THE ORIGEN TEAM
We are a passionate team of travel experts, yes, but before that, we are a group of friends who know first hand how new experiences can slow down time. That removing oneself from the every day and placing oneself in the line of beauty, touching nature, witnessing wildlife, getting lost in adventure, and connecting with people, can literally transform lives. We know because we all have our own unique stories of our own very rooted experiences through travel and this wild life adventure ride.
We all have a shared vision and desire to bring to others what experience, adventure, travel and finally this beautiful country Costa Rica, has brought to each of us. The essence of Pura Vida.
It is the people that you come across, not by chance, that bring joy to your journey. Charm, empathy and knowledge are the qualities of the people on the Origen team who will help you discover the magic of Costa Rica.
VP Business Development & Co-founder
(Nickname: El Oso (the bear))
As a certified dive master, submersible pilot and professional globetrotter, Ofer has experienced the world from every angle while visiting over 40 countries and all seven continents. His adventures include documentary filmmaking, circumnavigating the globe aboard a super-yacht, and working as a private travel designer. Another highlight: visiting Vostok Station, the Russian scientific research center in Antarctica. One of Ofer’s wildest exploits involves solo-piloting a submersible into a flooded volcanic crater in the Galapagos Islands. After serving as a First Lieutenant in the Israeli Defense Forces, Ofer dedicated his entire career to organizing exotic expeditions to some of the earth’s most uncharted reaches. Still on his to do list: learn how to fly a helicopter. While exploring is in his DNA, Ofer finds happiness on Sunday mornings spent at the beach with his family. He’d loved to be remembered as the guy who did everything he was told could not be done and fulfilling his dreams without breaking his principals.
VP Operations & Co-founder
(Nickname: Felo, Filo, Kinder)
On land or at sea, Felipe is at home in some of the world’s most extreme environments: whether he’s rock climbing cliffs in South America or holding his breath for four minutes while exploring the ocean floor. As a “water-man,” Felipe is a dive & surf instructor, spear fisherman and free diver. He also spent several years commuting to work on the rough seas via canoe. The wildest thing he’s ever done: jumping in the ocean to watch killer whales hunting a school of devil rays. On land, Felipe has found his stride as a explorer, covering nearly every corner of Costa Rica, including a memorable stint as the house guest of an indigenous shaman. Felipe dreams of living sustainably off-the-grid with his wife and daughter and loves to spend time alone in nature just to listen and learn. Achieving inner peace is Felipe’s idea of success and he’s always seeking to bring a dash of wellness into the wilderness.
VP Sales & Co-founder
(Nickname: He’s still waiting for somebody to give him one)
Having grown up watching Jack Cousteau underwater documentaries, it was no surprise to Miguel that some of his favorite memories would take place under the sea. Born in Barcelona, Miguel spent the majority of his life traveling throughout Israel, England, Egypt, Italy, and Costa Rica while working as a scuba diver, videographer and dive instructor. Today he manages a private fleet of three custom-built boats designed to enhance underwater encounters with marine life. Miguel is a believer that adventure requires courage, which must be true coming from a man who free dives with humpback whales and once caught a silky shark by the caudal fin with his bare hands while scuba diving. Winston Churchill is Miguel’s hero, but given the chance, he’d pass up Churchill to spend an afternoon watching Leonardo Da Vinci at work. Miguel believes that life’s about enjoying the ride and tries to keep his compass pointed at destinations where nature and food are at their finest.
VP Administration & Co-founder
(Nickname: Wife and daughter call him Chilito)
Costa Rica native, Sisinio Alvarado, is an underwater pioneer, having spent four years discovering, naming, and promoting some of the country’s most remote diving destinations. As one of 10 brothers and sisters, Sisinio knows what it takes to manage a large crew, which made the transition to life aboard ship an easy one. He spent the better half of a decade working on dive boats and leading elite expeditions. While he relishes time in the ocean, Sisinio admits he most identifies with the land-bound puma – versatile, smart and quick on his feet. And over the years those feet have covered much territory. His travel log is filled with adventures including swimming with spinner dolphins in the Pacific and skiing down the Sierra Nevada in Spain. But he can also be found snorkeling off the coast with his two children or watching a game of futbol with his family. Sisinio believes all travelers should pack a sense of adventure and never forget: it’s all about the journey.
