©2024 Juan A. Pons

Costa Rica Caribbean Adventure

December 3 – 12, 2024

Dates:

December 3 - 12, 2024

Your Pros:

Juan Pons & Dennis Valverde

Tuition:

$7,295 USD
$1,000 Single Supplement

Location:

Costa Rica

Fitness Level:

Moderate

Availability:

2 Seats Available

Dates:

December 3 - 12, 2024

Your Pros:

Juan Pons & Dennis Valverde

Tuition:

$7,295 USD
$1,000 Single Supplement

Location:

Costa Rica

Fitness Level:

Moderate

Availability:

2 Seats Available

Costa Rica's Rugged and Remote North Country

Embraced by the both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica is truly a wildlife and photography paradise. While encompassing only about 0.03% of the world’s landmass, Costa Rica boasts 5% of the world’s biodiversity. The country supports an astounding range of ecological variety, including rainforests, cloud forests, mangroves, wetlands, coral reefs, and volcanoesEach ecosystem supports its own particular set of species, contributing to the renowned biodiversity of the small country.

This fully-inclusive photo workshop visits the lush rainforests, impressive mountain ranges, serene valleys, and inviting beaches of the northern Caribbean region. Together, we’ll capture the rugged and remote landscape of the Caribbean North and its vibrant, diverse scenery.

If you’ve joined us previously on our Costa Rica workshop in the Osa Peninsula and are left hungry for more experiences in this amazing country, this is the perfect workshop for you. This excursion takes us to all new locations with new adventures and an exciting new set of wildlife opportunities.

Throughout our excursion, our sights are set on the wildlife species that make the country so sought after. Our days are spent scouting for anteaters, sloths, coatimundis, manatees, sea turtles, caimanResplendent quetzals, green macaws, hummingbirds, toucans, aracaris, guansSunbittern, Red-eye tree frogs, iguanasRoseate Spoonbill, KingfishersJabiru, Green Ibis, Muscovy Duck, Agami HeronGreat Curassow, vultureswhite-faced capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, and even wild cat species such as jaguars.

During this adventure, we spend our first week inland exploring the northern plains and rainforests before exploring our way toward the northern coastline. Costa Rica has taken significant steps to protect and preserve its natural resources through focused conservation policies, and has established a wide network of national parks, biological reserves, and protected areas, accounting for around 25% of its landmass.

Costa Rica is truly a pacifist nation. With no standing army and very progressive environmental policies, they are the only country in the world to meet all five UNDP criteria established to measure environmental sustainability.

For this workshop, my team has selected superior accommodations for the group. All of our lodging and transportation is first rate, and the impressive food, including fresh seafood and tropical fruits, will prove to be an experience to remember.

What Sets my workshops apart

Not only am I intimately familiar with the diverse landscape and wildlife opportunities within Costa Rica, but I also have a longstanding friendship with the best naturalists in the area. Our local guides are native to Costa Rica, excellent spotters, talented photographers, and know the region and the fauna like no other.

I believe in order to truly enjoy your experience, and to receive the most out of a wildlife photography workshop, we must maintain small group sizes with a very high ratio of instructors to participants. 

I’ve limited this workshop to a maximum of 8 participants and 2 instructors so everyone has an optimal view from inside our vehicles, as well as easy loading and unloading when wildlife is spotted from the road. This is a unique educational excursion, and by capping the group size, despite immense interest, our team ensures everyone gets the attention and one-on-one instruction they need to make once in a lifetime images.

My workshops are distinctive in that they’re fully inclusive– your tuition cost covers all expenses from the moment you arrive to the moment you depart Costa Rica. We provide our guests the best possible accommodations, dining options, and unique educational opportunities in the region.

As a workshop leader, I take your trust in my expertise very seriously. I work in tandem with the respective National Park Service of any photo locations, and I always operate under the proper insurance, permits, and certifications.

What you will learn

You will be accompanied by Juan Pons on this excursion. Juan is an accomplished professional wildlife and travel photographer and photographic educator who has a deep passion for the outdoors. Juan will be leading you to some of the most iconic and picturesque locations around Costa Rica, thanks to his extensive travels to the country. Juan and his team are also fluent in Spanish, and will be able to seamlessly navigate our group during our time together.

