Imbued with the spirit of Tara, we hope you can join us at Cattara on a journey of discovery and enlightenment.
About Cathy Ann Taylor

With over 30 years of experience trekking around the world and in particular the Himalayas, Cathy Ann excels in enriching the lives of her travel companions by creating inspirational and meaningful experiences for her fellow travelers.

Cathy Ann is magically drawn to high places, and trekking in the world’s great mountain regions is her passion and one in which she finds special solace and inspiration. She is a catalyst for “action and making a positive difference,” and is committed to the cultural and environmental well being of the places she visits. She makes it her mission to give something back to local families she has met trekking over the years, introducing them to new friends from across the globe. Though Cathy Ann has traveled from South America’s Patagonia to Denali in Alaska to the European Alps, she finds the indigenous cultures that live among the Himalayan regions occupy a most special place in her heart. “It doesn’t take much to make a big difference to these families who live in beautiful yet harsh and remote environments,” says Cathy Ann. Realizing the value and opportunity an education can give a person, she has helped sponsor dozens of children from the Mount Everest region of Nepal to go to private school in Kathmandu. Six of these Sherpa children have since then had the opportunity to travel to the US and Australia for high school and college.

Another passion that brings Cathy Ann immense satisfaction is her work to support non-profit organizations both at home and abroad. Giving back to a variety of causes is second nature to her: she has been a volunteer instructor at the Breast Health Center in San Francisco, training women in self-exams and breast cancer awareness (her interest in breast cancer came after her grandmother was diagnosed with the disease); and since 1991, she has volunteered with the Seva Foundation, assisting doctors who perform cataract surgery in Nepalese and Indian villages. Cathy Ann has also been active in the American Himalayan Foundation and has helped raised $20,000 for their STOP Girl Trafficking project.

The San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Prevention Partners has seen Cathy Ann’s compassionate action at work for over 20 years. With her invaluable climbing experience she has participated in several fundraising expeditions for the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, including Mount McKinley, Mount Cho Oyu, Mount Fuji, Mount Shasta, and Mount Rainier, all of which helped increase awareness of breast cancer (she alone has raised over $800,000 for Breast Cancer Prevention!). In March 2006 she received the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners' Andrea Ravinett Martin Strong Voices Award for her tireless efforts and also received a letter of recognition from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for her fundraising and environmental work. She has been a training leader, sharing her mountaineering knowledge with her breast cancer team, allowing each climber to go into the experience with their own private handbook of “climbing wisdom.”

Cathy Ann received an honorable mention in Hooked on the Outdoors magazine's Outdoor Person of the Year Awards, January 2006. In 2007 and 2008 Cathy Ann was one of seven nominees for the California Outdoors Hall of Fame for her work and knowledge in inspiring thousands of others to take part in the great outdoors. Her experience in the mountains, combined with her knowledge of the local offerings, her love of life, and great attitude make her not only a pleasure to travel with but also someone you'd be delighted to have as a friend.

• top of page

About Thupten Cholang
Managing Partner

Thupten Cholang, a Tibetan, was born and raised in Northeast India close to the border with Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan. He spent his formative years at a Scottish Presbyterian school and later graduated from university in India. After college he moved to Nepal and began working in the field of adventure travel. The early '80s were an exciting time for travel, especially to Tibet, as the land border between Nepal and Tibet had just been opened to visitors. The opportunity to travel to Tibet was especially significant for Thupten and many other Tibetans separated from relatives since 1959 due to political upheaval. At the behest of a leading adventure travel company, Thupten undertook an exploratory trip to Namtso (“Heavenly Lake”), a remote area north of Lhasa, scouting it as a possible trekking destination (it is now featured as a major destination in Tibet by many adventure travel companies). Thupten subsequently went on to lead numerous treks and cultural tours in Tibet for prominent international tour companies. He is an expert on Tibetan history and culture and speaks fluent Tibetan, Nepali, Hindi, and English, the outcome of growing up in a multilingual environment. Thupten has lived in California for the past 31 years and is the managing partner of Cattara – Adventures with Insight.

