Jose Pablo has eight years of experience in the tourism industry but 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), Jose is a licensed naturalist guide, certified by the National Institute of Biodiversity (INBio). Pablo has worked for extended periods in the areas around Arenal and the Osa Peninsula as a local guide. Jose, like his father, is a lifelong nature lover and an enthusiastic bird-watcher.

Jose especially loves working with families and enjoys the company of children. His kind and generous nature appeals to travelers of all ages, and he has a remarkable gift for sharing the spirit of discovery on every journey with Costa Rica Adventures.


Costa Rica is a small country that only cover 0.03% of the surface of the globe, but it shelters a 5% of the existing biodiversity in the entire world and 25.58% of the country is natural protected territory. It has unlimited tourist potential and is ranked as one of the most visited international family- friendly destinations.
Costa Rica is a small country that only cover 0.03% of the surface of the globe, but it shelters a 5% of the existing biodiversity in the entire world and 25.58% of the country is natural protected territory. It has unlimited tourist potential and is ranked as one of the most visited international family- friendly destinations.

How do the experiences you offer at Costa Rica Adventures give guests a unique perspective on history, people or culture of your region?

As a tour guide, one of my priorities is that families and guests have the best experience filled with unforgettable memories of my country; through ecotourism and rural tourism I am fortunate to provide a hands-on experience to my clients.

Costa Rica may not be the largest country, but it is filled with rich culture, both natural and historical, as each region is unique and special.

The tours are designed to make customers aware of all the cultural richness of each region; this is achieved by taking guests to destinations that are not overrun with tourists. We give visitors many opportunities to share with locals, visiting houses and small towns and thus enjoying the experience of the “Real Costa Rica”.

On top of our history, Costa Rica is filled with many unique species and habitats that I love to showcase to the visitors of Costa Rica. From the high elevations to the arid lowlands, I am grateful to show my clients all Costa Rica has to offer.

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

The experiences offered have evolved extensively since more and more customers are looking for unique experiences and trying to escape from mundane, typical tourist destinations. They want to get “up close and personal” with the people and get the overall feel of the country.

In the central northern region of the country, you will find much of Costa Rica's high altitude cloud forests characterized by rich rainforest and low hanging clouds that make this area so fertile and diverse. This is also the home of some of the most active volcanoes in the country, some of which you can actually see the lava bubbling from on a clear night.
In the central northern region of the country, you will find much of Costa Rica’s high altitude cloud forests characterized by rich rainforest and low hanging clouds that make this area so fertile and diverse. This is also the home of some of the most active volcanoes in the country, some of which you can actually see the lava bubbling from on a clear night.

Our clients and guests help the locals of Costa Rica through their support of our small business and others in our communities. The ecotourism aspect of my tours gives visitors opportunities to learn about the diversity and beauty of Costa Rica while helping locals rather than large companies. We give clients the ability to connect with nature and locals (Ticos) while we have learned and revised our tours to provide visitors with the best experiences possible for budding eco-tourists.

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

Being such a small country, some people underestimate the amount of diversity, not only culturally but also in forest types and climates. Each region has a unique way of preparing food, talking and traditions; it is an important aspect of how Costa Rica exists as such a diverse country despite its small size. This is something that I really point out as we pass through the different regions of the country. My goal is to give guests the ability to understand my country’s diversity and grasp the beauty of ecotourism as they visit.

What do you wish every guest knew as they consider participating in the experiences you offer?

Sometimes it is difficult to know what kind of tour the guest is really looking for. I try to explain the kinds of lodges, climates, traditions, and types of food of each region as descriptively as possible so guests know what to expect.

Many clients come with very high expectations, filled with lists of animals they have seen on television channels like National Geographic, but they do not understand, how much time and patience professionals had to spend to find that specific animal, and how rare some animals are, especially the top predators and larger animals.

Although Costa Rica is small, 25% of the country is protected and the animals are free to go wherever they please, from the cloud forest to the rainforest and every habitat in between. I want to provide my clients with the ability to see many amazing animals and habitats, but often they have unrealistic expectations, I cannot show them everything that I would like them to see, let alone everything that lives in Costa Rica.

In Costa Rica you can find stunning beaches and national parks. One of the most popular southern Pacific beach is Manuel Antonio where you can find a thick rainforest running right up to the beach. This is also a very popular surfing area among many other exciting water sports like diving, snorkeling, and sailing.
In Costa Rica you can find stunning beaches and national parks. One of the most popular southern Pacific beach is Manuel Antonio where you can find a thick rainforest running right up to the beach. This is also a very popular surfing area among many other exciting water sports like diving, snorkeling, and sailing.

What is one travel trend that really excites you?

One of the trends that surprises me is technology and all that it encompasses; how people share photos and experiences with other people, specifically about the places where they are traveling and visiting. The technology available to my guests helps to get others interested in ecotourism in Costa Rica.

Included in the advances of technology is the need to travel to new places that are natural, that aren’t overrun by tourists and that few other people have seen. With 25% of our country protected, we have more opportunities for novel travel with more diverse habitats.

What sets Costa Rica Adventures apart from other, similar, organizations?

As we are a family business and our family gives all of our tours, guests have a special experience that gives them security and the guarantee of a unique tour by Costa Ricans. With our extensive tour background, guests also have the advantage of a guide who knows about natural history of plants, animals and culture in general.

Jose Ugalde, owner of Costa Rica Adventures
Jose Ugalde, owner of Costa Rica Adventures

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

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they read about travelling to Costa Rica is the assumption that because it is the dry season (which means no rain during this season), they do not need rain gear; but with the diversity of the country, guests forget that the country has microclimates. This means they should come prepared for any kind of weather, from rain in high elevations or rain forests (where they might need ponchos, umbrellas, boots or shoes) to the dry forests where the humidity is low and it is very sunny (where a good sunscreen is recommended).

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

I always thought that when you do what you love and you love what you do and can share that passion with your customers you are helping your business. When the customer is happy and their experiences exceed their expectations, they will recommend our company to others and share their happiness.

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

One of my habits that I believe has helped me be successful is my desire to constantly evolve: learning about different subjects, making new travel options to better serve our customers, and learning from my customers to better guide others.

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

I’ve had families and children at the end of the tour get very emotional when we have to part ways and say goodbye; ultimately, over the course of the tour, we travel together and see so much that we become a family.

Connect:

www.costarica-family-adventures.com
Costa Rica Adventures on Facebook: facebook.com/crfamilyadventures
Costa Rica Adventures on Twitter: twitter.com/CRAdventures
Costa Rica Adventures on Instagram: instagram.com/crfamilyadventures
Costa Rica Adventures on Google+: plus.google.com/u/0/109604403964670707448

 

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TravelDew is a community based platform for leaders in experiential travel from around the world. Through our interviews we honor the variety of this industry while simultaneously creating the opportunity to learn from one anther.