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NATURALIST GUIDES
Highly experienced biologists and bilingual naturalists who accompany our natural history excursions. These guides often have developed an area of specialization such as birds, botany, herpetology, etc. Those who do not have formal training have a life time of experience in the field, studying natural history. All are trained in guiding techniques.

Herman Venegas
Naturalist Guide
Born on a small coffee farm in Tayutic, Turrialba, as a little boy, Herman spent his days outdoors. His mother says that as a child he was especially curious about nature.

His first opportunity to observe guiding was when he got a job at a well-known birding lodge close to his home town, Rancho Naturalista. Herman listened to guests and local guides talking about birds and quickly began to learn, after a short time he was the one identifying the species and sharing their story.

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Leonardo Garcia
Naturalist Guide
Leonardo was born and raised in Alajuela which is a city that is located to the west of San Jose, Costa Rica. His father is a retired topographer and his mother, a retired teacher. They are originally from Alajuela or Ciudad de los Mangos (Mango City as it is known for the huge amount of mango trees located in the Central Park). Leonardo has chosen to remain there still since he loves the fact that even while being a big city, everybody knows everybody, which makes you feel you belong.

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Ligia Fernandez
Naturalist Guide
Ligia Fernandez started working for Costa Rica Expeditions as a Naturalist Guide in 1985 shortly after graduating Marine Biology at the Universidad Nacional.

After acquiring her MBA at the INCAE, she worked many years at a project for the European Union and the UICN at the Area de Conservacion Tortuguero.

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Gerardo Artavia
Naturalist Guide

Born in San Jose in on April 19, 1973, Gerardo has a Chilean mother and a Costa Rican father. His father went to Chile to get his Doctorate in Economy and met his mother while he was there. They got married and came back to Costa Rica when he had completed his degree. Gerardo went to Elementary and High School in San Jose at a Catholic school run by priests from Spain; this is where he learned English.

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Onik Morrison
Naturalist Guide

Born in San José on November 21, 1982, her father is from the US and her mother is Costa Rican. Onik has an older brother Ry, an architect and rock climber living in Sweden. Her younger brother, Rony, lives in North Carolina and is studying to become a chef.

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Fernando Prez
Naturalist Guide
Born in San Jose on May 29, 1966, Fernando is a longtime resident in a small town of La Pastora near the Turrialba Volcano.

Fernandos traces his love of the outdoors and community service to his days as a young Boy Scout, his troop was #22. His Boy Scout troop taught him discipline and love of the outdoors. He enjoyed the challenge of working on is badges and receiving the distinction of being the camp specialist for camping, orientation with a compass and assistance to police officials during events like elections, independence day parades and holiday celebrations.

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Katia Valverde
Naturalist Guide
Katia was born on September 21st, 1970 in San Jose, Costa Rica. Her father and mother raised three kids: Katia, her sister and brother.

As a child her favorite subjects were science, history, and geography. Katia enjoyed practicing sports, and dreamed about learning foreign languages.

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Esteban Biamonte
Naturalist Guide

Esteban Biamonte is a biologist very passionate about birds, as well as any other kind of living creature. He started carrying his binoculars everywhere when he was 18, and has not stop doing it since.

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Eddie Recio
Naturalist Guide
erecio@costaricaexpeditions.com

Eddie was born in San Jose on August 22, 1969. His parents were in the clothing business in San Jose and they had Eddie and two brothers and two sisters. As children, the kids spent a great deal of time in the northwest province of Santa Cruz, Guanacaste with their paternal grandparents. Their grandparents were of Italian descent and immigrated to Costa Rica as a result of World War II.

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Margherita Bottazzi
Naturalist Guide
Margherita was born on February 21, 1963. Her father was and Italian Civil Engineer that arrived in Costa Rica on a trip that was given to him as a graduation gift. He fell in love with Central America and found work in construction. He later met Margheritas mother, they had 5 children, four boys and Margherita which is the youngest.

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Gustavo  Camacho
Naturalist Guide
Gustavo was born on April 23, 1988 in the town of Grecia, north of San Jose. He grew up on a farm where his father grew mainly sugar cane and coffee, which he occasionally combined with corn, beans, tomatoes and bell pepper. They also had horses, some cattle and goats for milk. His mother took care of Gustavo and his two younger brothers and their home. She is a fantastic cook and is a particularly talented seamstress.

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Eva Arroyo Campos
Naturalist Guide
Born on June 12, 1986, in San Jos, Eva has three things that inspire her more than anything in life: one is love of the outdoors and the other is love of sports and art and the last love is for the ocean, a passion that she shares with many Costa Ricans, blessed with the luxury of having easy access to both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

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Kenya Mendez
Naturalist Guide
Kenya was born on September 23, 1978 in the port city of Puntarenas on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Her family moved to San Jose when she was a little girl and she grew up in the city with her two brothers and sister.

