Costa Rica Directors

All of our onsite directors are bilingual & bicultural and are available our students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The onsite directors will be your program leader and will be there to lead and guide you during your study abroad experience. Our programs also have assistant directors that help manage the programs, especially during our excursions and cultural activities. Our 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 have studied abroad themselves as students.

  • Angelica Perez

    Angélica 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...

    Angélica 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 seniors 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. Angélica’s specialties include Volcanology, insects, mammals, birds, fungi, and reptiles. She is first aid and CPR certified and is trained in leading groups of people with disabilities. Angelica loves nature and her country and looks forward to sharing Costa Rica’s natural wonders with you!
    Email: info@soleducation.com
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/angelica.perez.3956
    University Attended: UNACE University (San Jose, Costa Rica)
    Year Graduated: 2004
    Languages Spoken: Spanish

  • Angie “Gaby” Rocha

    An adventurer since she was a child, Angie now practices adventure as a profession working as a tour guide. Everything began on a family vacation in Guanacaste (north pacific of Costa Rica) ...

    An adventurer since she was a child, Angie now practices adventure as a profession working as a tour guide. Everything began on a family vacation in Guanacaste (north pacific of Costa Rica) when she was only 15 years old. As her family was walking back to their hotel from the beach, they veered off of the road, got lost and, after walking for hours, found themselves in the Marino Las Baulas National Park, a nesting site for the endangered leatherback sea turtles. It was midnight when they realized that a group of tourists had just seen a female turtle laying her eggs, an event that one is lucky to see as it isn’t just any night that turtles arrive. They decided to stay until 1am and listen to a talk by the local guide and marine biologist about the life cycle and migration of these amazing creatures in hopes that another turtle would come. At 2am the biologist rushed Angie’s family to the beach just in time to witness a 100 year-old turtle laying its eggs in the sand by the light of the full moon. That magical event transformed Angie’s life and inspired her to become a tour guide in order to share her awe of nature and wildlife with others. Can you guess what her favorite animal is? Well, naturally, it’s the leatherback sea turtle! Angie studied tourism at the National Institute of Learning, where she focused on Dendrology (study of ferns), Volcanology, and English. She has experience leading groups on the land and water guiding expeditions through the rainforest and cruise ships on the ocean. She has led biking tours and events for international clients in Panama, Nicaragua, and Cuba. More than just a naturalist guide, Angie has also conquested mountains on Sol (her mountain bike), flown over the treetops as a zipline canopy tour guide, and immersed herself in the aquatic world of Costa Rica’s oceans. Angie believes the world is incredible and time is short, so she takes advantage of it by traveling and learning as much as she can. She is always happy to meet new people, and to share the amazing wildlife and culture that mother nature and Costa Rica have to offer. She is bilingual in Spanish and English and is First Aid and CPR certified. She is very excited for new adventures and new SOL Mates! You only need to take one step to set forth on a new adventure.
    Email: angie@soleducation.com
    University Attended: National Institute of Learning
    Year Graduated: 2013
    Languages Spoken: Spanish

  • Janiva Cifuentes-Hiss

    A believer in the life-changing potential of travel, Janiva Cifuentes-Hiss fulfills her personal purpose by leading transformational journeys throughout the planet. Over the past decade, Jan...

    A believer in the life-changing potential of travel, Janiva Cifuentes-Hiss fulfills her personal purpose by leading transformational journeys throughout the planet. Over the past decade, Janiva has led study abroad, gap year, and volunteer programs in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panamá, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Perú, Argentina, India, Kenya, Tanzania, and Spain. Her adventures have taken her to learn wilderness skills in the Amazon, practice yoga on the banks of the Ganges, vision quest in Patagonia, safari in East Africa, scuba dive off of the Bay Islands, and trek to the Mayan pyramids of Tikal and learn about the Inca civilization at Machu Picchu. She has led service learning programs focusing on sea turtle conservation, environmental education, and organic farming throughout Costa Rica. Born and raised in Olympia, Washington, Janiva´s passion for travel began at an early age when she visited her extended family in Colombia. In high school, she traveled to Japan with her host sister and Japanese teacher. Janiva studied abroad for a semester at the University of Salamanca in Spain where she delved into Latin American Literature, Religion and History. While abroad she backpacked in France, Italy, and Portugal. A After graduating from Pomona College with a BA in Latin American Studies, she moved to Costa Rica and completed a one-year internship in Sustainable Development, assisting with research in tropical ecology, natural resource management, and economics. Janiva is an international speaker and workshop facilitator who has presented at Envision Festival, Millersville University Conference for Global Well-Being and Social Change, United Nations University for Peace, Latina Youth Leadership Conference, National Student Conference on the Mixed Race Experience, and Shanti Festival. A freelance writer, her work has been published in Biobalance Magazine, The Tico Times, The Encyclopedia Latina, GoAbroad, Landings Magazine and Exploring Costa Rica Travel Guide. She also served as video editor with Super Natural Adventures, a children's wildlife series in Costa Rica. Janiva enjoys sharing her passion for nature, meditation, yoga, permaculture (a design philosophy for ecological living), and social justice with her students. She is First Aid and CPR certified and has served as Costa Rica Director with Sol Education Abroad since 2007.
    Email: janiva@soleducation.com
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vivajaniva
    University Attended: Pomona College (Claremont, CA)
    Year Graduated: 2005
    Languages Spoken: Spanish

  • Jessenia Saborio

    Jessenia Saborio is a native Costa Rican and a natural-born tour guide! She began working in the field professionally in 2004. She is certified with the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) ...

