Our team is comprised of both local and foreign national staff dedicated to creating the highest quality program for our students.


As all fundaciones in Costa Rica, we are led by a five-person governing board. These persons are supported by a larger Advisory Board. Together, they help effectively recruit qualified staff, expand program impact, assist with outreach to Costa Rican youth, and ensure a robust safety and risk management program. These board members generously contribute their time and talent to ensure the ongoing success of Outward Bound Costa Rica and guide us in furthering our mission.


2.1.1 JimJim Rowe, PhD: Executive Director & Founder
First Year at OBCR: 1991
Hometown: Sun Valley, Idaho, USA

Education: B.A. in International Business Management, Brigham Young University Hawaii; Masters & PhD in Cultural Anthropology, Greenwich University

In 1991, after having traveled to over 25 countries searching for the ideal place to establish a nature-centered adventure program, Jim Rowe settled in Costa Rica. With one monolithic raft and some scuba diving equipment, Jim began what would become an international adventure school employing over 30 staffers who are equally passionate about using adventure to help develop life skills.

A leader in experiential cross-cultural learning, Jim has facilitated seminars and lectures in areas of sustainable development, ecotourism and adventure programming worldwide. He serves as our lead Scuba instructor in addition to his many other duties and loves the opportunity to introduce students to one of his favorite pastimes.

Danny Jimenez: Director of Programs & Operations
First Year at OBCR: 1999
Hometown: San José, Costa Rica

Danny began his long tenure at Outward Bound Costa Rica as a chauffeur before becoming an instructor and now Director of Programs & Operations. He is passionate about all things outdoors including whitewater rafting, kayaking, scuba diving and ropes. He enjoys working at Outward Bound most because of the contact with students and chances to get to meet new people from other cultures. Danny has a four year old daughter named Allison who is a favorite among the rest of OBCR’s staff members.

Debra Woolley: Director of Communications & Marketing
First Year at OBCR: 2015
Hometown: Long Branch, New Jersey, USA

Education: University of Colorado and Roosevelt University

As the Director of Marketing & Communications, Deb brings 20 years of experience to OBCR.  Her passion for intercultural education coupled with her love of sports drove her interest in working for OBCR.  Deb fell in love with Costa Rica when she participated in a 10 day bike ride from San Jose to Arenal to Samara. She is happy to be back in country and part of a dynamic team that brings the OBCR experience to life for more than 600 students each year.

2.1.4 EstherEsther Garcia: Accountant & Human Resources
First Year at OBCR: 2008
Hometown: Tres Ríos, Costa Rica

Education: Accounting & Business Administration, Universidad San Marcos

Esther, our fashionable accountant, loves nature and animals. When not working, she is volunteering with different social groups. She has traveled throughout Europe and speaks Portuguese thanks to a long stint working in Brazil with a rural community. Esther has a big job taking care of all the finances of the organization and is always there to lend a hand to both instructors and office staff. She is a wonderful caretaker of our base pups Bandido and King, as well as any and all other pets we have here on base!


2.1.5 PhilPhil Perez: Lead Instructor & Safety Chair
First Year at OBCR: 1997
Hometown: Sacramento, California, USA

Phil’s extensive training as both a river guide and emergency care professional began in the 1970s when he worked for the rafting company American River Recreation and Life Assist in the Sierra Mountain Range. Phil came to Costa Rica in 1995. With his company Aventura Seguridad y Rescate, he serves as Rescue 3 International’s authorized agent for whitewater safety training and education for Central America. Currently, Phil instructs many of the outdoor certification phases for our Outdoor Leader Semester. He also trains our instructors in these same technical skills as well as leads our Instructor Judgment Training. In addition to being a member of Outward Bound Costa Rica’s governing board, Phil is the head of Outward Bound Costa Rica’s Safety Board and is in charge of our routine, organization-wide safety reviews.

