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, Samuel and Elier 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 baby girl 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
Born on May 10th 1979, in the city of Puntarenas, Elier is one of four brothers and sisters.
As a little boy, it was his dream to work outdoors, he was sure that he didn't want to work in an office. Elier was one of those boys that his mother asked to empty his pockets at the back door because she knew that insects, reptiles and seeds were sure to be stashed there. He didn't walk around whistling, he walked around imitating bird calls.
After graduating from the Universidad Estatal de Puntarenas, Elier was an exchange student in Ellensburg, Washington. Here he had the opportunity to polish his English while working at a ski resort, he says this made a tremendous difference in his understanding of guests and greatly improved his English.
Elier has been guiding for 9 years and specifically for Monteverde Lodge for 7 years, his special passion is tracking a specific species his guests want to see, but he loves the forest and its plants and creatures in general. His biggest thrill while roaming the forests of the Santa Elena Reserve was finding an jaguarundi with guests, an extremely rare sighting.
When he's not interpreting the Cloud Forest, Elier enjoys playing soccer, swimming and spending time with his wife Alicia and his children Christian and Kendra.For the Latest Feedback Click Here
"…The following guides from Monteverde were great, friendly, and knowledgeable: Elier Zuniga, Samuel Arguedas…"
Jesse Rubenstein, February 2013
Born in the port city of Puntarenas on September 25, 1968, Samuel grew up in the Monteverde region. He is the last of 14 brothers and sisters.
Samuel's is a descendant of one of the oldest Monteverde Families. His father, Don Felipe, was a farmer and grew beans and vegetables and then he sold them to a Chinese Restaurant in the Las Juntas de Abangares. At that time, the trip from Monteverde to Las Juntas took 3 days.
Samuel's mother, Doña Adelaida, stayed at home and took care of the family, cooking, washing, milking their 3 cows, making sour cream and cheese and cleaning. She did this with the help of his sisters. Sometimes, Don Felipe took longer than expected returning to Monteverde after selling their produce and Doña Adelaida would have to hunt for food. The Paca was the favorite animal to hunt because of its soft and tasty meat.
When Samuel was growing up it was unusual for kids to go to school given the need for hands in the field. In spite of this, Samuel completed 9th grade in high school which is a testament to his and his parent's dedication.
As a child, Samuel wanted to be a Traffic Officer but today he says he's really grateful that his dream never came true. In 1991 he did a field course with the Monteverde Reserve and fell in love with conservation. Today, Samuel has 18 years of experience in the field dedicating his days and nights to exploring the Santa Elena and Monteverde Reserves with guests, he believes that the outdoors is the best class room of all.
When he's not setting up the spotting scope for guests or calling a tiny bird out of the forest by imitating its call, Samuel enjoys spending time with his wife, Yorleny and his kids Jeffrey, Angelica and Anthony.For the Latest Feedback Click Here
"…Our guide for the Monteverde Reserve (Samuel) was so good… I heartily approve of using him as a guide. I don't see how you could do any better. We saw 4 Quetzals!..."
Kathy Lepp & Karen Matheson, April 2011
"…We'd like to mention specifically our guide Samuel Arguedas in Monte Verde. He was excellent! He knew where to look for the quetzal or the bell bird and persevered until he found them. He has a very sharp eye and ear…"
Nico & Mona Van Opstal, June 2011
Smokers Be Aware!
Costa Rica has recently passed one of the strictest smoking regulations in the world; hotels are 100% SMOKE FREE.
If you are a guest at the hotel, and want to smoke, by law you are required to leave the property. This is a 300 meter walk to the road outside the main gate, day or night, rain or shine. We realize that this is very inconvenient, but it’s the law. There is an $800 fine for breaking this law.