Costa Rica Birding Journeys

14 Nights Photography Itineraries

Bird Sites:

    Overview

    Number of nights: 14 nights

    Number of nights by destination: SJ (1), Cerro de la Muerte (3), Esquinas (2), Carara (3), Ensenada (2), Monteverde (2), SJ (1)

    General info:  A journey created for true passionate and committed photographers

    Visiting 5 world known destinations covering from highlands to lowlands.

    Number of participants: Minimum 2, Maximum 6 (8 upon request)

    Dates/Months: Open all year

    IMPORTANT NOTE: FIRST DAY’S HOTEL IT WOULD BE BASED ON INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT SCHEDULES

    Daily Itinerary by destination:

    Arrival in Costa Rica. Pick up by CRBJ staff, transfer to San Jose’s overnight hotel. Briefing about the tour. Dinner not included.

    Cerro de la Muerte:

    • Check Route Map
    • (2:05 hrs) 91KM

    • Sea level 2560 meters

    • Temperature 10-24

    • Humidity – 80% 

    Talamanca’s Highland there’s no better destination in the country for endemic birds than the Cerro de la Muerte! Although the diversity of species here is less than in lowlands, the highlands far exceed any other area in endemic species. Hummingbirds, Flycatchers, Vireos, Trogons, and Wrens are some of the families that have been isolated here for millions of years, creating unique specialization of species. Imagine a crisp, misty morning among the giant oaks where you spot the beautiful Resplendent Quetzal! This is one of the few places you can find them all year long, and these treasured moments are what make this deep green location so special to us birders!

    • Arrival and room set up (rooms might not be ready so all luggage stays with the van except your camera gear)
    • Exploring gardens until lunch. Possible scenarios: plenty of birdlife to capture, the use of tripods or monopods is a must. Carry your super telephoto lens.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Room check in
    • Meeting back at 14:30 to continue exploring trails, gardens and river edges
    • Dinner at 18:00 (buffet style, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Improving focus, hummingbirds on flight techniques, advance camera settings and questions (19:00 – 20:30) video beam presentation
    • All day at Savegre Lodge forested grounds. In search for Quetzals
    • Exploring forested trails until lunch. Possible scenarios: plenty of birdlife/animal to capture, the use of tripods or monopods is a must. Carry your super telephoto lens, rain gear for you and cameras, warm clothing.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Meeting back at 14:30 to continue exploring trails, gardens and river edges
    • Dinner at 18:00 (buffet style, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Capturing the moment, flash or not and questions (19:00 – 20:30) video beam presentation

     

    Esquinas: 

    • Check Route Map
    •  (3:00 hrs) 226KM

    • Sea level 150 meters

    • Temperature 21-39

    • Humidity 80% +

    Piedras Blanca’s Rainforest located in the small community of La Gamba, Esquinas Rainforest has become an icon of sustainable tourism, employing local people, and conserving its natural habitat. This piece of paradise has truly become a dream for bird seekers: Trogons, Hummingbirds, Flycatchers, Woodcreepers, and Arcaries are plentiful. On its trails and riverbeds new species are found daily, and this is truly an incredible destination for target birds such as Manakins, Potoos, Cotingas, rare foliage gleaners, Hummingbirds and Tanagers. The Osa is like no place on earth! This is the last pristine lowland rainforest of Central America, boasting some of the most amazing birding anywhere; thousands of hectares of mangroves, old pasture fields, and giant canopy primary forest hold more than 430 recorded species, a true birdwatcher’s dream. You can find White-crested Coquettes, Uniform Crake, Yellow-billed Cotinga, Ornate Hawk Eagle, and Black-checked Ant Tanager, all found within easy reach of the lodge. If you enjoy longer hikes you will find unlimited birding in this serene environment of lush tropical rainforest.

    • Arrival and room set up (rooms might not be ready so all luggage stays with the van except your camera gear)
    • Exploring gardens until lunch. Setting up for tanagers, toucans, trogons. Carry your super telephoto lens.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Room check in
    • Meeting back at 14:30 to continue exploring trails, gardens and river edges
    • Dinner at 18:00 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Composition, background, timing of captures and questions (19:00 – 20:30) video beam presentation
    • Forest edges exploration. La Gamba Rainforest. A day to let nature surprise us. We will be taking a hike along the road to Golfito Rainforest. Half day trip to an unpaved road with tons of different habitats. Breakfast on the go and lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon at the lodge.
    • Dinner at 18:30 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Editing tools Camera Raw, Capture One, DXOLab3, Topaz and questions (19:30 – 21:30) video beam presentation

    Carara:

