Home Lifestyle Travel Mayakoba Eco-Resort Launches Wildlife Photo MasterClass

Mayakoba Eco-Resort Launches Wildlife Photo MasterClass

Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Mayakoba, an eco-resort on the turquoise Caribbean coast of Mexico, has partnered with three of the world’s most respected names in wildlife photojournalism – National Geographic Magazine contributing photographers Steve Winter, Tim Laman and Brian Skerry – for a new series of “Wildlife Photo MasterClass” weekends. The intensive three-night program lets photographers of all levels – from the novice enthusiast to the advanced – step into the role of a nature photojournalist as they capture some of the more than 200 species of birds and native wildlife within the protected sanctuary of Mayakoba’s exotic mangrove forests and waterways.

MasterClass students will receive one-on-one and group guidance on all aspects of photography from Winter, Laman or Skerry, who have captured some of the world’s most recognized wildlife images for magazines from National Geographic, to Time and Esquire. Through comprehensive lectures and daily hands-on field excursions with the photographers, as well as their personal company during meals, the workshops provide an opportunity for nature enthusiasts to sharpen their technique with the industry elite.

Guests will stay at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, a five-star luxury hotel built around Mayakoba’s four carefully conserved ecosystems: mangroves, dunes, low forests and coral reefs. An eco-conscious development, Mayakoba has been recognized by Conde Nast Traveler, the United Nations World Tourism Organization and Rainforest Alliance as a world leader in sustainable tourism. Six miles of crystal clear waterways flow throughout the resort while more than 148 acres of protected mangrove forests along the coastline provide an important habitat for more than 200 species of tropical flora and fauna.

The “Wildlife Photo MasterClass” Package Includes:

• Three-nights accommodation in an exclusive Garden Pool Villa at Banyan Tree Mayakoba
• One-on-one guidance and review from professional photographers on composition, lighting, metering, equipment and how to achieve the “wow factor”
• Welcome conference, photography workshops and closing lecture where students can showcase their work from the weekend
• Daily waterborne and walking excursions through the waterways and mangrove jungles of Mayakoba
• Excursions to nearby reserves and heritage sites providing opportunity to photograph the iconic ‘Mot-Mot’ bird as well as Mayan ruins
• Daily breakfast, a lunch and two dinners at Banyan Tree Mayakoba’s award-winning restaurants.

Dates: December 6-9, 2013 and January 24-27, 2014, with additional 2014 dates to be confirmed shortly. Reservations are extremely limited.

Price: Packages start at $4,158 for three nights, plus taxes and fees. Rate is per Villa and based on double occupancy. A minimum stay of three nights is required.


Steve Winter is a photojournalist who has been shooting for National Geographic since 1991. Specializing in wildlife and big cats, he has produced stories for Time, Newsweek, and GEO, among other publications. He has appeared on 60 Minutes, CNN, NPR and other media outlets. Steve is Director of Media for Panthera, the world’s largest big cat conservation organization. His new book, Tigers Forever, written by his partner Sharon Guynup, will be published by National Geographic Books and Random House on Nov. 12th 2013.

Tim Laman is a field biologist and wildlife photographer. A regular contributor to National Geographic magazine, he has published more than 20 feature stories. He is the first person to photograph all 39 unique species of birds of paradise – some of which had never been photographed in their natural habitat. The resulting book, Birds of Paradise: Revealing The World’s Most Extraordinary Birds was released in 2013 by National Geographic and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Tim has published more than a dozen scientific articles related to rainforest ecology and birdlife, and is a research associate in the Ornithology Department at Harvard University.

Brian Skerry is a photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. He has been a contract photographer for National Geographic Magazine since 1998 and has been published in magazines such as People, Sports Illustrated, US News and World Report, BBC Wildlife, GEO, Smithsonian, Playboy, Esquire, Audubon, and Men’s Journal. He is the author/photographer of five books, with his latest work, Ocean Soul, released in 2011 to worldwide acclaim.

Joining the MasterClass weekends will be Riviera Maya-based professional wildlife photographer, Ivan Gabaldon. Ivan is a regular guest speaker at regional bird and conservation group meetings and a passionate advocate for nature and bird related tourism to the Yucatan. Originally from Venezuela, Ivan is bilingual (Spanish and English) and will provide an important local ingredient to the Mayakoba weekends. His website about bird photography in the Yucatan Peninsula, http://www.rideintobirdland.com/, is a useful primer for visitors and tourists alike.

Location: Mayakoba is a 40-minute drive from Cancun International Airport and 10 minutes from the town of Playa del Carmen.

For more information or to reserve a spot on an upcoming “Wildlife Photo MasterClass” weekend, please call 1-800-591-0439. For more information on Mayakoba, please visit www.mayakoba.com. To view images of birds at Mayakoba, visit “Birds of Mayakoba.”