Cultural and Wildlife Tours to Costa Rica
Costa Rica Explorer
San José • Osa Peninsula • Puerto Jimenez • Sierpe River
2021 TRIP INFO
(this trip, like that of our others, will only operate
when it is safe to do so and we have been cleared to travel)
July 2 – 10, 2021
Come join PhotoEnrichment Adventures Founder and CEO (Chief Experience Officer)for a customized, small group tour of San José and the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica.
6 participants minimum to 11 maximum.
“The most biologically intense place on Earth.”
~ National Geographic
The Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, what scientists believe used to be an island and is now connected to the mainland, has been described by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on Earth.”
To begin what promises to be an amazing journey in Costa Rica we’ll fly in and out of the capital city of San José where we’ll have an opportunity to experience parts of it and its surroundings when we visit a nearby coffee plantation and wonderful natural wonders such as waterfalls and the often dense flora.
After spending two nights in San José next we take an included flight down to the Osa Peninsula where we’ll be picked up by our local hosts at the airport and driven nearby to the world-class Crocodile Bay Resort (4 stars). The resort is situated on the waterfront and is comprised of 44 acres of manicured gardens and trails and comes complete with built-in swimming pool with swim up bar, hot tub and a variety of spa services including massage and other body treatments, and the food is plentiful and very good (you can order anything you like right off the menu, and red and white wine are included).
We also have some truly incredible experiences and activities planned, including:
Monkey Tour: “The tropical lowland rainforest is the most species-rich land-based ecosystem on Earth. It’s a land of enchantment made up of brilliantly colored birds (the scarlet macaw and the chestnut-mandible toucan), rare mammals (both 2 and 3-toed sloths), four species of monkeys (howler, white-faced, spider and squirrel, all of which together are only seen in this area), along with peccaries, and wild cats. Your senses will be heightened as you become one with your surroundings!”
Note: The road we take for the Monkey Tour is not paved and can be extremely rough and pitted. It’s a short drive, only about 18 km (11 miles or so), but it can take upwards of an hour or more as the driving is very slow, even in 4-wheel drive vehicles. This is, of course, an optional activity in which you can choose to participate or not.
Finca Raices de Osa (Chocolate Farm Tour): “Owned and operated by a local Costa Rican family, this project is a thriving example of agro-ecology. This visionary farm serves as a model of success for balancing the subsistence needs of humans with preserving nature. The tour commences with a nice easy walk through organic tropical fruit orchards and fields of pineapple, banana, papaya, melon, sugar cane and manioc. We then visit the natural corridors of the farm, where well-manicured trails lead you through a picturesque lowland rainforest. Experience how chocolate is made and taste the results. The tour ends with a complete lunch, including an offering to prepare, and sample, some of the many products of the farm, which vary seasonally and are served under the shade of an enormous Kapok tree.”
Sierpe River Tour: “Come with us to the other side of the peninsula where the many waterways that make up the Sierpe River lowlands are located. On this tour we’ll ride in comfortable river boats, accompanied by our local guide/naturalist, throughout the area where we’ll see many different forms of animal life that inhabit the area, including exotic birds, reptiles and mammals. We’ll also have the chance to stop at a local historic site known as ‘Finca 6’ which will allow us the chance to view several examples of the famous stone spheres of Costa Rica. These spheres are commonly attributed to the extinct Diquis culture, are sometimes referred to as the ‘Diquis Spheres,’ and are thought to date back to the Aguas Buenas Period of 300-800 AD.” Finca 6 is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
There’ll be many other opportunities to photograph in and around the resort property, and elsewhere, including at least one night shoot where it’s almost guaranteed we’ll see exotic frogs, lizards, insects and other nocturnal creatures that we can photograph (be sure to listen to the rhythm of the forest, too).
Other optional activities that can be arranged by the resort during your free time include a boat ride with visit to the Golfo Dulce Animal Sanctuary, which is located right on the water; a chance to see and tag sea turtles (you can name them, too, if they haven’t been tagged before) at LAST Sea Turtle Project (Latin American Sea Turtle); plus you can experience some of the best deep sea fishing in the world on one of the resort’s fully-equipped boats, complete with fishing gear and captain and crew who will help you throughout. There are also bikes available that you can use for free to ride around the area.
