Packing for Green Season - September 22, 2019

See our packing list below:

USD cash – Credit and/or debit card (see spending money)- Passport (with photocopies) – Travel insurance (with photocopies) – Airline tickets (with photocopies) – Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required – Camera – Chargers and adapters (US style plug) – Reading/writing material – Binoculars – Fleece top – Windproof/waterproof jacket – Small towel and swim wear – hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes – Sun hat – 2 pairs of shorts – 2 pairs of long trousers – 1 pair hiking pants/track pants – Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes – Sport sandals (suitable for water if you are planning on rafting and/or waterfall rappelling/abseiling) – Sunblock – Sunglasses – shirts/t-shirts – Water bottle – Pocketknife – First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).

The Southern Zone of Costa Rica! - July 30, 2019

“The “Southern Zone” of Costa Rica holds some of the most unspoiled and awe-inspiring scenery in the country. Here, at the entryway to The Osa Peninsula, the jungles meet the Pacific, deserted beaches.  You awake to howler monkeys and you can watch scarlet macaws soar across the sky while doing absolutely nothing but wait for the sunset.

Broken into three areas, and going South, each is distinct in it’s own vibe and characteristics.  Each area has it’s waterfalls for swimming depending on your hiking abilities.

From funky Dominical and Dominicalito are funky little beach towns with an excellent array of bars and restaurants, this is where the nightlife is happening. Strong left breaking waves bring the experienced surfers to this beach. The only beach with Lifeguards in the area, swimmers should pay attention to the flags and warnings. Make sure to head up the mountain to tour Alturas Animal Sanctuary then over to Jolly Roger’s for incredible sunsets, wings and cervezas.

About an hour South, you will find Uvita with the famous, Whale’s Tale Beach,  Due to the migration patterns of the humpback whales, both Northern and Southern hemisphere humpbacks pass through Costa Rica. The best time to spot them August to December, with  August and September known to be best as they come  to breed and raise their young. This tour will educate and promote the conservation of the priceless natural resources that are found in the Marino Ballena National Park. In addition to Whale Watching and the Mangrove Wetland Refuge of Terraba-Sierpe, Cano Island Biologic Reserve and the Osa peninsula, you will love these friendly and safe boat tour excursions.

Experience this between July and November with our great green season offers. Saving up to 30% on normal prices! You can travel from $999 per person including hotels, transport and tours.

Uvita is the shopping hub for The Ballena area and boasts two grocery stores as well as great sodas, Argentine bakeries and a Mosaic Wine Bar. Make sure to spend some time here. The Feria (Market), is held on Saturdays. Besides fresh, organic produce and local wares, it is a great place to socialize with the locals, expats and visitors.

map of uvita costa rica

Map of the whales tail in Uvita Costa Rica

Further South, you will pass through Ballena and shortly arrive in, Ojochal, “The Foodie Capital of The Southern Zone”. Incredible hotels and amazing restaurants hide amongst the jungles with views that will mesmerize you. Here you can dine on French, the freshest sushi, exotic fusions from all over the world as well as local “typical” Costa Rican cuisine.

This amazing waterfall has the perfect rock wedged in the middle. the calm pool makes a great place to relax and cool off!

Ventanas and Tortuga beaches lie below and are an explorer’s dream when the tides are out and you are able to walk into the caves. This is a favorite laying ground for the Olive Ridley and Leatherback turtles and often you will happen upon a release of the hatchings.

Explore our Whale Watching Tours Packages Here

Jansens Photo Expeditions – Costa Rica 2018 - May 2, 2018

We are proud to be working with Jansen Photo Expeditions on their latest trip to Costa Rica!  They have established photographers in their own right and we have been working closely with them to design the ultimate package for people wanting to expand their photography skills. Check out their blog post;

Join us for our Wildlife and Landscape Photography Workshop in Costa Rica, where we will be focusing on The Southern Zone and The Osa Peninsula, in our small group photography workshop.