2.1.7 OrlandoOrlando Zamora
First Year at OBCR: 2002
Hometown: Piedras Blancas, Costa Rica

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Whitewater Rescue Technician, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, International Rafting Federation Guide Class I-IV, Instructor Judgment Training, Land Instructor Training

This grandpapi of Outward Bound Costa Rica has been challenging students through the rugged outback of Costa Rica for over a decade. Orlando’s ability to stop every five feet in the rainforest and point out different medicinal plants used by Costa Rica’s indigenous groups is only outdone by the remarkable fact that he can do it without boring our students. He finds every course to be a cultural exchange – For Orlando, the learning never stops.

2.1.8 DiegoDiego Chinchilla
First Year at OBCR: 2009
Hometown: Santa Maria de Dota, Costa Rica

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, Instructor Judgment Training, Land Instructor Training, Emergency Responder

Diego was born and raised in Copey de Dota, Costa Rica. He studied Natural Resource Management at the Universidad Estatal. Before joining Outward Bound Costa Rica, Diego volunteered at the Pacuare Biological Reserve working to conserve and protect sea turtles. He enjoys spending time in nature, hiking, dancing and reading. When he’s not working with us, Diego works as a guide for local tourist companies and spends time on his small blackberry farm.

2.1.10 DonnaDonna White
First Year at OBCR: 2007
Hometown: New Bern, North Carolina, USA

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Whitewater Rescue Technician, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, International Rafting Federation Guide Class I-IV, Instructor Judgment Training, Land Instructor Training, Sea Kayak Training, Whitewater Kayak Training, NAUI Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver

Donna joined Outward Bound Costa Rica as a full-time instructor after training through our Outdoor Leader Semester. Also known as Mama Donna, she has a comforting way about her with her southern drawl and delicious home cooking. Before working with Outward Bound, Donna worked as a kayaking guide with Pirate Queen Paddling in Morehead City, North Carolina and also has years of catering experience. Donna is known to camp, hike, sail, kayak, and make beautiful jewelry in her free time. She is also renowned for her ability to connect with students of all levels, as she shares with them the activities she loves most and brings out the best in each of them.

2.1.11 ZachZach Mumford
First Year at OBCR: 2012
Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Whitewater Rescue Technician, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, International Rafting Federation Guide Class I-IV, International Rafting Federation – Instructor, Instructor Judgment Training, Land Instructor Training, Waterfront Lifeguard, Sea Kayak Training, Whitewater Kayak Training, NAUI Scuba Diver

Raised across the street from a state park containing a lake and thousands of acres of wooded game land, Zach grew up hiking, hunting and fishing in the backcountry of North Carolina. When he was 16, Zach’s family moved to Granada, Nicaragua for a summer, where he learned Spanish and fell in love with Latin American culture. After graduating high school, he alternated between working a job to save money and taking extended backpacking trips to Nicaragua and Peru, where he realized his childhood dream of seeing Machu Picchu and the Amazon Jungle. His travels only served to cement his addiction to exploring the outdoors; a passion he now gets to share with students on a daily basis. Zach is a lead instructor for Outdoor Leader Semester, which he completed back in 2012!

Nico Vallejo
First Year at OBCR: 2014
Hometown: Cartago, Costa Rica

Certifications: First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer

Nico’s biggest passion in life is rafting the great rivers of Costa Rica. He finds rivers to be a blessing and says exercise is very important for him. He also enjoys running, hiking and sea kayaking. What he likes most about being an instructor is the opportunity to share his culture with young people in an honest and positive manner. He feels that outdoor activities are a big help in growing physically and mentally, and he enjoys being able to help students learn more about themselves.


Jorge Vélez Soto
First Year at OBCR: 2013
Hometown: San José, Costa Rica

When Jorge isn’t with students on course he lives on a farm in San Jerónimo de Esparza with his children. What he loves most in life is his parents, his children, surfing and exploring the mountains. Jorge says he has found a new passion in Outward Bound, and that is to work with a new family and to be a leader for youth who will impact the future of our world.