“LOVED your presentation at The Refinery on Saturday!! You got me motivated to travel & I learned a lot!! THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME and for sharing your gift!!”
“Thanks again for such an amazing trip…my photography interest and appetite has completely grown since the trip and I have come back so invigorated and inspired. I’m excited to learn more and begin to take some higher quality pictures.”
“Thanks for a great trip. All went smoothly and I had a great time. I return a better photographer for certain and have a new perspective on what I see. You offer a great product – smart itineraries, hotels and food choices…I look forward to another trip.”
“The fun, adventure and friendship with you means everything to us, along with a great photo or two along the way!”
“Ralph, Morocco truly is magical! Thanks for a beautiful two weeks!”
“Our tour leader Ralph was one of the most knowledgeable trip leaders I have experienced over the past 40 years. He is a very experienced photographer and generously shared his knowledge, talents and experience with us. I think I learned more composition skills and believe I am a better photographer.”
“I really liked the [small] size of the tour. It felt like traveling with friends from very early on, and continued to feel that way. That last hotel we stayed in, the one in Budapest, was such a treat! Those views were fabulous, and it ended the trip in style. Ralph is a good trip leader… He wasn’t hovering, but he did stop and give tips and I felt well-tended. The local guides were all outstanding!”
“Ralph is an engaging and knowledgeable photographer that puts his world class experience in your hands. This trip has been off the charts.”
“The photo critique alone [at the Photography Boot Camp] is worth the price of admission.”
“Great examples clearly demonstrated the points Ralph made. His teaching methods made many things much simpler to understand. I thoroughly enjoyed this class!”
Dates: July 2 – 10, 2021
TENTATIVE PRICING, MAY CHANGE SLIGHTLY FOR 2021
The price for this trip is $4,899 per person in double occupancy.
Please add $699 per person for single supplement if you’d like your own room throughout.
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER
Please request the details of this trip, including complete itinerary, by contacting us at.
To register, you can pay with a credit card via PayPal (to request invoice) or deposit a check directly into the PhotoEnrichment Programs, Inc. bank account at any Bank of America branch. Depositing a check affords a $50 per person discount.
We’ll send you all the payment details if you’ll contact us above.
Your participation is not confirmed until completed Reservation Form and Terms & Conditions, plus passport copy and payment in full, have been received.
- 8 nights accommodations in Costa Rica, including 2 nights at the Doubletree Cariari in the capital of San José and 6 nights at Crocodile Bay Resort in the Osa Peninsula. Both are 4 star hotels, each with at least one pool, professional spa services, and other amenities available.
- Private airport transfer in San José (SJO) upon arrival, and group airport transfer to and from our hotel in Puerto Jimenez (PJM) on the Osa Peninsula.
- Roundtrip internal flights from SJO > PJM > SJO are included.
- Services of English-speaking guides, naturalists and photographers throughout.
- Meals and Drinks: All meals are included, except for one dinner in San José, and include water, soft drinks and red or white wine. Beer and other drinks are available at an additional cost.
- Soft drinks, beer, water and a variety of snacks are provided throughout all our group activities.
- Transportation between all locations and for group activities in private, air-conditioned vehicles.
- Private boat ride on the Sierpe River with naturalist guide.
- Entry fees for all included sites and experiences.
- Orientation tours in each location with our local, English-speaking guides.
- Group tips for local guides, naturalists, drivers, hotels and included meals.
Program does not include:
- Airfare to and from San José (SJO) from your home airport.
- Items of a personal nature such as, but not limited to, laundry, Internet access when not included (all hotels have free Wi-Fi), souvenirs, telephone calls, additional tips, alcoholic beverages, and other items not specifically outlined as included in this Itinerary.
Small Group Tours with Travel Photographer Ralph Velasco
- Keeping our travel schedule in mind, participants will be put in the right place, at the right time, to explore and capture the best of this part of Costa Rica, including its people, food, wildlife and other cultural wonders.