• top of page


“Cathy Ann Taylor is the strongest, most courageous, competent, powerful, compassionate, loving woman, and she’s a whole heck of a lot of fun. I can guarantee you will all love to walk in her footsteps, literally.”
Edward Miller

“To spend your time sharing and facilitating the richest possible experiences with others, in such a warm, competent, and inspiring way…you, your immersion in life, and your loving kindness are such gifts to us all.”
Tracey Kahan

My Sweet Catarina, You are the cause of so much happiness - You help ease our ‘sufferings’ as we follow this path into the heights – You bring us to a place of joy, even as we remember and honor those we’ve lost, with sorrow - You surely draw us from our attachments to the every day, for the blessed weeks we’re with you in the sacred mountains.  There are no perfect words of thanks or admiration or towering respect I have for you and how you lead, mentor, cajole, inspire, ease, teach, and prepare us all to go beyond any place we ever would, without you.  I bow in awe and love!”
Marcy Taylor Pattinson

“I'm sure the entire group feels the same way that the Isaf family does - we had the most incredible adventure in Tibet with you and your staff. Every day ran so smoothly, so orderly, and so calmly. It was wonderful to always be surrounded by so many smiling faces. Really, who would have had a reason to frown? From the breakfast tea to zipping-up the tent at 9:30 to go to sleep, everything was picture perfect. The views were breathtaking, the monasteries were so very educational, and the personal and private moments shared with such warm-hearted and beautiful spirited people will surely be the most special memories of all. We feel honored to have been blessed with you as our guide. You represent all that is good in this world. There is a special light in your eyes that illuminates the most beautiful soul which gives life to a heart that radiates warmth and love - the love for this life that you have chosen to share with those who long for an escape into a land that is full of wonder and unimaginable beauty. And, though this adventure is only a moment in time, it is a time in which we all shared your passion....and we are surely the better for having walked in your shadow.”
Cindy Isaf

“From the moment we made the decision to sign on to Cattara’s Sacred Treks Machu Picchu to the day we landed back in San Francisco, we were swathed in the comfort of Cat’s compassionate care. Training for a high altitude trek was a new experience for Alice which did not go unnoticed by Cat. Throughout the six month’s of training, Cat’s encouragement was key to Alice’s successful exercise regimen. For international travel coordination, Cattara left no stone unturned. While in Cuzco and on the trail hiking to Machu Picchu, we had the perfect amount of down/alone time, group activities and historical sessions. What stands out when taking a trip with Cat are two things: 1. Her grace and humility with all things local and with her guests, and 2. Her ability to take the fun factor to a very high level. It’s safe to say, we wouldn’t trek with anyone else.”
Connie and Alice George

“After four trips with Cat to Everest Base Camp, the Chomolhari Circuit in Bhutan, Heavenly Lake in Tibet, and the Annapurna Sanctuary in Nepal, all I can say is that she is one of the most outstanding adventure guides I have ever had the good fortune to trek with in the 20 years I have been in the mountains. I would never consider another option if she were available to lead a mountain trip that I wished to take.”
Sy Kaufman

“I trekked with Cathy Ann in the Bhutanese Himalayas. To this day it goes down as one of the best trips so far. Cathy Ann is a very conscientious guide with a strong understanding of the surrounding nature and culture. She takes her work seriously but knows how to have fun working. She’s got my loyalty! I hope to trek with her again soon!”
Polly Calhoun

“I had an amazing time traveling with Cattara to Nepal and the Khumbu region. Just going there was an adventure, but what made the trip special is the feeling that I was being given the “insider’s tour” to this beautiful country. The things I saw and the people I met I will never forget. I highly recommend traveling with Cattara if what you’re looking for is more than just another trip. For me it wasn’t just a vacation, it was a life experience.”
Tim Kocee

“Cathy Ann is one of the safest, most conscientious guides I’ve ever known. She is keenly attentive to every detail, and knows what to do to deliver a wonderful, amazing journey that combines the inner spirit with the love of nature.”
Nancy Andrews

