I was born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan of Irish parents. Soon after my birth, we moved to Trinidad &Tobago in the West Indies, where I spent the next 14 years of my life – it was there that my father, known throughout the islands as “Snake Man”, bequeathed to me his passion for snakes and crocodiles and, indeed, the natural world.
Mike at an early stage learning about snakes
Mike is still playing with reptiles
I completed my secondary level schooling in Northern Ireland, and for the next five years worked as a research assistant for the Department of Industrial & Forensic Science as a water pollution analyst. However, biology was my passion, and I moved to England to become an undergraduate. In 1979, I graduated with honors in Biology from the University of Portsmouth.
After graduating, I worked for many years in the Ulster Museum, Belfast, as an Entomologist, studying the taxonomy and faunistics of parasitic wasps (the Ichneumonidae!) – I was elected Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society of London for my published contributions to entomological research. Subsequent to this I took another position in the Ulster Museum working on the conservation of bats in Ireland – Indeed, I was one of the founding members of the Northern Ireland Bat Group, and Ireland’s first professional batman!!
Accepting an offer to establish the first Tropical Butterfly and Reptile House in Northern Ireland, I went on to develop and manage this project into one of the province’s leading tourist attractions. I then moved to Scotland and began a project with The Highlands & Islands Development Board to create rainforest exhibit entitled “The Living Rainforest”. This was to be an expansion of the ideas I gained from my experiences in Northern Ireland. However, a 29% fall in tourism in 1994 spelled the end to the project. During this period I wielded a pickaxe and shovel to make ends meet – I was a laborer, and loved it!
However, I yearned to return to the tropics, and to rainforests that I so love. Bewitched by the wild beauty of the Osa Peninsula during a visit in 1995, I returned to there to live and work the following year. In 1998, I established Osa Aventura. Since then, I have been imbuing in others that passion for tropical rainforests that my father imbued in me in my formative years.
The establishment of Osa Aventura was for me an indulgence. I am an adventurer by nature and all of my life I have had an insatiable passion for tropical rainforests. And it is, after all, human nature to want to excite our interests and passions in others. So Osa Aventura has formulated adventure and exploratory tours with this intention.
Osa Aventura is an adventure tour outfitter based in the provincial town of Puerto Jimenez, on the Osa Peninsula. It presents on this site a selection of adventures tours designed to explore the length and breadth of the remote Osa Peninsula (see “Why the Osa?”). Based on many years living and working in the tropics, and on an extensive knowledge of the Osa, I have tailored a selection of multi-activity, adventure itineraries to explore the most spectacular and exciting aspects of this pristine, wild Peninsula.
The foundations of Osa Aventura’s operations are the ethics of professionalism, reliability and integrity. It aims to introduce people to fascinating natural richness and beauty of tropical rainforests, and thus to make a contribution, however small, to the collective awareness of the urgent need to conserve these precious environments (info on “Friends of the Osa”).
Jorge is a “jack-of-all-trades”. Jorge was born and raised in one of the far corners of the jungle in the Osa. His practical yet insightful knowledge of the forest is amazing and immense! After all, he grew up with the sights and sounds of the forest around him.
Jorge helps us with just about everything! From completely overhauling the boat, outfitting our office, to helping us guide (when he has a spare moment!), Jorge is always a great presence to be in the company of.
Rebeca Quirós Herrera
I have a degree in Tropical Biology from the National University in Costa Rica. For several years I have worked in environmental education because I think that it is fundamental for people conserve nature.
My first experience in Corcovado National Park was in 2002 with a group of volunteers that work in various protected areas in all of Costa Rica. Like most of the people that visit Corcovado, I really wanted to see a jaguar, but I didn’t that time! In fact, I am still waiting to see one! The visit was really tiring. We started the hike late from Sirena to La Leona and then we also needed to wait some hours for the low tide. We got lost at night but we finally found La Leona station, where we camped. It rained almost all night!
I came back to the Osa in 2004, when I just finished my Biology degree and also obtained my tourist guide certification. At the beginning, my idea was to work some months and then return to San Josè, where I grew up and where my family lives. But I couldn’t leave what I found here.
I found the most amazing forests full of animals, the biggest trees full of life, the most beautiful landscapes and the cleanest ocean! Even with these words I can’t describe to you this place; which is why I invite you to enjoy this small but great area in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica.