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Intergenerational Photography: Exploring Costa Rica Through a Digital Lens

Program Number: 17000RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/19/2013 - 6/29/2013;
Duration: 10 nights
Location: Costa Rica
Price starting at: $2,098.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Intergenerational; Photography
Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 28; 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt    

Program intended for grandchildren from 13 - 16 years of age.

What better way to share the tropical gem of Costa Rica with your grandchild than through the lens of a digital camera? From poison dart frogs and crocodiles to the elusive Resplendent Quetzal — together, two generations of photographers will be amazed by Costa Rica’s natural subjects. Journeying by foot, boat and through the jungle canopy on hanging bridges, local experts help photo enthusiasts of all ages capture the best of Costa Rica.


• Share in hands-on learning experiences with your grandchild as you discover ways to utilize your camera to capture this incredible adventure.
• Practice new photography skills on animals, birds and flowers, such as swift hummingbirds, mischievous howler monkeys, lounging crocodiles and vibrant heliconias.
• Discussions and field instruction enhance your knowledge of the subjects in the photographs.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to 2 hours a day over uneven trails in hot and humid conditions. Elevations up to 7,200 feet. Getting in/out of a boat.

Maximum one youth per adult; adult is responsible for supervision of youth at all times. Camera and camera equipment not provided.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival San José (Costa Rica), 1 night; coach to Sarapiquí, 3 nights; coach to San Gerardo de Dota, 2 nights; coach to Carara, 3 nights; coach to San José, 1 night; departure.

Arrival San Jose (Costa Rica)
1 night
Coach to Sarapiqui
3 nights

Expert-led discussions reveal how to photograph the small creatures of the rainforest, as well as the birds, butterflies and beautiful flowers of this tropical paradise. Share photos with the local children of the Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center and enjoy a photo safari boating on the Sarapiqui River.

Coach to San Gerado de Dota
2 nights

Hone your landscape-photography skills on swirling clouds, inspiring mountains and multicolored lichens en route to San Gerado de Dota. During photo safaris into the mystical cloud forest, keep your eyes peeled for the rare Resplendent Quetzal, the sacred bird of the ancient Maya.

Coach to Carara
3 nights
Coach to San Jose for departure
1 night

Continue to the Pacific coast, where you and your grandchild will create memories of pristine beaches, magnificent sunsets and refreshing water activities. Aim to capture wildlife in motion as you focus in on the White-headed Capuchin monkeys in the Manuel Antonio National Park and crocodiles during a boat safari. Venture into the forest canopy on hanging bridges to photograph the forest from above. Enjoy an outrigger canoe ride to a secluded Pacific beach.

Costa Rica

Hugged by two bodies of water and sandwiched between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica’s topography, climate and geographical position are more than mere facts: they define this tiny country. Cloud rainforests, valleys of coffee and volcanic mountain peaks fill the land between Caribbean and Pacific beaches. This ecological Eden protects its natural treasures in acres of preserved land, and is the only country in the world without a standing army.

