Greg Basco is a resident Costa Rican professional photographer and environmentalist. He is a BBC/Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Nature's Best Windland Smith Rice prizewinner, and his photos have been published by National Geographic, Outdoor Photographer, and Newsweek. His latest work is an acclaimed coffee table book on Costa Rica's natural wonders, and he is co-author of the popular e-books The Guide to Tropical Nature Photography and Lightroom for the Nature Photographer. Greg has earned a reputation as a knowledgeable workshop leader who puts his clients first. Greg does his own shooting on his own time, not yours!
Keith is a New Mexico based NANPA award-winning nature photographer and photographic instructor. Keith is a staff member with Nature Photographers Network in the role of moderator in the Avian image critique gallery. His extensive background in photography started with traditional black & white darkroom work, continued through college in a professional studio specializing in portraits, weddings and commercial photography and has continued with has passion for nature photography and education.
With an academic background in computer science, the marriage of computing and digital photography came easily. Keith took advantage of this to become a digital post processing specialist and instructor. Keith is co-author of the popular e-book Lightroom for the Nature PhotographerHis special areas of interest in photography are wildlife and nature photography, creating images of simple, yet compelling stories. When not photographing, Keith is the manager of a software engineering group at a national laboratory in New Mexico.
Day 1, October 20 Santiago
Arrival to Chile. Meet our representative at the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport and transfer to our hotel in the heart of Santiago. If you arrive early this day, make sure to get out and stroll around the neighborhood surrounding the hotel. The vibrant business district is a pleasant place to have a coffee or do a little shopping.
Day 2, October 21 Atacama Desert
After an early breakfast, we head to the airport for our flight to the Calama airport. Upon arrival, we take our private bus to our hotel in a beautiful colonial town on the edge of the Chilean altiplano. After check-in, we head to a great spot to photograph the late afternoon and the stars over patches of cracked mud in the desert with a majestic volcano background. We return to our hotel for dinner and a well-deserved rest.
Day 3, October 22 Atacama Desert
Today we set out early to an absolutely fantastic salt lake to photograph James' and Chilean Flamingos among the salt and sulphur deposits. After lunch in town, we head toward some famous geysers that are great for photography. Along the way, we'll grab a snack in a local indigenous town while we photograph wetland birds including Giant Coots, Andean Goose, and Puna Duck among others. We'll also photograph vizcachas, a cute Andean rabbit, and then photograph the old houses and church in the nearby town. As the afternoon grows later we head up to the geysers, where we have secured special permission to photograph them at sunset and into the night. This will be a fantastic and unique experience!
Day 4, October 23 Atacama Desert
We'll head out early again this morning, but it will be totally worth it. We'll shoot the sunrise over a magical salt lake where the crystals have formed patterns and blooms that offer us a myriad of compositional choices. So cool! We then visit another nearby salt lake that provides for fantastic shots of vicuña in a stunning environment. After lunch in a local restaurant, we continue on to another lake to shoot flamingos as the sun sets. This is a great opportunity for taking images with reflections and dramatic light. We return to our hotel for a relaxing dinner after this busy day.
Day 5, October 24 To Patagonia
This morning we travel back to the airport and fly south to Santiago and then continue on to Patagonia. We'll arrive to our hotel in the evening with time to check-in and enjoy a relaxing dinner after this busy travel day.
Day 6, October 25 Patagonia
This morning we shoot the sunrise right from our hotel and then have breakfast before heading out on our first Patagonian adventure. We'll take the morning to explore another nearby lake that offers us stunning mountain views. We return to our hotel for lunch and a bit of a rest before heading out to the Torres del Paine National Park for an area that offers us great views of the soaring mountain peaks. We can work with wide angle this afternoon but also with telephoto zooms for graphic compositions and time lapse. We return to our hotel for dinner this evening.
