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Since Rocio was a young girl, her playground has been the forests and rivers of Costa Rica, and it’s creatures her friends. She’s been fortunate to travel extensively to Europe and the US, and through those experiences she’s able to truly understand the magic and draw of her homeland. With the knowledge gained at the Institute of Biodiversity as her foundation, she uses her charisma and passion to inspire new and seasoned travelers alike. Her passion is making each person’s journey to her tropical land an enriching experience full of great memories. Rocio is the mother of three wonderful children.
Esterling Alfaro Esterling has been leading tours in Costa Rica since 2004, which he began shortly after graduating from the National Institute of Learning. While in high school, he traveled to Chicago and it inspired him to take his studies in the English language further. While attending university he also studied botany, ornithology, history and Costa Rica history, and the combination of all inspired him to become a nature guide. When not working, Esterling enjoys hiking, gardening and bird watching.
Though Jackie has been a certified naturalist tour guide since 2008, her passion for the natural world was fueled growing up with a father who explained the intricacies of nature and the magic of her homeland to her at every opportunity. Her clients can recognize the spark in her eye when she talks about the interconnectedness of all things, and explains history, culture and nature with ease. Jackie is certified by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute and the National Institute of Biodiversity.
Julio grew up in an isolated region of Costa Rica in a farming family. After high school, he moved to the capital city of San Jose to attend University where he studied microbiology. Through his schooling, he was led to work on several nature films with crews from around the world. His experience leading foreigners through his beloved homeland led him to train to become a nature guide. Through his work on films, he was able to travel to Europe, South and North America and all over Central America. When he’s not working, he is an avid reader and runner, and enjoys being a father to his five children.
Onik has been involved in biology since she was a young girl - she grew up on a large 5 acre forest/residence near Santa Ana, Costa Rica, building tree houses and swinging on vines. That led to early childhood activities such as gymnastics and an undying fascination with nature. She recently finished her B.A. degree in Biology and she is now studying towards a Master’s degree with an emphasis on Environmental Interpretation and has a special interest in birds. In the intervening years, she has had the opportunity to travel and camp in almost every corner of Costa Rica. Her travels also include Asia, Europe, Africa and the wonderful Galapagos Islands. Her past times are music, dancing and of course soccer. Testimonials: Onik was exceptional! She related so well to the kids, and the adults enjoyed being with her, too. She was fun, knowledgeable, and eager to make this trip a fabulous experience for the group. Onik's love for her country showed in all that she did. Feck-Hammel Family – Costa Rica Active Family Adventure Our guide Onik was wonderful! Our girls (9 and 6) instantly attached themselves to her. She was phenomenally knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and simply great to hang around. We definitely credit Onik for our new-found knowledge about Costa Rica. Having a guide was an eye-opening experience; one that we would highly recommend. Robin and Heath Dolan - Costa Rica Family Vacation
From the time Gerardo was a young child, he enjoyed the natural wonders of his home and the nearby rainforests. His tourism career began as a driver, which gave him the opportunity to travel around the country while his appreciation for Costa Rica’s biodiversity expanded. He then decided to study and become a Naturalist guide in order to be able to share his knowledge and passion for the country. He continues learning to be the best possible guide for visitors who decide to vacation in this little country Gerardo calls “my little piece of paradise”. Testimonials: “This note is to commend our incredible guide, Gerardo. He is the best guide I have ever had, anywhere. He can talk to you, drive the van, and spot a sloth or toucan, all at the same time. Stops van, sets up binoculars on tripod, adjusts to kids’ height (or adults’) in less than a minute, usually before any of the other guides have even seen the bird/animal. He has friends everywhere we went. He bought soccer balls and talked a school into setting up a quick soccer game with our kids. We had to leave after about 20 minutes, and he gave the balls to the school. He is a gem!” Lois Victor – Costa Rica Active Family Adventure “Now I want to tell you about our terrific guide, Gerardo. He was amazing, full of information about the politics, economy, ecosystems, industry, population and geography of Costa Rica… He was always professional and careful driving, despite the winding and bumpy road, and the negotiating of oncoming vehicles or occasionally having to pass, he never did anything rash, made the arduous trip up the mountains very comfortable, we never felt in danger, yet he gave informative commentaries on everything we were seeing. He is just great, funny, patient, has excellent English, excellent knowledge of birds and nature.” Owen and Eileen Mathieu – Costa Rica Custom trip