(Nickname: Gingi – Redhead!)
Gingi is a man on a mission. After 8 years as Captain of an Israeli Defence Force special artillery unit, he circumnavigated the globe hitchhiking on land and at sea. Seeing the magnificent power of nature, exploring new cultures and meeting amazing people around the world made him decide to turn his hobby into a profession.
Gingi transformed into an Executive Producer working on top reality TV shows and series, documentary films and commercials. To name a few of the special ones – Amazonas by Keshet International (5 months in the Amazon Jungles of Ecuador…), Couch Diaries by HOT TV, Beauty and the Geek! by Channel 10, Trinny and Susanna and much more…
Gingi broke the sky as the limit when he joined Live Nation and Madonna for 4 world tours with the Queen of Pop! Gingi was involved in every detail from the personal security of the artist and her family to tour production.
Penny Light, a native of Canada where she thrived for 19 years in various different roles for some Fortune 500 companies on major brands such as Coke, Danone, Kellogg and Pepsi/Frito Lay. Other than an appreciation for the things she learnt along the way she really doesn’t care much about any of that corporate stuff. She traded her suit, heels and condo in the concrete jungle for bare feet in the sand and falling asleep under a blanket of stars and the orchestra of the Costa Rican jungle. She hasn’t looked back.
Her mixed education in Business, Travel & Tourism, and Psychology has led her to wear many hats along the way from working with a wildlife film crew in the middle of the African bush to Vice President of marketing and sponsorship with the Women of Influence speaker series, to founding her own marketing and workplace well-being consulting company – Light it UP! Marketing and a coaching, yoga, travel adventure company aptly named, Live Life Light. She hosts yoga/personal growth retreats — both private and group — in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Canada and does elite 1 on 1 coaching/mentoring.
Penny, now a self-proclaimed Life Adventure Expert, has traveled most of the world, including living in a dome tent in the middle of the African bush for a year with no electricity, no running water, 5 hours from the closest village, nowhere near the top of the food chain with the only thing between herself and the dangers of the African outback, her own sensory system. Here, she spent the year feeling the heartbeat of the land, witnessing and syncing in with the natural rhythms of the planet and its most primitive occupants and, more specifically, documenting a pride of lions.
From sailing tall-ships up the coast of Brazil during carnival, trekking through the Himalayans to stand above Everest Base Camp at 5, 545 meters and breath in magic, walking the shores of Eleuthera, exploring the raw beauty of Cuba, dancing in the streets of Europe or wondering where the lions are, you can always be sure Penny will have a story or two to share, better yet she loves to hear the stories of others and as such loves to connect with characters, with other purists that have a unique zest for life.
Penny believes that life is one great big adventure, even more so when we say Yes and show up to it honestly and courageously.
Penny’s aspiration is to bring to others what travel has brought to her — a new way of seeing not just the world, but ourselves as we exist on this planet, to learn the always-inevitable lessons, to connect to our routes and all the beautiful connections made in human kindness along the way.
As our chief storyteller, she has touch points throughout all aspects of an Origen Experience and she helps keep the fearless Jedi’s in line.
Pabrö Sanchez was born in San José Costa Rica and though Pura Vida runs through his veins, he finds his deepest connection to El Salvador, where his mother was born and considers himself of central American descent, or rather a citizen of the world.
Pabrö is identified as native indigenous; Pipíl-Náhuatl to be specific. He taps into his aboriginal wisdom and philosophy every day, in all aspects of his life, with passion.
In his continual quest for knowledge and a deeper connection to his own ancestral lineage, Pabrö found himself drawn to all things related to his own history and the roots of a country he loves.
This made it difficult for him to choose one line of work and so, along with his indigenous leadership journey he became an anthropologist, an archaeologist, a naturalist expert guide, nature and fine art photography expert, a cultural and historical specialist, and even a self-taught realistic portrait artist.
Because this just wasn’t enough, Pabrö took his artistic flair and deep connection to this beautiful land to become one of Costa Rica’s top chefs. His creations combine the subtleties of revisited traditional native indigenous cuisine with flavours from the tropical continent and other lands.