Comfortable hotels, rainforest lodge.
Meals and Lodgings
   Casa Conde Apartotel & Suites
  San José, Costa Rica 1 night
   Selva Verde Lodge
  Sarapiqui, Costa Rica 3 nights
   Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)
  San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica 2 nights
   Villa Lapas Hotel
  Carara, Costa Rica 3 nights
   Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center (previously a Ramada property)
  San José, Costa Rica 1 night
 Casa Conde Apartotel & Suites
Type: 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,  3344-1000 Costa Rica
phone: +(506) 22260808
  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 allowed: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Prices start at $150 Please call your program provided, Holbrook Travel, for additional information. (1-800-866-7111)
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Selva Verde Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: Rainforest lodge buil 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) 27612011
  Room amenities: Safety boxes, ceiling fans, phones, screened windows, and hair dryers.
  Facility amenities: Meeting rooms, restaurant, and bar.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)
Type: Lodge
  Description: The Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa is located in San Gerardo de Dota, a small community in the Talamanca mountains in the midst of a precious ecosystem... Here you will find a deep cloud forest filled with massive oaks and other native species. The woods serve as a sanctuary for a large number of mammals and innumerable species of insects, amphibians, amazing plants and colorful birds, a paradise for birdwatchers. As you wind around Cerro de la Muerte on the Interamerican Highway, you will see the lush vegetation become stunted and then diminish. The turn off for San Gerardo de Dota is on Kilometer 80, driving for 9 kilometers down on a well mantained gravel road you reach this narrow, pristine mountain valley at 2200 meters of altitude (7220 ft). San Gerardo de Dota has become a paradise for birdwatchers, hikers, and trout fisher
  Contact info: San Gerardo de Dota.
San Gerardo de Dota,  00000 Costa Rica
phone: +(506) 27401028
  Room amenities: Rooms are equipped with heating systems or fireplace, private bath with hot water and comfortable beds.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, meeting rooms, and bar.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Villa Lapas Hotel
Type: Lodge
  Description: The hotel is situated along the border between the Tropical and Dry Pacific eco-systems. This unique situation allows our guests to benefit twofold, allowing them to observe over 400 species of birds as well as exotic animals, such as the poison dart frog, deer, jaguar, wild pigs, bats, raccoons, anteaters, lizards and several types of monkeys (spider monkey and congo) and other jungle creatures. Villa Lapas's private natural reserve limits with that of Carara Biological Reserve, one of the biggest protected areas in the Costa Rican Pacific featuring one of the few remaining populations of Scarlet Macaws in the country, and with the Tárcoles River, home of many crocodiles that can be easily seen from the river bridge, and a favorite birdwatching spot as well.
  Contact info: Villa Lapas
Carara,  00000 Costa Rica
phone: +(506) 26370232
  Room amenities: All rooms include: Hot water, Air conditioning, Safety Deposit Box, Spacious Closets, Telephone, Coffee Maker, Ceiling Fan, amd Double beds
  Facility amenities: Villa Lapas features more than 55 large rooms all of them in an area surrounded by gardens and beautiful tropical rainforests. The facility includes a estaurant, bar, pool and chapel.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center (previously a Ramada property)
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
  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 allowed: No
  Elevators available: 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 if you need assistance with booking additional hotel nights.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
All-day arrivals at the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. Hotel check-in begins at 3 p.m. You will be staying at Casa Conde Apartotel & Suites that night.
  End of Program:
Departures from the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. Hotel check-out by 11 a.m. You will be staying at Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center (previously a Ramada property) the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Participants traveling with a minor will need to have a notarized letter of consent from the parents or legal guardians, indicating that the child is allowed to travel with the assigned adult. For more information please contact the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington, DC at tel: (202) 234-2945/46 or
  Parking availability:
Not applicable.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  San José
  Nearest airport:  Juan Santamaria International Airport
  Transportation to site: Taxi services are available at the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José. Taxis Unidos Aeropuerto is the official airport taxi company in San José. Their taxis are orange in color and have their company logo emblazoned on the driver and front passenger doors. Tel: (506) 2222-6865/
  From End of Program
  Location: San José
  Transportation from site: Taxi services are available at the hotel. If you wish to hire a taxi, please ask for assistance at the hotel’s front desk.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Elevation Note: Elevations of up to 7,200 feet (Savegre).

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 for your workshops include 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 to produce more interesting lighting. 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!
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrive to San José.
(Wednesday, June 19)
 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.
Accommodations: Casa Conde Apartotel & Suites

Day 2: Sarapiqui -
Photography at Irazu Volcano (weather permitting) or Lankaster Botanical Gardens

(Thursday, June 20)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Orientation to the program.

Transfer to Irazu Volcano. If the weather is cloudy and visibility is poor, your photography session will take place at Lankaster Botanical Gardens instead of Irazu Volcano.

Irazu Volcano, the country's highest active volcano, is located near Cartago and within easy access of San Jose A hike through the moonlike landscape up to the Diego de la Haya crater brings visitors to a beautiful green colored mineral lake. A visit to the summit reveals panoramic vistas that, on a clear day, include views of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Make sure to bring a sweater or light windbreaker, the gusty winds and cool temperatures at this site tend to catch visitors by surprise.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Transfer to Sarapiqui.
Arrival to the lodge & orientation.
Lecture: Introduction to the Rainforest.
 Dinner: Dinner at lodge.
Accommodations: Selva Verde Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Sarapiqui -
Learning the Basics/Macro Photography Techniques/Sarapiqui River Boat Ride

(Friday, June 21)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at lodge.
 Morning: Interactive learning session- Getting to know Your Camera and its Capabilities:
- The three main variables: Controlling Light –setting your digital ISO, aperture and shutter speed.
- Using light and color to create pleasing images
- Composition

Interactive session: Macro Photography with poison dart frogs.
 Lunch: Lunch at lodge.
 Afternoon: Practice your composition skills and creativity during a boat ride on the Sarapiqui River. Consider how to use visual elements such as water and foliage, reflections on water, and backlighting to create interesting compositions.
 Dinner: Dinner at lodge.
 Evening: Interactive session: Night photography with flash.
Nocturnal insects and frogs.
Accommodations: Selva Verde Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Sarapiqui -
Interaction with Local Children/Photographing Tropical Flora

(Saturday, June 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at lodge.
 Morning: Interactive Learning Session: Composition.

This morning you will visit the Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center (SCLC) in preparation for an interactive activity at a local primary school.

