Frequently Asked Questions
Will I be able to charge my digital camera batteries?
Yes, electricity is available at all of the lodges we use. Current in Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Panama is the same as in the United States. If you are traveling to these countries from Europe or other areas, you will likely need to bring along a voltage converter, which can be found at many hardware and electronics stores. Peru, Argentina, and Chile have 220 volt European-style plugs in most areas. Brazil has variation by state but you will likely need an adapter. On each workshop page and in our pre-trip info we send once you've signed up, we will give you links to the adapters we like to use for each country.
How should I back up my images during the trip?
Can Foto Verde Tours arrange my air travel? Does Foto Verde Tours offer travel insurance?
How should I pack my photo gear for air travel?
How should I pack my gear on a daily basis once I arrive at my destination?
A great way to handle gear for everyday shooting during a Foto Verde Tours photo workshop is to use a smaller backpack or a belt system. Your tour leader will go over the objectives for each shooting session, helping you to decide what gear to have on hand. You'll rarely need everything so a way to carry only what you need is very handy. We like the ThinkTank Shapeshifter, which can do double duty as a personal item carry-on and then a backpack for the field. It's a great complement to a Pelican Air or ThinkTank rolling case.
How do I keep my equipment safe from theft while during my tour?
As photographers, we accept the need to be careful with our equipment as a fact of life. The best rule is never to let your equipment out of your sight. Nonetheless, this is not possible at absolutely all times. Despite the fact that Foto Verde Tours chooses reputable lodges and hotels, care, as with travel anywhere in the world, must be taken. We take great care to minimize safety risks during our workshops. Equipment theft is not something that should make you nervous. While we avail ourselves of hotel safes when available to store documents and cash and other small valuables, we don't use any special locks or devices for our camera equipment. We simply use caution.
How do I keep my equipment safe from humidity while in the rainforest?
Are there any tropical diseases of which I should be aware?
Diseases are not a major hassle where we travel. We suggest being up to date on all regular vaccines and standard travel vaccines (influenza, Hep A and B). Diseases with insect vectors, such as malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever are a fact of life in tropical countries in Latin America. But, we do not visit any areas of particular concern.
Will I have access to the Internet while on a photo workshop?
Most of the hotels and lodges we use offer free WiFi. In fact, we use hotels in capital cities for your arrival and departure days that do offer good, free Internet so that you may e-mail family and friends. A smartphone or tablet is a great accessory to have as you can connect quickly when you have a chance. Once out in the rural areas, Internet will be less reliable and slower. You should plan on keeping in touch once a day with a simple, Internet based messaging app such as Whatsapp or Messenger when away from the capital.
What emergency contact numbers should I give to friends and family?
We have a number of different emergency contact options, all of which will be made available to you when you book with us.
Will someone be there to meet me when I arrive?
Certainly. One of our representatives will be waiting for you as soon as you exit the airport after going through immigration, claiming your baggage, and clearing customs. Private transfers to and from the airport are always included in the price of any Foto Verde Tours workshop. We will provide you with detailed arrival information specific to each country when you book a photo workshop with us.
What expenses does my Foto Verde itinerary cover?
As a matter of course, your package price will include everything except tips, alcoholic beverages, non-meal time drinks and snacks, and airport departure taxes if applicable. From the time you step off the plane until the time you depart, we have you covered. With Foto Verde Tours, there are no hidden costs, and unlike many people running photo tours, we operate completely legally and transparently.
Where should I change money? Do I need to change money?
This depends on which country you are traveling to. In general, however, US dollars will be accepted throughout Latin America. If you want to change a bit of money to a local currency, our city hotels we use for the arrival days of each trip will usually give a better rate than the airport exchange stalls, and you'll be able to change money in a more relaxed environment.
Do I tip at a restaurant?How much is an appropriate tip for drivers, hotel staff, guides, etc.?
Bellhops often receive $1 per bag.
Cleaning staff at your capital city hotels can receive $3-5 per night.
A $1 tip for a bartender at the hotel is fine when you order drinks.
Hotels and lodges often have a tip box that goes to a general pot that is divided among the staff. If leaving a tip in the box, we suggest somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 per room per day.
Drivers transferring you to or from the airport appreciate a tip of $3-5 is appreciated but not obligatory.
If you have a full-time driver during your trip, a tip of $5-10 per day per person is appropriate for groups of 5 people or more. For smaller groups, you can add a little bit to this per day suggestion.
If you have a full-time local photo/naturalist guide, a tip of about $10 per day per person is appropriate, with perhaps a bit more for smaller groups.
Tips for professional photographers who lead your workshop is an open question. A tip certainly is not expected your photographer leader will be able to set his/her own price. Nonetheless, if you would like to tip your professional photographer leader, the practice is not considered inappropriate.
Why doesn't Foto Verde Tours include the cost of tips?
That's a good question, and we have considered it after discussing the matter with numerous workshop participants. Though we realize it can be a source of stress dealing with tips, people's preferences for how much is appropriate has led us to refrain from including tips automatically in the price of our workshops. Nonetheless, we will help you out to great degree in making sure you're prepared both with our pre-trip information and throughout the workshop trip itself. Please don't stress about tipping :-)
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. Though each workshop will be different, layering is always a good strategy. We will send you clothing information specific to your workshop after you've signed up.
Can I have laundry done?
I'd like a single room. Can that be arranged?
I'm traveling by myself but would like a double room. Can that be arranged?
Can I drink the water?
The airline lost my luggage. What do I do?!
Don’t worry — too much! We will help you through the process. Each country will be different so please pay close attention to the contact info we send you after you've signed up for a workshop.