Staff Spotlight: Marco Ramos Naranjo

Central and South America Program Manager


Marco Ramos Naranjo, from Costa Rica, is our Central & South America Program Manager. He has spent 9 years leading groups and teaching teenagers about the “Pura Vida” lifestyle in his home country. Besides travel, Marco enjoys surfing and being outdoors. He oversees all of our programs in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Ecuador. This will be Marco’s seventh summer working with TFT.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory was being in Machu Picchu for Pachamama Day. There was a local shaman doing a tribute to Pachamama and he let me be a part of the ceremony. It all took place right in front of Huayna Picchu mountain that overlooks Machu Picchu. It was an incredible moment of connection. A reminder that there are so many beautiful places to visit but also so much responsibility to take care of the Earth.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Working for Travel for Teens, I have been fortunate enough to interact with so many different people. I’ve worked in many different service trips where we were able to directly help the communities of these people. Not everything works out how we plan all the time, but I’ve learned to adjust and have fun in the process.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Having students reach out to me when they’re older and tell me they’re returning to country or area where I led their TFT trip is priceless. It's exciting to spark a passion for travel and introduce students to a completely different culture from their own and watch as their mindset changes. I constantly try to remind them how lucky they are to be able to explore the world at such a young age.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I’d say the newly added service trip to Ecuador and The Galapagos. We’ve carefully developed this trip to make it as equally exciting and impactful on the communities we serve. Having run all the programs in Costa Rica and Peru for years, I feel as though this trip challenges me in new ways and leaves me with many new cultural experiences. It's also awesome to serve a community like San Cristobal in the Galapagos, which is not in such an easily accessible place like other service trips we offer.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Our staff stands out because we all undeniably share a passion for travel. We also all carry a wide range of experiences and backgrounds that contribute to the diverse makeup of our team. Each staff member has cultural expertise in their area where they lead trips so that the students get the most out of it. We’ve watched so many campers come back year after year because of the effort we put into each trip. I’m proud of how we have expanded over the years to include even more trips across the globe.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Bringing everyone’s unique qualities together to work towards the same goal will definitely make your company successful. Realizing not everyone will have the same strengths and weaknesses and using those differences to your advantage helps a team accomplish their goal. We are always supporting each other all the time.