Meet Your Hosts
Meet Your Naturalist Guides
Born and raised in Monteverde, the Lodge guides are part of Monteverde's history, they are descendants of the original Costa Rican settlers of this mountain range and they spend each day exploring the forests of the region. They will insure that you see the "hidden Monteverde" because they all live here, study it, know it so well and are totally dedicated to your experience of a lifetime.
Watch the clouds rolling over the Continental Divide and learn about the dwarf forests that you will see in this region, observe a new bird in the spotting scope, get a good look at its eye ring and chest feathers, stand back and listen carefully as your guide calls your bird out of the forest imitating his call, feel the thrill when it finally perches on a branch singing that special melody.
Carlos and Donald know which birds and animals are being seen at each of the Reserves and on a daily basis they will recommend the best places to explore for daytime and nighttime hikes in the Cloud Forests of Monteverde.
Your time in Monteverde would not be fully experienced without a guided experience. Private and shared (no more than 9 guests) experiences are available.
Carlos was born in the city of Quepos, on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. His love of the outdoors was transmitted to him by his parents. Some of his earliest childhood memories are of looking for crab and shrimp the forests of Mangrove forests of Quepos and then back at home, his mother's delicious soup. Carlos' father was a truck driver and for a time Carlos thought he wanted to follow in his footsteps.
He then thought of becoming a doctor, but finally as an adult he realized that his true passion is conservation. Although Carlos does not have a formal degree, he has 18 years of experience as a Naturalist Guide and countless hours in the forests of Costa Rica. After his family his love is nature and conservation.
Guiding has given Carlos the opportunity to get to know guests from all over the world and all walks of life. Not only does he enjoy interpreting the forest, tracking creatures and explaining he environmental phenomena that the world faces today, he also likes to hear of guests lives in other parts of the world and learn about what they are interested in, what they do and what made them decide to visit Monteverde.
When he's not delighting guests on the trails of Monteverde, Carlos enjoys playing soccer and spending time with his wife Martha and their daughter Jimena.For the Latest Feedback Click Here
"…We LOVED Carlos Vazquez. He is one of the very best guides we have ever had. It was so special to spend time with him in Monteverde. We saw 36 species of birds, including the Quetzal! His knowledge and passion are unparalleled. We loved our group tour at the Santa Elena reserve…"
Suzanne Garrow, February 2011
"…Carlos is a walking encyclopedia and quite an asset on a hike. We loved him. Our trip to the Bat Jungle was very informative. The guide/proprietor was very passionate about his field. We learned a lot about bats from him. We had no idea how important bats are to reforestation in the tropics. We were blessed with sunny weather for our entire stay in this area. We saw the most hummingbirds at Monteverde Reserve…"
Cathy and Jim Huckins, March 2011
For Donald, being a naturalist guide offered the perfect career to a student spending his university years dedicated alternatively to the study of biology and English. Today he’s been guiding for seven years, and came to Monteverde Lodge at the beginning of 2015. Given what our guests are saying about his knowledge and infectious enthusiasm when out walking the cloud forest, we're feeling pretty pleased to be able to offer Donald.
He doesn’t seem to find it surprising that he ended up guiding – as a kid he had a fascination with nature, and as he says of Monteverde; “the forest is all around you,” so growing up with it is inevitable. Donald is especially enamored of the many bird species that call the Cloud Forest home. Today, his favorite siting, like that of many of our guests, is the resplendent quetzal. Every year from December to June, Donald has the opportunity to show this remarkable bird off, as it moves up to the high altitudes of the cloud forest for the length of its mating season.
Today, he’s watching that love of nature develop in his young daughter. Donald says she’s showing a great ‘aficion’ for watching the birds that visit their family home just outside of the mountain town of Santa Elena. Along with his daughter, wife and a son, Donald’s other love is music. He plays the piano and the guitar as a long standing past time.
Donald believes that being a guide in Monteverde is a chance to not only help his guests spot rare birds and forest species, but also to impart a sense of how nature tourism, like that on which much of his home’s economy is founded, can benefit the community. He relishes the opportunity his work gives him to be a part of what he calls the “national project” of ecotourism.For the Latest Feedback Click Here
"…Our guide -Donald-was a fount of knowledge and enthusiasm…"
IndiraOxford, Trip Advisor March 2015