“Cat really brought the spirituality of Bhutan to life. Her intimacy with the people and passion for their culture added a wonderful enlightenment to our experience. And as a trip leader, her professionalism and attentiveness helped the days rigors pass effortlessly (well, almost). Cat connected with us and made the trip special. For me, that’s what it’s all about.” 
Alex Greene

“There is something quite special about Cathy Ann. I have been on a few treks with her and I’m always amazed by her outstanding leadership and devotion to making every trip a great adventure. Even down to the smallest details, she will always amaze you. She is truly the most dedicated and experienced trek leader I know.”
Mike Morehead

“I love traveling with Cathy Ann. She is nurturing, caring, knowledgeable, and professional. In addition, there is no one, I mean NO ONE, who is stronger than her. This woman will keep you safe during the day and then kick your ass at 500 rummy after dinner. . .all delivered with the most beautiful smile on the planet.”
David Csizmadia

“Traveling with Cathy Ann as a guide is a definite must. Her deep passion and knowledge of each locale and culture shapes the entire travel experience into a deep rooted emotional adventure. Seeing Tibet through Cathy Ann’s eyes was inspirational and moving, I look forward to my next trip.”
Lady Fuller

“Cat is amazing. She’s a great trip leader on many levels—an absolute pro who understands the varying and complex needs of her clients. Cat also has a wonderful enthusiasm and inspiring nature. From safety to knowledge to inspiration, I cannot recommend someone more highly then I recommend Cathy Ann Taylor.”
Aaron Goldfeder

“My Everest trip with Cathy Ann is one of the highlights of my life, and I can wholeheartedly recommend her as guide. Her deep love and enthusiasm for the area were apparent and her connections opened doors to people and experiences I certainly would have missed without her.” 
Ken Zegar

“I’ve had the privilege of traveling with Cathy Ann to Bhutan, Tibet, France, Peru, Nepal, India, and the Republic of Georgia, and have found her to be one of a kind. She’s extremely knowledgeable about the region and has the exceptional leadership skills necessary to lead a group through sometimes difficult conditions. However, what really sets her apart from others is her natural warmth, kindness, and passion for the area and its people, who in turn welcome her (and her fellow travelers) into their homes and their lives. I’ve said many times that I would follow her to the ends of the earth—and I have!”
Kevin Bethke

“I have been fortunate enough to be on many adventures that have been led by Cathy Ann. She has a complete grasp of regional knowledge and is the consummate professional. Her calming demeanor makes her popular with the local population, which allows those who accompany her to easily interact with them. After all, if you can't get immersed into the area you are visiting you might as well just read about it in a book. Cathy Ann walks the walk.”
Jon Opper

“Not only does Cathy Ann take people to beautiful, interesting and amazing places, she allows the opportunity to immerse oneself into the culture, meet the native people she has known throughout many years, and shares her ability to see the world in a positive light. Cathy Ann is extremely knowledgeable about the places she visits and the terrain she challenges. She is graceful, capable, considerate, a fantastic leader and a truly wonderful person.”
Doug Rothmann

• top of page

Site/Photo Credits

Opie Snow Designs -

Cathy Ann Taylor / Thupten Cholang / Olaf Malver / Linda Morton/ photos courtesy of Mountain Lodges of Peru / / Vassi Koutsaftis / Chris Dunham

Copywriting & Editing
Thupten Cholang / Dena Bartolome / Cathy Ann Taylor

• top of page

Cattara, LLC – Adventures with Insight
PO Box 1366
Sausalito, CA 94966
Phone: 415-384-8895
Fax: 415-384-8895
Office Hours:
Monday through Friday
9am to 5pm, Pacific Time

We look forward to hearing from you.
Please call if you would like to speak with us about arranging a custom private trip to one of our destinations worldwide.

All Contents © Copyright 2019 Cattara, LLC - Adventures with Insight, Cathy Ann Taylor, All rights reserved.