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COSTA RICA

Digital Photography in Nature: Capturing the Best of Costa Rica

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Road Scholar
Program #15114RJ
9 Days | 8 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
While all of our learning adventures offer extraordinary value, our "Best Value" programs were rated by our participants themselves who thought their dollar went particularly far.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
Elevations of up to 11,000 feet (at Cerro de la Muerte).

Equipment Requirements
Our workshops are designed for photographers with a digital SLR camera with interchangeable lenses (e.g., the Canon Digital Rebel, 10D, 20D, 30D, 5D, 1Ds, etc.; Nikon D70, D100, D200, D2x, etc.; Pentax *stD series). Nonetheless, if you have a non-SLR digital camera, there are also a number of concepts and techniques both in camera and on the computer that will help you to improve your photos by leaps and bounds. Suggested lenses or adapters; a wide-angle or wide-angle zoom lens, a macro or mid-range zoom or fixed lens with closeup filters, and a telephoto or telephoto zoom. An external flash is also very helpful. A circular polarizing filter will help you to deepen blue skies and saturate green rainforest foliage. A tripod will help you to obtain sharper pictures and to improve your composition. And be sure to bring the instruction manual for your camera so that we can help you to get the most out of your equipment! Laptop suggested for media storage.

Itinerary for Jan 23 — Jan 31, 2015

Expand all
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: The Radisson Hotel San José is conveniently situated in the commercial district near San José's historic center.

Contact info:
Calle Central y Tercera Av. 15
Calle Blancos
San José, Costa Rica
phone: +506-20106000
web: www.radisson.com

Room amenities: Private bathroom, hair dryer, air conditioning, alarm clock radio, Sleep Number® beds, Wi-Fi, in-room safe, iPod dock, coffee maker, mini bar/refrigerator, flat screen TV and cable channels, and two telephone lines.

Facility amenities: Business center, Wi-Fi, fitness center, whirlpool and pool, executive lounge, on-site casino, spacious meeting rooms, laundry services, 24-hr room service, and two on-site restaurants. The hotel is able to offer airport shuttle services for an additional charge. This service must be booked in advance, directly through the hotel. Email requests can be sent to jriba@radisson.co.cr.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Subject to availability.
Please contact your program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for questions about room availability and prices. Room types and rates are subject to availability.


Day One: Friday, January 23 - Arrive to San José.
Arrive To: Arrive in San José's Juan Santamaria International Airport.

Proceed through Immigrations, Baggage Claim and Customs before exiting the secured area of the airport. Please use the exit door on the right. The Road Scholar representative will be waiting outside the exit door with a Road Scholar sign (only applies to Road Scholar group flights). Transfer to the hotel and check-in, followed by time at leisure.

Please note that this is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day. Hotel check-in usually begins at 3PM.

Lodging: Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica

Type: Lodge

Description: Nature Lodge built along the banks of the Sarapiqui River. Room modules are built on elevated platforms, surrounded by tropical vegetation. A large tract of private primary and secondary rainforest is accessible via a hanging bridge.

Contact info:
Chilamate
Sarapiqui, 00000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-2-27611800
web: www.selvaverde.com

Room amenities: Safety boxes, ceiling fans, phones, screened windows, and hair dryers.

Facility amenities: Meeting rooms, restaurant, bar, and private rainforest reserve with trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Two: Saturday, January 24 - Sarapiqui - Rainforest Wildlife Photography...
Note: The drive from San José to Sarapiqui, in the Caribbean lowlands, takes approximately 2 hours.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Orientation meeting with Coordinator and guide.

Get to know your group leader and fellow Road Scholar participants during a welcome and introduction session at the hotel. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Interactive learning session - "Getting to know your camera and capabilities."
- The three main variables: controlling light, setting your digital ISO, aperture and shutter speed.
- Using light and color to create pleasing images.
- Composition.

Checkout & departure for Varablanca area.

Lunch: Lunch at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.


