Serendipity Adventures: Costa Rica’s Respected Travel Operator
Serendipity started as an idea, and a place, where we gathered interesting friends and fun equipment.
Serendipity grew as more guides found out about us — guides who knew the best part of their jobs was the teamwork of their fellow workers and the kind of clients that Serendipity attracted — clients with genuine curiosity and open minded about trying new things and meeting new people and seeing the alternatives to the life they know back home.
And Serendipity grew, mainly by word-of-mouth. Instead of becoming a tour operator — developing tours and selling to travel wholesalers (the middle man between the local travel agents and the operators), Serendipity decided to continue speaking directly with the traveler, designing each expedition directly with the people who would be coming with us.
Serendipity is sort of a “co-op”. This means that every guide, every person working with Serendipity brings new ideas and discoveries into the company. Our guides love to take the office staff on “exploratories” — our excuse to go find other more interesting places and things to do.
We all get involved developing new ideas for our guests — in 1991 we built Costa Rica’s first canopy system (never opened to the public, but only our guests). We are the only balloon operator in Central America. We have our own private nature observation platform, and we developed small private inflated boats for exploring Jungle Rivers. We can camp hanging in trees, and we have ways to accommodate all people, even those with restricted physical abilities, who want to see the forest from above.
As we have grown, we have remained focused on our original philosophy. Simply put, if your Serendipity guide is enjoying your visit to Costa Rica, then you will certainly enjoy your stay with us as well. Nothing gets stale, no one gets “burned out”. And BOTH sides will end up learning more about themselves, and another person’s world.
Here are some of our principal people you may get a chance to meet:
ROBERTO KOPPER ORLICH is one of the founders of Serendipity. Roberto was first involved with coffee plantations, the director of the Papagayo Marina project, and the largest yacht marina in Central America. Roberto also has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Costa Rica’s governing body for aviation — Aviación Civil, and nowadays he is in the restaurant business.
CHARLOTTE (Lotta) TÖRNQVIST is the General Manager of Serendipity Adventures. Fluent in Swedish, English and Spanish, she is passionate for adventure and an expert in logistics and problem solving.
SETH O’NEAL is one of the founders of Serendipity. Seth inspired his partners to offer a completely fresh approach to visiting Costa Rica — make the visit more like visiting a friend than merely sightseeing. The result is Serendipity’s intense immersion and delightful adventure leaders who first and foremost love sharing discovery with truly open-minded people.
EDUARDO ALBERTO ALGUERA (Beto) a true mountain man. He is the person who we trust to take us 110 feet above the jungle floor. He knows the forest and looks after it. He is also a ropes expert, and fully committed to safety standards.
JAIME MURILLO– Our countryman and head of our San Carlos operations. If it’s above the ground, he is there, – whether it is on a hot air balloon, up on a platform or ascending inside the hollow tree, Jaime is there with us. His calm demeanor and attention to detail make of him a key factor on activities involving safety measures.
ROGER DAVIS is a senior naturalist guide, with 20+ years’ experience in the field. His razor sharp eyes, plus knowing how to spot camouflaged animals, means everyone can actually see in the jungle. Birdwatching is one of his passions.
SERGIO AMADOR, one of the senior principal guides for Serendipity. With a degree in wildlife and forest management, and extensive experience in the biology field, he is your adventure teammate. Sergio is also certified in vertical and swift water rescue.
GERHARD LINNER — Gerhard’s extreme adventure skills are matched by his exceptional naturalist skills. He has taken part in numerous adventure racing competitions both national and international, and is a great travelling companion.
KURT STUDT originally from California now a full Costa Rican. He is one of Serendipity’s most experienced adventure leaders, certified as white water rafting guide, as well as rappelling and naturalist guide. Kurt is a professional safety technique instructor, licensed to teach swift water rescue, vertical rescue, CPR and wilderness first aid.
FRANCISCO NARANJO (Chico) works as a principal guide on an occasional basis when he can time off as a consultant because he loves it. He’s an agricultural engineer with a master degree in environmental management. As a consultant he has worked in 15 countries around the world. He is also an avid mountain biker and trail runner.
JUAN CARLOS (Juanca) ARRIETA is a biologist who enjoys just about anything that puts him together with guests and the outdoors… rafting, biking, tree climbing, horses, hiking, team building fun. He’ll share loads of interesting information with you! Juanca is one of our senior guides who has been with Serendipity for more than a decade.
