The strawberry poison dart frog, Oophaga pumilio, has an extraordinary reproductive strategy. Females lay their eggs in leaf-litter or on plants on the rainforest floor. When the tadpoles hatch, one of the parents will coax them to climb onto their back. Then the parent frog transports the tadpoles to small pockets of water in bromeliads or other vegetation, often high in the trees. That is like if you carried a human baby to the top of the Empire State Building!
The dedicated parent returns intermittently through their development to lay unfertilized eggs in the water. These eggs serve as the tadpole’s primary food source. The name of this frog’s genus is “Oophaga”, which literally means egg-eater! Eggs for breakfast, anyone? The strawberry poison dart frog occurs throughout the Caribbean coast of Central America, but it is a frog we will see often next summer in Costa Rica!
It should be known that there are some incredibly dedicated "cold-blooded" parents in the Wild World Of Frogs! Amphibians are ectotherms, which means they rely on the environment to regulate their own body heat. However, the term "cold-blooded" has a negative connotation and sometimes amphibians are perceived to not have concern for other members of their own species. The strawberry poison dart frog is definitely a dedicated and caring cold-blooded parent!
Do you want to see these amazing frogs for yourself? Then join SAVE THE FROGS! next summer in Costa Rica! We will travel to this beautiful country and meet its amazing amphibians on July 14th-25th, 2017. We have already filled ten spots on this ecotour, so hop to it if you want to join SAVE THE FROGS! in Costa Rica! See the amazing strawberry poison dart frogs for yourself and learn all about this exciting ecotour here:
Please send an email to trip leader Michael Starkey at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining SAVE THE FROGS! in Costa Rica.
We are pleased to announce the inaugural SAVE THE FROGS! Costa Rica Ecotour (July 14th to 25th, 2017), which will encompass the rainforest, cloud forest, volcanoes, mangroves and an abundance of opportunities to find and photograph amphibians. Costa Rica has an incredible array of biodiversity, landscapes and ecosystems. Costa Rica is home to 202 known amphibian species all within a very small geographical area. There are lots of frogs to be found, making Costa Rica a perfect place for a SAVE THE FROGS! Ecotour.
In July 2015 SAVE THE FROGS! Ecologist Michael Starkey traveled throughout Costa Rica for ten days searching for ecolodges that are clean, comfortable and home to many frogs, and developing a detailed itinerary to maximize wildlife viewing opportunities in multiple ecosystems while minimizing drive times. Our inaugural SAVE THE FROGS! Costa Rica Ecotour has been personally crafted to ensure an amazing, unique and thoroughly unforgettable experience that offers the best in travel, wildlife, culture and education.
"I am so excited to be joining SAVE THE FROGS! on their first Costa Rica Ecotour in 2017! A trip of a lifetime--I have always wanted to go see frogs in Costa Rica, and now I am doing so with two incredible scientists, Kerry Kriger and Michael G Starkey. This supports the great nonprofit SAVE THE FROGS! as well! They do fantastic work--founder Kerry Kriger and his team are making a difference worldwide!"
- Beth Pratt-Bergstrom, California Director of the National Wildlife Federation & SAVE THE FROGS! Board Member
Meet Your Trip Leaders
Dr. Kerry Kriger
Hi, my name is Dr. Kerry Kriger and I am the Founder & Executive Director of SAVE THE FROGS!. I am an amphibian biologist and have helped coordinate over 1,800 educational events in 60+ countries to raise awareness of the threats amphibians face and ways people can help. I have also traveled to over 50 countries, including every country in Central and South America. My visit to Costa Rica in 1996 was my first time experiencing the rainforest and I have now been four times to this amazing country. Costa Rica has incredible wildlife, beaches, rainforest and volcanoes and I am very excited to introduce you to Costa Rica’s amphibians as well as the country's relaxing lifestyle. Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet and our SAVE THE FROGS! Costa Rica Ecotour will be something you will remember for the rest of your life. As they say in Costa Rica, Pura Vida (Pure Life)!
Hi! My name is Michael Starkey and I am a biologist, ecotour leader, and public speaker working to educate and involve the public in wildlife conservation issues. Currently I serve as International Campaigns Coordinator for SAVE THE FROGS! and in this position, I rally together scientists, volunteers, and others in order to help broaden SAVE THE FROGS’ mission of conservation. I have given presentations around the world to inform the public about wildlife conservation and to help nurture a society that respects and appreciates nature and wildlife. Latin America is a place that is near and dear to my heart. I have lived in Belize and Panama and I have participated in, coordinated and led ecotours to Belize and Costa Rica for six years! I look forward to traveling with you to Costa Rica in 2017!
