Our Directors & Staff

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

  • Gabriela Gonzalez

    Gabriela “Gaby” González Quesada is a native Costa Rican who began studying tourism at the Colegio Universitario of Alajuela where she received a diploma in tourism with an emphasis in ...

    Gabriela “Gaby” González Quesada is a native Costa Rican who began studying tourism at the Colegio Universitario of Alajuela where she received a diploma in tourism with an emphasis in group management. Since then she has worked in the field of tourism for more than a decade with organizations including distinguished international travel companies, the Juan Santamaría International Airport tourist services department, ICT Costa Rican Tourism Institute and the renowned CANATUR National Chamber of Costa Rican Tourism Office. She honed her knowledge of Costa Rica’s rich and varied flora and fauna as an interpretive guide and environmental educator at INBioparque, a national conservation foundation and wildlife park in Heredia. In the cloud forest of Monteverde, Gaby led tours of a serpentarium, teaching visitors about the characteristics of the dozens of live snakes at their interactive exhibit. Gaby speaks Spanish, English, and French. She is first aid and CPR certified. Gaby looks forward to sharing the beauty and nature of her home country with you!
    Email: gabriela@soleducation.com
    University Attended: Colegio Universitario de Alajuela
    Year Graduated: 2003
    Languages Spoken: Spanish, French

  • 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

  • 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

  • Rocio Carvajal

    Rocío Carvajal Arce was born and raised in Costa Rica. Shortly after graduating from the Federated University of Costa Rica in 2001, she traveled the world and honed her customer service s...

    Rocío Carvajal Arce was born and raised in Costa Rica. Shortly after graduating from the Federated University of Costa Rica in 2001, she traveled the world and honed her customer service skills as a flight attendant with Taca Airlines. She received her tour guide license from InBioParque, the National Institute of Biodiversity in 2006. Since then she has worked guiding international visitors and Costa Rican schoolchildren on environmental education tours throughout Costa Rica’s rich ecosystems. She has lived abroad in Scotland and has also worked as an English teacher. Rocío is multilingual and in addition to her native Spanish, she also speaks fluent English and conversational French. She is first aid and CPR certified. Rocío looks forward to sharing the beauty of Costa Rica with you!
    Email: rociocarvajal@soleducation.com
    University Attended: Federated University of Costa Rica
    Year Graduated: 2001
    Languages Spoken: Spanish