FELIPE PÉREZ is a first aid, canyoning and climbing instructor that teaches vertical rescue, swift water rescue and advanced wilderness first aid courses locally and internationally. Felipe was a paramedic in the United States before marrying his Costa Rican bride and moving to Costa Rica. He has formed part of our team of principal guides for over 15 years already.
JOSE TORTOS (Tito) is another of our principal guides. He is also a physical education teacher and international triathlete. An excellent host that will instantly make you feel you’ve been friends forever.
ALDO UMAÑA was introduced to the water sports by his parents when he was only five years old. Born and raised in Turrialba, he has always been passionate about hiking, rappelling and kayaking adventures. Now he is the former captain of the Costa Rican rafting team under 23 year and member of the Costa Rican Kayak Slalom team. Aldo is one of our canyoning guides, and he studies Civil Engineering.
LUIGI SÁNCHEZ started his Serendipity career as a whitewater rafting guide, kayaker and canyoning guide, but soon became a principal guide. . Luigi is also an adventure photographer.
PAMELA CARAZO joined Serendipity in 2010, and quickly became one of our favorite guides for families with younger kids. With a degree in Public Relations she combines her work as a guide with her “real job” in marketing.
MARIANO “Sabanera” SALAZAR was one of Costa Rica’s first river guides. Mariano not only has trained many of today’s river guides, but their bosses as well. He loves to cook and he is a walking encyclopedia on Costa Rica history and culture. Mariano works well with just about anyone who is eager to try new things. He has guided internationally in some of the wildest rivers of the world.
ESTEBAN ELIZONDO is our balloon pilot. When he is not flying around the world, he is riding horses. Esteban’s got a master’s degree in human resources. When he discovered the unique way of life of the San Carlos area it was easy to convince him to run Serendipity’s stables.
PABLO LEIVA: Serendipity Operations Manager. With vast experience around the world in white water rafting, he is also a high core athlete. In 2013 he was part of the Costa Rican team that got 8th place in the world championship of adventure racing, and he is has won many mountain bike races. Pablo is in charge of our warehouse, logistics, guides and support team management.
ESTEBAN TORTOS is a principal guide for Serendipity and part time employee in the office. He is a runner and has a passion for adventure sports. With a degree in International Relations, Esteban speaks Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese and French and is the Director of the reforestation project “1 Million trees”.
ALEJANDRO MARTEN (Marten) is a very experienced guide who loves to do all type of adventures. In 2011 he participated in the Adventure Racing World Championship held in Tasmania, Australia. Besides enjoying the outdoor activities, Marten has a university degree in Marketing.
ELIZABETH VENEGAS (Liz) is one of our most loved canyoning guides. She grew up in Vereh, the Cabecar indigenous territory, surrounded by nature, rivers and mountains.
VIVIAN MÉNDEZ is the third leg upon which Serendipity stands. Vivian is in charge of the administration and handles all the money. As a mother of two young children she is super organized at work and at home.
LYNNE LARMEE (with husband and Serendipity volunteer Scott) runs the Ann Arbor, Michigan business office.
MAURICIO OVARES is a white water guide. He will be with you sharing smiles and giving you confidence during the rafting trips to the Pacuare, Sarapiqui or Pejibaye rivers.
ALEXANDER DIAZ (Chany). He is our strong arm in operations. In charge of our Turrialba warehouse and all the equipment, vehicles, etc. Chany plays a key role in the company as the hardware man. He is the person to rely on under any circumstance.
MANUEL CUBERO is one of our drivers and many times praised cook. He is responsible for taking the equipment and guides safely to the different adventure sites.
JULIO GARRO is one of the best kayakers in the country. He has been working as a white water rafting guide for more than a decade. Besides enjoying water adventure sports, Julio is a Civil Engineering student.
OLGER LEIVA is a senior river guide. He knows every corner of the rivers we run and is also your rescue kayaker during many trip.
FLOR MARIA GUTIERREZ is always running around the kitchen preparing different meals and desserts. She began working at Serendipity in 2012, and since then, she is the person responsible for preparing the food for rafting and canyoning trips. Cooking is one of her hobbies, one that we truly enjoy!
LUIS MADRIGAL (Mangany) has worked in adventure tourism for many years and has been a river rafting guide for almost 15 years, in Costa Rica and abroad.
ALEXANDER ZAMORA is an excellent biker who will be with you during mountain bike rides. Alex is also one of our drivers who we totally trust.
EDUARDO BALDIOCEDA is an adventure racer. His degree in biology is useful when sharing the flora and fauna of Costa Rica with our friends. Eduardo has participated in different adventure racing competitions, in Costa Rica and internationally.