Meet John

What i do

Home / What i do

Get ready to experience the best vacation
of your life

I organize personalized travel packages for families, couples and groups to Costa Rica , including my own “picks” of proven, quality destinations and activities in each region. I get you the same rates as if you went direct to vendors, but with a personal touch and “boots on the ground” knowledge of the logistics. Each travel package includes transport, lodging and tours, and is customized to each group’s travel goals and needs

Book today your with John

John, the family man

Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, John is one of 4 boys and has had a passion for travel since childhood. He attended Brophy College Prep, and graduated from Santa Clara University in 1992. He arrived in Costa Rica in 1993 where he has lived and worked in the fields of tourism and real estate, having owned a beachfront hotel and developed coastal residential properties.
He spent a few years in San Diego, California as a travel agent, and still makes frequent visits to the U.S. He is married to Tica (Costa Rican) with a 9 month-old son, and resides in Escazú – a happening suburb of the capital city of San José.

John with his wife and son

Hobbies include: traveling to the places he offers in his trips, surfing, philanthropy, golf, music, and coffee (he has his own coffee brand). He speaks fluent Spanish and conversational Portuguese.

John’s Hobbies

His ideal free day begins with a surf session, followed by a Gallo Pinto breakfast, then a hike to a local waterfall. He stoked his passion for adventure when he lived abroad in Madrid, Spain his junior year in college. John has also traveled to Europe, Indonesia, Perú, Brazil, the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada and throughout the U.S.

More than 20 years living in Costa Rica

John is a permanent Costa Rican resident, having arrived here in 1993 as an English teacher. He formalized John’s Picks in 2013, with all pertinent government permits and licenses.

John knows the best places to visit: Packages

The most important thing: Give the families an amazing vacation

He continually improves and expands his team of naturalist guides, drivers, and rental properties. He usually meets up with each travel group at some point during their trip.

John’s mission

To provide a safe, fun and authentic travel experience in Costa Rica, maximizing your time here with my in-depth knowledge of the best places to stay and explore.

Book today your trip with John

John’s passion for charity

John is director of The Pura Vida No Pro, a charity surf event that brings orphaned children to the beach for the day each November.


  • Amanda and Chaz Roth warmed up after a cold winter in Northern Arizona, and celebrated their honeymoon with a John’s Picks trip on a budget, staying at reasonably priced hotels and packed with fun tours such as horseback riding on the beach in Manuel Antonio, a visit to a Vanilla farm, a zip line canopy tour, and dinner and entrance into Arenal Volcano’s best hot springs resort.
    The Roth Family
  • The best thing about having you plan our trip John was definitely that you took away all of the little nuances that just stress you out when it comes to planning a vacation and getting to where you need to go. We got to every location seamlessly, at the airport our bags were loaded into the car by the driver, the rental car was dropped off by you, you referred us to hospitals in each region for our child, you gave us a cell phone, it was clutch. Thank you, you made it a true luxury vacation for us.
    Patty Calvano, Phoenix, USA. March 2016.
  • John's Picks made our trip seamless and effortless! It was our first time in Costa Rica, and he helped us with travel arrangements, hotel choices, and excursions to fit our budget. It helped having someone who knows the culture show you around! We could count on him for anything, as he was super responsive and so supportive during our time there. As far as vacations go, I'd highly recommend him!
    Amy Berrafato, USA. February 2016.
All the testimonials

With John you can build your own package!

Contact Us if you want to get a customized package for your Costa Rican vacation.