Costa Rica Wildlife Adventure
April 1 – 10, 2023
“The most biologically intense place on Earth”
Embraced by the both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica is truly a wildlife and photography paradise, as my multiple trips here a year indicates. While encompassing only about 0.03% of the world’s landmass, Costa Rica boasts 5% of the world’s biodiversity.
This photo workshop will be based on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, considered to be the crown jewel of the country. The ecological variety on the Osa region and Corcovado National Park is stunning, so much so that National Geographic has called it “the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity”.
During this workshop, we will spend 5 days around the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park, and then a further 2 days in the cloud forest of Costa Rica looking for species not found on the lowlands, such as the Resplendent quetzal and a number of hummingbird species. We spend 2 half days traveling from the peninsula to the highlands and from the highlands back to San Jose.
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, I have 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.
Our group will focus on the wildlife of Costa Rica, and we will set our sights on a variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibian species.
Not only am I intimately familiar with Costa Rica and the Osa Peninsula, 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 trip, and receive the most out of an adventure photography workshop, you need to have small groups and a very high ratio of instructors to participants. That is why we’ve decided to limit this workshop to a maximum of 10 participants and 2 instructors. By capping the number of participants, we are ensuring everyone gets the attention and one-on-one instruction they need to make incredible images.
Our gatherings are distinctive in that we have taken thorough care of all the necessary logistics during your excursion so you can solely focus on the photography pursuits at hand. Your comfort and ease on this adventure is the utmost priority.
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 Cuba. 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
• Digital darkroom techniques to enhance the quality of your images
• Best use of your equipment
• Image reviews
My workshops are fairly intensive experiences, and as such, you should not expect this to be 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.
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 4-6 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 for the workshop is $7,595.00 USD for double occupancy per person.
If you would like a single room, you will receive an additional invoice of $1,100. 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 $3,995.00 USD deposit. The remaining balance of the workshop fee ($3,600) is due 3 months prior to the workshop. We will send you a reminder when the due date is near.
This is an ALL INCLUSIVE workshop
• All lodging
• All meals
• All ground transportation
• Domestic flight in Costa Rica
• All gratuities
• Snacks and water in the vehicles at all times
• All permits & fees
• A great time
You will be picked up at the San Jose airport in Costa Rica via a complimentary transportation service, and from there everything is taken care of for you until we drop you off at the airport in San Jose (except those items listed in this section).
• Flights to and from your home and San Jose, Costa Rica
• Alcoholic or specialty drinks
• Meals on the day you arrive in San Jose, dinner on the 9th day in San Jose, and any meals on the 10th day except for breakfast- which is included in your hotel stay in San Jose.
• 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 3 months prior to the start of the workshop, NO REFUNDS after 3 months.
• 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/
Day 1 – San Jose
• Arrive in 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 – Matapalo
• On this morning, the group will take a short flight from the San Jose Airport to Puerto Jimenez, where we will be based for the majority of the workshop.
• Introduction to wildlife photography presentation during lunch
• Tour of our resort grounds
• In the afternoon, we will head out to Matapalo for our first photo outing
• Scoping out wildlife include sloths, monkeys, herons, and many species of birds living under the canopy.
Day 3 – Macrophotography in Corcovado National Park
• Macro photography outing with tree frogs and insects
• Observing reptiles and amphibians (including vipers, poison dart frogs and more) in a controlled environment
• In the afternoon, we will hold a classroom session to download, edit, and conduct an image review
Day 4 – Carate
• All day outing to Carate
• The road to Carate provides an incredible number of opportunities for different species of wildlife, as well as the best place to photograph Scarlet Macaws in their natural environment
• Target species include: Macaws, two and three-toed sloths, monkeys, toucans, and many species of birds
• We will visit a scenic bird sanctuary in the afternoon
Day 5 – Bambu
• On this morning, we will focus on the many bird species that visit this area
• These include Trogons, Cuckoos, Manakins, Toucans
• In the afternoon we will make out way to Mirimar for more wildlife photography
• Target species include: two and three-toed sloths, monkeys, toucans and and many other species of birds
Day 6 – Sierpe
• We depart our resort early this morning to board pontoon boats and cruise the Sierpe River photographing many species of wildlife
• Target species include crocodiles, boas, iguanas, herons, macaws, owls (spectacled, crested and more) and possibility of potoos
• In the afternoon, we will have a classroom session to download, edit, and conduct an image review
Day 7 – Cloud Forest
• On this day, we say goodbye to our resort in the OSA peninsula and depart early in the morning to head into the Cloud forest (4 hour drive)
• After lunch, we venture to a local vantage point, hoping to spot the resplendent quetzal, emerald toucanet, and silky-flycatchers
Day 8 – Cloud Forest
• Today, we continue our search for photo opportunities with Resplendent quetzal, emerald toucanet, and silky-flycatchers
• We will also visit some hummingbird gardens to capture photographs of the multitude of hummingbird species that call Costa Rica home
Day 9 – Cloud Forest & San Jose
• In the morning, we visit the hummingbird gardens once more for the different hummingbird species as well as toucans, manakins and more.
• In the afternoon, we depart for San Jose (4 hour drive)
• We will stay overnight at hotel near the airport in San Jose on this last night
Day 10 – Depart for home
• Participants can depart for home anytime this day