Our 11 day/10 night Costa Rica photography expedition is meant for landscape photographers and nature lovers who desire to photographically explore the best of Costa Rica and its raw beauty in a small group environment. This workshop is led by two experienced landscape photographers and an escort/tour guide who has lived and traveled extensively in Costa Rica.


Costa Rica Landscape Photography Workshops

Figure 1: Costa Rica Landscape Photography Workshops

Frog During Costa Rica Photography Workshop

Figure 2: Frog During Costa Rica Photography Workshop

In this photography workshop, we work closely with you on your photography skills as we travel the Southern Pacific of Costa Rica. In the evenings, we will provide image critique and Adobe Lightroom editing coaching when we are not out capturing the landscape.

Our groups average 8 – 10 participants, guaranteeing you a quality interactive learning experience
while photographing the incredible diversity of the wildlife and landscape of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Wildlife and Landscape Photography Workshop

December 7 – 17, 2018

$4455 Per Person Double Occupancy + $1000 for Single Supplement

Only 8 – 10 photographers on this all-inclusive small group workshop
Upon signup, we will send you an extensive camera gear and supply list.

Deposit $2000 per person to hold space for Workshop


Places To Costa Rica Landscape Photography Workshops

Figure 3: Places To Costa Rica Landscape Photography Workshops

Costa Rica Vacations Landscape Photography Workshops
Figure 4: Costa Rica Vacations Landscape Photography Workshops


Day 1: San Jose, Costa Rica

After arrival at the San Jose airport, we will transport you to the Alta Hotel de las Palomas, Escazu, San Jose. Nestled into the lush mountains of Escazú, a historic town just outside of San Jose sits the lovely Alta Hotel. Alta Hotel has 23 beautiful rooms all with private balconies, overlooking the lush Mountains of Santa Ana and Escazú.

Welcome Reception Upon arrival. We would like to invite you for a welcome reception (cocktails and appetizers) at 6 pm in the beautiful upstairs Vista room with outstanding city views.

Alta Hotel All Inclusive Hotels in Costa Rica

Figure 5: Alta Hotel All Inclusive Hotels in Costa Rica

Vista Bellina Hotel during our Costa Rica Photography Workshop

Figure 6: Vista Bellina Hotel during our Costa Rica Photography Workshop

Days 2 – 5: Vista Ballena Hotel

Vista Ballena Hotel, perched in the hills of Costa Rica’s wild southern coast, is more than a tropical resort. Here, in the world’s most ecologically diverse setting, you will discover nature’s hidden treasures and sustenance for the soul.
This 20 room hotel is set high among the mountainous jungles of Costa Ballena.

Enjoy exquisite views of the Whale’s Tail sandbar as it extends into the warm ocean waters and witnesses humpback whales cresting as they pass. Surrounded by lush rain forest and pristine coral-lined beaches, Vista Ballena is a place of solace and discovery in an otherwise untouched land. Paradise, after all, is not just a destination, it is what stirs inside us when we set our eyes on the sublime wonders and wisdom of the natural world.

Days 6 – 7: El Castillo Hotel

When the land for El Castillo was purchased 10 years ago, it was the most sought after property in the South Pacific area of Costa Rica — the last, untouched, frontier.
 This luxury hotel was built like a fortress to withstand the test of time, taking a full year to complete construction. It is an icon in the area, especially to local ex-pats from around the world and native Costa Ricans who appreciate its stunning views.

El Castillo, or “the castle,” is heaven on earth with tastefully appointed rooms and impeccable service. It is located in Ojochal, a village in the southern zone of Costa Ballena, known for its world-class cuisine and exotic jungles. There are no high rises, shopping malls, or traffic congestion in Ojochal. The area does have clean mountain air, world-class ocean waves, hundreds of square miles of diverse jungle, waterfalls and glorious beaches. It is the perfect home base to experience just about any adventure and to watch awe-inspiring sunsets.

