Cultural and Wildlife Tours to Costa Rica

Costa Rica Explorer

San José • Osa Peninsula • Puerto Jimenez • Matopalos • Sierpe River


June 29 – July 7, 2019

Come join PhotoEnrichment Adventures Founder and CEO (Chief Experience Officer) Ralph Velasco 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 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 surrounding when we visit the nearby coffee fields 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 (we’ll order right off the menu).


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!”  We’ll also enjoy a hand-packed lunch on Matopalos Beach where we can watch and photograph the many surfers and then we’ll end up at a local bar where the first beer is on Ralph!

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 small 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 will 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.”

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 waiting to be photographed by us (be sure to listen to the rhythm of the forest, too).

Other optional activities that can be arranged with 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.

  • “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!!”

    Carole Haner-Brackett Photography Basics Meetup participant
  • “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.”

    Sarah Radka Cuba tour participant
  • “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.”

    David Wild Morocco tour participant
  • “The fun, adventure and friendship with you means everything to us, along with a great photo or two along the way!”

    Brandon and Shea Mayberry Morocco and Spain tours participant
  • “Ralph, Morocco truly is magical!  Thanks for a beautiful two weeks!”

    Leslie Talley Morocco, Turkey and Cambodia tours participant
  • “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.”

    Larry Ehemann Central Europe, Cuba East and Romania tour participant
  • “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!”

    Heather Hellier Central Europe tour participant
  • “Ralph is an engaging and knowledgeable photographer that puts his world class experience in your hands. This trip has been off the charts.”

    Steve Grove Travel photography class, Cambodia and Vietnam tour participant
  • “The photo critique alone [at the Photography Boot Camp] is worth the price of admission.”

    Shaune Kelly Photography Boot Camp, Cuba and Tuscany tour participant
  • “Great examples clearly demonstrated the points Ralph made.  His teaching methods made many things much simpler to understand.  I thoroughly enjoyed this class!”

    Brenda Hatcher Photography Boot Camp participant
Map of Ralph Velasco's Costa Rica Explorer trip for June 2019.


Dates: June 29 – July 7, 2019


The price for this trip is $4,799 per person in double occupancy.

If you’d like your own room throughout the trip please add $699 for single supplement.


Please request the details of this trip, including complete itinerary, by contacting us at This Link.

To register, you can pay with a credit card via PayPal (Click This Link 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.


Program includes:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Photography instruction with your tour leader, Ralph Velasco.
  • Meals: All meals are included, except for one dinner in San José.
  • 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.
  • 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 the coffee region near San José, 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; full-day Monkey Tour in private vehicle (includes packed lunch and first drink at local bar); photo walking tour of Puerto Jimenez with Ralph and local guide.
  • 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.
  • Approximately 2- to 4-hours per day on average of instruction with travel photographer Ralph Velasco, including group photo walks and locally-guided walking tours in each location.
  • Participants will have a chance to sit down with Ralph during a mid-trip image review allowing him to gauge each participant’s progress and to provide valuable feedback.

Ralph Velasco Bio Pic in BW - Copyright Jenny McMasters

Ralph Velasco is a U.S.-based travel photography instructor, author and international guide who has organized and led close to 100 international tours, including to Egypt, Morocco, the Adriatic, Central Europe, Iceland, Bhutan, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Spain, Romania, Mexico’s Copper Canyon, Turkey, and other locations (hover your mouse over the TOURS tab above for our currently available trips).  He’s also organized and participated in over a dozen fully-licensed Humanitarian and People-to-People programs in Cuba.

Ralph is an award-winning travel photography blogger and for the past 10 years he’s been the Founder and CEO (Chief Experience Officer) of PhotoEnrichment Adventures.  He’s also Creator of Tour Organizer Training, a free webinar and online course series designed to teach everyday people, step-by-step, how to organize and lead their own special interest trips, whether around the world or around the corner.  Click here to join the next free webinar.


This is the first time we’re running a trip to Costa Rica, but here’s what clients who’ve joined us on other trips had to say. 


“Ralph’s trips are some of the best I have ever been on. You will experience meeting the people of the country, taste the food, have great travel partners and of course get help with your photos. I have had 8 trips with Ralph and am looking forward to another trip soon.”

~ Carol Lloyd (Spain, Cambodia, Cuba and many others)


“The best tour I’ve ever been on. This is the way to see and experience Vietnam.”

~ Jeff Dovitz (Vietnam and Cambodia)


“Still one of the best trips and smartest things we ever did.”

~ Paul and Nancy M. (Cuba and Morocco)


“This was a wonderful trip, thoughtfully planned. These are amazing countries to visit, each with a unique history and culture. The local guides were personable and extremely informative. Ralph is a fantastic tour leader – full of energy and genuinely interested in the places we visited. He was helpful in assisting me to capture the beauty of these places in my photographs. I highly recommend this trip.”

~ Donald S. (The Baltics – Lithuania, Latvia & Estonia)

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.

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