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COSTA RICA

Digital Photography in Nature: Capturing the Best of Costa Rica

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Road Scholar
Program #15114RJ
11 Days | 10 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 11 — Jan 21, 2013

Expand all
Type: Four-Star Hotel

Description: This apartment-style Hotel is built around the concept of convenience and comfort. In the heart of San Jose and close to the International Airport, Casa Conde provides visitors with a great location and a special town-like atmosphere.

Contact info:
South of Parque de La Paz
San Jose, 0000 Costa Rica
phone: +(506)2 226-0808
web: www.grupocasaconde.com/indexen.aspx

Room amenities: Two Individual Private Bedrooms: A/C, fully equipped kitchen, W/D, iron, entertainment center with TV, DVD, stereo, Karaoke, internet, closets, hair dryer, shampoo, conditioner and liquid soap dispenser, phone, Internet, and 4-seat table.

Facility amenities: Pool, Jacuzzi, Sauna, Gym, Souvenir Shop, Restaurant, Cosmetology and Massage Services English-Spanish classes, yoga and martial arts.

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

Additional nights before: Starting at $150.
Additional nights are subject to hotel availability

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Friday, January 11 - 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: Casa Conde
Apartotel & Suites


Type: Lodge

Description: Arenal Observatory Lodge was originally built in 1987 as a research station for scientists of the Smithsonian Institute. It is the only lodge within Arenal National Park and is protected from danger by a deep gorge of the Agua Caliente River.

Contact info:
P.O.BOX 13411-1000
San Jose, Costa Rica
La Fortuna, 00000 Costa Rica
phone: +(506)2 692-2070
web: www.arenalobservatorylodge.com/

Room amenities: Garden surroundings, views of the volcano, coffee maker, safety box

Facility amenities: Pool, jacuzzi, gazebo, trails to waterfalls and private rainforest

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


Day Two: Saturday, January 12 - Transfer to Arenal - Program Orientation/In...
Transfer to Arenal -
Program Orientation/Introductory Photo Session.


Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Orientation to the program.

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.

Transfer to Arenal.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant en route to Arenal.

Afternoon: Arrive at the hotel and check-in.

Arenal was once Costa Rica's most active volcano and a main draw to the town of La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano National Park. The volcano lords over the countryside with its perfectly conical shape and occasional smoke and gas emissions. While minor activity excites visitors, they are rarely acknowledged by the locals who have learnt to accept the antics of the volcano as part of their daily lives. The thermal waters emanating from the volcano, the clean air and the energy associated with Arenal, makes this a favorite destination for health spa enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Time at leisure for photo activities.

Lecture: Volcanology and the Arenal Volcano.

Dinner: Dinner at the lodge.

Evening: Photo review and feedback with group leader.

Lodging: Arenal Observatory Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Arenal Observatory Lodge was originally built in 1987 as a research station for scientists of the Smithsonian Institute. It is the only lodge within Arenal National Park and is protected from danger by a deep gorge of the Agua Caliente River.

Contact info:
P.O.BOX 13411-1000
San Jose, Costa Rica
La Fortuna, 00000 Costa Rica
phone: +(506)2 692-2070
web: www.arenalobservatorylodge.com/

Room amenities: Garden surroundings, views of the volcano, coffee maker, safety box

Facility amenities: Pool, jacuzzi, gazebo, trails to waterfalls and private rainforest

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


Day Three: Sunday, January 13 - Arenal - Ecocentro Danaus/Arenal Skytram.
Breakfast: Early morning photo opportunities around the lodge.

Breakfast at the lodge.

Morning: Interactive learning session -
"Putting new skills into practice: Technique review."
This interactive learning session will take place during a field trip to Ecocentro Danaus to photograph butterflies and other wildlife.

