Ana María Rodríguez: The First Woman Who Became Tourism Guide in Costa Rica

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    Convincing her parents that their daughter was going to enter an environment that at that time was exclusively for men and driving a bus of those times, were some of the most difficult things for Ana María Rodríguez, a woman who broke stereotypes and who also became a reference for many other colleagues who followed her later, she had to do.

    A biologist by profession, but with a vocation for ecotourism or naturalist tourism, Rodríguez became the first tourist guide in Costa Rica and today, after 40 years of dedicating herself to what she is most passionate about, she combined studies and language to become an example for the women of the country.

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    The first woman tourist guide in Costa Rica told us how she decided to dedicate herself to being the image of the country for many foreigners who want to know the natural wonders throughout the national territory.

    Why did you decide to enter this profession, which at that time was exclusively for men?

    WhenI was a student, I heard 2 male teachers talking about the work they did guiding, who were not certified. At that time they contacted someone who spoke English and who knew about specific topics; one was from reptiles and the other from mangroves. I listened to them and asked one of them. So he told me and said, “I think you would like it, because you speak English and you love nature”. For me, being in the forest and making money, making a living out of it, was just wonderful. That is how I started doing it since I was in college.

    What was the hardest thing you had to do at the beginning?

    The most difficult thing was that they gave me a large minibus and I had to drive, do the tour and, at that time, there were not many women driving that type of transport. That was quite a challenge. In addition, you had to be aware of the vehicle and that everything worked well for it.

    I also had to convince my parents that it was a good job for me, because my dad told me that a decent woman did not sleep outside the house and, since you had to go out and stay in hotels, it did not sound good to them at all.

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