Our Student Program Guides

Our guides have led Costa Rica Explorations student trips for over three combined decades. Their nationalities vary between the United States and Costa Rica, but they all share a few things in common: exceptional leadership, unparalleled trustworthiness, and a light-hearted spirit. Your students will be in safe hands on Costa Rica Explorations trip.

Jose Miguel | Costa Rica Explorations Student Guide

José Miguel Calvo Rivera

José Miguel was born and raised in Sitio de Mata, one of Costa Rica Explorations homestay communities. He is a supportive husband and proud father of two young children. After spending time working in various farm settings (macadamia, sugarcane, and coffee), José Miguel found his passion as a principal guide.

José Miguel has a great interest in nature, birding, and being involved in service projects that create positive change for his community. He is an extremely bright, self-motivated and determined community leader. As a competitive soccer player himself, José believes in the importance of a healthy lifestyle which motivates him to help to create access to sports and education for youth in rural communities. This desire has led him to become the president of his community’s Sports Committee.


  • ICT, license as naturalist guide and general guide
  • INA, birding, ropes and cables (for Canyoning and Canopy), vulcanology
  • MINAE, archeology
  • Instituto Jiménez, inglés I II III
  • ICETUR, historia de costa rica, turismo cultural


  • ICT, Guía Naturalista y Guía General
  • ICETUR, Turismo Cultural, Historia de Costa Rica
  • INA, Observación de Aves, Guía de Cables y Cuerdas, Guía en Caminatas y Travesías, programas para guía local del ACCVC
  • CENETUR, Programas para Guía Naturalista y Guía General
  • MINAET, Arqueología del ACCVC y Vulcanismo de Costa Rica



Kurt Studt | Costa Rica Explorations Student Guide

Kurt Studt

Kurt is a California native who moved to Costa Rica with his family in high school where he now calls home and has married an incredible Turrialbeña woman. They have two adult daughters and live within the homestay community of Pavones.

Kurt has an easy going personality and is deeply passionate about nature, environmental conservation and safety. He teaches swift water rescue, technical rope rescue, First Aid and CPR certification courses to local guides. He also is a certified Naturalist Guide and is a walking encyclopedia! Kurt’s passions are service work and making home and garden improvements.

Educational Courses:

  • Subjects: nature interpretation, mammals, birds, insects, geology, volcanology, meteorology, communication, etc. -institutes (INA, UCR, CATIE, etc.) and area specialists
  • Naturalist Guide course at Institute of Biodiversity of Costa Rica (InBio)


  • Specialist Naturalist Guide – Costa Rica Tourism Institute (ICT)
  • CPR and Wilderness First Aid Instructor – American Red Cross (ARC)
  • Swiftwater Technical Rescue Instructor & Technical Rope Rescue Technician – Rescue 3 International


  • Panthera (Costa Rica Division) – World´s largest organization dedicated to wild feline conservation
  • Mar Viva – Nonprofit dedicated to conservation of Marine Habitat of Eastern Pacific Ocean operating in Costa Rica, Panama & Colombia



Donna White | Costa Rica Explorations Student Guide

Donna White

Donna hails from North Carolina but enjoys the diversity Costa Rica offers. She has worked in the outdoor industry with students for the past 15 years. She holds certifications in Wilderness First Responder and Whitewater & Technical Rope Rescue and is an Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver.

Donna is passionate about being in nature and loves sharing her passion with her students. She loves to cook, kayak, backpack, sail, paint, and complete handicrafts. She enjoys being a guide because it enables her to help students realize their potential.


  • America Safety & Health Institute & Aventura Seguridad y Rescate Wilderness First Responder & Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • America Safety & Health Institute – Basic Life Support
  • America Safety & Health Institute- Wilderness First Responder



Cristian Gamboa | Costa Rica Explorations Student Guide

Cristian Gamboa

Cristian was born and raised by his grandparents in a town right outside of Turrialba, called Chitaría. Currently, he is constructing his own home with his uncle. He has an incredible thirst for knowledge. He is an avid international traveler and has stepped foot in 15 countries. He says he would not accept a year without traveling as he values the insight and broadened perspective it brings to his life. His other passions are birding, cycling, and practicing yoga.


