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Travel Expertise,

Insider Knowledge,

Local Connections

Learn more about the people who bring your dream travel experiences to life.

Irene Edwards

Irene Edwards

Founder and Lead Trip Designer

Irene Edwards is a native of rural Costa Rica, who grew up eating rice and beans on coffee and cacao plantations. With nearly two decades of experience in the travel industry. Irene loves creating fun, eye-opening, and unique adventures for travelers who share her values and eco-sensibilities. She knows the communities, companies, and local business people she works with intimately, and she only recommends accommodations and activities that she can vouch for herself. Irene as well as her husband have been awarded by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine as the Top Travel Specialist for Costa Rica since 2006.

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Doña Mara
All In the Family

This is where having local friends comes in handy, or family members in the case of Irene's mother Doña Mara. Costa Rica visitors are welcomed into her home to enjoy a delicious authentic lunch, learn how to make tortillas, tamales, and get an impromptu dancing lesson. It won’t take long to feel at home.

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Selena Solis

Selena Solis

Managing Director, Costa Rica

Selena is a native Costa Rican born and raised in San Jose. She has worked in the travel industry for more than 25 years, focusing on trip operations and travel planning for upscale travelers and special interest guests. She has also managed an inbound tour operator, and spent time exploring Nicaragua while helping to manage Morgan's Rock Eco-Lodge. Selena trains for triathlons, and spends her free time enjoying nature and wildlife while hiking Costa Rican trails.

  • Q: Describe your job at GreenSpot

    As the Managing Director of our Costa Rica office,. I am in charge of operations for all of our trips here. In simple terms, I oversee all the little details that make clients' trips truly unforgettable, and make sure that our clients are well taken care of when they are here traveling around.

  • Q: What inspires you about working at GreenSpot?

    People are trusting us with their most valuable and precious time -- their vacation time. We do our best to ensure this time is memorable, and we help ensure that travel is done in a sustainable and responsible manner. I love that we provide guests with an opportunity to meet with locals and have a genuine authentic experience that represents the real Costa Rica.

  • Q: Favorite destinations to visit?

    Costa Rica, of course! Within Costa Rica, my favorite places are Corcovado National Park, for the variety of wildlife opportunities in the area, and Tortuguero for the calm ambience of an area surrounded by canals with no streets, and therefore no cars.

  • Q: Most memorable travel experience?

    Traveling with my kids to Lapa Rios and Corcovado Lodge when they were little. We were able to see a lot of wildlife and learned a lot together. I am sure these experiences influenced my daughter to become the conservationist and environmentalist she is today.

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Meet Mauricio
GreenSpot Costa Rica Guide

Meet Mauricio, one of GreenSpot’s best-loved guides, whose perfect day involves showing travelers his native land and talking about preservation of its spectacular resources. His Costa Rica travel tip: pack your binoculars, hiking shoes, and an open mind.

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Jeremy Sampson

Jeremy Sampson

President

Jeremy joined GreenSpot as President in November of 2015, having spent nearly half of his 20-year career working in the travel industry. His experience includes stints at San Francisco-based travel agency Ambassador Tours and global NGO Sustainable Travel International, where he organized and facilitated the first-ever Travel and Tourism Collective Impact Summit. His broad professional skill-set ranges from marketing and communications to product development and operations, and he has led various community engagement projects centered on sustainable tourism development and ecotourism. An avid and passionate traveler, Jeremy has lived and worked in more than a dozen countries, including Costa Rica, Brazil, Kenya, and Namibia. He is based in Spokane, Washington, and enjoys hiking, camping , and exploring with his wife and son whenever possible.

  • Q: What inspires you about working at GreenSpot?

    I'm passionate about the potential for travel to have a positive impact on the world’s people and places. At GreenSpot, we focus on a particular kind of experience for our clients, one where they experience the local way of life and get inspired by nature. My family and I always travel this way, and I love that we have the opportunity to create these same memorable and perspective-shifting experiences for other people.

  • Q: Favorite destinations to visit?

    I feel at home and inspired whenever I find myself in Latin America or the Caribbean. I love the pace, the energy, and the passion. And recently I’ve loved exploring closer to home on family adventures in the incredible Pacific Northwest.

  • Q: Most Memorable Travel Experience?

    There are so many. Trekking in Fiji with my wife on our honeymoon. Hiking with elk while carrying my infant son in Yellowstone. Helping my Dad to fulfill his bucket list item of seeing wildlife in Namibia before he passed away. Professionally, I had the opportunity to facilitate a community forum in the Masai Mara, where we discussed a variety of issues and opportunities related to community-based tourism, and afterward I was invited for lunch as an honored guest of the village elders.

  • Q: Insider Travel Tip

    Ask a local where they eat when they’re with their own families. Go to as many farmers’ markets as possible. Allow yourself some time to wander down an unexpected road, and open yourself up to whatever you find there.

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Einar Óli
GreenSpot Iceland Guide

Einar is a passionate landscape photographer and enthusiastic tour guide. He believes that meeting people from all around the world is the most rewarding aspect of being a guide, and he spends time getting to know his clients’ cultural backgrounds and expectations in order to make their trip more personal.

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Mandy Haakenson

Mandy Haakenson

Trip Designer and Marketing Specialist

A Peruvian-born American with a Chilean mother and British father, Mandy has spent her entire life traveling. She has worked in the travel industry in various roles for over a decade, and after a 7-month around-the-world sabbatical, she earned a Master's Degree in sustainable tourism. Mandy brings an unrelenting passion for people, places, storytelling and photography to her GreenSpot work. She is currently based in London and continues to explore the world with her husband and two young kids.

  • Q: What inspires you about working at GreenSpot?

    It's important to me that travel is not one-dimensional. We all want to disconnect and escape on vacation, but I believe that both the traveler and the local community can benefit from the tourism experience when it's done correctly. I am proud to work for a company that honors this philosophy, and I admire our clients for wanting to go deep, get active, talk to locals and return from their trip having learned something new while broadening their world vision.

  • Q: Favorite Destinations to Visit

    My traveling heart is happy in South America. Everything about the culture, the language, the people, the music, makes me feel at home. And if you enjoy historical ruins as much as I do, nothing beats Machu Picchu, Peru. I also love the Mediterranean and try to vacation there as much as possible.

  • Q: Most Memorable Travel Experience

    Taking our children to the place where we were married in Tuscany. Waking up to coca tea on the Inca Trail. Endless waterfalls on a recent trek in Iceland. Snorkeling among playful sea lions in the Galapagos Islands.

  • Q: Insider Travel Tip

    Keep an open mind and seize the opportunity to try something new. Besides that, I always travel with a beach sarong. It doesn't take up a lot of room and has multiple uses - blanket, towel, scarf, shawl, cover-up, etc.

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Marco Castro
GreenSpot Ecuador Guide

Marco has been guiding trips in Ecuador for 20-plus years and knows how to handle unique situations. When a cattle truck stood between his group and their itinerary, he did something not every guide would do: he stopped to help the farmers milk the cows.

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Richard Edwards

Richard Edwards

Founder and Advisor

Richard Edwards is a travel industry expert, who has spent more than 25 years selling, thinking about, and enjoying ecotourism experiences. He lived and traveled in Costa Rica for nearly a decade, and maintains an active presence on the GreenSpot team as an Advisor. Richard is a long-time advocate for sustainable tourism represented by triple bottom line practices, which equates to travel experiences that benefit people, planet, and profit. Most importantly, he loves nothing more than an afternoon in a hammock with the sounds of nature humming in the background.