Afternoon: Afternoon time for photography at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens is an ecological park located near the Poás Volcano, in a verdant, misty area where cloud and rain forests meet. The park has five beautiful waterfalls that can be admired from various view points through a network of stairways and viewing platforms. Other attractions include a serpentarium, hummingbird garden, frog exhibit, walking trails, and one of the largest butterfly observatories in the world. A walk inside the over sized butterfly observatory reveals a large flowering garden with thousands of fluttering butterflies belonging to more than 25 different species. Some resident favorites include the Blue Morpho, Monarch, Blue-banded Purplewing, Salome Yellow, and Banded Orange. The hummingbird garden attracts as many as 26 different hummingbird species from around Costa Rica; visitors can view these colorful birds just inches away while they buzz among the tropical plants and feeders.

Depart for Sarapiqui.

Arrive to lodge and check-in.

Dinner: Dinner at the lodge.

Evening: Photo review and feedback with group leader.

Lodging: Selva Verde Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Nature Lodge built along the banks of the Sarapiqui River. Room modules are built on elevated platforms, surrounded by tropical vegetation. A large tract of private primary and secondary rainforest is accessible via a hanging bridge.

Contact info:
Chilamate
Sarapiqui, 00000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-2-27611800
web: www.selvaverde.com

Room amenities: Safety boxes, ceiling fans, phones, screened windows, and hair dryers.

Facility amenities: Meeting rooms, restaurant, bar, and private rainforest reserve with trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Three: Sunday, January 25 - Sarapiqui - Sarapiqui River Boat Ride/Noctur...
Breakfast: Optional early morning walk for photographic opportunities around the lodge.

Breakfast at the lodge.

Morning: Interactive learning session - "Macro photography & Nature." - Composition in macro. - Color elements, how to use them. - Distracting elements, how to avoid them. - Macro flash use.

This interactive learning session will take place in and around the Selva Verde Rainforest Reserve.


Lunch: Lunch at a the lodge.

Afternoon: Boating field trip on the Sarapiqui River.

Float down the Saripiqui River through past forested and agricultural lands full of wildlife. As we depart from the lively Puerto Viejo dock you will you have the chance to experience some of the hustle and bustle of rural life in Costa Rica. Our local guides are among the best at spotting wildlife along the river, so be ready to capture some unique shots.

Lecture: Tropical Rainforest Ecology.

Dinner: Dinner at the lodge.

Evening: Interactive learning session – Night walk using flash techniques for nocturnal photography.

Lodging: Selva Verde Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Nature Lodge built along the banks of the Sarapiqui River. Room modules are built on elevated platforms, surrounded by tropical vegetation. A large tract of private primary and secondary rainforest is accessible via a hanging bridge.

Contact info:
Chilamate
Sarapiqui, 00000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-2-27611800
web: www.selvaverde.com

Room amenities: Safety boxes, ceiling fans, phones, screened windows, and hair dryers.

Facility amenities: Meeting rooms, restaurant, bar, and private rainforest reserve with trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Four: Monday, January 26 - Sarapiqui - Rainforest Wildlife Photography...
Breakfast: Early morning photo opportunities around lodge.

Breakfast at the lodge.

Morning: Morning visit to Macaw Farm for photo session.



Lunch: Lunch at the lodge.

Afternoon: Guided walk in Selva Verde for photography.

Interactive learning session - "Photographing Birds and Wildlife."
- Use of tripod and telephoto lenses.
- Use of fill-flash to add life to your bird photos.
- Controlling background to emphasize your subject.
- Getting close to wildlife.
This interactive learning session will take place in and around the Selva Verde Rainforest Reserve.


Dinner: Dinner at the lodge.

Evening: Photo review and feedback with group leader.

Lodging: Selva Verde Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: The Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve and Spa is located in the Talamanca Mountains of Costa Rica. The hotel is at an elevation of approximately 7,220 ft and is situated in a private cloud forest reserve that borders the Los Quetzales National Park. Its private reserve has earned a reputation for being one of the best places to spot the elusive Resplendent Quetzal--one of the country's most colorful birds. To reach this attractive highland property it is necessary to travel on switchbacks and narrow mountain roads reaching elevations of up to 11,000 ft at Cerro de la Muerte.

