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-book The Guide to Tropical Nature Photography. 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!
Lucas Bustamante is a passionate biologist and wildlife photographer from Ecuador. For seven years now, he has been dedicated to documenting Ecuador's biodiversity, particularly reptiles and amphibians. He is a co-founder and general coordinator at Tropical Herping. In addition to leading photography tours, he also has written several articles and books about conservation and herpetology. Lucas' photographic work has been featured in National Geographic, Ranger Rick Jr., Discovery Channel and many other magazines, books, calendars and articles. He recently won the Macro category in the Nature's Best Windland Smith Rice competition.
Day 1, August 16, Arrival/Lima
Arrival to Peru. Meet our representative at the Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) and transfer to our hotel in the heart of Lima. If you arrive early this day, make sure to get over to the charming beaches and viewpoint at Miraflores with its fantastic food – considered one of the best in the world for authentic Peruvian cuisine!
Day 2, August 17, Amazon basin
After an early breakfast, we take our private bus to the Lima airport for our local flight to Puerto Maldonado, a small town in the Southeast Peruvian Amazon. After a 90 minute flight, we meet our representative and then drive just a few minutes to the lodge office and from there drive 60 minutes in a private bus to the Tampobata River. Here we start our adventure by the river! After 3 hours downriver surrounded by Amazonian landscapes, we arrive to our first lodge, where we have great chances to photograph Brown Agoutis, Russet-Backed Oropendola, and Rufous Motmots right on the lodge grounds.
Day 3, August 18, Amazon basin
Today we set in immediately to our macro setups. Colorful caterpillars, Bullet ants, and Three-striped Poison-Frogs will all be on the menu in addition to a few surprises. When not photographing macro, we’ll be photographing Hoatzins, Caracaras and great landscapes at Condenado Lake. This will be a great day in a fantastic place!
Day 4, August 19, Amazon basin
Before breakfast this morning, we head out on our boat to the region's best clay lick where we'll be able to photograph Scarlet, Red and Green, and Blue and Yellow Macaws as well as a number of different species feeding on the sodium-rich clay banks. During the trip, we also have the chance to photograph Capybaras, White-capped Herons, monkeys, and caimans. We return to the lodge in time for lunch and then take the afternoon for more macro photography.
Day 5, August 20, Amazon basin
And today we have the chance to do it all again – a great day of tropical rainforest photography in one of the best rainforests in the world!
Day 6, August 21, Amazon basin
After an early breakfast, we take a 2 hour boat ride upstream to our next lodge, the Posada Amazonas. As soon we arrive, we have lunch and then spend the afternoon photographing the Oropendola nests; if we have luck, we can see their interaction with White-Throated Toucans, which try to steal their eggs and chicks. Also, the Dusky Titi Monkeys visit the lodge at this time in the day. We finish the day with a sunset session from a 120 feet canopy tower, a great opportunity for some species of parrots, macaws and toucans as well as the landscape.
Day 7, August 22, Amazon basin
After an early breakfast, we visit the famed Oxbow Lake. We cruise on a big catamaran just for us so where we can set our tripods and take amazing landscape shots. In addition, a feast of birds including ancient Hoatzins, Capped Herons, and jacanas awaits us. And the big prize is a family of Giant River Otters! In the afternoon, we work our macro setups back at the lodge for amphibians, reptiles, and colorful insects.
Day 8, August 23, Amazon basin
After breakfast, we visit the Parrot Clay Lick, just 20 minutes walking from the lodge, where we have the chance to get up close and personal with Mealy Amazon Parrots, Red-bellied Macaws, and Cobalt Winged Parakeets. In the afternoon, we head back to the Oxbow Lake, this time to photograph Black Caiman at sunset!
Day 9, August 24, Amazon basin
Early coffee this morning, and then we spend the sunrise at the canopy tower, our last chance to photograph Amazonian birds. We'll have a relaxing afternoon processing and captioning images before enjoying our farewell sunset at Oxbow Lake or the canopy tower.
Day 10, August 25, Amazon basin to Cuzco
After an early breakfast, we check out and depart for the local airport at Puerto Maldonado and our 30 minute flight to Cuzco. We arrive to our hotel in Cuzco in mid-afternoon with time to check in and photograph the vendors at the fantastic local market. We enjoy a relaxing dinner at the hotel this evening.
Day 11, August 26, Machu Picchu
After an early breakfast, we take our private bus to the Cuzco train station and then travel to Aguas Calientes. From there, we are only minutes away from the famed ruins of Machu Picchu! We'll have the rest of the day to explore the ruins, photographing dramatic landscapes, people, and animals such as llamas and vizcacha. At the end of the day we return to our hotel in Cuzco for dinner.
Day 12, August 27, Cuzco
Today we have the chance to visit local towns in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This is a fantastic opportunity to photograph the beautiful landscapes and people of the area as well as the colorful marketplaces. At the end of the day, we will photograph the city lights of Cuzco as dusk falls. We return to Cuzco for a relaxing dinner.