El Castillo Hotel during our Costa Rica Photography Workshop

Figure 7: El Castillo Hotel During Costa Rica Photography Workshop

Days 7 – 10: Aguila de Osa Hotel

Thanks to the remote location of The Osa Peninsula, guests can view tropical wildlife such as giant iguanas, colorful birds, tapir, crocodile, coatis, and howler monkeys.

One of the last places in Costa Rica to be settled and still sparsely populated, the Osa is covered almost entirely in magnificent, virgin rain forest extending all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Separating it from the mainland is the Golfo Dulce – one of only four tropical fjords on the planet. The Golfo Dulce is, in fact, the only place on the globe where populations of both Northern and Southern Humpback whales meet to birth their young.

Aguila de Osa Hotel during our Costa Rica Photography Workshop

Figure 8:

The Osa packs an unparalleled amount of land and marine species and diverse ecosystems in an incredibly small area. These incredible ecosystems provide invaluable services to the people who depend on them for clean air, drinking water, food, jobs, cultural resources, and a stable climate – and so their conservation is critical.

Whales Tail on the Costa Rica Osa Peninsula during our photography workshop

Figure 9:

Aguila de Osa Blue throated mountaingem Humming bird during our photography workshop in Costa Rica


Figure 10:

The Osa Peninsula Includes:

The most significant wetland ecosystem and mangrove forests of Central America

• The largest remaining tract of lowland rainforest in Pacific Mesoamerica

• 2-3% of flora found nowhere else in the world

• 323 endemic species of plants and vertebrates

• More than 4,000 vascular plants

• The largest population of scarlet macaws in Central America

• More than 10,000 insects

• More than 700 species of trees (which is more than all the Northern temperate regions combined)

• 463 species of birds

• 140 mammals, including 25 species of dolphins and whales

• 4 species of sea turtles

Situated on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, close to the Panama border, is the small indigenous village of the Boruca Indians.  The reservation is within the province of Puntarenas which is the largest province in Costa Rica. There are several historical references to this Pre-Columbian tribe being called both Boruca, as well as ‘Brunka’. Either name is correct.

The Boruca are best known for their skills as craftsmen, using indigenous items to create beautiful artifacts. Using balsa and sometimes cedar wood; they carve masks, make bows, arrows, drums, knives, jewelry and other objects. Attractive baskets are woven with natural fabrics, colored with dyes of their own formulation.

The unspoiled jungles of Southern Costa Rica contain some of the most pristine and incredible natural attractions.

Cascada El Pavon and Playa Ventanas are just a couple of the highlights in this region.

Locations visited on this workshop include:

Escazu / Tarcoles Bridge / Dominical / Uvita – The Whales Tail / Ballena / Ojochal / Cascada El Pavon / Playa Ventanas / The Osa Peninsula – Corcovado and The Cano Island


Sloths in Costa Rica

Figure 11: Sloths in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Landscape Photography Workshops

Figure 12: Costa Rica Landscape Photography Workshops

Included in Workshop

• Quality one on one photographic instruction geared to your level of expertise
• Minimum 6 hours per day of in-field shooting experience and instruction
• Small class size, maximum of 8-10 students
• An interactive learning environment with three experienced instructors
• Photoshop and Lightroom editing optional sessions in the evenings as time allows
• All transportation from the start to the end of the workshop
• All meals are included in the price during the workshop.
• All lodging during the workshop. Lodging is in clean beautiful hotels throughout the country.
• Suitable hotels for the nights you would like to stay in Costa Rica outside of the workshop dates can be suggested at reasonable rates.
• Airport transfers are included in the price

• Airfare is not included in the price

Be ready for early mornings and late evenings. Sunrise in Costa Rica during our workshop is 5:30 am and sunset around 5:45 pm. The best light for a photography workshop is always early morning and late afternoon.

As this workshop is located on the Pacific coast, we will focus on sunsets in the evening after shooting for the majority of the day with a mid-day break. Depending on the location and weather, sometimes a sunset shoot isn’t possible, so be flexible. In our workshop, if the weather or conditions are bad, we will offer instruction on photo editing programs or find another location as an alternative.

