Turrialba, Tortuguero, Arenal

Photography Expedition Volcanoes Routes

10 Days | $3700

Photo Tours & Expeditions

  • Mountain
  • Rural
  • Urban
  • Culture
  • Explorer
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Physical Rating
Cultural Immersion
travel to the Turrialba area in the Atlantic slopes of Costa Rica's Central Volcanic mountain range, where Rancho Naturalista is located
See behind the masks of San Jose and get to know the real Costa Rica
Tortuguero, considered by many the best place to view wildlife in Costa Rica. There are no roads here – only canals through the lush rainforest.
Learn about how coffee is cultivated, harvested, and roasted.

Take your camera on the road on a photography expedition, explore San Jose from a local perspective, visit the Irazu Volcano. Explore the city of Cartago, where the Los Angeles Basilica is located and home to the Costa Rica patriot saint, and the Orosi Valley with its colonial church. Continue your expedition by boat to Tortuguero, considered by many the best place to view wildlife in Costa Rica. There are no roads here – only canals through the lush rainforest. Our boat cruises along canals that wind through the dense jungle and may reveal spider, howler and white-faced capuchin monkeys, tree sloths, caimans and a spectrum of colorful birds. Over 430 species of birds have already been recorded on the Rancho Naturalista grounds and its direct surroundings. Very active fruit feeders and sugar feeders, a good trail system going to various types of habitat.

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The Itinerary

Day 10

Photography Expedition Volcanoes Routes

Daily Itinerary

DAY 01 – SAN JOSE | HOTEL ALTA | (Dinner Included)

Receive a warm, Costa Rican welcome transfer to your hotel. After the welcome in the afternoon we’ll venture to an 80-year-old inn known for its traditional fare to get a real taste of Costa Rica with a choice of over 20 different Costa Rican Tapas. See behind the masks of San Jose and get to know the real Costa Rica, explore San Jose from a local perspective, visit a legendary masquerade family, reknown for their traditional Costa Rican masks, this part of our first day in this beautiful country. Back to the hotel.

DAY 02– TURRIALBA | RANCHO NATURALISTA | VISIT IRAZU VOLCANO Panoramic photo opportunities on route to the top of the volcano (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Included)

After breakfast, we will travel to the Turrialba area in the Atlantic slopes of Costa Rica’s Central Volcanic mountain range, where Rancho Naturalista is located… On the way we are visit the Irazu Volcano. After getting our fill of photos from the volcano we will explore the city of Cartago, the Costa Rican capital city until 1823 where the Los Angeles Basilica is located and home to the Costa Rica patriot saint, and the Orosi Valley with its colonial church.

Rancho Naturalista: is among the most famous Costa Rica birding lodges and one of the finest of Central America. Over 430 species of birds have already been recorded on the Rancho Naturalista grounds and its direct surroundings. Very active fruit feeders and sugar feeders, a good trail system going to various types of habitat.

Irazu Volcano: at 3,432 km (11,260 ft.) above sea level, is one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful national parks. Still an active volcano, Irazu Volcano has a long history of eruptions, dating back to the Spanish colonies (1563). The most recent period of activity occurred during 1963 and 1965. This volcano’s activity has been characterized by the emission of large clouds of steam, ash and cinders, often accompanied by small local or regional earth tremors, subterranean noises and rumblings, and showers of small and large rocks which usually fall near the rim of the crater. Irazu’s summit has four craters: the main or western crater, the “Diego de la Haya,” and two small craters, one southeast and the other northwest of the main crater.

DAY 03– TURRIALBA | RANCHO NATURALISTA | WILDLIFE (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Included)

We will dedicate a considerable amount of time here to capturing world-class images of several species of hummingbird from our multiple-flash setup on the lodge balcony. The birding balcony offers easy birding with many colorful birds coming to the fruit feeders like Passerine’s Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanagers, Bllue-gray Tanagers, White-lined Tanagers, Black-cheeked Woodpeckers, Orange-billed Sparrows, Gray-headed Chachalacas, Montezuma Oropendola’s and Collared Aracari’s being the most common ones.

Occasionally Crimson-collared Tanagers and Scarlet-rumped Caciques might join in. Sightings of keel-billed Toucans, White-crowned and Brown-hooded Parrot are common in the nearby trees. The hummingbird feeders around the main building are usually busy with Green Thorntails, White-necked Jacobins, Green-breasted Mango’s, Green-crowned Brilliants and Rufous-tailed Hummingbird. Besides that some of the most spectacular hummingbirds of the country like Snowcap and Black-crested Coquette can be seen near the verbena flowers planted in the garden. We end the day with a night walk around the lodge grounds and forest reserve in search of insects and frogs for macro photography.

DAY 04 – TORTUGUERO| HOTEL MAWAMBA LODGE | (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Included)

Savor an early morning cup of Costa Rican coffee and a hearty breakfast before hopping in your private transfer from Turrialba to the Caribbean lowlands, in Caño Blanco you will continue by boat to Tortuguero, considered by many the best place to view wildlife in Costa Rica. There are no roads here – only canals through the lush rainforest. Our boat cruises along canals that wind through the dense jungle and may reveal spider, howler and white-faced capuchin monkeys, tree sloths, caimans and a spectrum of colorful birds. Here in the tropics, steady sunlight, constant rain and warm temperatures create an intense incubator for a profusion of species. Arrive at the lodge with plenty of time to explore the surroundings.

