Travel will by on a spacious Air-Conditioned Bus, and we will have our own full-time driver, as well as our own Costa Rican bilingual Naturalist Guide.
Day 1 (Friday, Feb. 26):
Arrive in San Jose, where you will be met at the Airport, and transported to the Hotel Bougainvillea for an overnight stay. The Hotel Bougainvillea is a family owned and operated inn with 80 tastefully decorated rooms set in 12 acres of beautiful gardens. The restaurant offers continental cuisine in a wonderful dining room. Guests can stroll in the gardens, swim in the heated pool, enjoy a sauna or use the tennis courts.
Day 2 (Saturday, Feb. 27):
Morning pick-up from the hotel on our Private Bus, traveling to Cerro de la Muerte. En route, we'll be making a stop at the Tapanti National Park. With around 260 species of birds, along with 45 species of mammals, not to mention a wide variety of insects and reptiles, along with a diverse fauna, there should be an abundance of nature to see and photograph. Continue on in the afternoon to the Savegre Mountain Hotel in Cerro de la Muerte, where we'll be spending the next 2 nights. (B,L,D)
Day 3 (Sunday, Feb. 28):
Spend the day exploring the Cerro de la Muerte area. The woods around the hotel serve as a sanctuary for a large number of mammals and innumerable species of insects, amphibians, amazing plants and colorful birds, a paradise for birdwatchers, hikers, etc. Over 170 bird species have been observed in the general area and its multiple hiking trails in the Cloud Forest. This is known as one of the best places in the country to see the Resplendant Quetzal, which live here year-round. The Hotel hosts the Quetzal Education Research Center Complex (QERC), a cooperative venture between the Chacón Family and Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma. (B,L,D)
Day 4 (Monday, March 1):
Final shooting at Savegre in the morning, and then depart for the town of San Vito, home of the Wilson Botanical Gardens and the OTS-Las Cruces Biological Station, where we'll be spending the next 2 nights. (B,L,D)
Day 5 (Tuesday, March 2):
Explore the grounds of the Wilson Botanical Gardens. The Wilson Botanical Gardens was established in the 1960's as a botanical garden and houses perhaps one of the best collections of palms and other tropical plants in the world. It is also known as one of the best birding spots in Costa Rica. "Typically tropical" plants such as palms, tree ferns, orchids, passion flowers, philodendrons, and bromeliads offer plenty of fare for botanically-oriented photographers wishing to include plants to establish the location's exotic setting, while aficionados of avian fauna will thrill at the challenge of capturing images of stunningly beautiful birds such as Cherry's tanagers, speckled tanagers, red-legged honeycreepers and green-honeycreepers that feed in the gardens. (B,L,D)
Day 6 (Wednesday, March 3):
This morning we depart San Vito for the scenic drive to Tiskita Jungle Lodge. We will take a leisurely drive through the agriculture region of southern Costa Rica and have time to stop whenever we encounter one of those "unexpected surprises", that so often occur on journeys through Costa Rica (such as a crested caracara on a roadside fence post, scenic vista, interesting photos for location settings, etc.). (B,L,D)
Day 7 (Thursday, March 4) through Day 9 (Saturday, March 6):
Tiskita is a nature lodge on a 550-acre private rainforest reserve in the remote region south of Golfito on the southern Pacific coast. The lodge has cabins scattered over the property, all with ocean views and viewing decks. While at Tiskita enjoy guided walks in the rainforest and the exotic fruit orchard. Guests can explore the rainforest on their own, walk to the nearby village, explore isolated beaches, swim in the pool, ocean, and/or fresh water jungle pools, or simply relax in hammocks. Tiskita is actively involved in a program reintroducing baby Pacific Ridley turtles to the ocean. The Lodge also worked on a program during 2002-03 reintroducing scarlet macaws to the wild, and these birds are now free flying around the property. Noontime temperatures in April will be in the upper 80's to mid 90's here, so we strongly suggest rising early, taking a mid-day siesta on your room's porch hammock or cooling off in the forest stream near the restaurant, and then continuing your activites in the afternoon when the temperature drops.
The photographic possibilities here are absolutely outstanding! In the forests you will find massive trees with serpentine roots and others with giant buttresses, elegant palms and giant woody lianas that are symbolic of an old tropical rainforest. Throughout the property there are over 270 bird species, beautiful butterflies including the giant blue morpho (morphos are a photographic challenge as their closed wings are dark brown, and they open their wings mostly during fast and erratic flight), lowland tropical flowers, green iguanas, spiny tailed lizards (also known as ctenosaurs-when photographed from the ground at eye level these two lizard species look wonderfully prehistoric!), unusual tropical fruits growing on the trees around the property (the owner collected fruits from around the world), hermit crabs near the beach, white-faced capuchin monkeys, howling monkeys, and the very appealing squirrel monkeys (which are only found in the southwest coastal region of Costa Rica), green and red poison dart frogs (near the waterfall about 300 yards from the restaurant), tent bats under heliconia or palm leaves (look for the tell-tale chewed leaf ribs and folded leaves), the resident white ghost bat (often roosting in the eaves of a cabin-ask the guide where he is lately), brown basilisk lizards near the streams, graceful flocks of pelicans flying low over the ocean surf, parrots and scarlet macaws, chestnut-mandibled toucans, brightly colorful black and scarlet "mouthless" land crabs, coconut palms on a deserted tropical beach at dawn or in the red glow of a Costa Rican April summer sunset, sunset over the ocean and more. (B,L,D)
Day 10 (Sunday, March 7):
We take a morning charter flight from the private airstrip at Tiskita, to San Jose. We'll be picked up at the National Airport, and transferred back to the Bougainvillea Hotel. (B,L,D)
Day 11 (Monday, March 8):
Breakast and private transfer to the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose for your flights home. (B)