Juan and his team believe the best way to teach is by demonstrating, and to this end, we will be shooting alongside you, showing you our technique, and sharing our love and knowledge of the culture and the landscape of Costa Rica. However, our priority is always YOU, and assisting you to get the best images YOU can.

The biggest advantage of having small groups is the flexibility they provide for customizing and adjusting our schedule to accommodate for the particular interests of the group as a whole. This allows us to cover only those topics that you are all interested in, including:

• Techniques for creating exciting and captivating wildlife images

• Best use of your equipment

• Post-processing demos to enhance the quality of your images

• Image reviews

What to expect

My workshops are fairly intensive experiences, and as such, should not be considered as a leisurely vacation. My goal is to capture the best images we can during our travels around this incredible country. This means there will be days we begin very early, typically at dawn, and end after sunset. However, we will always have breaks and lunch rest hours to recuperate.

About 3 months prior to the workshop start date, you should expect to receive important details regarding your flight arrangements to San Jose via email.

Then, about 2 months prior to our gathering, you will start hearing from me on a regular basis. I will provide you with a Workshop Participant Information Packet with all trip details, and share relevant resources to get you inspired and thinking about the images you want to capture during our workshop. At this time, you will also receive a tentative itinerary, a list of clothing and equipment recommendations, and even discounts for equipment you may want to acquire for this excursion.

Pre-departure group zoom conference

My assistant, Jaclyn, and I are always available to answer any questions you may have leading up to the workshop- simply call or email and we can help you as best we can.

Additionally, we will plan a Zoom meeting 6 – 8 weeks prior to the start of our workshop. There, you can meet your fellow workshop participants, ask any questions before traveling, receive insights and recommendations for reference books, and much more.

Tuition

Tuition for the workshop is $7,295.00 USD for double occupancy per person.

If you would like a single room, you will receive an additional invoice of $1,000. There are a limited number of single supplements, so please make sure to sign up quickly if you want this option.

If you would like to reserve your spot on this workshop, you can do so with a $3,495.00 USD deposit. The remaining balance of the workshop fee ($3,800) is due 4 months prior to the workshop. We will send you a reminder when the due date is near.

What is Included

• All lodging and meals

• All private charter flights within Costa Rica

• All private ground transportation within Costa Rica

• All snacks and water during daily outings

• Non-alcoholic beverages during the workshop

• All permits, fees, and gratuities

• In-the-field instruction

• Image reviews and post-processing sessions

• Creative inspiration and group camaraderie

• An unforgettable experience

You will be picked up at the San Jose airport in Costa Rica via a complimentary transportation service. From there everything is taken care of for you until we drop you off at the airport in San Jose (except those items not listed in this section).

What is not included

• Flights to and from San Jose, Costa Rica

• Alcoholic or specialty drinks

• Meals on the start and ending days of the excursion

The fine print

• You are responsible for making your own flight arrangements to and from San Jose, Costa Rica (Airport code SJO). The Juan Pons Photography team will send travel recommendations for arrivals and departures prior to the workshop.

• Workshop daily schedule is subject to minor changes based on weather and logistics

• Deposit is fully refundable up until 120 days prior to the start of the workshop, NO REFUNDS after 120 days.

• Make sure to check the Terms and Conditions for all my workshops.

I highly recommend Travel Insurance from a reputable insurance company. I have partnered with Squaremouth, a website that allows you to compare multiple travel policies from multiple providers to choose the best one for you based on your needs and costs. Check them out here: https://www.squaremouth.com/

Typical Travel Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival into San Jose

• Arrive into San Jose (SJO) in Costa Rica anytime on this day.

• You will be picked up at the airport and transported to a hotel near the airport, where you will spend the night.

 

Day 2 – Driving to Sarapiqui

• On this morning, the group departs early with out sights set on the Heredia Province. We begin our journey at the base of the central mountain range in Sarapiqui, just south of the Nicaraguan border, where stunning wildlife like anteaters, monkeys, coatis, toucans, sloths, emerald basilisk, manakins, and woodpeckers enjoy the canopies and forest floors.

• Sarapiqui is known as a birdlover’s paradise, and the guides will be sure to point out all the incredible diversity of species. This region is known as one of the last places to see endangered Green Macaw, thanks to its many protected areas and nature reserves.

