If you look at Zoilhy Soto rushing from place to place you’d think her life was a whirlwind. Actually, she’s very organized. She’d have to be to raise her 16-year-old champion Standup Paddle surfer daughter, Valeria, and two businesses—she’s general manager of Latitude Blue restaurant and runs her own travel and marketing business called Costa Rica Exclusive Travel.
It’s also of utmost importance to take care of herself and she feels blessed.
THE Tamarindo News talked with Zoilhy to find out just what is her secret.
THE TAMARINDO NEWS: Were you born in San Jose? What school did you attend and how did you learn to be a tour guide?
ZOILHY SOTO: I was born in San José. I went to Humboldt Schule, which is a German school. I was able to get a scholarship when I was in the second grade. It was a very expensive school, so a scholarship was the only way I could study there. I went to school to be a tour guide, took lots of different courses in University and INA, and of course, lots of reading and field practice.
TNN: Why did you go into the tourism business which you’ve now been in for 25 years?
ZS: I started because of my languages. I had the opportunity to work in a travel company. One day they needed a German-speaking guide and they asked me to be a translator. Since that day, I fell in love with it, so I continued my studies to be able to become a tour guide.
TNN: How many languages do you speak?
ZS: German, English, Spanish, Italian and a little bit of others, but I don’t use them for work.
TNN: Do you have a favorite place to take people that you think represents Costa Rica perfectly?
ZS: Every place has its own magic, but one of my favorite places is Corcovado National Park.
TNN: Why there?
ZS: It has a lot to offer with pure nature, its beauty in the flora and fauna.
TNN: Why did you transition into the restaurant business?
ZS: To tell you the truth, it was a coincidence. I wasn’t planning on it. I used to bring groups to Latitude Blue, and I started working halftime helping them with social media. For me, it’s not the restaurant business, it’s only specifically Latitude Blue. I was moving away from being a tour guide but still working in a travel company. I am not an indoor person, I love the outdoors.
So being in an office all day wasn’t doing it for me. I had the offer of a full-time job in a beachfront restaurant and it was perfect. I planned on leaving the guiding because of my time. My daughter is a teenage athlete and needed me full time so it was right to look for a job with a better schedule. TNN: You are a super mom. Can you give me an average day for you?
ZS: It’s funny because when someone asks me about this, and I tell them, it sounds impossible. I wake up at 5 a.m. to take Valeria paddling in Tamarindo or Flamingo and at the same time I take the dogs along for a walk. After that, I run home to prepare her lunch because she has a special diet, and then take her to school. After that, I run errands, check emails.
I normally go training at 9, but if there is too much to do at the office, I go at noon. I work all day, then around 4 p.m., take care of my travel company and work on social media for several companies, while Valeria goes training again for three more hours. I love my life even if it is so busy and crazy. I’m super blessed.
TNN: Why do you do all this?
ZS: Because I strive for excellence and if God gives you the opportunity of being a mother, having a job and do all this, I do it right. I think for a child, her mother’s support is super important. And if we are talking about work, I like to feel proud of what I do so I always do my best.
TNN: What are your goals for the future?
ZS: My goals are to work hard, make my own company grow so I can help my daughter with college and to travel. I have some personal projects that I am working on and I have faith they will come through right. I plan to continue with tourism and social media with my company, Costa Rica Exclusive Travel, but I’m not planning on leaving Latitude Blue any time soon.
As a human, I just think life is not easy and sometimes we believe things are not possible. But if we believe in ourselves, and ask God for guidance there is nothing we can’t do.
As a mom, I say to others, encourage your children, make them do sports, communicate, be a friend, but don’t forget to parent because they need discipline. Remember they are a gift from God, and they reflect on you. As a businesswoman, I say go for it, believe in yourself, and prove to the world that you can.
Do not depend on anyone, be the best version of you, create a world—either alone or with a company—that you will enjoy yourself and be happy. We are the architects of our own happiness.