Our Guides and Drivers
Meet Our Guides
While each of our guides have unique talents and knowledge and each is naturally the kind of person we enjoy spending time with, for your comfort and safety there are a number of key professional credentials that they have in common:
- All are native Spanish speakers who are fluent in English.
- All have completed the Costa Rica Institute of Tourism’s training course and been certified as a guide.
- All attend our annual two day in-house training program. The objective is to maintain the safety of our clients (we provide first aid refresher courses, sessions on adventure tour equipment, etc), and from there it’s on to volcanology, botany and other natural history specialties. Last year we brought in a professional photographer to train our guides on ways to help our guests bring home higher quality photos!
Alex is a passionate outdoorsman and has led nature tours for nearly 15 years all over Costa Rica.
His specialty is leading Photography trips and Adventure tours: mountain biking, kayaking, fishing, canyoning and rappelling. He has competed with adventure teams in Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama, and has led friends up to the peak of Chirripo-the highest peak in Costa Rica-several times.
Families with children love him for his enthusiasm and caring personality! We are proud to have such an active and passionate tour leader on our team!
Marco’s friends call him “Tex”, and he is full of energy and has a contagious sense of humor.
With over 20 years of experience in the tourism field in Costa Rica, Marco knows his home country well. Combined with his vast experience in the field, Marco continues to study about Costa Rica and in the off-season he has taken many courses including studies in ornithology, ecology, history etc., and recently nature photography.
His travels in the United States include the Grand Tetons, Minnesota, Sedona, and Michigan, and this has helped him to better understand temperate climate ecology and the USA culture.
With his ready laugh and caring manner, it is no wonder Marco is one of our most popular tour leaders!
Jimmy has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Latin America, and through this he has acquired a strong understanding of other cultures.
In addition he is fluent in English, Italian, French and his native Spanish. Jimmy is a perfectionist and always “two steps” ahead during his travels with guests.
He has an exceptional sense of humor and an excellent and cultured manner of explaining interesting information to his guests. He has led guests of many different nationalities and is truly one of the top Costa Rican tour leaders.
Guests traveling with Jimmy have often stated their tours with him end too soon!
Esterling Alfaro, was born in Alajuela Province, coming from a family of four, two sisters and two brothers, he is the second oldest. He is married with Sandra, and has one child name Lucas. While in hi-school he had the opportunity to visit the Chicago to practice he English language and learn from the culture, a trip that he considers was a transformative experience.
Esterling as a child was interested in nature and soon after school he enters the University to follow English as a second career and later he went to the National Institute of Learning to become a nature guide. He has been trained in botany and ornithology, also in history and culture and geography of Costa Rica.
He started guide tours professionally in 2004 to be even closer to people and nature. He has travel also to Nicaragua and Panama. In his free time he likes hiking, bird watching and gardening.
Julio’s more than 20 years in the field gave him great and positive results while guiding his groups in Costa Rica! A man native to rural area and coming from a family of farmers, learned as an early age how to understand the natural world around him.
After completing high school in his home town, he moved to the capital city of San José to attend the University, where he spent four years studying Microbiology. While trekking through forests in many habitats the observation of all sources of wildlife keeps his interest alive, then -when guiding visitors- he incorporate this knowledge of describing all creatures and their strategies to exist.
The ropes climbing training to access the canopy world, assisting in filming documentaries, collector of samples for different science projects, collector of data for specialized bio-acoustic scientists, among other jobs give Julio a great knowledge to share. He loves to be in good shape, that’s why Julio´s main hobbies are the outdoors activities like running, biking, but also he enjoys reading all articles and books related to nature.
Pav, as he is also known, is a Costa Rican biologist whose emphasis is on trees. He used to be a Biology Teacher and he has been guiding for more than ten years: families, students, naturalists and incentive groups. He combines professional guiding and dancing. He was a dance teacher for ten years.
Pav has travelled extensively, always interested on the nature and the culture of the countries he visits. In some places he has been participating in Dance Festivals. Among the visited places: many Central America and Caribbean Countries, México and USA (where he lived for a while). In South America: Ecuador and Brazil. In Europe: Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic. In Asia: Turkey, China, India and Nepal.
