Costa Rica

$3,200.00$3,800.00

April 25-May 3, 2020

Costa Rica is PIA’s #1 destination, with five distinct climate zones. From tropical rainforests to Pacific coastal fishing towns to cool mountain vistas, you have an endless variety of scenery and wildlife to photograph.

Birders are especially thrilled to find that there are more than 900 known species of birds, including toucans, hummingbirds, water fowl, and the highly-sought Resplendent Quetzal.

With four species of monkeys, sloths, frogs, and butterflies galore, the nature photographer will be in heaven. Add in 1400 (yep, 1400) species of orchids and a plethora of other exotic flowers, plants, and trees, and it gets hard to put down your camera.

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Flight information

April 25, 2020​​AA 5036​ Milwaukee – Charlotte​​ 7:20 AM​10:30 AM​
April 25, 2020​​AA 1707 ​Charlotte – San Jose, CR​11:25AM  ​  1:30 PM
May 3, 2020​​AA 1706​ San Jose, CR – Charlotte​  2:35PM​  8:45 PM
May 3, 2020​​AA 5578​ Charlotte – Milwaukee​​10:25 PM​11:29 PM​​

Itinerary

Day 1.
Travel to the Sarapiquí region through Vara Blanca, with a stop at La Paz Waterfall and San Fernando.
Dinner and overnight at La Quinta, a lovely, riverside family-run lodge with nature paths, a butterfly arbor, two pools, and outdoor dining and drinks. Each guestroom has a porch with hammocks for quiet time. (This is not associated with the La Quinta hotel chain.)

Links: www.laquintasarapiqui.com

Day 2.

  • Morning: We’ll have an early breakfast, then visit The Pavilion, a wild bird sanctuary that National Geographic calls one of the best birding sites in the world. Plan to get your best hummingbird shots here! Next we venture into the rainforest to hike over a suspended bridge and into the canopy, where we are likely to see howler monkeys, sloths, and an assortment of birds, insects, plants, and so on. There is so much to photograph!
  • Afternoon: We’ll take a nature trip down the Sarapiquí River, where we will be on the watch for different species of monkeys, water birds, parrots, macaws, and more.
  • 
Evening: Dinner and overnight at La Quinta.

Links: The Pavilion / Tirimbina Rainforest Center

Day 3.

  • Morning: Breakfast at La Quinta, then depart to La Fortuna and visit the Arenal Volcano National Park at Observatory Point. Photograph the live volcano, beautiful gardens, hummingbirds, and the waterfall. Lunch at the Observatory restaurant.
  • Afternoon, we check into the lovely Kokoro Lodge, then get ready to tour a small chocolate farm, learn about the process of turning cocoa beans into the world’s best chocolate. Prepare to sample the products. Then we move on to the natural hot springs where we can relax in any of the several pools.
  • Evening: Dinner is in La Fortuna, then you are welcome to explore the town, shop, or rest up at the hotel. Overnight at Kokoro Lodge.

Links: https://kokoroarenal.net / https://www.arenal.net/arenal-volcano-national-park

Day 4.

  • Morning: Optional early morning visit to the Bogarín Trail. It’s an easy hike to see abundant wildlife. Breakfast is at Kokoro, then we depart to the Pacific coast.
  • Afternoon: One of my favorite events is the boat trip down the Tarcoles River where we’ll see crocodiles, Spoonbills, herons, lizards, and more. Keep your long lens out and your toes in! Then we continue to Dominical and check into the beautiful Villas Río Mar, where you can walk the lovely grounds, relax poolside.
  • Evening: Dinner and overnight at Villas Rio Mar.

Links: https://www.villasriomar.com / https://www.costarica.com/attractions/tarcoles-river/

Day 5.

  • Morning: Breakfast, then off to the Marino Ballena National Park. Boat trip searching for whales and dolphins. Enjoy wildlife and a beautiful landscape. Lunch at Uvita town. 
• Afternoon: Beach time in Uvita. We stay and watch the glorious sunset.
  • Evening: Dinner and overnight at Villas Río Mar

Links: https://costa-rica-guide.com/nature/national-parks/ballena/

Day 6.

  • Morning: Breakfast then depart to San Gerardo de Dota. Visit Los Quetzales National
    Park. Lunch at Cerro Buena Vista, La Georgina Restaurant.
  • Afternoon. Check in at Savegre Lodge. Free time to enjoy the gardens. Expect hummingbirds! Side trips are possible in the beautiful, mountainous area.
  • Evening: Dinner and overnight at Hotel Savegre.

Links: https://www.costarica.com/attractions/los-quetzales-national-park / http://www.costaricagateway.com/lodges/savegre-mountain-lodge.html

Day 7.

  • Early morning: Looking for the Resplendent Quetzal. Photographers travel across the globe to spot what one ornithologist described as possibly the most beautiful bird on the planet. Her history is as rich and detailed as she is. You may want a long lens and a tripod for this. You will want a warm jacket. Mountain mornings are chilly!
  • Morning: We breakfast at the lodge, then Explore the Oak forest at Savegre.
  • Afternoon: Enjoy the gardens, or take a day to rest. Savegre Lodge has a lovely common room with a fireplace and a quiet bar, and outdoor patio area, and more. Optional for horseback riding or visit to the nearby luxurious spa. (These two optional events are not included in the price.)
  • Evening: Dinner, followed by group photo review (optional but valuable!) Overnight at Hotel Savegre.

Links: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/resque1/overview / https://www.holbrooktravel.com/blog/birding/divinity-resplendent-quetzal

Day 8.

  • Early morning: Optional visit to the Batsú Gardens, which was designed for optimal bird photography. You can sit in a pavilion and capture photos, or take a short hike up the hill and into the forest.
  • Morning: Breakfast, then depart for San José, with a stop at Cartago town, and a city tour in San José.
  • Afternoon: Check in at the Bougainvillea Hotel. Enjoy their famous botanical gardens, the pool, spa, tennis courts, and more.
  • Evening: Farewell dinner. Overnight at Bougainvillea

Links: http://www.batsucr.com / https://www.govisitcostarica.com/region/cartago/cartago.asp

Day 9.

  • Morning: Breakfast at the Bougainvillea. Pack. Take a final stroll of the gardens or do some last minute shopping. Transport to the airport. Our flight leaves at 2:30. We arrive back in MKE at 11:29 p.m.

Additional information

Occupancy

Double Occupancy, Single Occupancy

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