Costa Rica's Natural Treasures
Discover exotic flora and fauna as you traverse treetop bridges, float along the Tempisque River, trek to a volcano, and take guided walks at Monteverde's biological reserve.
WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY
What are you waiting for? Go now!”
This was an exceptional first time tour group experience. Smithsonian gets an A+ for combining learning and fun as a way to see new lands.”
The diverse perspectives and knowledge shared by and with the fellow travelers makes each trip unique, special, and memorable in ways words cannot express.”
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A popular and respected naturalist, Patty Hostiuck is well-versed in tropical as well as polar ecosystems. Patty leads trips to the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers, Peru, Chile, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, Honduras, the Caribbean, and Baja California, as well as Australia, and Borneo. Patty's high-latitude work has taken her to every northerly nation from the Canadian High Arctic, Greenland, and Iceland to Svalbard, Norway, and Russia. Over 20 trips to Antarctica, Tierra del Fuego, and Patagonia make for a nearly pole-to-pole career!
Patty has led over 50 trips with Smithsonian Journeys. Fun to travel with, she has shared her expertise in mammals, birds, insects, and plants aboard ships and on the trail with thousands of fellow explorers in dozens of remote areas.
David Clapp is a respected naturalist and teacher who worked extensively in land conservation and habitat management. David has taught at Northeastern University, lectured on strategies for land protection in the United States, Africa, Europe, and Asia, and consulted for an array of governmental and conservation agencies. He spent his professional career working for the Massachusetts Audubon Society and has led Smithsonian Journeys adventures for about thirty years. His research has included studies in avian populations and breeding birds of various species. Although natural history is his primary focus, David is interested in cultural history, geology, and evolution. He has been involved in ecotourism for more than thirty years and has led tours throughout the world. Especially through his involvement with ecotourism he has been able to train naturalists, provide natural history materials, and work with conservation organizations worldwide. His lectures run the gamut from plate tectonics and the history of the world to flight and migration as it relates to sites being visited. A naturalist of unusual breadth and depth, he has led Smithsonian Journeys practically from pole to pole. David is also an extremely gifted photographer. He is a popular expert and our travelers consistently express their appreciation for his efforts and enthusiasm.
Dr. Nina Zitani bonded with nature as a young child growing up in a small historic New Jersey town with giant trees and lots of bugs. During her first field season as an entomology graduate student she fell in love with tropical forests and their myriad creatures at the Área de Conservación Guanacaste in Costa Rica. After working throughout Costa Rica for nearly a decade, she began teaching a field course in the upper Amazon basin of Ecuador. She holds a Master of Science and Doctorate in systematic entomology from the University of Wyoming. Her published research includes discovering 15 new insect species of Costa Rica. Other scientists have named six new insect species in her honor. Currently she resides in London, Ontario where she is an advocate for the conservation of biodiversity both locally and globally. In 2011 she launched a popular website about biodiversity gardening, or gardening to restore biodiversity using 100% native plants. Monarch butterflies, Giant Swallowtails, and pollinators of all shapes and sizes frequent her family’s garden each year. She has been teaching people of all ages for nearly 25 years, and is a part-time Assistant Professor at the University of Western Ontario. “Dr. Z”, as she is known to her students, relishes any opportunity to show scientists and non-scientists alike the astonishing biodiversity – plants, fungi and animals of all sorts – found in Neotropical forests.
James Karr is Professor Emeritus of Aquatic Sciences and Biology, and formerly the Adjunct Professor of Civil Engineering, Environmental Health, and Public Affairs, and the Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Washington. He specializes in tropical ecology, ornithology, stream ecology, and environmental policy and has done extensive field work in Central and South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and New Guinea. In the 1980s he developed a biologically-based way to evaluate the quality of water resources, called the Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI), which is a tool now used all over the world. He has a B.S. from Iowa State University and Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. He has also taught at Purdue, University of Illinois, and Virginia Tech and is the author of more than 300 scientific papers and monographs.
Dennis became enamored of wildlife as a youngster in his native Costa Rica. Living in Central America, it is not difficult to see how biology could become the favorite science for any nature enthusiast, as there are several thousand species in the region. He has a passion for bird sounds and has a collection of them — recently he worked on the creation of a DVD that mixes the piano with the sounds of the birds.
His experience and knowledge has taken him to lead groups in other countries in Central America, South America, Africa, New Zealand, South East Asia, Australia, Russia, Alaska, the Arctic, the Antarctic, and the Caribbean. When he is not lecturing, Dennis travels to remote areas in Central America explaining to young students how fragile the ecosystems are where they live. He also works on several projects to monitor endangered species in order to improve conservation efforts.