With OAT since 2004
90% of travelers rated their experience with Rafael excellent
"I was extremely impressed by Rafael's knowledge of the history, culture, and nature of Costa Rica; his ability to communicate; his organization; and respect for the individuals in our group."
–Carol Takaki, 14-time traveler, Berkeley, California
Born in: Heredia, Costa Rica
Resides in: San José, Costa Rica
Languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian
Hobbies & Interests: Hiking in national parks, contemplating nature, traveling to other countries, reading about history, ecology, and nutrition
Get to know Rafael:
I think that growing up in Costa Rica was a privilege because of our traditions of peace, democracy, and respect for nature. My hometown is surrounded by coffee plantations. When I was growing up, I used to visit these plantations with my brother and friends, hiking for hours through them and spotting birds, lizards, frogs, and snakes. That is where my respect for nature became an important part of my life.
As a teenager, I attended high school in the United States and Canada, and then a tourism school in Quebec. When I came back home to Costa Rica, I went to school for business administration, but also took the government course to be licensed as a naturalist guide. A lot of my friends started to work for OAT, and as I learned more about the company, I decided to apply to be a Trip Leader.
I like to give my travelers an authentic Costa Rican experience, including taking them to the homes of people I think have an interesting story to tell about their lives and looking for potential discoveries as we drive through the countryside. I also try to transmit my passion for natural history, ecotourism, conservation, and everything else that has to do with Costa Rica. I’m especially proud of the fact that Costa Rica is a peace-loving nation with no army. I believe Costa Rica has proved to the world that a country does not need to have an army for the citizens to live peacefully.