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Steve Broyles, Costa Rica

Leo ChavezA good guide is essential - Having a good guide in Costa Rica with natural history knowledge and a keen eye are essential or you can miss so much. I am a university educator and teach a number of field courses. Our Wildland Adventures guide, Leo Chavez, left an impressive mark in my memory. I really don't know how he spotted the Laughing Falcon, the Bat Falcons, or the numerous sloths. Our family had the same vantage point in the van, was avidly looking for birds, but would have missed 50% of the animals that Leo found. Leo's experience and gestalt for finding items of interest was exceptional. Towards the end of the trip, Leo had really learned something about each of us and knew what we wanted to see. For my wife, he pointed out the large Mexican Elms in the valleyDon't forget your binoculars! leading to La Paz. For my children, he found tarantulas and cool insects. For me, he pointed out the song of every inconspicuous flycatcher. In Manuel Antonio and Monteverde, I overhead three other guides stop their tour groups to introduce Leo Chavez as their mentor and the greatest ornithologist in Costa Rica. Leo has taught ornithology courses to guides in San Jose and he has a positive rapport with his former students. It was an honor to have him as a guide. This was the best vacation of my short 42 year old life. It created a lifetime of memories for me and my family.