Day 13, August 28, Cuzco and come back to Lima
After breakfast, we check out and fly back to Lima. We arrive to our hotel a bit of time to relax before enjoying a farewell dinner at a famed local restaurant right on the ocean in the business and shopping heart of Lima, the Miraflores district.
Day 14, August 29, Heading home!
Private transfers to the airport for your flights home.
THIS ITINERARY INCLUDES
- Lodging as specified
- Meals as specified
- Transportation as specified w/private driver in spacious air-conditioned tour bus
- Domestic flights
- Professional, full-time photo instruction from your leader(s)
- 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 in Lima
- Single room supplement ($710)
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 see that we have domestic flights. How should I pack? Is the price included?
Indeed, we will fly from Lima to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon on Day 2 and then back again on Day 13. The price of these flights is included in the trip price. As the trip date draws closer, we will be in touch with detailed information on how to pack for the domestic flights.
+ 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.
+ 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 light rain jacket is also good to have. 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 your photography out in the field. Of course a good hat and sunscreen are important. The sun is strong in the tropics, even on cloudy days. We will send you clothing information specific to your trip after you've signed up.
+ Can I have laundry done?
Even though we will be in the remote Amazon for most of our trip, there is laundry service as long as it's sunny. Clothes are hand-washed using biodegradable soap and are then line-dried.
+ Can I drink the water?
In Lima, water is fine to drink. Our Amazon lodges will have plenty of treated water on hand for us to drink (cold bottled water is available, and treated water is available from dispensers placed throughout the lodge grounds) but you won't want to drink from the tap.
+ How do I keep my equipment safe from humidity while in the rainforest?
The lush cloud forests and rain forests for which Costa Rica is famous means that your camera gear will be exposed to high humidity. We’ve never had problems with our gear here in Costa Rica, and neither have our clients, so humidity is nothing to be obsessed about. And it is certainly not a deterrent to visiting and photographing the rainforest. Nonetheless, a three-pronged strategy will help avoid damage to your gear and allow you to concentrate on your photography.
First, pack your gear well in water repellant camera bags and backpacks and sprinkle these liberally with silica gel packages. Former Foto Verde Tour participant Christian Moynihan turned us on to this site for all of your silica gel needs: http://www.silicagelpackets.com/. Whenever possible, pack each item in ziploc bags to avoid condensation upon exiting an air-conditioned vehicle or when traveling from the cool highlands to the warm lowlands.
Second, try to avoid actually getting your gear wet. We try to send our photo clients to lodges with covered shooting areas but these are not always available. A good rain cover for your camera and/or a small umbrella that clips onto your tripod can be very useful. And rain showers can come down suddenly when you are out with your camera. That same small umbrella is an easy way to cover up as are garbage bags stored in handy places in your camera bag. Camera bags with built-in rain covers are particularly useful.
Third, at night you may want to dry your equipment with a compact hair dryer that you bring along for this purpose (most lodges do not have hair dryers in the bathroom).
+ 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 Amazonian forests of Peru are perhaps the most biodiverse in the world? Famed biologist E.O. Wilson counted over 40 species of ant on one tree in the Peruvian Amazon, and botanist Al Gentry identified over 300 different tree species in just one hectare!
You should arrive to and depart from Peru's Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM).
All of our hotels and lodges have electricity and hot water. They're quite nice! Many even have WiFi available.
Plan to arrive early? No problem, we'll make your reservation for you!
This trip requires a moderately high level of fitness. Your leader will go over the gear you need for every shooting session so you don't have to carry the kitchen sink. That said, it can be hot and humid, and you should be able to carry a camera, long lens, and tripod over forest trails for at least 15 minutes. If necessary, we can arrange for porters from the lodges to help out for a small fee.
Electrical current in Peru is 220 volts but at our hotels and lodges the plugs are US-style. If you are coming from Europe, Asia, or Australia you will want a a universal adapter.
For US and Canada clients, Greg Basco recommends this little power strip:
For clients from Asia, Australia, and Europe, this little universal power strip works well.
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.
While Peru does not require any specific vaccinations to enter the country, we are visiting the wild Amazon. Although our lodges will be super comfortable, remote tropical areas harbor certain medical issues. We recommend that you receive vaccination for Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever. Most locals do not take medical precautions against malaria but it would be prudent to talk to your doctor about taking one of these anti-malarial drugs -- Atovaquone, Doxycycline, or Mefloquine.
Check out our reading list for our recommendations on great natural history books for our destinations.
Click the pic to read Greg Basco's top 5 tips for getting high quality files from your DSLR.
- 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 - ONE SPOT OPEN DUE TO CANCELLATION! 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
- Oct 8, 2018 – Oct 18, 2018 CHILE - Sand & Stone - Just announced! Oct 8, 2018 – Oct 18, 2018