Here is the Full Itinerary for the SAVE THE FROGS! Eco-tour to Costa Rica:
Day 1. July 14
First day in Costa Rica! After arriving at the airport, our ecotour group will take a shuttle to the Bougainvillea Hotel. We will all be tired from our travels, so we will spend our afternoon relaxing at the hotel. The hotel gardens are an incredible place to see the beautiful birds of Costa Rica! Even better, the hotel has developed a great project to restore breeding populations of the endangered Blue-sided Tree Frogs, Agalychnis annae, in their garden ponds.
Also called "Monkey Frogs", we will be able to visit these amazing amphibians on our first night in Costa Rica!
Day 2. July 15
We start our second day with an early morning departure, because we have places to go and frogs to see! At 5:30 am we depart our hotel and travel to Guápiles, on the Caribbean region. Don't worry if you're tired, you can sleep on the comfortable, air-conditioned bus! We will have lunch at Guápiles and continue to La Pavona.
From there we will take a scenic boat trip to Tortuguero. We will see a variety of wildlife as we cruise down the river to Tortuguero, including the majestic Emerald Basilisk.
We will check into the Laguna Lodge and will take the rest of the afternoon to get acclimated to the rainforest environment. We will be able to explore the gardens and Tortuguero town. This evening we will have our first night exploring the rainforest to look for frogs!
Day 3. July 16
Almost every day you will have the option to go birding with our fantastic guide Carlos (highly recommended!) early in the morning before breakfast. However, it's fine to sleep in too! In the morning will visit Tortuguero National Park and have a wonderful boat ride on the canals. Prepare to see monkeys, toucans, parrots, caiman and sleepy sloths!
Later that day we will visit the Turtle Conservation Museum. In the evening we will go back Tortuguero National Park for turtle nesting observation. Nesting sea turtles? Oh yes!
The sunset at Tortuguero.
Day 4. July 17
After breakfast we will travel by boat to La Pavona and have a late lunch in Guápiles. From there we will transfer to Sarapiquí and check in at La Quinta de Sarapiquí. This hotel is family owned, nearly completely sustainable and incredibly frog friendly! We love this place for its frogs!
In the afternoon we will visit the Ants Farm, which will teach us all about the fascinating world of leaf cutter ants. Later in the evening we will look for frogs and go bat mist-netting, to discover the great world of bats!
Day 5. July 18
After some optional early morning birding, we will have breakfast and then visit La Selva Biological Station. Famous for the scientific research conducted at the Station, we will walk the trails and explore this amazing place!
If we are lucky at La Selva, we may be able to see tent-making bats sleeping! We will have lunch at Soda Marielos, which is delicious Costa Rican food. A great experience! That afternoon we will visit Tirimbina Rainforest Center and explore another interesting patch of rainforest. In the evening we will visit the Frog Pond at El Uno town, known for Glass Frogs!
Day 6. July 19
After breakfast we will depart to La Fortuna area and visit Arenal Volcano National Park. In the afternoon we will check in at Kokoro Lodge and then visit the Hot Springs. This is a time to relax and enjoy the natural, warm springs of this volcanic region. Then we will have dinner at La Fortuna and explore this little town.
The waterfalls at Arenal Volcano National Park
Day 7. July 20
After some optional early morning birding and breakfast, we will take a Rainforest Chocolate Tour! This is a great experience about sustainability and the pleasure to enjoy chocolate. After we will then depart to Monteverde. This is a famous site for amphibian conservationists, as Monteverde is known as "ground zero" for the amphibian extinction crisis. Definitely worth visiting!
That afternoon we will check in at Monteverde Country Inn and that evening we will have a night walk at Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Fantastic place!
Day 8. July 21
In the morning we will take a Natural History Walk at the Curi Cancha Reserve and have lunch at Santa Elena. That afternoon we will take a Coffee Tour at CoopeMonteverde Farm. For coffee fans, this is very interesting and they serve great coffee! For birders, you may be able to see the Bell Bird! In the evening we will have a Twilight Walk at the Children Eternal Rainforest.
Day 9. July 22
After breakfast we will depart to Central Pacific and continue to Palo Seco. We will check into our hotel and have free time to enjoy the beach and a great sunset.
