Road trip to Costa Rica. . .

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by camerainmyhand, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. camerainmyhand

    camerainmyhand TPF Noob!

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    So I'm heading out to drive down to costa rica the day after thanksgiving and wanted to bounce some ideas around with some people.

    We're gonna be leaving from Colorado driving through Utah and Arizona and then into Mexico.

    I've never driven through central america before and I'm really excited.
    Right now our route is pretty open ended and we only have one definitive place we want to stop in Mexico. The Palenque Mayan Ruins. They look really amazing and I am very much looking forward to exploring them and taking alot of photos.

    So here's my questions/ideas:

    1. Has anyone ever driven through this part of the world? Colorado to Costa Rica. Any suggestions for must see destinations, cool routes, dangerous areas to stay away from, etc.

    2. I'm planning on bringing my laptop, 2 portable external drives, and 4 8gb flashcards with me for storage. I figured I could back up to both hard drives and try to keep one hidden somewhere in the car. I tested out zipping the files and uploading them to the web via podmailing, and usendit but the process took way to long. I shoot raw so the files are rather large and winzip doesnt compress them that much (when I ran an 8gb folder through winzip it only compressed it to 6.5gb). It would take me hours of sitting at an internet connection to send the files. Obviously not the ideal situation when I'm traveling like this. I'm also concerned about the hard drives getting stolen and losing all my photos. Any suggestions in this area would be greatly appreciated.

    3.Right now I have a nikon D200, an SB800 speedlight, an 18-200mm zoom telefoto lens and a 50mm 1.4 lens. I've been looking into getting a macro lens for a while and I was wondering if I should spring for the macro for this trip or if I should go with something a little bit different. I was also thinking maybe a wideangle, but the 18-200mm lens I have claims to be a super wide angle. Is there any truth to this statement about the 18-200mm being a super wide angle? If so then I'll probably just go with the macro.

    4. A few precautions I have taken are as follows:
    Bought renters insurance which covers all my equipment in case of theft.
    I am getting malaria pills and a hepatitis vaccine.
    I am getting either travel medical insurance, or medjet still not sure.
    Any suggestions for any other precautions I should take?

    Thanks for your time everyone. I know it was kind of a long post, but I appreciate the help. :D
     
  2. davebmck

    davebmck TPF Noob!

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    How long will you be traveling? I could give you recommendations for Utah and Arizona that could tie you up for three weeks. I vacationed in northern AZ and southern UT for 10 days last June and didn't see half of what I wanted to.

    I took my computer and two 2gb CF cards and just downloaded to my computer each night. I would leave my hard drives home as they could be damaged by the vibration, especially south of the border. If you have four 8gb cards you should be good for a couple of weeks or more, considering you have your laptop with you.

    As for a lens, I bought a Sigma 10-20 for my trip to AZ/UT and hardly took it off my camera during the trip. The 18-200 is also a great walk around lens and it was the second most use lens. Don't forget your tripod.
     
  3. camerainmyhand

    camerainmyhand TPF Noob!

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    We leave CO on 11/28 and I fly back from Costa Rica on 12/14.
    Is the 10/20 lens wide angle?

    I was looking at the Iomega ego rugged hard drive which seems pretty tuff.
    Check this video out. They ran over it with a car and it still worked:
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/reviews/4275478.html

    We were talking about spending a day in Utah and 1 day in AZ. Any ideas?
    I'll definitely make sure to bring my tripod.
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Not sure how to best handle your storage issues, perhaps if you stopped in a town somewhere and had the files burned to multiple DVDs as a spare, that would be a good idea.

    As a fellow D200 owner, I know that the D200 eats batteries and do not last that long. Multiple batteries (at least 3-4) are important and if you have the battery grip, that adds a lot of convenience and can carry that 2nd battery in there for you.

    Speaking of spare batteries, 2-3 sets of 2700mah AA batteries for your SB-800 are a good idea, as are a couple of good battery chargers.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Be prepared for wet weather so that it doesn't ruin you photo opps. They don't call them rain forests for nothing.
     
  6. camerainmyhand

    camerainmyhand TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the battery ideas. I've already got 4 for the camera and Im thinking of picking up 2 more. I've also got 2 sets of rechargeable batteries for the flash to.

    Any suggestions for wet weather preparedness? (preferably something inexpensive)
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I don't know how much hiking/walking you may be doing...but a good weather resistant bag would be a good idea. I was in Costa Rica and my Lowepro 'AW' bag did a great job of keeping my gear dry. You might also want to have a good supply of desiccant (silica gel) to keep in your camera bag...to soak up any moisture that might get in or on your gear.

    You could also look into a rain cover for your camera. I don't know the brands off-hand, but a quick search should turn up some good examples. At the very least, carry plastic bags and maybe shower caps with you, so that you can cover up your gear when needed.
     
  8. milosmilf

    milosmilf TPF Noob!

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    I live in AZ and I work for a company that sells travel medical insurance. My advice would be to get a trip insurance plan, not a medjet. Medjet is fine if you need to be evacuated, but trip insurance will get you evacuated and also cover ilness and injury that would not require evacuation. It will also provide some insurance for your vehicle and a bunch of other stuff for the What-If's. look into the trip protector plan with the $0 trip cost option (since you aren't flying) at www.insurancefortrips.com
    As far as our beautiful State of Arizona, since you will be coming from the North, be sure to drive through Sedona and Jerome. Jerome used to be an old mining town that is now rumored to be haunted and is loaded with excellent photo ops, and Sedona is just spectacular.
     
  9. Ejazzle

    Ejazzle TPF Noob!

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    Seriously, in costa Rica dont take your eye off ANY of your valuables for more than a split second, If you do anything your not watching you can pretty much kiss goodbye. Im not trying to scare you, its the truth.

    I have the sigma 10-20 and love it. Its a great lens. I dont think its ever going to come back off my camera.
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I didn't have any issues like that in Costa Rica, but I didn't spend much time in San Jose...I have heard that it can get bad there.
     
  11. dhilberg

    dhilberg TPF Noob!

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    I was in Arizona visiting family at the end of September. We went to Sedona and it was awful. Pretty much the whole town was under road construction so of course traffic was backed up almost the whole length of it. Tlaquepaque was especially bad as there were no sidewalks, so walking wasn't an option. You had to get in the car just to cross the street. And you had to push your way out in traffic or you'd be waiting all day. Very disappointing.

    The red rocks are pretty though. Just don't go there on the weekend.
     
  12. tenlientl

    tenlientl TPF Noob!

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    If I was you, I'd do this.

    Insure it
    Do that whole "i own the camera before I traveled" so you wont get taxes returning
    Bring a laptop, only one portable(tbh, i probably wont bring one).
    Transfer the photos, burn on DVD then send the DVD back home.

    And I wouldnt own 8GB cards, 4 is the max for me.

    And yea. Keep an eye on your things.
     

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