We, Tony and Celeste Horpel, are the owners and operators of Pickleball Costa Rica Tours, residing in Costa Rica. As an American, Tony has also spoken Spanish for 50 years, making it very helpful to not only get around more easily than tour leaders from other countries, but it also helps us to mix in better with the Costa Rican culture and the wonderful people here.
Because we've traveled extensively and know the areas, we have favorite locations we would love to have you experience. Our courts are located in two areas; Two courts (one covered and one outdoors) at Vientos Bajos, and 3 sheltered courts in Santiago, all located outside of San Ramon, Alajuela, Costa Rica.
Pickleball: We started playing in Spokane, Wa., in 2012, with the suggestion from our daughter that we try it. We took a liking to it immediately. Eventually we found The Hub, in Spokane Valley, where there are 8 courts and many with the same love of pickleball. When we moved down to Costa Rica, the sport had to come too! Pickleball grew slowly at first, because the first court was small and in bad condition. Once the a better, larger court was found and lines for 3 courts were painted, the club gained membership fairly quickly.
As we fell in love with Costa Rica and it's lush beauty, and since we are the only Pickleball group in the country, we decided to start tours so we could share the beauty with others, and still play pickleball. So, Pickleball Costa Rica was born!
Tony became an Ambassador with the USAPA, with the intention of learning how to better spread the sport to the Costa Rica. We and other fellow picklers have given many pickleball demonstrations at various schools, tennis clubs, the Ministry of Physical Education for Costa Rica, presented it during the popular "Family Days" during their summertime, and traveled to multiple public and private tennis courts to display the sport. Now, almost half of our group of players are Costa Rican, and there are players that come occasionally from an hour or more away from the courts.
We met during our work as flight attendants, are parents of three children, and have been married for 35 years. Both of us, have had the experience of living in foreign countries before moving to Costa Rica.
Photography: Tony is passionate about photography. Enjoying competition, he has been an award winning photographer for 44 years, he is well-rounded and excels in nature, portraiture, wildlife, macro, natural (available) lighting, scenics, both color and black & white, and Photoshop. Because of this experience and a love for teaching photography, he was (when we lived in the states), frequently asked to critique at various camera clubs and competitions. While judging, it is his desire to instruct the entrants what was done well, and how they can improve. But most important; how to accomplish it! No photographer can grow unless they are willing to accept constructive critique. Thus said, he is willing to help those on our pickleball tours to improve their photographs technically and artistically if they desire to improve, and hopefully leave Costa Rica a better photographer with some award-winning images. Check out his images on BetterPhoto.com/Tony Horpel
Video: In the 1980's, when video became portable, he rekindled his childhood obcession for film / editing, which then became a passion for video & editing. This medium became his souce of income for years to come. For 32 yrs, he and Celeste, had a large business in So. Calif. with 9 videographers and 7 editors, and then, later, a smaller business in Washington state. During those years they shot just under 800 weddings.
Sports: In his younger days Tony was a wrestler, an avid windsurfer, scuba diver, played tennis and ping pong, softball leagues
Spanish Speaker: Tony started taking Spanish in 1960, in California during 5th grade and continued with it for 12 years, through college. His major was Latin American Studies. He visited Argentina as a foreign exchange student, where his Spanish really took off, leading to work with several airlines, including Pan Am and Western Airlines, where he was the designated Spanish speaker.
Tony has traveled extensively throughout the world, having been a flight attendant for Pan Am in his early years, and then with Western Airlines after Pan Am folded. This is where Tony and Celeste met.
Celeste is Tony's right-hand in the business, but he's the brains! She creates the tours by researching every detail, designs, and secures the services for our tours, making sure all goes well.
Pickleball: Celeste also plays pickleball, but not at the same skill level as Tony. She had 2 yrs. off with a shoulder injury.
Videography: She was Tony's partner in video for 29 years. She helped run the business and videotaping. Video is where her passion and talent was.
In younger years she was an avid skier, x-Country skier, water skier, windsurfer, and bicyclist. She loved hiking and backpacking, and she and Tony scuba dived together as well. Her favorite hobby is reading when she has time, along with sewing/crafts, gardening, and hasbeen blessed with traveling to 37 countries with some help from being a former airline employee.
Spanish came along with living in Costa Rica and enjoying the sweet people here.