Joe has lived in the Brevard, NC area for over 16 years where he first explored and discovered the surrounding mountains and for the past 15 years has worked as a commercial guide. In addition to his work as a guide, he received a bachelor degree in the field of Wilderness Leadership from Brevard College and Master’s in Adventure Recreation from Ohio University.

Since graduating, Joe has taught college courses in climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, and backpacking at both institutions. He has attended workshops offered by the AMGA , ACA, AEE, American Canyoneering Academy, and AORE; and holds certifications as a Wilderness First Responder, an American Canoe Association Swiftwater Rescue Instructor, an American Canyon Guide Assoc certified guide, and is a former American Red Cross Instructor. In 2006 Joe opened Pura Vida Adventures located in Pisgah Forest, NC.

Pura Vida AdventuresHow do the experiences you offer at Pura Vida give guests a unique perspective on the history, geography or culture of your region of North Carolina?

Our adventures take place in the Appalachian Mountains, the world’s oldest mountains.  Our rafting programs take place on the world’s third oldest river, the French Broad River.  This speaks greatly of the geological history of our wilderness here in Western North Carolina.

How have the experiences that you offer evolved since their inception?

Our experiences have evolved in the amount of technical expertise needed by the guides at Pura Vida Adventures. A lot of this is due to adding canyoneering to our adventures in the 3rd year of programming.  Since then our guides have gotten advanced canyon training from instructors from all over the world.  This evolution to offer canyoneering programming in addition to our other programming makes us unique, but also requires a great deal of technical expertise.

What is one detail of an experience you provide that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?

Preparedness, if you are going to be good at what you do you need to be prepared.

What do you wish every guest knew as they consider participating in an adventure with Pura Vida?

We are professional guides who take our jobs very seriously.  We offer a quality based programming not quantity based programming.

What is one travel trend that really excites you?

The increase in mountain biking visitors we are seeing in the Brevard and Transylvania County, NC area, especially the increase we are seeing in the months of Oct- April the time when the seasonal trails are open.

What sets Pura Vida apart from other adventure travel companies?

High quality customized service with a personal touch.  As owner of Pura Vida Adventures I typically do all correspondence with any inquiries sent via email or phone about the experiences we offer.

What is one insiders tip to getting the most out of an experiential travel vacation?

It is important to be willing to improvise and be flexible.

What is one strategy that has helped your business to grow?

Adaptability, we have been able to adapt to the experiences people are looking for.  When we began Pura Vida Adventures adventure racing programming was popular, as adventure racing programming interest fell we began to focus more attention on our canyoneering programming which was becoming more popular with our clientele.

What is one personal habit that has helped you to be successful?

I have a personal saying, “You are only as good as your last trip,” just like a musician is only as good as his last show.  Whether you want to be a great guide or a great musician you never want to disappoint your crowd.

Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided to them.

The most moving experience is seeing the next client’s smile of joy.


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