Mayakoba, an eco-resort on the shores of the Caribbean in Mexico, announces new dates for its immersive series of “Wildlife Photo MasterClass” weekends. This year, the resort will offer programs lead by two respected names in wildlife photojournalism – National Geographic magazine contributing photographers Steve Winter and Christian Ziegler. Limited to 10 participants per session, 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. Guests will 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, as well as the culture and beauty of the Riviera Maya.

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

Guests will stay at Fairmont Mayakoba, a AAA-Five Diamond and Rainforest Alliance Verified luxury hotel built around Mayakoba’s four carefully conserved ecosystems: mangroves, coastal dunes, navigable water canals; tropical forests and the Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest coral reef system in the world. 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.

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience rare birds, fauna and a conserved ecosystem through the expert eyes of National Geographic photographers, the “Wildlife MasterClass Photo Weekend” is only available for three weekends in 2015 to a limited number of participants.

Dates: August 7-10 (with Christian Ziegler); October 23 –26, and December 11-14 (with Steve Winter)

Price: Packages start at $432 per room per night, with a minimum stay of three nights. Rate based on double occupancy plus applicable taxes and resort fee. Reservations are extremely limited.

About the Instructors:

· 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. His photography book, Tigers Forever: Saving the World’s Most Endangered Cat was published in November 2013, with text written by his partner Sharon Guynup.

· Christian Ziegler is a photojournalist specializing in natural history and science-related topics. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic and has been published in magazines such as GEO,Smithsonian and BBC Wildlife. He photographed A Magic Web, an award-winning coffee table book and in 2012 he published Deceptive Beauties, a book about wild orchids. A tropical ecologist by training, he works extensively in tropical rain forests on three continents.

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 MasterClass Photo Weekends,” please call your travel agent, 1-800-540-6088, or visit

Image Credits: Photo by Ivan Gabaldon.