  • University of Costa Rica, Bachelor’s Degree in Ecological Tourism
  • INA courses part of the guide licensing program


  • Primary Tourism Guiding License – Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje (INA)
  • CPR and First Aid – Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje (INA)



José Anibal Amad | Costa Rica Explorations Student Guide

José Anibal Amador

José was born and raised in the town of Turrialba where his family ran a local bookstore and his grandparents owned a famous restaurant called La Perla. José is a veteran guide and is extremely knowledgeable about Costa Rican culture and its biodiversity. He is very responsible and patient and likes to share the local or “inside” local scoop to his travelers. José is an avid mountain biker and loves birdwatching, going to the beach, spending time with his family and traveling. His degree is in architecture, but his passion is guiding and that is what he has dedicated his professional life to become.


  • UCR Arquitecture
  • INA Tourism


  • ICT, Guía Naturalista y Guía General
  • ICETUR, Turismo Cultural, Historia de Costa Rica



Roldan Hernandez | Costa Rica Explorations Student Guide

Roldan Fernández

Roldan is one of 4 brothers who were born and raised by his parents in the town outside of Turrialba called Guayabo, home of Guayabo National Monument, the largest national indigenous monument in Costa Rica. Roldan’s friendly, athletic and creative spirit give him the perfect ingredients needed to guide student groups. During his free time, Roldan teaches dance, rides his road bike, and is a specialty guide for canopy and canyoning tours. He is his degree in Business Administration at the University of Costa Rica.


  • Técnico en Ciencias Empresariales con Enfasis en Gestieon Administrativa
  • INA
  • ICT
  • UCR


  • INA, (Primeros y RCP; ética turística; Elementos del turismo; historia natural; atención y guiado)
  • UCR (Rescate Vertical)
  • UCR, Actualización en Primeros Auxilios y RCP
  • UCR, Técnicas de rescate en alturas
  • American Red Cross & Aventura Seguridad y Rescate – Resucitación Cardiopulmonar



Sergio Calvo | Costa Rica Explorations Student Guide

Sergio Calvo Rivera

A native to the homestay community of Sitio de Mata, Sergio is a wonderful husband and a proud father to a beautiful baby girl. He constructed his own home on his family farm where he loves to work alongside his father to develop.

He is very outgoing, full of energy and loves to share his culture and love of nature with his student travelers. His other passions are playing soccer, running and traveling.


  • INA
  • ICT
  • UCR


  • UCR ,Técnicas de rescate en alturas
  • INA, primeros auxilios y RCP, Técnicas de atención y guiado ,Elements del turismo ,Geografía de Costa Rica ,Etica turística ,historia natural de costa rica ,primeros auxilios básicos ,legislación para actividades turísticas
  • CATIE, Capacitación para jardín botánico y colecciones
  • American Red cross,adult CPR/AED,pediatric CPR and first aid
  • Instituto Jimenez, ingles conversational novel I ,II,III



Yeimy Calvoa Rivera | Costa Rica Explorations Student Guide

Yeimy Calvo Rivera

Yeimy was born and raised in the homestay community of Sitio de Mata and is the youngest of 6 siblings. Yeimy is cheerful, positive, athletic and an extremely hard worker. Her charisma is contagious, and she has been a leader in her community from a young age.

Yeimy is recently married and is finishing her degree in Business Administration. She is also the coordinator of a local volunteer group called Alma Verde, which is dedicated to the education and promotion of environmental sustainability in the Turrialba community. She regularly provides recycling workshops and helps to increase access to recycling in neighboring communities.


  • UNED- Business Administration


  • First aid course


  • Alma Verde
  • Turrialba Sostenible


    José Joaquin Tortós Sánchez | Costa Rica Explorations Student Guide

    José Joaquin Tortós Sánchez

    José Joaquin Tortós Sánchez was raised in Turrialba Center. José is an incredibly hard worker, which shows not only with his passion, talent, and determination he gives to his competitions in triathlons nationally and internationally, but also the time and energy he dedicates to his profession and his family.

    He has his Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and his Master’s Degree in Educational Administration. His background in education has given him great experience in guiding groups of all ages. He loves engaging his travelers and students in the themes of teamwork, adventure, and conservation for the environment and has many years of experience as an adventure guide as well as a principle guide. José loves training other guides in various topics and is often seen leading workshops. In his free time, he enjoys reading and learning and playing basketball.

    José is a world traveler and has guided travelers through countries other than Costa Rica. He has a big heart and loves his family and is a wonderful support for them. He is invested in being a great mentor for his two young adult sons.


    • UNED – Masters in Educational Administration
    • UACA – Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education


    • INA – Guide Licensing Program
    • Swim Instructor
    • Personal Trainer
    • Whitewater Rafting Guide
    • Alerta WAM – First Aid / CPR
    • Alerta WAM – White Water Rescue


    • Salvamos al Rio Pacuare