Pabrö is the creator of all things that connect the Origen guests to nature, history, passion, purpose and people. His 15 years of experience has made him a natural teacher, ask him anything and he will sit with you sharing stories and culture for as long as you’ll listen.
From cooking privately in luxury mansions and owning his own restaurant to exploring remote beaches along the Pacific coastline fishing and free diving and looking for rare bird species high in the cloud forest his true passion and deepest commitment to life and spirit lies in the eternal moments shared with his beautiful wife Naomy and their new baby girl Citalli.
Just because, he is also currently working on his thesis in the local administration and acknowledgement of the massive archaeological remains of Peninsula Papagayo, in the North Pacific of the Country.
Ersel Aguilar Villalobos
Ersel was born in the city, however, in his influential pre-teen years, he moved with his family to the northern lowland region of Costa Rica, to the little known, culturally and agriculturally rich, rural village of Los Almendros de Cutris. Ersel’s most memorable years played out nestled in the jungle, woven with rivers carved out over 1000’s of years, local agriculture, cattle, playing soccer, cultural rituals, laughter, and a respect for mother earth that runs through his veins… also known as, Pura Vida.
It was that very essence of being that sparked his desire and curiosity to explore more, travel more, connect with people, connect with nature, and what he loved most, connecting people with nature.
He went on to study tourism so that he could dedicate his passion to his work as a nature tour guide, and connect people with Costa Rica and true Pura Vida.
As a complement of his professional growth, he also studied Business Management.
His life adventure has brought him to some pivotal places on his personal roadmap. From working with tour operators and luxury hotels to guiding private tours, bird watching trips, nature hikes, night walks and wildlife talks and conservation talks. He’s also been jumping from waterfalls, discovering secret beaches, and sharing this magical country with hundreds of other explorers!
Because Ersel’s desire to connect people with nature runs deep, he couldn’t stop there. Ersel produces educational wildlife videos for his YouTube channel: Youtube: Ersel Costa Rica. Check it out!
Ersel came in from playing in the jungle to a manage tour department in a 5 stars Hotel in Manual Antonio for 5 years, training new tour guides, designing new experiences for the guests and meeting people from all over the world.
Thanks to this role, he was quickly scooped up to be the general manager of a new tour operator in Guanacaste (North Pacific) doing very unique and high Quality Expeditions with horses, ATVs, Boats, and of course nature hikes, where his skills of “tour designer and teamwork” were put on practice, in 2 years his experiences got recognition by Trip Advisor as #1 choice of best tours of the area as well, he received the Ministry of culture award for combining the experiences with the community and supporting the local economy, making sustainable and rural tourism.
Now, Ersel shares his enthusiasm, good humour, Costa Rica knowledge, and his love for showing and sharing this remarkable country with the world, from the inside out.
For Ersel, it’s no coincidence that the universe has brought him here to work alongside the equally wildly storied Origen team. Here, Ersel gets to spend his days immersed in the jungle, riding rivers, connecting with people, connecting with nature and connecting people with nature. In many ways, he gets to go back to his origins and do it alongside new friends.
Some days you may find him scratching his head and he’ll tell you that he’s not too sure if he’s working or playing…
Ersel lives his passion.
Born in Pamplona, Spain after 23 years Ivan Lasheras left his beloved city to answer the calling of his Navarre ancestors that whispered, “go see the world”. His explorations took him through Nancy (France), Glasgow (Scotland), Stuttgart (Germany), Barcelona and, finally, his new home, Costa Rica.
Though Ivan completed his Bachelor’s degree in Law, in his heart of hearts he always knew he would never be a lawyer, his creative mind was bursting with too many ideas and so he went on to study multimedia and graphic design in Barcelona and has worked passionately in this field for the last 14 years.
Ivan is a doer, a ukulelist, a dreamer, a hustler, lover of cinema, typography aficionado and an international man of mystery saving the world from one bad design at a time and, of course he is a Guru of all things clichè who spends time producing art at the crossroads of simplicity and computer science to express his brilliant ideas through design, both online and in real life. He creates not just a brand, but also a feeling.
Ivan helps Origen craft experiences that go beyond design through a thoughtful and compelling brand narrative.
When he’s not doing any of these things you can almost always find him hiking or sitting on the beach with his three dogs, watching time pass as the sun sets, contemplating life.