Enjoy a cultural and photographic learning experience as you take pictures with school children and discover: How do local kids see me?
 Lunch: Lunch at lodge.
 Afternoon: A short walk across the road from Selva Verde's main buildings will take us to the lodge's secluded botanical gardens. This afternoon's interactive photography session will focus on the colors and textures of the rainforest.
 Dinner: Dinner at lodge.
 Evening: Photo review with group leader.
Accommodations: Selva Verde Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: San Gerardo de Dota -
Talamanca Mountains/Photographing Hummingbirds

(Sunday, June 23)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at lodge.
 Morning: Morning transfer to the highlands of the Talamanca Mountain Range with photographic opportunities en route.
 Lunch: Lunch en route.
 Afternoon: Arrive at lodge and check-in.

Interactive photo session: Hummingbird photography, Jewels in motion.

Lecture: History of the Savegre Valley and the Quetzal.
 Dinner: Dinner at lodge.
Accommodations: Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: San Gerardo de Dota -
Guided Nature Walk/Nature Photography/Trout Fishing

(Monday, June 24)
 Breakfast: Morning birding and photo walk.
Breakfast at lodge.
 Morning: Guided walk in Savegre’s property for photography: Birds, plants and water.
 Lunch: Lunch at lodge.
 Afternoon: After lunch, take part in an interactive session: Hummingbird photography.

End the day with some trout fishing.
 Dinner: Dinner at lodge.
 Evening: Interactive photo review with guide.
Accommodations: Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Carara -
Sunset Photography Session/Time at Leisure/Night Photography

(Tuesday, June 25)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at lodge.
 Morning: This morning you will say farewell to the mist shrowded Talamanca Mountains and wend your way down to the warmer Central Pacific region.
 Lunch: Lunch en route.
 Afternoon: Arrive at the hotel and check-in.

Introduction to the hotel and its facilities, followed by free time to photograph the hotel gardens, enjoy the pool and other hotel amenities, or simply rest and relax.
Sunset photo session in nearby beach.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
 Evening: Night photography session.
Accommodations: Villa Lapas Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Carara -
Manuel Antonio National Park

(Wednesday, June 26)
 Breakfast: Early morning birding and photography.

Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Departure for Manuel Antonio National Park.

Arrival to the park and photo session: Wildlife in Motion--Monkeys and Waves.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch, you will have time at leisure to enjoy the beach and boardwalk.

Lecture: Endangered Wildlife of the Central Pacific Region.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel
Accommodations: Villa Lapas Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Carara -
Skyway Hanging Bridges/Beach Activities

(Thursday, June 27)
 Breakfast: Early morning birding and photography.

Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Morning visit to the Skyway Hanging Bridges. Take a nature walk through the forest canopy on a network of suspended bridges.

Photography session: The Monkey's Perspective.

Time at leisure to relax or search for photographic opportunities around the hotel.
 Lunch: Lunch at hotel.
 Afternoon: Outrigger canoeing and snorkeling at Agujas beach.
Return to the hotel.

Time at leisure.

Sunset photo session (weather permitting): Capturing the Right Colors
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Villa Lapas Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: San José -
Tarcoles River Boat Ride/Orotina Fruit Market

(Friday, June 28)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Morning boat ride on the Tarcoles River for nature photography. Wildlife shots at a distance.

Transfer to Orotina.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restuarant.
 Afternoon: Explore the colorful fruit market in the town of Orotina. Venture into the palm shaded plaza for an opportunity to observe sloths.
Depart Orotina and make your way to San Jose.

Arrive at the hotel and check-in.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at hotel.
 Evening: Final photo presentation.
Accommodations: Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center (previously a Ramada property)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Depart from San José -
Arrive to the USA.

(Saturday, June 29)
 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 restaurant (dependent on flight times).
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Basic Essentials Photography in the Outdoors

Author: Jonathan Hanson

Description: Intended for your backpack, this slim guide outlines the essential knowledge needed to take pictures from what camera to buy to how to take better pictures.

Travel Photography, Documenting the World's People & Places

Author: Bob Krist

Description: Krist offers a user-friendly and well-illustrated guide to digital photography, including tips for shooting on location, selecting equipment and sending images while on the road.

National Geographic Ultimate Field Guide to Travel Photography

Author: Scott Stuckey

Description: This concise, practical guide to taking better travel photos covers equipment, technique and digital photography, with suggestions and how-to's from experts.

Culture Smart! Costa Rica

Author: Jane Koutnik

Description: A guide to local customs, etiquette and culture.

Insight Guide Costa Rica

Author: Paul Murphy

Description: Thoroughly illustrated, this sturdy and informative guide features short essays on the natural history, culture and attractions of Costa Rica, hundreds of photographs and excellent local maps.

Lonely Planet Costa Rican Spanish

Author: Lonely Planet

Description: A pocket guide to understanding idioms, slang and Spanish as it is spoken by the Ticos.

National Geographic Costa Rica

Author: Christopher P. Baker

Description: This stylish, informative and up-to-date travel resource features 200 photographs, many maps and good information on the country's history, nature and culture.

The Ticos

Author: Richard Biesanz

Description: This insightful, fact-filled portrait of the Costa Rican people accessibly explores their culture, history and society.

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