- Types of Photography: Night, macro, wildlife, cultural, travel, landscapes and more.
- Major Activities in San José: Welcome Dinner, morning trip to a coffee plantation outside of San José, visit to La Paz waterfall, lunch at a local restaurant.
- Major Activities in Osa Peninsula: Sierpe River Cruise; visit to Finca 6 (a UNESCO World Heritage Site); privately-guided visit to a Chocolate Farm with included lunch; Monkey Tour in private vehicle; photo walking tour of Puerto Jimenez with Ralph and local guide, cooking demonstration and more.
- Optional boat ride to visit an animal sanctuary (extra fee required) and a free day at end of trip.
- We’ll also visit a number of off-the-beaten-path sites and locations to meet and interact with the people, all while having a chance to photograph the nature and wildlife along the way.
- Participants will have a chance to sit down with Ralph and fellow travelers during an image review allowing him to gauge each participant’s progress and to provide valuable feedback.
Ralph Velasco is a U.S.-based travel photography instructor, author and international guide who has organized and led over 100 international tours and more than 100 domestic tours in the United States. His international trips have included Armenia & the Republic of Georgia, Egypt, Morocco, the Adriatic, Central Europe, Iceland, Bhutan & Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Spain, Portugal, Tuscany, Romania, Mexico’s Copper Canyon, Turkey and other locations.
Ralph is an award-winning travel photography blogger, podcast host and public speaker, and for more than 12 years he’s been the Founder and CEO (Chief Experience Officer) of PhotoEnrichment Adventures. Recently he created a new travel brand called Alla Campagna Experiences where the focus is less on photography in each destination and even more about the culture, people, food, drink and other unique activities and experiences they have to offer, all while staying in unforgettable properties, such as private castles, wine estates, one-of-a-kind boutique hotels, villas and converted mansions, mostly in and around the Mediterranean.
Subscribe to Ralph’s new YouTube channel, The Continental DRIFTER, as well as visit its accompanying travel blog at this link. At The Continental DRIFTER you can expect travel advice, interesting stories, expert interviews and easy-to-use photography tips for Baby Boomers and Gen X travelers.
Now, invest in yourself…get out and travel!
Here are testimonials from actual Costa Rica Explorer tour participants:
“Costa Rica was my 4th trip with Ralph. Each trip brings its own unique adventures to us! This trip really gave me a great view of Costa Rica and the many types of wildlife in the Osa Peninsula. Crocodile Bay is like living in an open, natural zoo with monkeys, beautiful birds and yes, crocodiles, just steps out your door. Seeing the Red-Eyed Tree Frog at night was absolutely fascinating! Staying mainly in one place for the majority of the trip was great. It was nice to settle in and the go out on adventures each day. This trip was very different from all other trips I have taken with Ralph and I really had a great time. If you like to get out of ‘tourist zone’ and get close to nature, you would really enjoy this trip!”
~ Carole Rogoff (2019 Costa Rica, 2019 Morocco,
2018 Vietnam, 2018 Cuba)
“If you enjoy wildlife and nature and photographing in the wild with a small group this is a trip of a lifetime. Costa Rica is unforgettable. It was a wonderful adventure and one I am so glad I did not miss. Ralph knows how to arrange the best locations, guides and activities. There is no other way to visit a country like Costa Rica and see and photograph all of the amazing wildlife unless you do it like this! What an adventure.”
~ Chris Payant (2019 Costa Rica, 2018 Morocco,
2017 India, 2016 Vietnam)
“Excellent opportunity to experience the culture of Costa Rica plus see and photograph the wonderful diversity of unique wildlife this country has to offer.”
~ Rob Jewell (2019 Costa Rica, 2018 Copper Canyon, Mexico)
“The trip was a wonderful experience and exposure to how coffee is grown and how chocolate was made. Seeing all those wild animals in a natural habitat was a treat.”
~ John Yelland (2019 Costa Rica; 2018 Copper Canyon,
Mexico; Cambodia & Cuba)
All activities and itinerary details are subject to change, but rest assured we’ll make every effort to provide a comparable alternative in the unlikely event changes to our schedule need to be made.