    • Check Route Map
    •  (1:45 hrs) 55KM
    • Sea level 50 meters
    • Temperature 24-34
    • Humidity 80% +

    Carara National Park the greatest birding destinations in the country, this incredible park boasts the second largest population of Scarlet Macaws in Costa Rica! With easy access to all trails, mangrove swamps, pasture fields and forest edges, this destination is friendly for all ages and fitness levels. There are very few places where more than a hundred species can be found on one trail, but the Meandrica trail is infamous for just that. It has become a treasured birding icon where you can seek tinamous, trogons, wrens, antpittas, manakins, cotingas, bellbirds, and antshrikes, among others. The nearby forested edges house many open field birds, such as jays, blackbirds, greenlets, rails, ground doves, motmots, hawks, parakeets, and owls. The mangroves of the Rio Grande de Tarcoles can reward the birder with up to five species of kingfishers, as well as many other shorebirds such as herons and egrets. The most remarkable of this area are the restricted range birds of the mangroves, such as vireos, warblers, cuckoos, flycatchers, and even the elusive Rufous Necked Woodrail and the only true Costa Rican endemic, the Mangrove Hummingbird.

    • Arrival and room set up (departure at 2:00 pm for mangrove birding boat cruise)
    • 3 hrs boat tour in the heart of Tarcoles River
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Dinner at 18:30 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Framing, focus, highspeed, and questions (19:00 – 20:30) video beam presentation
    • Visit Carara National Park full day
    • Early morning photography. Playing with lowlight.
    • Exploring the Pacific Rainforest. Carry your super telephoto lens with a tripod.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00) back to the rainforest
    • Dinner at 18:30 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Lowlight images & how to capture bird habitats. (19:30 – 21:00) video beam presentation
    • Exploring the Central Pacific.
    • Early start, today we will focus on driving to several regions of Jaco Beach area in which several target birds are located.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Rest time until 3:00 pm (temperatures could reach 36 + Celsius)
    • Meeting back at 15:00 to visit a famous lookout point for Toucans, raptors, macaws and much more.
    • Dinner at 18:00 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Birds on flight, deep forest and backlight (19:00 – 20:30) video beam presentation
    • Early boat tour back to the Mangroves.

    Ensenada:

    • Check Route Map
    • (1:30 hrs) 120KM

    • Sea level 50 meters

    • Temperature 27-38

    • Humidity -70%

    Ensenada this private reserve is an area that attracts thousands of birds during the migration from the north, and is truly birding to rave about! It is a fabulous area to find dry tropical forest specialities such as Thicket Tinamou, Long-tailed Manakin, Lesser Ground Cuckoo, and the rare Jabiru Stork. This seasonally flooded flatland with deciduous forest is full of possibilities for combination birding. Adjacent to mud flats, mangrove forest and coastline, this region provides the opportunity to see dozens of ducks and heron species, Kingfishers, Frigatebirds, and dozens of migratory species such as Turnstones, Sandpipers, Skimmers, Willets, and Spoonbills.

    • Drive to Ensenada Lodge
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Meeting back at 3:30 visiting salt ponds
    • Dinner at 18:00 (buffet, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Whites, blacks, golden hour and questions (19:00 – 20:30) video beam presentation
    • Early birding hike around the lodge grounds
    • Breakfast 9 am
    • Base on tides we will either visit the water front edges & mangroves or Salinas
    • Lunch at 13:00
    • Departure to Salinas and Punta Chira 14:30
    • Dinner at 18:30
    • Photography workshop Subject: Lowlight & movement (19:00 – 20:30) video beam presentation
    • Early hike & departure to the cloud forest. Monteverde Cloud Forest.  

    Monteverde:

    • Check Route Map
    • (1:55 hrs) 77KM

    • Sea level 1300 meters

    • Temperature 17-28

    • Humidity 80%

    Monteverde Cloud Forest nestled in the Tilaran volcanic range and facing the dry forest of the Nicoya’s Peninsula, this world known paradise has been an icon for conservationists for decades. Blasted by the Caribbean trade winds at the top of its hills the evergreen forest of Monteverde/Santa Elena holds the one of the most astonishing biodiversity anywhere on earth due its geographical position. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded here and its adjacent preserves on the 3 major ecosystems. Home of the all mighty Resplendent Quetzal, and the weird looking Three wattled Bellbird with its unique call. Dozens of kilometres of trails to explore. Dripping wet forest with more than 400 species of orchids and gentile blown clouds enchants everyone’s eyes. There are very few places on earth so breathtaking at first glance.