Contact info:
San Gerardo de Dota.
San Gerardo de Dota, 00000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-27401028
web: www.savegre.com

Room amenities: Rooms have private baths and heating system or fireplace. No air conditioning is necessary since the hotel is located in a mountainous region (approximately 7,220 ft above sea level) known for its clean and crisp air.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, meeting rooms, spa services, gardens, nature reserve, trails, and laundry service.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Five: Tuesday, January 27 - San Gerardo de Dota Bird Photography/Lanke...
San Gerardo de Dota
Bird Photography/Lankester Gardens/Introduction to the Savegre Valley.


Note: Bus drive from Sarapiqui to San Gerardo de Dota takes approximately 5 hours.

Breakfast: Optional early morning walk for photographic opportunities around lodge.

Breakfast at the lodge.

Morning: Depart for San Gerardo de Dota.

En route visit to Lankester Botanical Gardens for photography of exotic flowers.

The Lankester Botanical Gardens were originally created as a private garden by British orchid enthusiast Charles H. Lankester in the 1940s. After his death, the American Orchid Society and the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust worked to have the gardens preserved, and in 1973, the garden was donated to the University of Costa Rica. The garden sits on 27.2 acres and is home to over 3000 species of plants, principally epiphytes, including orchids and bromeliads.

Lunch: Lunch en route.

Afternoon: Arrive to lodge and settle in.

Lecture: History of the Savegre Valley & Chacon Family.

The few families that inhabit the valley are mostly dedicated to the production of trout, apples and peaches, which grow well in the cool, moist elevations of the Talamanca Range. Pioneers in many aspects, the Chacon family was the first to settle in this area. They built the first hotel (Cabinas Chacon, now named Savegre Mountain Hotel) and the first to set out to conserve the magnificent high elevation and oak forests that covered the entire valley. The patriarch of the family, don Efrain Chacon, has transmitted his love for this land to his children and grandchildren. They now share his passion and devotion for the preservation of the pristine forests.

Dinner: Dinner at hotel.

Evening: Photo review and feedback with group leader.

Lodging: Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve & Spa (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: The Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve and Spa is located in the Talamanca Mountains of Costa Rica. The hotel is at an elevation of approximately 7,220 ft and is situated in a private cloud forest reserve that borders the Los Quetzales National Park. Its private reserve has earned a reputation for being one of the best places to spot the elusive Resplendent Quetzal--one of the country's most colorful birds. To reach this attractive highland property it is necessary to travel on switchbacks and narrow mountain roads reaching elevations of up to 11,000 ft at Cerro de la Muerte.

Contact info:
San Gerardo de Dota.
San Gerardo de Dota, 00000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-27401028
web: www.savegre.com

Room amenities: Rooms have private baths and heating system or fireplace. No air conditioning is necessary since the hotel is located in a mountainous region (approximately 7,220 ft above sea level) known for its clean and crisp air.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, meeting rooms, spa services, gardens, nature reserve, trails, and laundry service.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Six: Wednesday, January 28 - San Gerardo de Dota – Searching for the Res...
San Gerardo de Dota –
Searching for the Resplendent Quetzal/Hummingbird Photography.


Breakfast: Optional early morning walk for photographic opportunities around lodge.

Breakfast at the lodge.

Morning: Walking on lodge trails in search of the Resplendent Quetzal.

Lunch: Lunch at the lodge.

Afternoon: Arrive to the hotel and check-in.

Time at leisure to explore the hotel grounds or to rest before your next program activity.

Interactive session: Hummingbird Photography.

Dinner: Dinner at the lodge.

Evening: Photo review and feedback with group leader.

Lodging: Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve & Spa (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: The Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve and Spa is located in the Talamanca Mountains of Costa Rica. The hotel is at an elevation of approximately 7,220 ft and is situated in a private cloud forest reserve that borders the Los Quetzales National Park. Its private reserve has earned a reputation for being one of the best places to spot the elusive Resplendent Quetzal--one of the country's most colorful birds. To reach this attractive highland property it is necessary to travel on switchbacks and narrow mountain roads reaching elevations of up to 11,000 ft at Cerro de la Muerte.