Since 1997 the Ecocentro Danaus has protected an area of 7.5 acres and has worked with organizations concerned with the management and protection of natural resources in Costa Rica. This area was formerly used as pasture and agricultural land. Natural regeneration processes have created a secondary tropical rain forest where tropical ecosystems and species are studied and protected while a more responsible use of these precious natural resources is promoted. In conjunction with various other organizations, the center produces species for reforestation projects and works to preserve endangered species.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in the town of La Fortuna.

Afternoon: Excursion to Arenal Sky Tram for spectacular photo opportunities of Arenal Volcano and Lake.

The Arenal Sky Tram offers great views of the Arenal Volcano, Lake and surroundings. The excursion starts with a 30 minute ride on the Sky Tram cableway, where you will have a different perspective of the flora. The Sky Tram stops at a wide observation platform on the highest point of the Arenal National Park, where you can enjoy the view. While on the platform you will have the opportunity to photograph the volcano, the lake, the mountain range and rain forest.

Photographing Arenal Volcano at twilight (weather dependent).

Return to the lodge.

Dinner: Dinner at the lodge.

Evening: Photo review and feedback with group leader.

Lodging: Arenal Observatory 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, Costa Rica
phone: +(506)2 766-6800
web: www.selvaverde.com

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

Facility amenities: Meeting rooms, restaurant, bar, pool, suspended bridge, self-guided nature trails, private rainforest, botanical gardens and fish ponds.

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


Day Four: Monday, January 14 - Sarapiqui - Rainforest Wildlife Photography...
Breakfast: Early morning photo opportunities around lodge.

Breakfast at the lodge.

Morning: Depart for Sarapiqui with an en route stop at Muelle for photo opportunities of Iguanas.

Arrive at the lodge and check-in.

Lunch: Lunch at the lodge.

Afternoon: 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.

Lecture: Tropical Rainforest Ecology.

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, Costa Rica
phone: +(506)2 766-6800
web: www.selvaverde.com

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

Facility amenities: Meeting rooms, restaurant, bar, pool, suspended bridge, self-guided nature trails, private rainforest, botanical gardens and fish ponds.

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


Day Five: Tuesday, January 15 - Sarapiqui - Sarapiqui River Boat Ride/Noctu...
Breakfast: Optional early morning walk for photographic opportunities around 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 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.

Return to the lodge.
Photo review and feedback with group leader.

Before dinner, enjoy some music and local entertainment on the patio.

Dinner: Dinner at 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: The Savegre Mountain Hotel 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.

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, gardens, nature reserve, and laundry service.

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


Day Six: Wednesday, January 16 - San Gerardo de Dota – Lankester Botanical ...
San Gerardo de Dota –
Lankester Botanical Gardens/ Photographing Landscapes


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

Breakfast at the lodge.

Morning: Transfer to San Gerardo de Dota.

Field trip 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 San Gerardo de Dota and check-in at hotel.

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

This interactive learning session will take place in and around the Los Quetzales National Park.

Los Quetzales, is one of Costa Rica's newest national parks created in July, 2005. Spread along both sides of the Rio Savegre, Los Quetzales is rich in bird and animal life. More than 116 species of mammals can be found here of which two dozen live only in this secluded area. Hummingbirds abound in this region. The Resplendent Quetzal, from which the park’s name is derived, is reportedly somewhat less elusive and present in greater numbers than in the cloud forests of Monteverde and Santa Elena to the north. This tropical icon is considered to be the most beautiful bird in the Western Hemisphere and was sacred to ancient Mayas and Aztecs. The terrain ranges from mountains to lakes of glacial origin.

Lecture: The Story of the Chacon Family and the San Gerardo Valley.

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 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: Lodge

Description: The Savegre Mountain Hotel 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.

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, gardens, nature reserve, and laundry service.

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


Day Seven: Thursday, January 17 - 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 the hotel.

Breakfast at lodge.

Morning: Walking excursion to the San Gerardo de Dota forest area in search of the Resplendent Quetzal.

Return to the hotel.

Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.

