A Tropical Photographic Expedition to Costa Rica


Highlights

• 6 days in a beautiful lodge in the remote northern Caribbean slope rainforests
• The cloud forests of Los Quetzales National Park
• Small group size of like minded photographers
• Fully escorted by a UK photographic guide
• Optional extension to experience the incredible biodiversity of Corcovado National Park

Departure DatesDates to be confirmed for 2018.

Outline Itinerary

Day
1. Depart UK. Arrive San Jose
2. Transfer to northern Caribbean rainforest
3. Photography from Maquenque Lodge including night walk
4. Photography from the Lodge including macro photography
5. Photography from the Lodge, perhaps for King Vultures
6. Photography from the Lodge
7. Final day of photography
8. Transfer to Savegre Valley
9. Bird photography in the cloudforest
10. More hummingbirds and trogons
11. Return to San Jose to depart to UK or Corcovado
12. Arrive UK or photography in Corcovado National Park
13. A second day of photography around the lodge or nearby
14. Return to Puerto Jimenez and fly to San Jose
15. Depart Costa Rica
16. Arrive UK

Please note: The itinerary is provisional and subject to change depending on local conditions. Not all wildlife mentioned can be seen well at all times of the year & some activities mentioned may not always be available.

Cost

12 Days: £3,800 per person including international flights

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Description

With over one quarter of Costa Rica protected (either as national parks or private reserves) it can be difficult to take in the diversity of potential subjects and decide on which locations you might wish to include in the perfect photographic trip. However, after much consideration we have chosen 2 areas (3 with the extension) that are both off the beaten track, read that as meaning less disturbed wildlife, yet at the same time show-casing some of the best of nature in the neo-tropics in an accessible way for photography. Costa Rica is renowned for the incredible diversity of smaller life with over 4000 known insects and 194 species of amphibian, including the iconic Red Eyed Tree Frog. A real photographic focus of this tour will be macro and both the local and UK guides will work hard to find, and facilitate capturing first class images of these fascinating creatures. Wild Arena has long specialised in close-up photography and we can bring some of our expertise to the dazzling opportunities that Cost Rica offers.

This trip is offered with 2 options. The main, twin location, tour lasts 12 days but can be increased to 16 days with our optional Corcovado extension.

On arrival in San Jose the first night will be spent in the Central Valley to allow you time to rest and recover from the flight. The hotel has a pool but also pleasant gardens with a wide array of tropical flowers to get the camera and our creativity warmed up. The following day we will travel north. Costa Rica is a small country with generally good roads but on this journey you will pass through its volcanic backbone and travel out on quiet farm roads that are well off the main tourist trails. The last part of the journey to Boca Tapada is on a rough road for approximately 25km. However, the rewards are wonderful and upon arrival you cross a river by boat and walk a couple of hundred metres to the lodge (baggage is transported for you). Maquenque is a family run lodge on the edge of its own farmland and extensive tropical lowland Caribbean rainforest and makes a perfect base for the first stage of our photographic expedition. There are lagoons in front of the open dining area and well positioned feeders bring in an immense diversity of bird life including Orange-chinned Parrots, Yellow-throated Toucans, Passerini's Tanagers as well as scavenging Coatis. This very comfortable, remote lodge has some bird specialties such as a Red-capped Manakin lek, Scarlet Macaw and the endangered Great Green Macaws plus there are Tapir in the forest. Howler Monkeys are likely to wake you before breakfast whilst at the other end of the day, night walks will yield a wide variety of insects including fabulous Katydid species, Tarantulas and wandering spiders as well as numerous frog species. Your guide may also find snakes to photograph. One of the days may be spent photographing the extraordinary King Vultures, which are attracted to the farmland by off-cuts from the farm's butchers. As the most colourful vulture species, these are an exceptional sight and the lodge can assist our photography by attracting the birds into the best positions for pictures.

Our local guide who will accompany us on this trip is worthy of a special mention. Young and very enthusiastic, Abelardo is the perfect host, outstanding with guests, extremely knowledgeable about birds and other wildlife he is also able to assist with preparing macro stations for photographing frogs, insects and other wildlife. He understands photographer's needs perfectly and will work in partnership with your UK based, Wild Arena guide to deliver the best photographic opportunities. During the daytime we will work both locally to the lodge with table top 'studio' set-ups and in the field searching for new species. As darkness descends we will go on guided night walks where many frog and invertebrate species can be found in torchlight and photographed with flash or continuous lighting.

Finally after fully exploring the lodge's photographic possibilities, and they almost seem endless, it is time to head to see a little more of Costa Rica and climb into the famous cloud forest. You will pass through the Central Valley and climb to the paramo of Cerro de la Muerte before descending into the quiet Savegre Valley. This is the key place to see and photograph perhaps Costa Rica's most famous bird, the Resplendent Quetzal and indeed the steep sided valley is protected as Los Quetzales National Park. Other trogons also live here in good numbers and hummingbirds are another highlight that will make some wonderful photographic subjects. During the following 2 full days of photographic exploration you are not likely to have to walk too far from the lodge with its own private nature reserve to see any of this magnificent bird life, yet your guide will be keen to show you the diversity of the cloud forest habitat.

On day 11, we will leave the delightful tranquility of Los Quetzales and make the return drive to San Jose and our return flight to the UK. Alternatively there is the option to fly onward to Puerto Jimenez for the beginning of an exciting 4-day extension to this tour in Corcovado…

Highly recommended is the opportunity to visit a very special area of Costa Rica that should be included on all naturalist's itineraries, the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park. Corcovado has been described as one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet. Photographers will relish the opportunity to have access to numerous species not seen elsewhere in Costa Rica. Corcovado of course has jaguar but you are unlikely to see them, more likely you can photograph tapir in daylight, all four species of monkey, Mantled Howler, White-Throated Capuchin, Spider and Squirrel Monkey. Bird life in this region is phenomenal and with many different species to those seen in the other two areas visited previously on this trip. Targets for photography might include Hummingbirds, Toucan, Macaws, Cotingas, Motmots, Cararcaras and Fiery Billed Aracaris.

The lodge chosen, Luna Lodge is owner run and managed and is in an unbelievable position in the heart of the forest yet with views out to the Pacific Ocean. The accessibility of Corcovado National Park, the beach, a lagoon and forest trails make this a good location from which to explore a little of the Osa.

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