2.1.19 CarlosDiablosCarlos Castro Montero
First Year at OBCR: 2005
Hometown: San Jose, Costa Rica

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, Instructor Judgment Training, NAUI Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver, Waterfront Lifeguard

Above all else, Carlos loves learning about his students – They make everyday of every course different. To Carlos, the diversity of his students’ backgrounds, interests and goals represent a metaphor for learning about life. Carlos is a well-known for his surfing ability and leads many of our surf programs here at Outward Bound Costa Rica.


Bailey Palmer 
First Year at OBCR: 2015
Hometown: Ventura, California

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, NAUI Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver, Waterfront Lifeguard

Bailey loves Costa Rica and Outward Bound. Since joining us on a Girl Scout Destination program in High School, Bailey has completed four courses with Outward Bound Costa Rica including Outdoor Leader Semester. Bailey is excited to share her love of all things pura vida with more students.

Rachel Albright 
First Year at OBCR: 2015
Hometown: Louisville, Colorado

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, NAUI Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver, Waterfront Lifeguard

A Colorado native, Rachel loves spending time in the outdoors and discovering all nature has to offer. Rachel studied International Relations at Eckerd College before joining us on an Outdoor Leader Semester course. An avid traveler, some of her favorite destinations include Spain, Nicaragua, and of course Costa Rica, where she enjoys exploring the natural landscapes and learning about Tico culture.


Ilia Corella 
First Year at OBCR: 2015
Hometown: Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, NAUI Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver, Waterfront Lifeguard

Ilia is another instructor who transititoned from student to intern to instructor through the Outdoor Leader Semester course. A native of Saipan, an island in the South Pacific, the outdoors played a prominent role in her childhood, and she enjoys sharing similar experiences with students on course. A talented photographer, Ilia can often be found exploring Costa Rica and sharing her experiences with friends and family through her GoPro pictures and videos.


Catalina Gonzalez 
First Year at OBCR: 2015
Hometown: Esparza, Costa Rica


Catalina loves adventure, traveling and living life! Her favorite landscapes are the ocean and forest. She is very creative, and in her free time she paints and makes art. Her father, Jorge is also an instructor with OBCR and she enjoys spending time with her family. Her favorite part about working here is helping others learn.



2.1.12 Irene

Irene Corrales
First Year at OBCR: 2012
Hometown: Heredia, Costa Rica

Education: Bachelors of Science in Forest Engineering & Tourism

Certifications: First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Instructor Judgment Training, Land Instructor Training

Irene is a lead instructor for our Girl Scout destinations program, with a passion for sharing and teaching about Costa Rica and its culture and the environment. After completing her degree in Forest Engineering, Irene decided to pursue a career in sustainable tourism. After completing exams, Irene came to Outward Bound as an energetic and incredibly knowledgeable instructor. Irene enjoys surfing, backpacking and creating art. She often teaches students on course how to create intricate jewelry and is famous for her hair wraps.

Valerie McKeon: Group Programs & Partnerships Manager

First Year at OBCR: 2014

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Education: B.A. Environmental Studies & Anthropology, Tulane University

Valerie grew up biking, skating, running, and scrambling around the Southeast of the United States. She participated in an experiential education program as a teenager, which launched her passion for the environment and everything outdoors. A stint working on a dude ranch in Wyoming solidified her love of mountains and wildlife, and a semester abroad in Buenos Aires fueled her enthusiasm for all things related to the Spanish-speaking world. Valerie has traveled to many places in Latin America and counts ceviche, samba, and salsa music among some of her favorite things in life.



Lauren Salisbury: Marketing Manager
Hometown: San Jose, California, USA
Education: B.A. Broadcast Journalism, University of Maryland

At 39 countries and counting, Lauren is a world traveler with a passion for learning about new cultures,writing and the San Francisco Giants. While earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, she wrote for NBC News and spent six months living in Melbourne, Australia. After graduating, she moved to Florida to work in Public Affairs at Walt Disney World Resort. In 2013 she took a leap of faith and left her settled existence in the United States behind to teach English in Madrid. During this year she fulfilled her goal of visiting 25 countries in her 25th year of life. She documents all her travel adventures on her blog, Something In Her Ramblings.