Alex has worked as a naturalist Costa Rica tour guide for over a decade. He is passionate about birding, biking, kayaking, and specializes in guiding active Costa Rica family vacations. Alex is a rappel and canyoneering expert and represented Costa Rica as a member of a national search and rescue team in adventure competitions in Mexico, Panama and Nicaragua. In his free time he can be found mountain biking, exploring new trails, rappelling down a waterfall, or with his rod and binoculars exploring new fishing sites. These experiences have given Alex the opportunity to explore and gain experience in Costa Rica tourism and throughout the region establishing skills as a top naturalist Costa Rica tour guide. Alex continues to travel a few weeks each year outside of Costa Rica especially canoeing in Boundary Waters, Minnesota and Quetico Park in Canada. "Alex was friendly, organized, and insistent (in a kind way) on helping us see and learn all we could. He is so knowledgeable and pointed out animals, insects, and birds we could never have seen on our own. He deserves an A+." The Lane Family ~ Lapa Rios Tropical Adventure "Alex is a fantastic guide - we were near tears when he left us after just those 3 days. He was great with the kids as well." Matthews Family ~ Natural Wonders Family Tour
Pedro lives in Heredia, the “City of the Flowers”, with his 3 boys and his wife Yaney. For more than 4 years he worked as a bartender on several cruise ships, getting great customer service experience with tourists, and expanding his knowledge of the Caribbean Islands: Bermudas, Antigua, Virgin Islands, Jamaica, and Aruba. When Pedro returned to Costa Rica, he started his career guiding tours throughout the country. Later he finished his training course as a Naturalist Guide at the National Institute of Learning and the National Institute of Biodiversity. With more than 18 years of guide experience Pedro is a true “Tico” who loves sharing Costa Rica’s traditions, nature and culture with the travelers who catch his contagious enthusiasm. He spends his free time playing basketball and going birding with his friends. He is also a serious soccer fan! Testimonials: “Thank you again for you help in coordinating our trip to Costa Rica in March. We had a wonderful and very memorable experience, and are enjoying reliving the moments through the many photos from our trip. Pedro Bolanos was very kind and an exceptional guide”. Dianna D. Overmyer – Costa Rica Active Family Adventure
Marco (aka Tex) is a native Costa Rica travel guide from the Central Valley suburb of Desamparados. He started working as a tour guide in 1989 and has spent the last 16 years as a master naturalist guide, having been certified by the National Institute of Learning. He continues to take courses on nature photography, ornithology and lepidopterology (study of butterflies) at the National Biodiversity Institute of Costa Rica, and takes classes on volcanology with Costa Rican experts. Marco's boundless enthusiasm and passion for Costa Rica adventure travel is obvious to all who travel with him. Marco and wife Lety live in San Jose and have two children, Mariana and Daniela. When he is not guiding, Marco enjoys reading and his principal hobby of wildlife photography. "Marco - our naturalist guide - was incredible, informative, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and passionate about his country, conservation and the company. He made the trip so enjoyable. We hope to return and ask for his services! I just can't say enough wonderful things about him". Carla Ullom and Family ~ Costa Rica Family Vacation
Pavel (or Pav) began his career as a biology teacher and dance instructor but has now been guiding groups in Costa Rica for more than 10 years. As a dancer, he was lucky enough to travel to competitions and festivals all over the world including Ecuador, Brazil, Poland, Hungary, Turkey, China and India to name a few. Pav is very interested in cultural politics and loves learning from his guests about the customs and traditions in their home and country. When he’s not guiding or dancing, you will find Pav playing Latin drums, reading or watching English language films. He is fluent in English and Portuguese.
Ale has been a Certified Naturalist Tour Guide from the National Institute of Learning in Costa Rica since 2004. He is super active, outgoing and curious, and connects quickly with people of all ages including families with children. Ale lives in the Central Valley suburb of Alajuela, and enjoys soccer (football, to him!), dog walks and hiking in his free time.
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