Pav is also involved in cultural politics and he likes playing Latin percussion, reading, listening to music and watching movies. He loves sharing his time and knowledge with his tourist groups, having conversations and learning about history and the culture of the places the tourists come from. He is fluent in English and Portuguese.
Roy has been a passionate nature interpreter and birdwatcher who has worked in nature-based tourism as a certified professional guide for 10 years. A committed advocate for the protection of Costa Rica’s tropical forests, he has developed an extensive knowledge regarding environmental conservation.
Roy is also well-versed in pre- Columbian cultures, history, and research. On trips he leads, he loves teaching travelers about the little details hidden within the flora and fauna, involving them in the discovery and excitement of life in the various bio regions. He makes each visitor’s experience in the tropics unique and memorable by involving travelers in the customs and culture of the local people.
In his free time, Roy can be found hiking with his wife and friends in national parks and other forested areas, and bird watching up and down the country adding new species to his personal list. This passion for birds pushed him to travel to Panama, Guatemala and to the exuberant Cocos Island, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
In 2016, Roy began designing and building furniture using recycled materials, such as wood pallets, something that has become an extremely fulfilling hobby for him. Among his other hobbies are reading, wildlife photography, and volunteering time to work with law enforcement teams to reduce poaching in protected areas in Costa Rica.
Since her early childhood, Onik Morrison, daughter of an American biologist and entrepreneur, was taught that the world is a fascinating place and that there´s no time to lose when it comes to exploring it´s wonders. Her curiosity has taken her around the world to over 40 countries and back to be captivated by humble wild flowers in her own garden.
Following the footsteps of her father, Onik´s educational background includes a B.S. in Biology and a Licenciatura in Environmental Interpretation from the University of Costa Rica. For more than a decade she has lead trips throughout Costa Rica, as well as in Peru, Nicaragua and Cuba. Her passion for the local culture and the way the landscape and wilderness shapes the Costa Rican life style is something she´s always enthusiastic to share.
After a lifetime of sports and outdoor activities like gymnastics, martial arts and currently mountain trekking, Onik is always eager to get out and stay active. She believes it´s time we all treasure this world, see it as a whole and work on learning from each other to make this society a sustainable one. It´s all in the attitude!
I am Esteban Biamonte and nature preservation is my aim. Literally since my early youth I have been a nature lover, especially about birds, long before I found out that such a field of study ever existed. Now, years later, I am a biologist finishing my Masters Degree in bird conservancy, a tour guide with 14 years experience certified by the Costa Rican Board of Tourism, and, of course, an inveterate naturalist. Extracurricular activities include travel, latin dancing, reading, and the Korean martial art of Tang Soo Do.
When Rocío decided to become a Certified Naturalist Tour Guide 10 years ago, she did not know what the future will bring. So she launches herself in to the wild of the forest of Costa Rica and she survived and loves her work.
The fascination of nature, the unexpected surprises of natural behaviour and the constant transformation of the environment where she guides are the passion of her work as a Tour Guide… Energetic and charismatic, she combines her multifaceted experience to share all the surroundings of this tropical land, making the journey an enriching experience and full of great memories.
Through time she has been able to travel to different countries in the old and new world. Her travelings helped her to understand even more the importance of sharing Costa Rica’s culture, people and wonders with visitors.
On her free time she enjoys reading, gardening and spend time cooking for her family and friends.
Jose Pablo Ugalde
Jose Pablo, has 16 years of experience in the tourism industry. His passion for discovery developed at a very young age, when he joined his father on a variety of Costa Rican tours. In addition to being a certified tour guide (Costa Rican Tourism Institute, or ICT), Jose is a licensed naturalist guide, certified by the National Institute of Biodiversity (INBio). He has worked for extended periods in the areas around Arenal and the Osa Peninsula as a local guide. Jose, is a lifelong nature lover and an enthusiastic bird-watcher. He especially loves working with families and enjoys the company of children. His kind and generous nature will appeal to tourists of all ages, and he has a remarkable gift for sharing the spirit of discovery on every journey.