Carolyn Crist: Group Programs & Partnerships Manager
Hometown: Coventry, Rhode Island, USA
Education: M.A. International Education, SIT Graduate Institute; B.A. Communication Studies and Spanish, Clemson University

Carolyn is a firm believer in home is where the heart is. Having traveled to Texas from Rhode Island to visit family throughout her childhood, being on the move was a thrill. Her decision to attend Clemson University in South Carolina allowed her study abroad in Cordoba, Argentina, opening her up to the exciting world of international travel! She’s backpacked across Southeast Asia, participated in a field course in the Caribbean, and earned her Master’s degree in International Education to allow her to share her love of travel for a living! Carolyn is excited to work with groups to embark on their own life-altering journeys in beautiful Costa Rica!

Gabriella Subia Smith: Enrollment Manager & Girl Scout Coordinator
Hometown: Sacramento, California, USA
Education: B.A. Development Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Gabriella grew up between two rivers in Sacramento, California. As a child she competed nationally as a synchronized swimmer and attended weekly Girl Scout meetings year-round while waiting for cookie season. During the summer her favorite pastimes included exploring the wilderness around her grandparents’ cabin in the Sierras and swimming at her local pool where she later became a lifeguard. At UC Berkeley, Gabriella studied International Development and lived at the International House where she made many friends from around the world. After graduating, Gabriella moved to Colombia where she taught English as a Foreign Language at SENA, a free public vocational school for Colombian youth. Now in Costa Rica, Gabriella hopes to improve her Spanish, get involved in community development projects, learn about Costa Rican culture, and find lots of cool places to go swimming.


Carla Mebreño: Cook
First Year at OBCR: 2015
Hometown: Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Carla is a favorite among our students because of her delicious recipes and warm spirit. She says her favorite part about working for Outward Bound is cooking for students and bringing them happiness. Her favorite food is fish. A native of Nicaragua, Carla has four children, two boys and two girls.  When she isn’t cooking, Carla enjoys spending time with her children and family, and taking walks in the outdoors.

Ramón “Cuba” Cáceres Garcia: Maintenance Staff
First Year at OBCR: 2015
Hometown: Havana, Cuba

Ramón, known to us as “Cuba,” oversees the maintenance of our base and keeps our bodega in order. A native of Havana, Cuba, Ramon has four children and has lived in Costa Rica for the last 20 years. He played baseball for Cuba’s national team as well as water polo. Ramón loves the beach and enjoys all kinds of movies. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to work at OBCR for the interaction with a diverse staff and really thrives on the camaraderie of the team.


Sinai “China” Vargas: Maintenance Staff
First Year at OBCR: 2013
Hometown: Tres Ríos, Costa Rica

China loves working at OBCR because of the beautiful location, the good energy among staff, and the pets. A lover of all animals, she has three dogs of her own at home. China likes to go on walks and hikes, and to go out with her friends. She loves social networks, listening to all kinds of music, and going to the movies. Her favorite place in Costa Rica is the beach, especially Manuel Antonio.



Jorge “Bolas” Calvo: Maintenance Staff
First Year at OBCR: 2014
Hometown: Tres Ríos, Costa Rica

Our fun-loving “Bolas” is the father of three beautiful children. He loves to drive and enjoys driving students to new places in Costa Rica for their course experiences. In his spare time Bolas sells shaved ice in the local town of Tres Ríos. He also enjoys making new friends and spending time in the outdoors. Bolas is constantly bringing cheer to our staff and students with his jokes and positive attitude.


Andres Chavarria: Maintenance Staff
First Year at OBCR: 2015
Hometown: Villa Hermosa, Costa Rica

Andres is a talented musician who sings and plays the guitar. He writes some of his own songs, and would like to learn to play the piano in the near future. What he likes most about working at OBCR is interacting with his coworkers and practicing his English. Andres loves to explore new places in Costa Rica and visit his favorite beaches in Guanacaste.