MEET THE FAMILY AND FOUNDERS
Pacific Journeys is a family owned and operated business that has been running tours for the past 16 years. It all began when Jon Chapman’s life-long search for beauty in mountainous land brought him to Costa Rica for the first time in the early 1980s. While he did not buy land on his first trip, he did meet his future wife, Leyla Chinchilla. Jon and Leyla married and moved to Monterey California where Jon worked as a contractor. After 13 years of living in the United States, Jon and Leyla moved with their four children to the southern pacific coast of Costa Rica, where they bought a handful of beautiful properties.
The Chapman family has maintained stewardship over the land surrounding Diamante Waterfall since 1998. Jon and Leyla began inviting travelers to visit the area, camping in the natural caves in the canyon and taking people rappelling off the many waterfalls there. The business grew entirely by word of mouth until an adventure tour company was born by the name of Tree of Life Tours. The tour company soon became a regional leader in adventure tours under the tutelage of Phil Perez, Rescue 3 International safety instructor and industry mentor, along with William Fuller, Pacific Journeys’ first professional guide.
Since that time, the company has expanded beyond the Chapman family and even changed it’s name to Pacific Journeys. The Lopez family, one of 18 brothers and sisters, were brought into the company little by little over the past decade. The Lopez’s grew up two walking hours from the nearest town on a farm in rural Costa Rica. Having spent their lives in the outdoors, first as farmers/foragers, and then as Outward Bound instructors, they bring an immense wealth of knowledge to Pacific Journeys. Some of the brothers and sisters-in-law are now the lead guides at Pacific Journeys, although the Chapmans still play a large role in guiding and administration.
It has been our privilege to share this natural treasure with people from around the world. Our passion comes from seeing our guests happy and by helping them experience the beauty of Costa Rica in its full natural spectrum. We hope to see you soon!
MEET OUR GUIDES
Our bilingual guides are well-trained, experienced, and internationally certified. Their passion is to facilitate unforgettable experiences for all of our participants, and are ready and willing to provide support along the way. Safe and extremely knowledgeable, our guides are the the best at creating a fun and exciting adventure.
Diego Lopez Salazar
Certifications: I.R.F RG4-5 White Water Rafting, Scuba Divers, Technical Rope Rescue, Lifeguard Training Open Water, Wilderness First Aid, Swift Water Rescue Technician, R.C.P, Wilderness First Responder.
Diego grew up in the mountains with his family of 18 brothers and sisters. He started working as a guide at 19. He has a true passion for teaching people about the wonders of nature, and has worked with companies involved in hiking, rafting, kayaking, canyoneering and diving. Currently one of the head guides and rappelling instructors for Pacific Journeys, Diego truly loves the land he gets to explore.
Gretel Quiros Rojas
Certifications: I.R.F RG4-5 White Water Rafting, Scuba Divers, Technical Rope Rescue, Wilderness First Aid, Swift Water Rescue Technician, R.C.P, Wilderness First Responder.
Gretel is originally from Perez Zeledón, San Jose, Costa Rica. Grew up in a large family of 8 sisters and one brother. She is the second child.
Grete has been working in Pacific Journeys for three years and feels it is safe to say that it is the job she had always dreamed about. Having a job that will take her away from the routine and one that she enjoys completely. All of this she has found at Pacific Journeys.
Pablo Lopez Salazar
Certifications: Wilderenss First Aid, Wildernes First Responder, Swiftwater Rescue, and IRF Whitewater Rafting
Pablo lives in San Isidro, Perez Zeledón, with his wife, Karen Lucia Granados. He has worked in tourism for 8 years and feels that Pacific Journey's tours are really some of the best in Costa Rica. He considers the smiles he sees on tours one of the best parts of his job.
Abraham Lopez Salazar
Certifications: Wilderenss First Aid, Swiftwater Rescue, and IRF Whitewater Rafting
Another of the Lopez brothers, Abraham grew up in the mountains of the Savegre river basin. Previously he worked at Outward Bound Costa Rica. He is currently one of Pacific Journey's head guides and rappelling instructors.
Abraham fills his spare time with family, soccer and fishing. He considers himself a nature lover. He feels that teaching and watching people discover things is one of the most wonderful things that can be experienced in life.
Lucia Granados Elizondo
Certifications: Wildernes First Responder, Rescue 3 International
Lucia grew up in Piedras Blanca's community located in the mountains of the lower Savegre River basin. Though this area has no electricity or phone service, she feels fortunate to have been raised in the beauty of Costa Rica's nature. She started working as a guide at the age of 18 in Costa Rica Outward Bound.
Lucia also loves painting, and has been painting since age 13. She has a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts and Education. She enjoys teaching, painting, learning, and sharing her knowledge anyway she can. She lives in Perez Zeledón with her husband.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Anne has worked in turism for 18 years. She has worked for Pacific Journeys for 1 1/2 years. She loves being able to help visitors see Costa Rica, especially such special places like the Diamante canyon.
She loves dogs, and would love to have a rescue center for mis-treated dogs.
Her dream is to one day travel the world!