She first started working for Costa Rica Expeditions as a Transfer Guide in 2000. She was going to the University and wanted to help her parents pay for school. After working for a season as a Transfer Guide, she then went on to work in the Operations Department where she was in charge of coordinating services for guests.

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Joe Bernini
Naturalist Guide
One of the most common questions Joe gets from guests is, with a name like Bernini, is he a Costa Rican? In his words he was made, born and raised in Costa Rica. His name comes from his Italian grandfather, who came to Costa Rica to work on the railroad to the Atlantic back in the 1800s. Don Ruggero fell in love with a girl from Heredia, the Costa Rican province famous for its beautiful women. Joe belongs to the third generation of the Costa Rican Bernini family.

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Roy Valverde
Naturalist Guide
Born in the city of San Ramon de Alajuela on October 19, 1987, Roy grew up in one of the provinces of Costa Rica that is best known for its poets and fertile soils. This is the region where some of Costa Ricas best coffee is grown.

He grew up with his mother and his older sister. His mother was a school teacher and his sister studied English at the University of Costa Rica.

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Stephanie Joseph
Service Guide
Born in the province of Heredia on August 17th, 1985, Stephanies father was a sociologist and her mother was a full time mom.

When she was a little girl Stephanie wanted to be a vet, she loved animals in general but especially dogs. After graduating from high school, she trained to become a guide and in the process of visiting Costa Ricas parks and reserves became even more convinced that she wanted to spend as much time as possible outdoors, surrounded Costa Ricas forests. She went on to get a degree in Tropical Biology from the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica (UNA) and is currently finishing her Masters at the University of Costa Rica in Ecotourism and Environmental Management from the University of Costa Rica (UCR).

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Priscilla Montero
Naturalist Guide
Born in San Jose on October 30th, 1982, Priscillas mother is from a tiny town near the city of Puriscal, an area mostly dedicated to farming. She came to San Jose to find work and learn to be a beautician. Her father, from the city of Palmares, also came to San Jose looking for work. A New Years tradition that is almost lost in Costa Rica, brought her parents together. Families take tables and chairs out to the street and share food, drink and resolutions while they count down to the New Year together. It was on one of those nights that her parents met.

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Max Vindas
Naturalist Guide
Max was born in the town of Ciudad Quesada in the north eastern lowlands of Costa Rica. His father worked the telegraph and radio at the local mail office. His mother was what in Costa Rica is known as an ama de casa and looked after the home. Max has two sisters.

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federico alban
Naturalist Guide
Federico was born on April 11, 1971, in Costa Rica, but has lived all over the world, including Jerusalem, Madrid and New York. He speaks perfect English and can also understand Hebrew. He has worked at Costa Rica Expeditions for 9 years and particularly enjoys guiding Multisport and Naturalist trips, which combine his love for nature with biking and other outdoor sports.

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william granados
Naturalist Guide
Born in San Ramon de Alajuela, Williams mother was a nurse and his father worked for MOPT, the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation. He is the youngest of 8 children.

He grew up in San Ramon, known for its coffee. During the summer William worked with his brothers picking coffee and then at the coffee drying and processing mills. Weekends were dedicated to family, they got together for the customary lunch, fun and games then coffee. It was working in the coffee plantations that William first began to develop his love of the outdoors and its wildlife.

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diego blanco
Naturalist Guide

Diego, 26, was raised in Ciudad Quesada, a rural town located next to a National Park and studied Tropical Biology at the Univ. of Costa Rica. “My backyard was full of birds, bugs and even snakes,” he says. “As a kid I observed all these creatures with interest and developed a love of the outdoors and the wildlife of Costa Rica.”

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andrew newcomb carballo
Naturalist Guide
Born in San Jose on July 21, 1963, his father was a merchant Marine from Buffalo that sailed all over the world and lived in Japan, China and the Philippines. He would spend up to six months at sea and then come home for two or three months. His mother a wonderful cook, mother and house wife was from the town of San Ramon de Alajuela in Costa Rica.

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Miguel Marin
Naturalist Guides
Miguel was born Nov. 15, 1966, and has guided for nearly two decades, 17 of them with Costa Rica Expeditions. He discovered guiding after a false career start in business administration, which he studied for 2-1/2 years.

Mammals are Miguels special area of interest, but he also is knowledgeable about birds, flower identification, and the natural history of many areas in Costa Rica. Miguel has taught guiding techniques to students specializing in tourism at the Universidad Latina.

