Cuenca expat community loses adventurer and motivator Jeff Salz to Covid-19

May 1, 2021 | 10 comments

By Robert Bradley

Dr. Jeff Salz, acclaimed “America’s pre-eminent anthropologist-adventurer” by the Discovery Network and History Channel, died Tuesday of Covid-19 at the age of 68 in Cuenca.

Jeff Salz

Jeff established a reputation for blending his passion for communication with his love for mountaineering. He was a noted motivational speaker, headlining seminars for companies as diverse as Disney, Microsoft, AT&T, and Honda. His message was always the same: adventure requires adversity, and understanding requires knowledge.

Born in New Jersey, Jeff found his first true home in California. His love for mountain climbing blossomed among the peaks of the High Sierras and soon spread to South America and the Andes of Bolivia and Patagonia. The lessons he learned served as grist for his determination to share his experiences with a wide audience and by giving meaning to the difficulties we face, and the importance of sharing.

One of Jeff’s earliest projects in Cuenca was creating a meeting place for expats and Cuencanos to exchange their loves and aspirations in a collaborative way; it was called, Fusion. Although short-lived; the memories and ideas embedded in his vision remain a bright light for many.

He was also a successful writer, serving as a feature writer and editor for Cuenca Expats magazine and contributing to CuencaHighLife.

In recent years, Jeff and his wife, Lisa Jaffe, developed a series of workshops and retreats centered on the mastery of the internal expeditions we face every day and the essential qualities that make our lives better.

He leaves behind a loving wife, devoted daughter and son, and many good friends. He left his community a shining example of a life well-lived.


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