The onsite directors will be your program leader and are there to lead and guide you during your study abroad experience. Our programs also have assistant directors that help manage the programs, especially during the excursions and cultural activities. Onsite directors are usually host-country nationals with cross-cultural experience. All of our directors have experience working with groups and have international experience (travel and work) and many have studied abroad themselves as students.
Leidy "Laura" Hernández was born and raised in Heredia, Costa Rica where our program is based. Since she was a child her interest in nature was evident. In 2006 she started her studies in Tourism with a focus on Group Management. This is a profession that has allowed her to combine her passions of teaching, enjoying nature, culture, and learning foreign languages. After graduating from Alajuela’s Community College, and getting her certification from the Costa Rican Tourism Board as a bilingual tour guide, Laura began her career in Tourism working at INBioparque, where she managed groups of local and foreign students. She had the opportunity to interact with tourists from all over the world and guided groups of professionals in botany, entomology, education, bioprospecting, sustainable tourism, politics, and health. Laura was also a tutor for summer workshops for children and teenagers. After her positive experience with INBioparque Laura continued working for different travel agencies as a freelance tour guide. She was able to gain more experience in the profession and had the chance to travel to amazing places all over Costa Rica. Laura completed a second degree in Sustainable Tourism Management at Estate Distance University, studied Portuguese and Italian (she loves languages!) and is currently studying a degree in Human Resources. She is First Aid and CPR certified and is trained in leading groups of people with disabilities and also knows a bit of LESCO (Costa Rican sign Language). During her free time, Laura enjoys being surrounded by nature above all else. She also loves visiting small Costa Rican towns, going to concerts, and reading a good book.
Angélica (Angie) is a native josefina (someone born in San José, Costa Rica). She graduated as a tour guide from UNACE University in 2004. Since then she has worked with non-profit foundations and travel companies sharing her knowledge of Costa Rica’s biodiversity and natural history with visitors from around the world. Angélica has worked with INBioparque, a national conservation foundation and wildlife park in Heredia, for many years. She also leads tours for Costa Rican school children with Sura, an environmental education company, and works with Poas International Corporation, a local company specializing in tourism for Costa Rican senior citizens. In 2010, Angélica led workshops for at-risk youth on topics including environmental conservation, farming techniques, and recycling in their schools and communities with the Randy Explorer Foundation, a program sponsored by the government of Andorra. She is First Aid and CPR certified and is trained in leading groups of people with disabilities. She worked as a program director for 7 years at Sol Education Abroad guiding students in learning about Costa Rica’s unique biodiversity and culture as well as improving their Spanish and participating in volunteer programs.
Catalina (Cata) is a native from Costa Rica. She actually grew up in the Atenas area and attended high school there. She lives in a small rural community right outside of Atenas called Rio Grande. Cata has always had an intense love of nature which led her to study Tourism and graduate as a Naturalist Guide. For about 5 years she worked as a Naturalist Guide for a tourism company. She specialized in Costa Rican flora, fauna, and history. As a guide for this company she met and led tourists from around the world. Afterwards, she worked for 6 years as a sales executive in a travel agency. She worked with both groups and individuals. Her position consisted of providing quotes, making reservations and generally taking care of her clients while they were in Costa Rica. Cata is CPR and First Aid certified. She also has a bilingual tour guide license through the Costa Rican Tourism Board. Cata is an extremely friendly person and loves to help others. Besides her professional interests, Cata also enjoys soccer (she has taken university coursework to be a coach), horseback riding, extreme activities (zip lining and bungee jumping!) and, of course, spending time with her sweet son Franco.
Adriana Campos is a native Costa Rican and natural-born tour guide. She is certified with the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) and has many years under her belt in the fields of Ecotourism and Volunteer Coordination. Adriana was born and raised in Heredia, Costa Rica and was drawn to tourism at a young age. After high school, she studied Tourism with an emphasis in Group Management at Alajuela University High School. Adriana also studied Education at the State Distance University and is fluent in English. She has completed short courses in Tourism, Reptiles, Butterflies, Mammals, and Natural History with the National Learning Institute and National Biodiversity Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to scientific research and promoting the importance of conserving the country's rich biological diversity. She ended up working at the National Biodiversity Institute for several years guiding school groups and conducting educational workshops for children. This work with children led her to become a certified children’s yoga instructor in 2018. Adriana is a mom and has a young daughter named Luana. She enjoys spending time with her family and is also very active and mountain bikes 5 days a week. She loves to protect and enjoy nature and share her Costa Rican environmental knowledge with other people. She is very excited to be a part of your Costa Rican experience!
Andrea was born in San José, the capital of Costa Rica, but has lived her entire life in Alajuela, which is a city very close to the country's main airport. She grew up among coffee farms as her father was in charge of managing an entire plantation. Since she was little she learned all the details of cultivating the “gold grain” very well, and in this way she also acquired a taste for life in the countryside, rivers, forests, animals and trees. In 2011 Andrea finished her studies in Tourism and that same year she accepted a job as a vehicle sales agent where she spent 5 years. Despite the fact that she enjoyed contact with people and helping and guiding them to fulfill their travel goals, Andrea felt that working inside an office was not for her. After obtaining her certification as a guide from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, she began working with groups of cruise passengers in Costa Rican ports. Today she enjoys guiding tourists from different parts of the world in a wide variety of activities and showing them all the best that her beautiful country has to offer from Tico (Costa Rican) culture to the incredible biodiversity. Andrea is a very active person and in her spare time she enjoys mountain biking and hiking and she is also very fond of cooking. You are sure to enjoy having Andreas as a program director!
Sergio Llubere Fernández is a Costa Rican-born certified naturalist guide. He is an administrator of tourism and hotel companies. His career in eco-tourism and passion for nature has led him through more than a decade of environmental conservation in Costa Rica’s diverse life zones, ecosystems, and communities. As an environmental educator, workshop facilitator and outdoor camp leader, he inspires everyone from young schoolchildren to international visitors of all ages to discover and protect Costa Rica’s unique and precious wildlife. Sergio holds degrees in Tourism Education and Tourism Administration from the UMCA Castro Carazo Metropolitan University and is an active member of the Costa Rican Tourism Professional Association. He also has a degree in Human Resource Management. Yet his extensive knowledge of Costa Rica’s plants, animals, ecosystems and geography was truly honed in the field through his work in wildlife reserves and refuges throughout the country including La Tirimbina Biological Reserve in the rainforest, InBio Parque National Institute of Biodiversity, La Marta Wildlife Refuge, and Las Baulas Playa Grande National Park. He has also served as volunteer coordinator with visitors from all over the world on the northern pacific coast of Costa Rica with Vida VerdiAzul, a non-profit organization focusing on reforestation and endangered sea turtle conservation. He is first aid and CPR certified. Sergio is eager to share his knowledge and passion for economic, social and environmental sustainability in Costa Rica!
Jacqueline, or Jackie as everyone calls her, is from Cartago, Costa Rica. For her university years she studied Tourism at the Hispanoamericana University in Heredia, Costa Rica. She has worked in logistics with a tour transportation company and with an environmental consulting and education organization. Jackie has also taught tourism to high school students. She has also served as a guide at the Fundecor, the Foundation for Development of the Central Volcanic Mountain Range, as well as with the Rio Loro Municipal Environmental Park. She is First Aid and CPR certified. Jackie has worked as a study abroad program director since 2015.