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larry marin
Naturalist Guide
Since 1994 Larry has guided and managed tours all over Europe, Northern Africa, Asia Minor, North and South America, the Caribbean Islands, and of course his native country, Costa Rica. He has a B.A. in Tourism from Central American Autonomous University in Costa Rica and is certified by the International Tour Management Institute in San Francisco.

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Federico "Fico" Chacon
Naturalist Guide
Born on November 15, 1976 in San Jose, Costa Rica, Federico "Fico" Chacon has been guiding for 12 years. His training comes from the University of Costa Rica, the National Institute of Learning. He has completed various courses in natural history including Birds, Herpetology and Botany. He has also studied Social Sciences and Psychology. His greatest teacher has been his experience in the field, having guided in Costa Rica, Panam, Guatemala, Honduras and Belize.

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Rafael Robles
Naturalist Guide
Rafa was born and raised in Costa Rica; his love for nature and outdoor activities began as a child, when he accompanied his father to the far corners of Costa Rica.

His father worked with a government organization which offered incentives to rural communities for developing land. Rafa remembers traveling on the narrow gauge train to Limon and entering the most remote jungles and beaches of Costa Rica by 4x4 jeep or on horseback. Family vacations also contributed to his passion for the outdoors. He tells of camping on deserted beaches for two weeks without ever seeing another group of travelers.

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Carlos Vazquez
Naturalist Guide
Carlos was born in the city of Quepos, on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. His love of the outdoors was transmitted to him by his parents. Some of his earliest childhood memories are of looking for crab and shrimp the forests of Mangrove forests of Quepos and then back at home, his mother's delicious soup.

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Pablo Richard
Naturalist Guide
Pablo was born on September 14, 1976 just outside of Paris, France, but he is now every bit a Costa Rican. His parents are Chilean, but moved to Paris to get their doctorates at the Sorbonne University.

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Karla Taylor
Naturalist Guide
Born in Limon on January 28, 1978, Karla has been guiding for Costa Rica Expeditions for 11 years. Karla was raised in the village of Tortuguero, her mother, Miss Junie Martinez, is one of the founding members of the Tortuguero community and is well loved in the area. She owns the well known hotel and restaurant, Miss Junie.s, in the Tortuguero Village. .She.s my hero. says Karla.

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Victor Villegas
Naturalist Guide
Born and raised in San Jose, Costa Rica, Victor is a single father of 3 with 22 years of guiding experience.

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Johnny Villalobos
Naturalist Guide
Johnny was born in San Jose and raised in the Guapiles on the Atlantic slope of Costa Rica. His father worked for the banana plantations of Del Monte in pest control and his mother worked in the hospital of Guapiles as a surgical nurse.

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marcos alvarado
Naturalist Guide
Originally from Limon Province on the Caribbean coast, Marcos learned to swim and fish at a young age. As a child he spent most of his time in the outdoors and developed a deep love and appreciation of the tropical rainforest and its fauna.

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jonnathan vargas
Naturalist Guide
Born on May 29, 1988, Jonathan Vargas was born on the Caribbean slope in the town of Guapiles. His childhood was spent in large part playing outdoors, swimming in rivers and stream and climbing fruit trees with his friends.

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Jonathan Ramirez
Naturalist Guide
Born on May 8, 1981, Jonathan Ramirez was born on the Caribbean slope in the town of La Alegra of Siquirres. His childhood was spent in large part playing outdoors, swimming in rivers and stream and climbing fruit trees with his friends.

As a young boy Jonathan remembers watching his Dads buses with tourists pass through his town on their way to the attractions on the Caribbean slope (On 1990, we moved to San Jos) He started to dream about being a tour guide and showing guests the wildlife, forests and culture of his country.

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luis chinchilla
Naturalist Guide
Luis has a tourism degree from Alajuela Community College (2002) and is currently finishing a graduate program in Managment and Protection of Natural Resources while working as a Naturalist Guide. Originally from Heredia, Luis has always appreciated and enjoyed being close to nature. At Costa Rica Expeditions, he has moved from post to post, first as a transport provider, then in Corcovado as a Tree Platform Guide, more recently in Operations and now as a Naturalist Guide. No longer behind a desk in Ops, Luis is enjoying spending his time outdoors with his guests. He is one of six siblings and has four nephews, of whom he says, I love as if they were my own. His birthday is Jan. 14, 1979.

Adriana Diaz
Naturalist Guide

Born on December 15, 1987, in the city of Alajuela, Adriana comes from a family that enjoys nature and guiding. Both parents worked in the travel business and passed their love of the outdoors to their 4 kids.

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