Travis Bays & Pilar Salazar
Born and raised in Costa Rica, Pilar has always been very aware of how lucky she is to live in such a beautiful and “rich” country. From an early age, she had an insatiable desire to travel and explore more of the world. Upon graduating from high school, she made this vision a reality: she traveled and lived throughout the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. She holds a university degree in Business & Tourism and a certificate in Sustainable Development working for more than 15 years and the ecotourism industry.
Travis brings a decade of experience developing creative grassroots community development programs in Costa Rica. He holds degrees in economics and cultural anthropology from the University of San Diego and was recognized as a James & Stella Eagen Endowed Scholar. During his time in Costa Rica as a Peace Corps micro-enterprise development volunteer he was trained in micro credit community banking, project design and management and best practices for sustainable tourism. After completing his field service, Travis worked one year in the Peace Corps Costa Rica central offices in San Jose where he gave direct support to 90+ volunteers in administrative, training, and project design and management. In 2008, Travis became regional coordinator of micro credit community banking in Osa, Costa Rica, for the Fundacion Integral Campesina (FINCA) in strategic alliance with the Costa-Rica-USA (CRUSA) Foundation. He currently works as a part-time field consultant for the CRUSA Foundation, is regional coordinator for the Osa-Golfito Initiative in conjunction with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and owns/operates Bodhi Surf School with his wife Pilar and baby girl Maya Paz.
Together they have their own small business called Bodhi Surf School. As Local Hosts, their main goal is to help visitors experience a deep connection with nature and provide a positive intercultural experience.
Noilyn Ramirez Arias
Noilyn Ramírez Arias has been living in Bahía-Uvita for the past three years and admits she fell in love with the region on her first day there!
Noilyn is currently part of the Bahia Ballena Guide Association (ASOGUIBA), where she serves as Treasurer. She also volunteers for the Geospatial Educators Opportunities for Partnership Outreach Research and Training Program (GEOPORTER).
Noilyn owns a small tour operator that offers tourist information and provides the area’s only bicycle rental. Her business objective is to promote responsible marine tourism in the Costa Ballena area, as well as promote rural tourism initiatives focused on safeguarding local culture, values, and crafts, as well as environmental protection.
Noilyn’s interests transcend her business objectives, and she participates in many other activities within the Bahia Ballena context and its community. There, she works with the GEOPORTER project, which maps the garbage in the community.
For Noilyn, Costa Rica’s Southern Zone is a treasure still in the process of being discovered as a tourist destination for nature, culture, and adventure. It’s all part of a process that needs support from different sectors and organizations. Noilyn believes in the importance of the change that is being created in the way we view tourism and all that sustainable development entails.