Meet the Directors!
Director of Experiences (El Jefe)
Tico, born and raised. Go Tico! was born out of a love for my community, my country, and a dream to share what an amazing place Costa Rica is with anyone, young and old, who is interested in visiting!
I work to find authentic, immersive opportunities for our groups. When planning trips, I look for places that are truly Costa Rican in their beauty & uniqueness and communities that are welcoming and eager to share their culture. My hope is every traveler we take to Costa Rica experiences true Tico hospitality and leaves feeling like they were part of a Tico community.
Creator of Opportunities (La Jefa)
Midwestern, born and raised. Having lived in rural Costa Rica, immersing myself in both the communities and language, I know what a life-changing experience immersion travel can be. Go Tico! is our way of bringing that experience to groups of travelers of all ages.
I love to bring all pieces of a trip together: logistics, service, safety, and community & group compatibility. Working on brainstorming what service experience will fit a particular group of travelers, rallying support for student fundraisers, and preparing groups to maximize their time in their Tico community is part of the role I play. My hope is that travelers feel like they truly lived Tico in all forms: community, language, nature, food, and culture.
Want to learn more?
Reach out to us!
A BIT ABOUT US
We are very proud parents of three amazing, adventurous kiddos (and one awesome puppy named Pipa) who love meeting with any visitors we bring to Costa Rica.
Johel grew up in La Flor, Costa Rica before moving to the U.S. and living 20 years in Madison, WI. From his childhood, he has loved nature, exploring flora and fauna and now, guiding. His most memorable hiking experience was the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire - let's just say it wasn't the funnest, but definitely the most memorable:)
Sara knew from high school she wanted to work in tourism and live abroad. She also works at the University of Wisconsin-Madison coordinating international student programs. Her most memorable hiking experience was the Dolomites in Italy or getting caught in a snowstorm in Glacier National Park in shorts and a T-shirt.
We ran our first Go Tico! youth trip in 2018 with 7th, 8th, and 9th graders from a school in Madison, Wisconsin. We loved it so much that we kept running trips summer after summer. We've also coordinated itineraries for families traveling alone to Costa Rica.
We both love Costa Rica, so much so we moved with our family in 2020 to our host community, La Flor, to explore more of this amazing country and culture.
Our travel style is authentic - both in how we travel with our own family and how we coordinate our trips. We love to eat at roadside stands, head down bumpy roads to less-traveled and incredibly majestic sites, and stay in places that feel cozy but not fancy and serve amazing food:)
Our most memorable travel experiences weren't in the tourist center, but instead being among the people of the community or country we were visiting. We believe that intercultural experiences, friendships, and sharing language, culture and food make the world a better place.
Our family has been creating an organic fruit orchard with over 90 trees, a garden, farm-to-table cafe, and two small casitas on the property to provide a peaceful retreat for guests to La Flor and the region. It is a major labor of love!
When we aren't hiking, gardening, teaching, exploring, or hosting travelers, we love cooking (and eating!) good food, having family get-togethers, and having intense board game competitions (Azul and Pandemic are definitely favorites!)