Day 7, October 26 Patagonia
We leave very early this morning for a beautiful section of the park that allows us to photograph a rushing river in the foreground with the famed horn mountain peaks in the background. We'll also have the chance to photograph a very pretty waterfall. We return to our lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, we will have a session on post-processing and a demonstration for putting together time lapse videos. We'll have an early dinner tonight and afterwards, head out right on the hotel grounds for night shots of the lake and the towering mountains of the national park by moonlight.
Day 8, October 27 Patagonia
We'll depart early this morning to a great spot for shots of Guanacos in their mountain environment, and we'll also have good chances to have nice photographic looks at Grey Fox and Lesser Rhea (an ostrich-like flightless bird). We also have a fair chance of photographing Andean Condor and Pygmy Owl. And of course we'll be on the lookout for the elusive Puma! We return to our hotel for lunch and then head out again to continue our wildlife photography. We enjoy dinner at our hotel.
Day 9, October 28 Patagonia
This day is our final day to get that magical landscape shot, and we have some great spots planned for you! We'll be out all day to photograph the celestial blue waters of some nearby lakes, and we'll again be on the lookout for wildlife, including the puma, to include in our landscape photos. And as a bonus, we'll be on the lookout for the very cool Torrent Duck, which frequents the rushing rivers of the national park. This will be a busy but productive day. We return to our hotel for dinner and a chance to relax.
Day 10, October 29 To Santiago
Today we enjoy our last breakfast at our beautiful mountain hotel before heading back to the airport for our flight to Santiago. We arrive in the late afternoon and have time to relax a bit before heading down the street to a local restaurant for our farewell dinner as a group.
Day 11, October 30 Flights Home
Walk across the sidewalk to the airport for your flights home.
THIS ITINERARY INCLUDES
- Lodging as specified
- Meals as specified
- Private transfers to and from airport on first and last days
- Transportation as specified w/private driver in spacious air-conditioned tour bus
- Professional, full-time photo instruction from your leader(s)
- All domestic flights within Chile
- Entrances and fees for all described activities
- Taxes for all specified services
THIS ITINERARY DOES NOT INCLUDE
- International airfare
- Alcoholic Drinks
- Non-mealtime snacks and drinks
- Dinner the first night
- Single room supplement ($650)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
+ Will someone be there to meet me at the airport?
Certainly! We take care of you from the moment you step off the plane until the moment you leave to return home. We'll send you all of the info you need to know regarding arrival in a final info message before the trip.
+ I plan to arrive a day early. Can you help?
Definitely, we'll be happy to make your reservations to ensure that you get to the same hotel that we have booked for the official first night of the tour. By the way, private transfers to and from the airport are always included in our tours, and you can use this transfer whether you arrive early or depart later than the official dates.
+ I see that we will be at moderately high elevations at times. Is there anything I can do to reduce the chances of altitude sickness?
Good question. We will be at higher elevations for the first 4 days of this trip. Hydration, ibuprofen, and being in shape can help but altitude sickness can strike regardless of age or physical condition. The local coca leaves are a traditional preventative, and we will have these available for you. They taste OK and do not produce any narcotic effect, though they do make you feel like kind of an outlaw, which is a cool bonus! If you think you are sensitive to higher altitudes, please ask your physician about the prescription medication Diamox.
+ What kind of clothes should I bring?
In general, your best choices are lightweight garments that breathe and dry quickly, and you’ll want a mix of long sleeves and short sleeves. A sturdy polartec and a good rain/wind jacket are also good to have as well as a warm hat and gloves. For meals, it’s informal at the lodges and in the region in general. A pair of jeans, tennis shoes, and a clean shirt are just fine for dinner, even in the captial city hotels. Lightweight hiking boots are fine for our photography out in the field. We will send you clothing and photo gear information specific to this trip after you've signed up.
+ Can I have laundry done?
The hotels and lodges we use offer laundry service for a cost of approximately $1-3 per garment with same or next day service.
+ Can I drink the water?