Luis’s childhood was filled with adventures in the countryside, where his uncles would take him on train rides from Central Valley, followed by bus journeys or horseback excursions. These excursions exposed him to the beauty of Costa Rican nature, with its farms, rivers, animals, and delicious food. In 2006, Luis’s passion for sharing these experiences led him to pursue a career in tourism. He obtained his professional guiding license from the Institute of National Training, to showcase the very places that had captivated him during his school vacations. Luis’s enthusiasm for outdoor activities is evident in his love for spotting wildlife like birds, monkeys, toucans, frogs, and even snakes. He enjoys hiking, running, biking, and swimming, and considers sitting on a sofa with a cup of coffee while admiring a stunning view (rainforest, volcano, beach, or any other natural wonder) to be the perfect reward for a day well spent.
Beyond his professional endeavors, Luis finds fulfillment in listening to music, participating in triathlons, and traveling. He embodies the belief that “life is a journey to be enjoy at every moment and place.”
Meet Our Drivers
Our private bilingual host drivers are selected for their driving skills, knowledge of the country and orientation towards customer service.
He/she is responsible for staying with the vehicle while clients are at restaurants, doing hikes or other tours so that all personal belongings left in the vehicle are safe. This service offers you more flexibility in travel time as you can request stops to photograph gorgeous scenery, view wildlife, visit nice local restaurants, meet local people, or take coffee breaks and stretch when you need it. (Please note that guided nature hikes must be contracted separately.)
We require our drivers to have basic English language proficiency and a minimum of 5 years driving experience, though typically they have between 10 and 15 years.
Carlos (aka Charlie) was born and raised in the town of Escazú, Costa Rica. He earned his degree in Livestock Production, but his real passion is tourism. He has been working as a bilingual driver for over 28 years.
Charlie has a great sense of humor and enjoys sharing his time and stories with his guests from all around the world. In his free time, Charlie is usually training for his next marathon or bike race. He successfully completed marathons in Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles. Charlie loves the adrenaline that comes with a race, however, one of his best experiences was when he had the chance to leisurely run in the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece.
José Francisco Solera Mejías
José was born in Alajuela province. He lives in Carrizal with his wife and daughter and their pets, a Labrador retriever and a rabbit.
As a young man he worked with the well-known Hotel Cariari where he began driving guests all over Costa Rica, and then worked driving for a local rent-a-car. Now José has more than 20 years’ experience driving in tourism.
He enjoys photographing nature, meeting people from different cultures and he continues learning English through interactions with his guests.
Sergio was born in San José and grew up in the town of Escazú, known as the City of Witches. He lives in Orotina near the Pacific coast with his 3 children, his wife and a cat rescued from the streets.
Sergio has more than 25 years of experience driving for tourism in Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua. In his spare time he likes to walk with his family and ride mountain bikes.
Our only female driver was born and raised in Guadalupe, a big town east of San José. She has worked as a freelance driver since 1988. In her own words, “I love it and I really enjoy my work. Every time I start the vehicle it’s like my first day in tourism! Each trip represents for me an opportunity to show visitors our beautiful country.”
Priscilla enjoys spending time with her daughter and grandchildren in her leisure time. Priscilla is proud to have been mentioned in the blog of writer Thomas J. Peters, author of “In Search of Excellence”. Priscilla commented this blog post as follows, “This note fully describes me and the way I work and take care of my customers.”
Marco was born in San José and grew up in Escazú with 4 sisters. Him mom taught him to work for what he wanted in life. Marco started driving for major transportation companies in tourism but wanted to be his own boss, so he and his wife decided to buy a minivan 16 years ago.
Since then Marco has been the “driver of his own tour bus” and very proud of it. Over time he has come to know a large part of our beautiful country, its beaches, its mountains, its volcanoes and rivers. One of the areas he likes the most is Monteverde, a little paradise of flora and fauna. He lives with his wife and two well-loved dogs.