Day 10. July 23
In the morning we will visit Manuel Antonio National Park, which has great wildlife and a wonderful beach. That night we will take a trip to the mangroves at Damas Island.
Day 11. July 24
Early in the morning we depart to Tárcoles river and will take a boat trip for crocodiles and great birding.
In the evening we will head back to San Jose and have our farewell dinner. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end!
Day 12. July 25
Today we depart Costa Rica and fly home!
Prepare For Your Trip
Traveling in Costa Rica may be a different experience than what you are accustomed to, so we have written a few things we would love to pass along!
Physical fitness requirements
Most of our hikes will be easy to moderate. Expect guided hikes to last 2-3 hours. We will travel slowly on the trails so that we will have a better chance of viewing wildlife. It is important to know that the trails may be slippery and muddy, so having good footing and closed-toes shoes are essential! Adventurous explorers will have the option to take more strenuous hikes. While we do have scheduled activities planned for you, there will be times where you will have the choice of how to spend your time. Would you prefer to go on a morning jungle hike or birdwatch from a hammock on your balcony? The choice is yours!
Wear sunblock and stay hydrated
Costa Rica is a tropical country. While this is exciting, it comes with a few cautions: in particular, the sun is strong! Make sure to hydrate, wear sun protection, and get plenty of rest.
Planning to explore Costa Rica before or after the Ecotour?
There is plenty to do in Costa Rica so if you have extra time to enjoy the country, we are happy to advise you on hotel lodging and recommended locations. Please contact Michael Starkey with your possible schedule if you seek Costa Rica travel advice: Starkey@savethefrogs.com
While the US dollar is widely accepted in Costa Rica, it is best to exchange your money at a bank or to withdraw local currency, Colones, from an ATM. It is wise to have cash and a major credit card or two on you, lest you want or need to purchase something not included in the Ecotour.
While we will be traveling in a group and the risk of experiencing crime is low, please be aware that crime is a potential issue anywhere you may travel. We recommend leaving all valuable items in a safe at the hotel and only carrying what you need. A money belt inside your clothing and/or an over the shoulders bag (not an easily snatched purse) is also a good option for carrying necessary items.
Your passport must be valid for AT LEAST SIX MONTHS past the date you plan to depart Costa Rica or you will not be allowed to enter the country. Please re-read that sentence and ensure your passport expires at least six months after you plan to depart Costa Rica.
No visa is required for citizens of the United States. If you are not a United States citizen, then please check your country's laws about traveling to Costa Rica.
The SAVE THE FROGS! Ecotour to Costa Rica can accommodate most dietary preferences and/or requirements, including vegan and vegetarian. We will sample an array of Costa Rican culinary delights from many different regions and cultures. Please inform us in advance of any dietary needs, in as much detail as possible.
Lodging while in Costa Rica
During the tour we will sleep in comfortable, relaxing and modern hotels all while being surrounded by the beauty of Costa Rica. Each hotel is able to accommodate couples and families without a problem. If you are traveling alone, then you will share a room with another ecotour participant. If you would like your own room, then it can be arranged for an extra cost.
Water and Food
While Costa Rica has decent water filtration we recommend not risking drinking the tap water during your time here. This also goes for the street food, and make sure to watch out for fruit, vegetables, juices, etc that may have been washed in the water. Most of the lodges we stay at will have large jugs of drinkable water and are used to catering to tourists.
Vaccinations & medication
Zika outbreaks have been reported in Costa Rica. Because of the risk of birth defects in babies born to women who were infected with Zika while pregnant, women who are pregnant should not travel to Costa Rica. Malaria medication is not recommended for travel within Costa Rica. For specific information about what vaccinations or medications you may need, please visit the Center for Disease Control's website or talk to your doctor.
While we have worked very hard to avoid any delays or alterations in the schedule, in Costa Rica sometimes there are delays and changes. This only means to remain patient and remember to just enjoy your surroundings! We are going to be in some of the most amazing tropical ecosystems in the world, so if any changes in timing happens, rest assured the scenery will be worth it.
Looking for frogs at night is not the world's safest activity. As such, drinking and frogging really don't mix. We request that you not get anywhere remotely close to drunk prior to frogging. If you do feel the need for a dinnertime alcoholic beverage, we strongly suggest limiting it to one drink. Post-frogging, feel free to let loose at the bar.
Professional Development for Students and Teachers
Teachers seeking to fulfill professional development or continuing education requirements may be able to claim this trip as a tax-deduction (ask your tax professional for details). Please let us know if you have any questions. Students seeking to receive university credit may be able to acquire credit through your university's internship program; if you are interested in this option, please contact us.