DAY 05– TORTUGUERO| HOTEL MAWAMBA LODGE | Visit the Canals of Tortuguero National Park (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Included)

Wake up with the call of howler monkeys and savor a local breakfast at the lodge overlooking the canal’s scenery. Explore the flooded lowland rainforest of Tortuguero National Park, established to protect nesting sea turtles and the forest habitat, one of the best areas to see wildlife in Costa Rica, monkeys, iguanas, and a myriad of tropical birds including macaws, toucans, and trogons. We have all day to divide our time between these two fantastic photo opportunities, and also have time to explore for some landscape images of the beautiful Canals.

DAY 06– ARENAL OBSERVATORY LODGE| POAS VOLCANO | COFFEE FIELDS | (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Included)

Depart the local airstrip for a spectacular 30 minute flight over the jungle lowlands and central highlands back to San Jose. Upon arrival, transportation awaits to take you to a local coffee plantation. Located in Sabanilla, the coffee capital of Costa Rica, the farm belongs to the Costa Rican Vargas Ruiz family, pioneers of coffee production for more than 70 years. Learn about how coffee is cultivated, harvested, and roasted. After this and enjoy a delicious breakfast we will continue to the Poás Volcano where we will not only admire the impressive main crater with its sulfur fumaroles, but also learn about the different ecosystems in this unique and protected national. Following the visit to the volcano we will continue to Arenal.

The Arenal Observatory Lodge: affords some of the area’s best photographic views of the famous Arenal volcano and offers fantastic sunset views over Lake Arenal and the surrounding hills.

DAY 07– ARENAL OBSERVATORY LODGE| ARENAL LAKE | SNAKE ZOO | INTERACTION WITH LOCAL PEOPLE (Cooking Class and Dinner with Tico Family) (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Included) Enjoy a cup of coffee in the restaurant of the hotel photographing Montezuma oropendolas, Passerine’s tanager, green honeycreepers, red-legged honeycreepers, and emerald tanagers at the lodge feeders.

After enjoy the breakfast we are going to the Snake Zoo we will photograph all of these animals on natural stages that we will set up on site. This is a great opportunity to photograph a number of species that are very difficult to find in the wild and also to continue our work on multiple flash setups for pleasing macro lighting. Then we have something very special, we stop in route at enjoy the cooking class, about having an authentic experience while traveling abroad. Cultures identify themselves through their cuisine and Costa Ricans are no different. Often you’ll hear that Costa Rican meals are all about the “rice and beans…” But don’t underestimate the intricacies of Costa Rican cooking. We invite you to have a meal with a delightful local family and enjoy what may be your favorite meal in Costa Rica. There are a few local families that open their doors and their hearts to interact with visitors – you’ll learn about local agricultural products such as yucca, tiquisque, mamón chino and other interesting local foods. We return to the lodge in late afternoon to photograph the sunset and the Arenal Lake and the Volcano.

DAY 08-09 NARANJO| BOSQUE DE PAZ| ZARCERO PARK | Wildlife Photography | (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Included)

You will continue your way towards the Central Valley, where you will be staying at the edge of the impressive cloud forest of Parque Nacional Juan Castro Blanco in Hotel Bosque de Paz.

DAY 10 BACK HOME|

Take a private transfer to the Juan Santamaria Airport where you will catch your flight back home. Check in 3 hours before your scheduled flight home.

Additional Information

Included In The Price

  • Mascarade Show (rural adventure, local people)
  • Irazu Volcano
  • Visit the Canals of Tortuguero National Park
  • Poas Volcano
  • Coffee Fields
  • Cooking Class and Dinner with Tico Family
  • The Snake Zoo
  • Zarcero Park
  • Wildlife photography

ACCOMMODATIONS:

  • San José: 1 Night Hotel Alta
  • Turrialba: 2 Nights Rancho Naturalista
  • Tortuguero: Mawamba Lodge 2 nights
  • Arenal: Arenal Observatory Lodge 2 nights
  • Naranjo: Bosque de Paz 2 nights
  • MEALS: Meals as specified (Breakfast= B, Lunch=L, Dinner=D)

    • 1 Professional photo/1 naturalist guide

    PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION

    Not Included

    Airfare

    – Airport departure tax (US $26)

    – Alcoholic Drinks

    – Tips

    – Extras, including activities for non-photographers

    – Insurance of any kind

    -Personal expenses • Medical costs, hospitalization and evacuation and any other extra expenses due to unanticipated changes in our itinerary for reasons beyond control

    -Meals, souvenirs and other local and personal expenses not specified in the above itinerary are also not included. Extra beverages and alcoholic drinks

    -Always carry enough cash for the international ($29) airport departure taxes

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    Photography Expedition Volcanoes Routes

    Duration
    10 Days
    Trip Type
    • Mountain
    • Rural
    • Urban
    • Culture
    • Explorer
    • Physical Rating: 1/5
    • Culture Shock: 1/5
    Starting Price
    $3700
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