Afternoon: Practice techniques for photographing hummingbirds, including flash use around hummingbird feeders.

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: Lodge

Description: The property is bordered by a spectacular mountain range and the beautiful Baru river. The pristine beaches of Dominical are only a short distance away.

Contact info:
PO Box 1645-2050
San Jose, Costa Rica
Dominical, 0000 Costa Rica
phone: +(506)2-787-0052
web: www.villasriomar.com/index.php

Room amenities: Each room has it's own hammock, terrace like living space, refrigerator, fans, telephone and hot-water private bath

Facility amenities: Large swimming pool with wet bar and Jacuzzi, a tennis court, an in-house tour agency, and a romantic palenque style restaurant featuring many local and international dishes, green area's, Internet access, International telephone, Conference Center, Spa and Transportation Services.

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


Day Eight: Friday, January 18 - Transfer to Dominical - Photo Opportunities...
Transfer to Dominical -
Photo Opportunities: Highland Peaks to Pacific Sunset.


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

Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Depart for Central Pacific Coast.

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

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 en route.

Afternoon: Arrive to the hotel and check-in.

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

Excursion to the beach for evening Pacific sunset photo opportunities.

Return to the hotel.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Evening: Photo review and feedback with group leader.

Lodging: Villas Rio Mar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: The property is bordered by a spectacular mountain range and the beautiful Baru river. The pristine beaches of Dominical are only a short distance away.

Contact info:
PO Box 1645-2050
San Jose, Costa Rica
Dominical, 0000 Costa Rica
phone: +(506)2-787-0052
web: www.villasriomar.com/index.php

Room amenities: Each room has it's own hammock, terrace like living space, refrigerator, fans, telephone and hot-water private bath

Facility amenities: Large swimming pool with wet bar and Jacuzzi, a tennis court, an in-house tour agency, and a romantic palenque style restaurant featuring many local and international dishes, green area's, Internet access, International telephone, Conference Center, Spa and Transportation Services.

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


Day Nine: Saturday, January 19 - Dominical - Ballena National Park/Dramatic ...
Dominical -
Ballena National Park/Dramatic Land and Seascape Scenes.


Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Morning photographic opportunities around the hotel grounds. Look for Toucans and other local birds.

Depart for Ballena National Park.

Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant.

Afternoon: Interactive learning session: “Sunsets.”
- Controlling exposure
- Colors, painting with light: use of flashlights in low light photography.
- Maximizing sharpness

This interactive learning session will take place in and around Ballena National Park.

Ballena Marine Park was named after the Humpback Whales that migrate here each year. From December to April the whales arrive from the Northern Hemisphere and from July to October they arrive from the Southern Hemisphere to mate off the Costa Rican coast before returning to the frigid waters where they feed. This national park not only protects whales and Central America's largest Pacific reef, but is also an important haven for mangroves, mammals, reptiles and birds.

Field trip with photo opportunities to Ballena National Park for dramatic land and seascape scenes.

Return to the hotel.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Evening: Photo review and feedback with group leader.

Lodging: Villas Rio Mar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

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:
General Cañas Highway
5 km south from 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: 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: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights after: Prices 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.

Check out time: 11:00 AM

Day Ten: Sunday, January 20 - Return to San José - Cultural Interaction ...
Return to San José -
Cultural Interaction Photography, Street Scenes and Landscapes.


Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to San José.

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

Lunch: Lunch en route.

Afternoon: Continue with transfer to San José.

Arrive at the hotel and check-in.
Time at leisure.
Meeting with coordinator and final briefing.

Dinner: Farewell dinner and photographic presentation at the hotel.

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

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Eleven: Monday, January 21 - Depart from San José. Arrive to USA.
Depart From: Transfer to the Juan Santamaria International Airport for flight to U.S.

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 ...
10 nights of accommodations
28 meals: 10 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 9 dinners
6 Expert-led lectures
8 Field trips
5 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances

Ratings

4.9
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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