Beautiful scenery and sunset on the Central Pacific coast. Photo by Chris Vang.
Are you ready to join SAVE THE FROGS! in Costa Rica? Fabulous!
The 2017 SAVE THE FROGS! Costa Rica Ecotour pricing is as follows:
- Base cost for one frog enthusiast: $3,295
- Base cost for a party of two: $6,290.
- Base cost for a group of three: $9,435
- Base cost for a group of four: $12,330
- Each full-time student saves an additional $100.
- Each person age 65 and over saves an additional $100.
- Pay all at once and save $100 per person.
- Active SAVE THE FROGS! Members save $45 off base cost (becoming a member is easy!).
- On October 1st, 2016 the base costs increase to $3,395, $6,415, $9,595 and $12,570 respectively.
- On January 1st, 2017 the base costs increase to $3,475, $6,525, $9,725 and $12,730 respectively.
- On April 1st, 2017 the base costs increase to $3,555, $6,635, $9,845 and $12,865 respectively.
Your ecotour payment will cover all your lodging, in-country transportation, world-class tour guides and their scientific expertise, tips, and all meals. It is your responsibility to pay your own costs of airfare, snacks, alcoholic beverages, optional adventure tourism activities, souvenirs, and possibly a departure tax when you leave the country. Note again that you will be required to pay your own airfare to Costa Rica (estimated at $750 roundtrip from the USA).
If you choose to not pay all at once, a $1,000 per person non-refundable deposit via check or credit card is required to secure your spot on the trip. The base cost increases listed above are only applicable to you if you have not yet postmarked your deposit or otherwise paid by the stated dates. You can save $100 off the base cost listed above by sending us your entire payment upfront, rather than solely a deposit.
Full payment is due by May 15th, 2017. Failure to pay in full by May 15th, 2017 may result in forfeiture of your deposit money and your space on the eco-tour.
All proceeds support SAVE THE FROGS! worldwide amphibian conservation efforts, enabling us to protect amphibians and promote a society that respects and appreciates wildlife and nature.
Register for the SAVE THE FROGS! Costa Rica Eco-Tour If you are interested in this trip, please email Michael Starkey at email@example.com so we can get you registered for this amazing adventure!
In order to take part on this trip, you will be required to sign a waiver acknowledging the inherent risks of ecotourism in Costa Rica, and legally releasing SAVE THE FROGS! and affiliated trip operators and personnel from legal damages and consequences. Please do not apply unless you understand this and the implications. That being said, we are trained in Wilderness First Aid and we strive for a safe trip!
Cancellations and Refunds
You must notify us directly if you need to cancel your trip. If you need to cancel your trip, contact Michael Starkey at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The amount of your refund is determined by the date that you notify SAVE THE FROGS! of your cancellation:
-- If you cancel after June 15th, you forfeit your entire trip fee.
-- If you cancel between May 15th and June 15th, you will receive 50% of trip fee.
-- If you cancel prior to May 15th, your entire trip will be refunded, minus your deposit (as deposits are non-refundable) or a $750 per person cancellation fee if you paid all at once.
SAVE THE FROGS! regrets that it cannot make exceptions to the reservation and cancellation policy for any reason, including personal emergencies. The reservation and cancellation policy applies to all reservations. You may want to consider purchasing travel insurance from a third party, so that if an issue arises (such as health or family concerns), then your travel insurance could likely provide you compensation.
We hope to see you in Costa Rica in July 2017! If you are interested in taking part in the SAVE THE FROGS! Costa Rica Ecotour, please email Trip Leader Michael Starkey at: email@example.com
More than just an ecotour
We will get to indulge in many activities, such as waterfall hikes, night hikes, touring a wildlife refuge and relaxing in thermal hot springs. There is sure to be lots of frog filled excitement through each place while learning about ecosystem dynamics, conservation, and environmental protection. With a group of SAVE THE FROGS! participants and your tour leaders Dr. Kerry Kriger and Michael Starkey there is sure to be lots of smiles, laughs, and learning going around.
Sloths, monkeys and parrots are common sights on the SAVE THE FROGS! Ecotour to Costa Rica
Our group will consist of two SAVE THE FROGS! biologists (Dr. Kerry Kriger and Michael Starkey), Tour Operator & Naturalist Carlos Roberto Chavarria and up to 20 total participants, for a grand total of 23 frog enthusiasts in our group.