This is probably the question that our clients ask us the most. And it’s the one for which we have the least definitive answer, except to say that beer is always a safe choice! Water in Santiago is perfectly safe. The water at our hotel in the Atacama Desert is also safe. The water at our hotel in Patagonia is not but bottled water is available at the hotel bar, and we will make a grocery store stop to stock up on water and sundries. As with travel to any foreign country, immodium pills are good to have along, and some of our clients also bring along Cipro or other broad-spectrum antibiotics. Some go so far as to begin taking antibiotics before arriving in-country. For antibiotic use, we suggest you consult with your physician. That said, we have very very few problems with water and food-related issues on our tours.
+ I'd like a single room. Can that be arranged?
Certainly. Simply indicate your rooming preference on the workshop signup form.
+ I'm traveling by myself but would like a double room. Can that be arranged?
It depends. If we can match you up with a suitable solo traveler who also wants to share, we will place you in a double room.
Did you know that the Atacama Desert is the driest place on Earth? Some areas have never received a drop of rain!
You should arrive to and depart from Chile's Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL).
All of our hotels and lodges have electricity and hot water. They're quite nice! They even have WiFi available.
Plan to arrive early? No problem, we'll make your reservation for you!
This trip requires moderate fitness. There are no long hikes involved, but you we will visit a couple of areas that are over 12,000 feet in elevation. Our highest elevation for lodging, though, will be at only about 7,000 feet.
Electrical current is 220 volts and 50 Hz, so most of us will need an adapter. This is one option that we have found to work well and would serve you well in the US too.
Another option is to combine a small, stackable adapter set with a US-style portable power strip. Greg Basco has used this combo in Chile (and Europe) with no problems.
We recommend purchasing travel insurance if you have not already done so. There are many companies out there, but we've found Frontier MedEx to have a pretty good selection. Note that in the case of a medical emergency, we will assist you in every way possible.
Gear insurance is also a good idea. You may, of course, have your gear covered under your homeowner's policy. If not, we've heard good things about TCP Insurance. Greg Basco has had his gear covered under the NANPA policy offered through Rand Insurance for years. He's only had to file one claim but they took care of things right away with no hassle. Note that NANPA also offers recommendations for travel insurance for photo tours.
Travel to Chile does not require any special vaccinations or medicines, but you should be up to date on routine vaccinations. The CDC recommends being up to date on Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations. We advise you to consult with your physician.
Check out our reading list for our recommendations on great natural history books for our destinations.
Click the pic to read Greg Basco's ideas on how to make your bird photos stand out from the crowd.
- Jul 20, 2017 – Jul 31, 2017 COSTA RICA - The Art of Flight - SOLD OUT! Jul 20, 2017 – Jul 31, 2017
- Oct 20, 2017 – Oct 30, 2017 CHILE - Sand & Stone - SOLD OUT! Oct 20, 2017 – Oct 30, 2017
- Nov 9, 2017 – Nov 20, 2017 COSTA RICA - Tropical Nature Setups - SOLD OUT! Nov 9, 2017 – Nov 20, 2017
- Jan 25, 2018 – Feb 5, 2018 COSTA RICA - Toucans, Hummingbirds, & Quetzals - SOLD OUT! Jan 25, 2018 – Feb 5, 2018
- Feb 4, 2018 – Feb 16, 2018 COSTA RICA - Tropical Bird Photography - SOLD OUT! Feb 4, 2018 – Feb 16, 2018
- Mar 16, 2018 – Mar 27, 2018 ECUADOR - Hummingbirds, Herps, and More - SOLD OUT! Mar 16, 2018 – Mar 27, 2018
- Apr 14, 2018 – Apr 24, 2018 COSTA RICA - Art of Biodiversity Pacific - SOLD OUT! Apr 14, 2018 – Apr 24, 2018
- Jul 19, 2018 – Jul 31, 2018 COSTA RICA - The Art of Flight -- 4 SPOTS OPEN! Jul 19, 2018 – Jul 31, 2018
- Sep 7, 2018 – Sep 19, 2018 ECUADOR - Art of Biodiversity - SOLD OUT! Sep 7, 2018 – Sep 19, 2018