    • Early birding hike around
    • Breakfast 9 am
    • Base on tides we will either visit the water front edges & mangroves or Salinas
    • Lunch at 13:00
    • Departure to Salinas and Punta Chira 14:30
    • Dinner at 18:30
    • Photography workshop Subject: Lowlight & movement (19:00 – 20:30) video beam presentation
    • Early birding hike in quest for Resplendent Quetzal
    • Breakfast 9 am
    • All day long exploring the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve
    • Lunch at 13:00
    • Dinner at 18:30
    • Photography workshop Subject: Hummingbirds, glares & colors19:00 – 20:30) video beam
    • Early birding hike around
    • Breakfast 9 am
    • Visit at the Ecological Sanctuary in search of Three wattled Bellbird, Long tailed Manakin, Emerald Toucanet and much more.
    • Lunch at 13:30
    • Return to capital city San Jose
    • Dinner at 18:30 & photographing meeting. Discussing about the journey.

     

    Last day of the journey: International flight dates, times, pick up & drop off based on your flight schedule

    Early rising: In some locations we will be leaving before sunrise. In order to capture certain moments, situations or specific targets.

    Photographing habitats: Many bird photography expeditions have always focused on just the birds therefore a good part of the experience is reduced and the story telling would not be as rich as I could be.

    Mastering bird photography: There are many tricks to ensure quality and momentum. We will explore them all as long as nature lets us.

    Playing with black and white: Many times we let colours run our bird photography nonetheless experimenting with shades, shadows, contrasts of the enchanting universe of blank & white can give you new ways to see our beloved feathery friends.

    Times: Very crucial to make the most out of your holidays; we have selected all lodging, forests, or locations with a maximum distance/hours of driving. Generally speaking traveling time would be during the off hours or between 10 am – 1 pm.

    Difficulty Level: If you are able to manage 2-3 Km on a daily basis with intervals you should be fine. Just a friendly reminder we specialize on physically limited tours for those who would share our passion for nature and bird photography.

    How much photography skill do I need to have to enter the trip? Intermedia, Advance

    Overview

    Number of nights: 14 nights

    Number of nights by destination: SJ (1), Carara (2), Monteverde (2), Tenorio (2), Caño Negro (1), Arenal (2), Sarapiqui (2), Braulio Carrillo (2)

    A journey in search of some of the most gorgeous families of birds of Costa Rica

    14 nights 15 days exploring 8 amazing destinations from the Central Pacific to the Caribbean lowlands of Braulio Carrillo National Park.

    All daily activities would be based on seeking for the right habitats to photograph all species from those families.

    Number of participants: Minimum 2, Maximum 6 (8 upon request)

    Dates/Months: Open all year

    IMPORTANT NOTE: FIRST DAY’S HOTEL IT WOULD BE BASED ON INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT SCHEDULES

    Daily Itinerary by destination:

    Arrival in Costa Rica. Pick up by CRBJ staff, transfer to San Jose’s overnight hotel. Briefing about the tour. Dinner not included.

    Carara:

    Carara National Park is by far one the best birding places all year long in Costa Rica and perhaps in all of Central America. Within the national park protects the second largest population of Scarlet Macaws, easy access to all trails, mangrove swamps, pasture fields and forest edges. There are very few places in the country where more than hundred species can be found in one trail. Meandrica’s trail it has become an icon for quality birding, tinamous, trogons, wrens, antpittas, manakins, cotingas, bellbirds, antshrikes are among the most common birds in the forest. The nearby forested edges give as a good number of open field birds, jays, blackbirds, greenlets, rails, ground doves, motmots, hawks, parakeets, owls are among many of the avifauna found in these habitats. The mangroves at Rio Grande de Tarcoles are very rewarding on a good day along the river edges 5 species of kingfishers can be spotted, more than a couple dozens of shorebirds, herons, egrets are also easy to find but the most remarkable species are the ones with a restricted range or to the mangroves such as vireos, warblers, cuckoos, flycatchers, the elusive Rufous necked woodrail and the only true Costa Rican endemic Mangrove Hummingbird.

    • Drive after breakfast to the down valley into the heart of the Central Pacific of Costa Rica.
    • Exploring gardens, forests, river edges. Wild bird photography. Carry your super telephoto lens and tripod. Today we will let mother nature show us the way. There are so many different locations to explore during this destination. Agricultural fields, forest patches, forests edges, primary, secondary & mangrove forests.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Visit to Carara National Park
    • Mangrove Boat tour by Mangrove Birding Journeys Sunset
    • Dinner at 18:30 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Editing tools Camera Raw, Capture One, DXOLab3, Topaz and questions (19:30 – 21:30) video beam presentation

     

    Monteverde:

    • Check Route Map
    • (1:30 hrs) 45KM

    • Sea level 1300 meters

    • Temperature 17-32

    • Humidity 80%

    Monteverde Cloud Forest nestled in the Tilaran volcanic range and facing the dry forest of the Nicoya’s Peninsula, this world known paradise has been an icon for conservationists for decades. Blasted by the Caribbean trade winds at the top of its hills the evergreen forest of Monteverde/Santa Elena holds the one of the most astonishing biodiversity anywhere on earth due its geographical position. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded here and its adjacent preserves on the 3 major ecosystems. Home of the all mighty Resplendent Quetzal, and the weird looking Three wattled Bellbird with its unique call. Dozens of kilometres of trails to explore. Dripping wet forest with more than 400 species of orchids and gentile blown clouds enchants everyone’s eyes. There are very few places on earth so breathtaking at first glance

    • Mangrove Birding Tour 6:00 am before departure to Monteverde
    • Breakfast 9 am
    • Lunch at 13:00
    • Dinner at 18:30
    • Photography workshop Subject: Lowlight & movement (19:00 – 20:30)video beam presentation
    • Early birding hike in quest for Resplendent Quetzal
    • Breakfast 9 am
    • All day long exploring the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve
    • Lunch at 13:00
    • Dinner at 18:30
    • Photography workshop Subject: Hummingbirds, glares & colors 19:00 – 20:30) video beam
    • Early birding hike around
    • Breakfast 9 am
    • Visit at the Ecological Sanctuary in search of Three wattled Bellbird, Long tailed Manakin, Emerald Toucanet and much more.
    • Lunch at 13:30
    • Return to capital city San Jose
    • Dinner at 18:30 & photographing meeting.

    Tenorio:

    Tenorio Rainforest among one of the best places to go birding in the country and definitely the best canopy birdwatching, with a net of suspended tree top bridges this rainforest is an impressive destination for birders. Some of the best highlights are Tody Motmot, Bare necked Umbrellabird, Rufous ground Vented Cuckoo, Ornate Hawk Eagle, Yellow eared Toucanet and a few hundred more species. The adjacent forests towards the national park it’s a interesting combination of cattle farms with dense old growth birds fly from one patch of forest to the next giving us opportunities to find them, huge trees border the roads mixed flocks, Lovely Cotingas, Central America Pygmy Owls make home out this habitats. Near the lodge a good number of open spaces birds hang around like ground doves, seedaters, tanagers, flycatchers, hummingbirds etc.

    • A long journey awaits us, breakfast at the lodge and departure to the northern Guanacaste rainforest, the only places in which the canopy is just a step away.
    • Several suspended bridges, easy trails and tons of rainforest to explore for Nunbirds, Tinamous, Motmots, owls, woodpeckers.
    • All day birding at the lodge grounds.
    • A full day for exploring the lodge grounds, its private reserve and adjacent cattle farms. The lodge offers a good diversity of tanagers, euphonias, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and many others.
    • Early birding at Heliconias Lodge private preserve. Our targets today are going to be army ant swarms, and some open forest birds as woodpeckers, tanagers, flycatchers and more.
    • We will departure to Caño Negro before lunch. (47 Km 1hour drive)

     

    Caño Negro:

    Caño Negro one of the most important wetlands in Costa Rica; home to hundreds of birds including favorites such as Jabiru, Black collared Hawk, Agami Heron, Green & Rufous Kingfisher, Sungrebe and others with a limited distribution in the country such as Yellow throated crake, Least bittern, Nicaraguan Seed Finch, Fork tailed Flycatcher, Ruddy breasted Seedater, Lesser Yellow headed Vulture, Ocellated Poorwill, Pinnated Bittern, Spot breasted Wren.

    • The hotel has a large number of areas to birdwatch with a great success level on common birds like euphonias, blackbirds, wrens, tanagers.
    • Caño Negro wildlife refuge that can give us amazing species such as Scaled Pigeon, Nicaraguan Grackle, Spot breasted Wren, Jabiru, 5 species of Kingfishers, etc. Today we will focus on getting the easy ones of the list.
    • Boat tour to Caño Negro before sunlight, we will start at 530 am heading to the dock for an early birding, as we all know is our most successful time (3 + hour boat tour, bring a snack. We might miss breakfast). After the boat tour we will concentrate on getting some species more related to pasture fields such as raptors, seedaters, finches, etc by the end of the day our journey will not end will begin with owl searching and other night birds such as Potoos, Poorwills.