 In the late morning, we arrive at a cacao farm and explore the wildlife and landscape opportunities in this beautiful setting.

• Our lunch is hosted by the owners of the cacao farm, where you can ask many questions on the region we’re visiting.

• After lunch with the locals at the chocolate plantation, the group can enjoy the hiking trails on the property or stay to observe a demo on chocolate production.

• Our group overnights in Sarapiqui to enjoy the region for another full day.

 

Day 3 – Further Exploring Sarapiqui Region

 This day is dedicated to a full day visit to a fantastic site created by José Cope, where you can find a variety of birds, wildlife, and interesting insects. José has done a great job of attracting diverse species to his bird feeders, while creating natural settings around his homestead.

 We hope to spot Oropendolas, Scarle-trumped and Crimson-collared Tanagers, Russet-naped Wood-Rail, Collared Aracari, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Blue-chested Hummingbird, Long-billed Hermit, White-necked Jacobin, and Green-breasted Mango, and much more.

 After lunch on Jose’s property, clients enjoy a forest walk to look for some owls, ghost bats, trogons, and more.

• In the later afternoon, instructors hold a classroom session at our hotel to download, edit, and conduct an image review.

 

Day 4 – Experiencing Boca Tapada

• On this day, we inch northward through the northern plains of Boca Tapada, a world renowned site for its biodiversity of plants and animals, as well as stunning pineapple and sugar cane plantations.

 We first focus ourselves on smaller wildlife subjects with a macro session, where we will photograph red eye tree frogs, Black and Green poison dart frogs, Strawberry poison dart frog, eye-lashed pit vipers, and other amphibians and reptiles from the area.

• We visit a nesting site of the endangered Great Green Macaw located within a scenic wetland at a local eco preserve. Keep an eye out for almond trees, a favorite food of the macaws.

• In the afternoon, we visit a scenic bird sanctuary to photograph with the gorgeous golden evening light. The area holds over 400 other species of birds including Sunbittern, Roseate Spoonbill, Jabiru, Green Ibis, Muscovy Duck, Agami Heron, Keel-billed Toucan, and Great Curassow.

 

Day 5 – Continuing Our Travels Through Boca Tapada 

• On this action-packed morning, we focus again on the many species that visit this area.

• We enjoy the bird feeder of the lodge with good light and impressive bird activity, and move to a location to photograph the King Vulture up close, which is one of the coolest things to do in the region.

• We also may have opportunities to spot sloths, white faced monkeys, howler monkeys, pizotes, manatees, and wild cat species such as jaguars during the day.

• After dinner, the group rests and downloads images before a night session with multi-flash to capture flying bats.

 

Day 6 – Returning and Resting in San Jose

• We enjoy one more morning wildlife outing in Boca Tapada before we head south back toward San Jose via private transport.

• Upon arrival, the group can enjoy some relaxation time or opt for a classroom session to download, edit, and conduct an image review.

• The group dines in San Jose and rests before an early morning flight to Tortuguero. 

 

Day 7 – Arriving to Tortuguero National Park

• On this day, we depart San Jose early to visit the stunning natural jewel of the Caribbean, Tortuguero National Park. This stunning eco system is filled with lush wetlands, canals, and lush rainforests.

• Witness the expansive beaches home to sea turtles, and the dense forest canopies where we may encounter monkeys, sloths, caimans, and a plethora of bird species.

• After breakfast, we do the first boat tour into the river and canals of Tortuguero, with ample opportunities to spot herons, kingfishers, iguanas, crocodiles, caimans, sloths, monkeys and much more.

 

Day 8 – Continuing Our Exploration in Tortuguero

• Today, we continue another full day with two more boat excursions and time to enjoy the pool and maze of walking trails at our hotel.

• The group is welcome to visit the very interesting downtown of Tortuguero to witness the culture of this colorful Caribbean region.

 

Day 9 – Experiencing One Final Day in Tortuguero 

• On this last morning of the workshop, the group shoots around the grounds which are great for monkeys and birds.

• We board a flight in the afternoon to return to San Jose.

• We stay overnight at hotel near the airport in San Jose and enjoy one final group meal to commemorate the memorable workshop together.

 

Day 10 – Departure Home

• Participants can depart for home anytime this day.

photos from previous trips

©1998-2024 Juan A. Pons
All rights reserved

Get in touch!