Meet the Team

Tyler Parrott

Video Producer

Impression: Sierpe is special because of the tight knit community and the connection that everyone there has with nature. This connection allows them to focus on what is important and not fall victim to the consumerism seen spreading throughout much of the world.   

Reflection: This experience of working in Sierpe has been powerful for me because it allowed me to use skills I enjoy using to do something positive for someone else, all without really feeling like work.

Most Memorable Experience: The most memorable experience for me was spending time with Benedetto’s son, Lorenzo, and letting him use my videocamera. It was moving how excited he was just from seeing the camera. Despite the language barrier I could see him being inspired which was something I never expected to experience at my age.

Take-aways: This experience has definitely helped me recenter myself and focus on what is important again. Oftentimes in our overly accelerated daily lives we lose sight of how fortunate we are and how amazing the world can be.

Advice for Tourists: Be prepared to say “yes” to adventures and experiences that come your way. If you do, you won’t regret it, and if you don’t, you certainly will.

Michelle Murphy

Web Developer

Impression: I was blown away by how beautiful Sierpe is. It is a hidden gem in the Osa Peninsula and is not diluted with resorts and tourists. Vistors are accepted as family and receive a REAL Costa Rican experience.

Reflection: Life in Sierpe is so tranquil. During the week that we were there, I was able to step back and appreciate my life and the fact that I was blessed with the opportunity to see such beauty in the world.

Most Memorable Experience: We took several amazing boat trips from Sierpe to visit its surrounding attractions. The hikes were incredible. With a guide, we were able to take a safe path through the rain forest where monkeys were swinging through the trees above our heads!

Take-aways: As a souvenir, I took some of the tranquility home with me. I will continue to appreciate my life and the beauty around me.

Advice for Tourists:

  • Stay for at least 3 days so you can get to know the people.
  • Take a tour with Oskar.
  • Go snorkeling at Isla Del Caño.
  • Bring sunscreen, bug spray, and a fan.

Parker Brown

Project Manager

Impression: Sierpe is incredibly scenic and sort of off the beaten path. It’s not a place where one would find a Marriott or Pizza Hut. Like many towns, I think the people really make it special.

Reflection: I think any time you can step out of your comfort zone and experience another culture is extremely valuable. It is certainly an experience I will not forget.

Most Memorable Experience: The natural beauty of the area is quite memorable. I like to say it is like the Discovery Channel in real life with the amount of biodiversity that surrounds you pretty much everywhere you go on the Osa Peninsula, in particular.

Take-aways: I will certainly retain a great fondness for Sierpe and the people we met.

Advice for Tourists: Just take it all in. Whether you want to relax and really get away, or enjoy one, or several, of the tours that are offered, it will be an unforgettable experience.

Nicole McEwan


Impression: Sierpe is a very vibrant place, it is full of color and wildlife and it is overall visually pleasing. I loved that everything we ate was fresh, especially the fruits. I also loved how friendly the people of Sierpe were, they welcomed us and made sure we felt at home.

Reflection: Sierpe is a truly a hidden gem. It is one of the few places that you can find in the area that isn’t infested with too many tourists or the “tourist culture.” While there, you really feel like you are a part of the community and you truly feel like you are getting the full picture of what Costa Rican life is really like.

Advice for Tourists: If you want the authentic Costa Rican experience, Sierpe is the place for you. The food is awesome, the people are friendly, and you get an up-close experience with nature and wildlife. You won’t find the five-star experience here, but what you will find is what Costa Rica is all about.

Jacob Grady

Information Architect

Impression: Sierpe is beautiful, and hot. You are constantly surrounded by nature and the river offers a gorgeous view. People need to know that when you go to Sierpe you become part of Sierpe and it will impact the way you live.

Reflection: I am much more environmentally aware than I was before I visited.

Most Memorable Experience: Snorkeling.  It was amazing to see coral that old and natural.  It really put into perspective how important protecting the eco system is.

Take-aways: I am already trying to live a more environmentally friendly life.  I keep the thermostat lower, try to walk more, and generally try to have a friendlier attitude like the people we met.

Advice for Tourists: This is not a typical tourist destination.  You are there to get an authentic piece of Costa Rica.  There aren’t 5 star hotels, wifi across the city and air conditioning in every building.  Sierpe is for people who want to be part of a culture and want to see an untouched side of Costa Rica.

