Gerardo Picado: My School Was The Forest

There are few people in the world who know the forests near Pacuare Lodge better than Gerardo Picado. And we’ve been lucky to have him on our team for the last 25 years. “I’ve done a little bit of everything,” the fit, bright-eyed sextagenarian says.

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“I’ve worked in the mountain, watched over the property, helped in the front office, helped with construction. I love it.”

Gerardo also built our canopy tour. If you don’t know, a canopy tour is a series of ziplines that traves in the treetops from platform to platform. Not only does whizzing through the rainforest canopy offer a jolt of adrenaline, it also brings you closer to nature: the vast majority of life in the rainforest resides up in the canopy.

Gerardo Built Our Canopy Tour in the Rainforest

Our thirteen platforms certainly offer both adventure and nature. How they were built is even more impressive. “I never studied at all,” says Gerardo, “but when I see something done, for some reason it sticks with me. So I watched another gentleman build a canopy tour, and I gave it a go at Pacuare Lodge. Some people use GPS to position everything, but I did it by sight. It’s worked out really well.”

When Gerardo says he never studied, he really means it. “Not a lot of people know this, but I’m illiterate,” he says. “I never learned to read or write, never went to school. My family was incredibly poor when I was a child; it was a huge struggle for my parents just to buy rice and beans. So I had to help out by picking coffee with my family when I was a small child. That’s how we ate.

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“Then, when I was older, there wasn’t a school here in the mountains, so I just worked in the forest and nearby farms. I guess you could say that the forest was my university,” says Gerardo with a laugh.

The informal education certainly took. “I love being with guests and sharing with them, making sure they feel good,” he says. Gerardo is the head canopy guide, and he also takes tourists on hikes. “The other day we went looking for a hidden waterfall. I’m used to hiking, so it’s no big deal for me, but we were out for over eight hours. In the end, we found the waterfall.”

A Force of Transformation


Over his tenure at Pacuare Lodge, Gerardo has watched our property go from pasture to a thriving private nature reserve. He’s helping with the construction of two more bungalows – the last ones we’ll build. “We don’t want to add any more impact to the environment after that,” he says.

When he’s not in the treetops of rainforest floor, Gerardo is the head of maintenance. Outside of work he enjoys spending time with his wife (“I like to help her with the chickens,” he says), children, and six grandchildren.

A Luxury Ecolodge in Costa Rica

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Pacuare Lodge is a luxury ecolodge situated on the banks of the Pacuare River in Costa Rica. We carefully combine high-end accommodations and cuisine with unmatched service. At the same time, we strive daily to remain in harmony with nature and the surrounding communities. Learn more about our social and environmental programs here.

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