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About ALE

Activated Life Experiences was founded in Costa Rica where the incredible eco-diversity and variety of climates make it a great setting for any nature adventure imaginable. Whether you want the backdrop of your adventure to be a beach, the mountains, rain forest, or all these and more, our expert staff will make it happen.


Since 2005, ALE has orchestrated more than a hundred eco-adventures including surf camps, Spanish immersion family camps, parent-child rainforest explorations, executive forum retreats, and wellness retreats. We manage every aspect of these trips to ensure that it is smooth, safe, and unbelievably fun.

We also built our boutique hotel property, Tierra Magnifica, to give our travelers an ideal destination to rest and relax with luxurious accommodations and breathtaking oceanfront views. 

Tierra Magnifica has been Costa Rica's highest rated vacation property for the past five years in a row.


Let our team apply all their passion and creativity to designing an unforgettable travel experience for you, your family, company or executive group.

Meet the Team

Steve Jacobus

Steve Jacobus | Owner

I love to travel and meet the local folks in the places I'm visiting. I want to feel what it's like to live there. These experiences broadens my perspective of my own life and fills me with gratitude. I love sharing this experience with others who appreciate this feeling. That's why I started ALE; if I'm not on an adventure I'm planning one, for my family or a friend. 

Erika Brandt

Erika Brandt | Owner

Behind every great adventure is a great team, and a great team leader— Erika is just that. To the ALE team she's known as the backbone that keeps the team inspired and the engine fine tuned and rolling. With over 30 years of experience in tourism, Erika takes great pride in providing clients with unforgettable experiences, and believes there is nothing more rewarding than to make a difference in someones life by creating moments they will treasure forever! 

Lizi Alvarez

Lizi Alvarez

Administrative  Manager

Lizi was born in San Jose, Costa Rica. And since a little girl, her favorite part of the year was when her family went on a beach vacation around Costa Rica’s coast. But… she never had too much salty breezes. So, she decided to go for it and obtained a degree on Sustainable Tourism Management and Touristic Business Administration. Lizi has more than 10 years of experience in Costa Rica’s Tourism Industry. And if you don’t find her in the office, she is probably doing some yoga, taking some sun or looking some adventure around Nosara.

Becky Jackson

Becky Jackson

Travel Designer

Born and raised in the Midwest, Becky has always had the itch to travel and would find any excuse she could find to explore a place she's never been. It wasn't until her adult year, when her and her best friend decided to take an excursion down the Pacific coast of Central America, that she developed a deep love for Costa Rica. Becky hopes to inspire others to live out their wildest adventures through her words and images from her own personal experiences. No matter where her curiosity takes her, she's sure to have her camera with her at all times to document the journey. 

An interview with Owner Steve Jacobus

What initially brought you to Costa Rica?


I had an opportunity to sell my company in the states so I decided I wanted to take a break from my professional life and spend a couple years with my kids running around in rain forests, learning to surf and totally immersing ourselves in a Latin American culture. We had recently started spending vacation time doing adventurous stuff and had been to Costa Rica before. We absolutely fell in love with this country and the opportunity to learn endlessly about nature. Costa Rica was the perfect destination for us to learn Spanish, play outside and truly immerse ourselves in the local culture. 




There are 196 countries on the planet, so why Costa Rica?


Well the criteria I had for living in a foreign country was
1. Learn to speak Spanish

2. Live in a beach community, (what mid-westerner wouldn't?)

3. Be surrounded by nature

4. Be in a safe place

5. Live in a country where I could invest in land and start a business


Costa Rica nails these objectives perfectly, and no other Latin American country does. 

Steve Jacobus
Steve Jacobus
Steve Jacobus bungee jump

What's so special about Nosara and why did you choose this town over anywhere else in Costa Rica?


That's an interesting point. When we decided to move to Costa Rica I then began traveling down by myself looking for the perfect community to move my family. A place that would be authentically Costa Rican....... with a local feel and slightly wild.  I had envisioned a place where I could say to my kids those cliché words our generation laments about, "go out side and play with your friends, be home before it gets dark".  I knew I didn't want a popular tourist destination or an endless summer bohemian beach enclave. 


I went to all of the beach destinations you read about in travel magazines or books and none of them felt right. Flying home I was feeling disappointed and coming to terms with a dream that was not going to happen. I was sharing my story with the person sitting next to me on the plane and she told me that I needed to go see this town called Nosara. She said it is exactly what I was looking for and even better. A beach town focused on nature preservation, low key, no resorts, very Tico. It had an airstrip, grocery and hardware stores, churches, schools, a library, and an expat community that collaborated harmoniously with the Tico community. I booked my return trip for spring break with the kids. 


Nosara was indeed everything I had envisioned and as promised, much more. 

Tell us about your most memorable adventure?


Well I would say the trip that I wrote about to Ometepe in Nicaragua was my most memorable experience. It was that magical experience that happens when you totally release yourself to the environment and forces present.

Read more about it here.


But then again there was a trip to the Osa Peninsula that might equal Ometepe's experience. We took a boat down the river and out into the ocean into drake day. That was the only way to reach our eco-lodge. Then we spent several days hiking around the Corcovado national Park. I'll share more about that experience in a blog post.

And there was also the six weeks that we spent living at Tirimbina in the Sarapique region. We were filming a Super Natural Adventures series and the kids spend every day and night with research students and scientists tracking animals and insects. There were some pretty awesome experiences over those weeks.

Read my blog post about this experience here.


Wait, I forgot about the month we spent on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica with the Bri Bri and Kekoldi indigenous people. That was amazing!!! 


Heck, I could go on and on I guess. You know just living here in Costa Rica in itself is a pretty epic experience.

If you had one piece of advice for a novice traveler, what would it be?


Contact activated life experience for help in planning your first trip to Costa Rica. Will make sure you get to the destinations you're dreaming of safely and smoothly. You'll have exactly the experience you want.

What are the top 3 must do's in Costa Rica?


Holy Guacamole, it's really tough to narrow it down to 3. OK, off the top of my head,


Rafting the Pacuare River (read more here)

Exploring a virgin rain forest

Walking a pristine white sand beach 

Steve Jacobus Erika Brandt

Any tips for ensuring a safe, exciting trip to Costa Rica?


Well, again, let our ALE travel designers plan your next trip to Costa Rica or Nicaragua. We've been doing this for over a decade and really know how to navigate the twists and turns in these Latin American roads. We have found all the unique places and the best adventures. We know the truly authentic guides and the properties with the best hospitality. Our drivers take excellent care of each of our travel clients and offer a personal touch to your travel experience. There really is no better way to visit this part of the world.

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