Olivia Gray


Impression: Sierpe is a very rural, simple, and quiet town. It is special because it’s a tranquil place where you can slow down, take a breath, and really enjoy life.

Reflection: What amazed me the most while being in Sierpe was the pace of life. Everyone takes the time to relish every moment. So coming back to the U.S. I want to implement the laid back lifestyle into my own.

Most Memorable Experience: The most memorable moment  that I will never forget is floating on my back in is in the chilly pools before the waterfall and looking up at the rainforest canopy above and basking in the natural beauty.

Take-aways: The experience has changed the way I view and function in society. I’ve grown a deeper appreciation for the world I live in since going to Sierpe. I think the most important thing I learned from my experience is to go with the flow of life and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Advice for Tourists: Be ready for friendly people, awesome sights, and lots of physical activity. Sierpe isn’t for the pampered; it’s a place for the adventurous person who is looking to get a raw, life-changing, authentic experience.

Artaeza Poole-Gwynn

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Impression: The natural beauty of Sierpe initially stunned me. There weren’t many buildings or many people around, so I just was taken aback by the scenic views of the riverside. After a few days I began to recognize the locals and they would always wave or flash a friendly smile.

Reflection: I am so grateful for this experience! Acting as the writer/interviewer has helped me to improve my writing and communications skills. Also having the opportunity to talk to the people was awesome. I wish that I knew a little more Spanish so that I could’ve talked to more of the locals.

Most Memorable Experience: The most memorable experience was probably seeing the love that the locals had for the town. They cared about the animals and the environment and I really respect that. Almost everywhere we went there were multiple recycling bins.

Take-aways: I will definitely be purchasing some pineapple. I know that it won’t be the same, but eating pineapple every morning was a real treat.

Advice for Tourists:

  • Bring sunblock and bug spray!
  • If you don’t know what to say, say pura vida!
  • Also, learn some basic Spanish if you have time.

David Copeland

Director of M.A. in Interactive Media

Impression: Sierpe is a perfect place to use as your base of operations to see all that this region has to offer, and it does so with hotels and restaurants that are more than reasonable in their pricing.
Reflection: It’s made me see that pride in belonging makes a person wealthy in many, many ways.
Most Memorable Experience: I loved snorkeling and visiting Isla del Caño, but I think that the warmth of the people and their love for their hometown will be what I most remember. There was a pride in everyone–from Johnny B Goode who sold coconuts on the street, to Jorge, who ran the town’s largest restaurant, hotel and tour company. For them, Sierpe was more than a place to life; it was a way of life.
Take-aways: I’m going to do my best to approach life as those in Sierpe do. Love what you do and try not to sweat the little stumbling blocks that show up every day. Those things, generally, have little effect in the long run.
Advice for Tourists: If you’re going to visit Sierpe–and you should–plan on staying more than one day there. Spend time in the town center watching people and take multiple tours. Eat at a variety of places. Even though Sierpe is a small town, it has a pharmacy, doctor, dentist and police department, so if something does happen that requires assistance, there is help and, in many cases, there for you 24 hours a day.

Kristen Aquilino

International Career Fellow of the Student Professional Development Center

Impression: Immediately upon arriving to Sierpe, I felt the kindness of the people, the closeness between the people and the natural environment, and the beauty of a simpler lifestyle. I would not describe the town of Sierpe as obviously picturesque, however, its charm becomes apparent in the breathtaking views and rich culture that you discover with just a little bit of exploration.
Reflection: This experience has reignited my love of learning the Spanish language, my appreciation for being an active tourist – really getting to know the people and discovering the place, and my interest in working with students on adventures like these!
Most Memorable Experience: A very memorable experience, among many, was partaking in the process of making clam ceviche from start to finish – literally! We woke up at 5am in order to catch the tide at the right time to find “pianguas” (clams) in the mangroves with two local experts. Later in the day we cleaned upwards of 60 clams, went to the local market for ingredients to complete the recipe, shelled the clams, and, in the kitchen of our hotel, worked with the hotel manager to make delicious ceviche.
Advice for Tourists: Sierpe is a place for those who are seeking an authentic experience with the people of the community, other tourists, and nature. While small, Sierpe is a wonderful place to take a breath and re-energize. While it would not meet the needs of someone looking for a destination with an active night scene, shopping, etc., it’s location allows for access by boat to beautiful beaches and hikes, snorkeling excursions, and other outdoor activities. Bring bug spray, sunscreen, and an open mind!