Part of a great photography workshop is instructors who will not only help you with the basic settings on your camera but will also help you with creative concepts and help you create intentions for your shot. Only experienced photography workshop leaders like ours can give you that type of instruction.

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Pacuare Rafting – The most beautiful river in Costa Rica? - September 7, 2017

After rafting my way around the country for the last few years I had saved the best till last!  The Pacuare is regarded as one of the top 5 rafting rivers in the world. It is beautiful in its biodiversity and remote location whilst offering some adrenaline-inducing class IV rapids!

An early meet in San Jose and an hour and a half spent sleeping on the bus we arrived at Rios Tropicales HQ.  After a great local breakfast and a few cups of coffee, we were ready to go!

Rafting on the Pacuare River, Costa Rica Places To Visit

Our river guide Roy was very entertaining, keeping us on our toes but at the same time keeping us safe and passing on his own personal knowledge of the sport and this business that has been in his family since he was a child.

Rafting on the Pacuare River, Costa Rica

We arrived at the Lodge where we would be exploring the area for a couple of hours and also canopy zip-lining over the river!  That was a first for me and a different experience to your average canopy tour!

Arriving at the Rios Tropicales Lodge on the Pacuare River Costa Rica


Canopy tours are run by the Rios Tropicales lodge
Rafting on the Pacuare River, Costa Rica
Rafting on the Pacuare River, Costa Rica

We hiked over the bridge where there was a beautiful waterfall you could relax in and watch the river flow past.

Rafting on the Pacuare River, Costa Rica


Rafting on the Pacuare River, Costa Rica

Lunch is served! Jungle chicken was cooked by the guides – a specialty of theirs that they have cooked for years and comes with my personal recommendation. The food is sourced from local indigenous communities and Rios Tropicales has a strong bond with these local villages supporting them in many ways. The temptation was there to have another plate however I wanted to retain some buoyancy as the harder class IV rapids were to follow!

Lunch served at Rios Tropicales Lodge

We spoke with Rafa Gallo, Co-Founder and President of Rio Tropicales who told us about the projects they have in the area that allow people to enjoy the river and surroundings without losing touch with their strong conservation values.  The Lodge itself embodies all they stand for with rustic designs that blend into the surrounding forests like it belongs there.  The rooms are very comfortable and the rustic simplicity and natural decorations give the rooms tonnes of charm.  Most importantly a very comfortable bed to rest on after a day rafting/hiking/ horse-riding /  canopy zip-lining / canyoning!

After some hammock time, it was back to the rafts and adventure ensued. Best rafting in the country? YES! The rapids that followed were testing and required a lot of technical paddling.  Roy had helped build our skill and confidence level throughout the day and with his help, we were able to navigate through some of the harder class IV rapids.
Rafting on the Pacuare River, Costa Rica

After the final stretch, we came to a slow part of the river with high canyon walls each side it was time to jump out the raft and lye back and appreciate the view – Pura Vida!

Pico Blanco Hike – Rewarding views of San Jose and beyond! - July 26, 2017

At 2,271 meters Pico Blanco – White Peak gets its name from the exposed rock you can see from the surrounding area (no snow here). This 4 and a half hour hike is tough at times but the views are so rewarding!

This is the view looking back over San Jose as you hike!

Pico Blanco Costa Rica Hike

These thorny plants are as large as a person – straight out of Jurassic Park

Pico Blanco Costa Rica Hike


We saw a hummingbird fly out of this nest on a way down – the eggs were fingernail size!
Pico Blanco Costa Rica Hike View1

Once you hit the highest point of the hike a totally new view awaits.  You can see as far as Arenal Volcano and the Puntarenas coast!  I managed a photo through my binoculars.

Arenal from Pico Blanco Costa Rica Hike

Arenal is 120km away as the crow flies – you can just make it out.

Pico Blanco Costa Rica Hike Arenal View1

This panorama gives you a good idea at what you are surrounded by 🙂

Pico Blanco Costa Rica Hike

Pura Vida!