Johnny Villalobos is one of those “legends” among tour guides of Costa Rica. Last year he got the award Runner Up Tour Leader Awards 2015 from Exodus.
He is cherished by passengers and colleagues equally.
He is quite a quiet person, however his impressive knowledge of Costa Rican history and culture, as much as in tropical nature makes him one of everyone’s favorite.
When did you start guiding?
What would you do if you were not a tour guide?
I would either be an agronomist or an international relations specialist.
What’s your favorite region of Costa Rica and why?
The Caribbean Coast… all of it! Its biological diversity and its ecotouristic richness make it a true treasure for our country.
What’s your favorite guiding story?
This happened quite a few years ago, a couple started the trip a bit annoyed. They had been in Costa Rica before and didn’t have a good experience. I asked them (As I usually aske everyone) what were their expectations. The man, in particular told me that a lot of the animals promised in Costa Rica were mythological, and didn’t actually exist, like the Resplendent Quetzal.
As the tour went on, the situation softened, they began to see those “mythological animals” alive and flying.
In the middle of the vacation the man came to me and apologized for his initial attitude, he said (In the middle of the itinerary!) that if he was to leave Costa Rica that day, he would already have a good memory of it.
Later on, in life, I found out, that this man was very sick and that one of his dreams was to come back to Costa Rica and leave it with a good memory.
I still hear about them and he is in good condition.
This will always be a good memory because of the transformational content of it.
It is great when you feel that people change because of a tour or an experience we share with them.
Do you have a favorite animal or bird? Something that has a special meaning for you?
The Resplendent Quetzal because of its mystical value, it is a bird filled with spiritual traditions.
Another one and for the same fundamental reasons, is the jaguar of course.
Among the trees, and in the same line, the kapok tree, as gigantic as it was, it was considered to be a sacred tree.
Are you married?
I live with someone.
Do you have children? Girls? Boys? Ages?
I have two children: María 17 and Jose 9
I have three pets. One dog named Yoshi and two cats: Salem and Terri.