    Jessenia Saborio is a native Costa Rican and a natural-born tour guide! She began working in the field professionally in 2004. She is certified with the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) has many years under her belt in the fields of Ecotourism, Volunteer Coordination, and International Education. Jessenia was born and raised in Alajuela, Costa Rica and was drawn to tourism at a young age. As a teenager, she studied English and Tourism with an emphasis in group management at Alajuela University High School. Jessenia graduated in 2004 from the State Distance University with a degree in Sustainable Tourism Management. She has also completed short courses in Tourism, Geology, Volcanology, and Natural History with The National Institute of Learning and the Costa Rican Tour Guide Association. She is currently finishing her second university degree in Elementary School English Education. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Jessenia has applied her passion for environmental education and sustainable development to international student and volunteer groups from all over the world. She has worked as a canopy tour guide with Sky Trek in the Monteverde cloudforest region of Costa Rica and as the Volunteer Coordinator for groups of US students with Sustainable Horizon, an international education, adventure, and service organization. Jessenia also served as an Environmental Educator at FundaZoo, a foundation that manages the Simon Bolivar Zoo, botanical garden, and Santa Ana Conservation Center. She honed her marketing, sales, operations, and reservations skills with companies including Exploradores Outdoors and Innova Adventure Travel. Most recently, she worked in rural tourism as the operations and sales manager for the Costa Rican Rural Tourism Association. Jessenia is First Aid certified through the Red Cross of Costa Rica. Jessenia loves sharing her beautiful country with others and helping students have the best possible experience while abroad in Costa Rica! This experience has encouraged her to have her own travel experience to all Central America, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. You are going to really enjoy having Jessenia as your director! You are going to really enjoy having Jessenia as your director!
    Email: info@soleducation.com
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zusujara
    University Attended: Colegio Universitario de Alajuela (San Jose, Costa Rica)
    Year Graduated: 2010
    Languages Spoken: Spanish

  • Laura Ramírez Rodríguez

    Laura Ramírez Rodríguez is a native Herediana, born and raised in Heredia, Costa Rica. Since she was a child, she was drawn to history, architecture and world cultures. In 2005, she starte...

    Laura Ramírez Rodríguez is a native Herediana, born and raised in Heredia, Costa Rica. Since she was a child, she was drawn to history, architecture and world cultures. In 2005, she started her university studies in History, Theology and Architecture. She served as a volunteer in public elementary schools in Costa Rica for many years and has worked in architectural heritage conservation programs with the Costa Rican Ministry of Culture and Youth. Laura studied abroad as an exchange student at Santa Fe University (USA), Granada University (Nicaragua), NABA institute (Italy) and completed a professional training program in China. Since 2014, she has worked as a university professor in Latin American History and Architecture for international programs and local students. She served for many years as professor of Latin American Civilization and Culture for SOL Education Abroad students, who appreciated her personalized and experiential approach to learning and the many field trips she guided to Costa Rica’s best museums and art galleries. Her passion for learning led her to return to the university to specialize in Education and Educational Pedagogy. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in Museology at the National University of Costa Rica and another in Anthropological Psychotherapy at the University of Salamanca (Spain). In her free time she likes to study languages, travel, and play analog games and puzzles. She is also a fan of cinematography and literature. She is first aid and CPR certified. Laura has become a beloved member of the SOL team and enjoys sharing her passion for history and culture with her SOL Mates!
    Email: laura.ramirez@soleducation.com
    University Attended: National University of Costa Rica
    Year Graduated: 2010
    Languages Spoken: Spanish

  • Leydi Laura Hernandez

    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 ...

    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 botanic, entomology, education, bioprospecting, sustainable tourism, politics and health. She 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. In 2009, Laura was hired to work for Travel Excellence Tour Operators (TETO) as their Coordinator of Sustainability Programs. In this position she developed tasks such as the implementation of a recycling program, planning and execution of communal activities and design trainings for local tour guides amongst other functions. Working as part of a team Laura took part in the ISO 9001 implementation and certification process with TETO. They obtained the highest level in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Award and recently undertook the process to obtain the Carbon Neutral Certification. In 2012, Laura completed a second degree in Sustainable Tourism Management at Estate Distance University and currently studies Portuguese and Italian (she loves languages!). 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. Laura looks forward to sharing all that Costa Rica has to offer with you!
    Email: info@soleducation.com
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laura.hernandez.7583
    University Attended: Estate University (Costa Rica)
    Year Graduated: 2009
    Languages Spoken: Spanish

  • María Molina

    María Molina was born in Alajuela, Costa Rica but grew up in the town of Atenas on the Pacific slope. She graduated from the Liceo de Atenas in 2003, where she was involved in many cultural...

    María Molina was born in Alajuela, Costa Rica but grew up in the town of Atenas on the Pacific slope. She graduated from the Liceo de Atenas in 2003, where she was involved in many cultural activities such as salsa dance classes and theater performances. In 2006, she received her degree in Costa Rican Tourism at the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje, and is currently working on a second degree in Business Administration. María has worked as an onsite director with Sol Abroad since 2007. From spring 2009 to spring 2010 María participated in an Au Pair program to improve her English skills. She lived near Baltimore, MD and was able to travel all over the US during her stay. This was an incredible opportunity to experience the country where the majority of the Sol students come from. Maria also lived for a few months in the Netherlands and has travelled to France, Belgium, Holland, Nicaragua and Panama. In her free time María loves studying languages, dancing, reading, drawing and going to the theater in San José whenever possible. She loves Latin American literature! Her favorite authors are Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende. She also is passionate about ecological conservation and is a member of Apreflofas, a non-profit dedicated to the conservation of land and wildlife in Costa Rica. María is very proud of her country and culture and looks forward to sharing it with you! She lives in Heredia, just a few blocks from the Universidad Latina.
    Email: info@soleducation.com
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MariaMolinaEspinoza
    University Attended: Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje (San Jose, Costa Rica)
    Year Graduated: 2005
    Languages Spoken: Spanish