Contact info:
San Gerardo de Dota.
San Gerardo de Dota, 00000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-27401028
web: www.savegre.com

Room amenities: Rooms have private baths and heating system or fireplace. No air conditioning is necessary since the hotel is located in a mountainous region (approximately 7,220 ft above sea level) known for its clean and crisp air.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, meeting rooms, spa services, gardens, nature reserve, trails, and laundry service.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Seven: Thursday, January 29 - San Gerardo de Dota - Photographing Landscap...
Breakfast: Optional early morning walk around the lodge grounds.

Breakfast at lodge.

Morning: Depart for Cerro de la Muerte in Los Quetzales Nat. Park.

Photographic session around the Cerro de la Muerte area, including sub-alpine paramo habitat, highland peaks, macro plants and flowers.

Interactive learning session: "Landscapes" - Depth of Field - Shutter speeds - Use of polarizing filters - Composition: foreground, middle ground and background - Moving objects and water

Cerro de la Muerte is the highest point in the Costa Rican section of the Inter-American Highway. Its name means "Mountain of Death," since in the past crossing the mountains from the Valle Central meant a three or four day journey, on foot or on horseback and many ill-prepared travelers succumbed to the cold and rain. However, the peak is now easily accessible since the highway runs close by.

Lunch: Lunch at the lodge.

Afternoon: Interactive Session: Moving water photography.

Clouds and sunset photo opportunities (weather permitting).

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Evening: Photo review and feedback with group leader.

Lodging: Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve & Spa (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel and Convention Center has 229 spacious rooms with modern conveniences and a long list of amenities that are meant to accommodate business travelers as well as vacationing families. It is conveniently located a short distance from San José's Juan Santamaria International Airport. The hotel has earned a Level 3 Certification for Sustainable Tourism by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute.

Contact info:
Across from General Cañas Highway, 5km south of the Juan Santamaria International Airport.
San José, Costa Rica
phone: +506-22099800
web: www.wyndham.com/hotels/costa-rica/san-jose/wyndham-san-jose-herradura-hotel-convention-center/hotel-overview

Room amenities: The spacious, air conditioned rooms have private baths, hair dryers, satellite TVs, direct-dial phones, mini refrigerators, coffee makers, safety deposit boxes, and internet access.

Facility amenities: Hotel amenities include: complimentary Wi-Fi, three restaurants, three swimming pools, a wet bar, Jacuzzis, casino, fitness center, spa services, laundry service, souvenir shop, beauty salon, business center, conference center, money exchange, Internet access, travel agency, and a souvenir shop. Wheelchair acessible elevators and public areas. Free airport shuttle service from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Free hotel shuttle service to San José attractions.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights after: Subject to availability.
Rates and room types are subject to availability. Please contact your program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you need assistance with booking additional hotel nights.


Day Eight: Friday, January 30 - Transfer to San José - Cultural Interactio...
Transfer to San José -
Cultural Interaction Photography, Street Scenes and Landscapes.


Note: Bus drive from San Gerardo de Dota to San José takes approximately 3 hours.

Breakfast: Morning bird walk.

Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Depart for Central Valley.

En route photo opportunities--cultural interaction, street scenes, and landscapes.

Lunch: Lunch en route.

Afternoon: Arrive at the hotel and check-in.

Free time. Spend your last evening in Costa Rica with your new Road Scholar friends, finish your packing, or get a good night's sleep in preparation for international departures tomorrow before rejoining the group for dinner.

Meeting with coordinator and final briefing.

Dinner: Farewell dinner and photographic presentation at the hotel.

Evening: Photo review and feedback with group leader.

Lodging: Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center (formerly a Ramada property)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Nine: Saturday, January 31 - Depart from San José. - Arrive to USA.
Depart From: Transfer to the Juan Santamaria International Airport for flight to U.S.

This concludes the program. We hope you enjoyed your Road Scholar adventure! When you get home, remember to stay in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network; share memories, pictures, and comments about your recent travels.

Note: Participants with independent travel arrangements and/or scheduled on later flights can keep their hotel rooms until check-out time on this day. Except for breakfast, all other meals are on your own on this day.

Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel (depending on flight time).

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
8 nights of accommodations
22 meals: 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
8 Expert-led lectures
8 Field trips
2 Hands-on experiences

Ratings

4.9
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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