     

    Arenal:

    • Check Route Map

    • Sea level 500-660 meters

    • Temperature 21-34

    • Humidity 80% +

    Arenal Volcano if there ever was a Jurasic Park Arenal should be the one, tangled vines, large canopy trees, damp forest floor, roaring rivers, dozens of kilometres of forested back roads, lush primary, secondary forests are some of the many habitats yet to explore. At our hotel choice par excellence Arenal Observatory Lodge their manicure gardens, trails are just phenomenal for image capturing. We have never had a dull day at this fantastic piece of paradise. Bellbirds, Umbrellabirds, Antbirds, Cotingas, Eagles, Currasows, Antpittas, Tanagers, Toucans, are some of the plenty families of birds found without ever leaving the lodge premises. A short drive out the 400+ hectares of rainforest own by the Observatory is found the Arenal Lake, a partially human made hydro-electrical dam has an enormous diversity of avifauna in every single patch of vegetation, from semi-cultivated lands to tall natural grasses and pristine wet forest. Species such as Keel billed Motmot, White fronted Nunbird, Black Hawk Eagle, Great Antshrike, are a tiny list of the colours, shapes and sounds.

    • Arrival and room set up(rooms might not be ready so all luggage stays with the van except your camera gear)
    • Exploring gardens until lunch. Possible scenarios: plenty of birdlife to capture, the use of tripods or monopods is a must. Carry your super telephoto lens.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Room check in
    • Meeting back at 14:30 to continue exploring trails, gardens and river edges
    • Dinner at 18:00 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Birds on flight, deep forest and backlight (19:00 – 20:30)video beam presentation
    • Early breakfast
    • Drive to explore more possibilities out the of the lodge on nearby back roads and forest edges
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00) out of the lodge, continue seeking for larger birds such as Eagles, Hawks, Falcons, etc.
    • Return time at 17:30
    • Dinner at 18:00 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject

     

    Sarapiqui:

    Sarapiqui is a real rainforest experience with vast areas to cover, primary rainforest, active and no active pasture fields, river edges, canopy bridges, thick understory, etc. Cotingas, macaws, oropendolas, guans, eagles, toucans are some of the many species to find. At La Selva Biological Station daily birds to spot are Green Ibis, Sunbittern, Jacamars, Tanagers, Orioles,Woodpeckers, Tityras, etc. Botanical gardens nearby offer great opportunities to spot a dozen or more species of hummingbirds and its adjacent forest always bring good surprises as Little Tinamou, Lattice tailed Trogon, Cinnamon Woodpecker, and much more. The Braulio Carrillo National Park is a real rainforest experience with the largest mixed flocks ever including favorites such as Sharpbills and Umbrellabirds.

    • Drive after breakfast into the heart of the most well studied rainforest on earth.
    • Exploring gardens, forests, river edges. Wild bird photography. Carry your super telephoto lens and tripod. Today we will let mother nature show us the way. There are so many different locations to explore during this destination. Agricultural fields, forest patches, forests edges, primary, secondary rainforest
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Afternoons at the lodge premises

     

    Braulio Carrillo:

    Braulio Carrillo it’s a destination mostly known for their famous aerial tram through the jungles from Donald Perry an American biologist who in the late 80’s explored Costa Rican rainforest for conservation and scientific research. But little is known other than this. One of the very few places where the rarest birds can be found such as Umbrellabird, Sharpbill, Black crowned Antpitta, Lattice tailed Trogon and literally hundreds more.

    • Upon arrival hotel ground explorations
    • Afternoon Aerial Tram
    • Early morning hike
    • Aerial tram before departure to San Jose
    • Visit to Braulio Carrillo National Park

     

    Last day of the journey: International flight dates, times, pick up & drop off based on your flight schedule

    Early rising: In some locations we will be leaving before sunrise. In order to capture certain moments, situations or specific targets.

    Photographing locations: All locations require some hiking and searching for fruiting trees, bushes, nesting holes.

    Mastering bird photography: Mastering the captures on site. We will teach you how to get the best images possible.

    Times: Very crucial to make the most out of your holidays; we have selected all lodging, forests, or locations with a maximum distance/hours of driving per day. Generally speaking traveling time would be during the off hours or between 10 am – 1 pm.

    Difficulty Level: If you are able to manage 2-3 Km on a daily basis with intervals you should be fine. Just a friendly reminder we specialize on physically limited tours for those who would share our passion for nature and bird photography. Those expeditions are tailor made and we would pick the itineraries based on a deep conversation with those interested.

    How much photography skill do I need to have to enter the trip? Intermediate to Advance.

    Overview

    Number of nights: 14

    Number of nights by destination: SJ (1), Bosque de Paz (2), Sarapiqui (2), Pacuare’s Rainforest (2), Pejibaye’s Rainforest (2), San Gerardo (2), Carara (3)

    General info: Every single corner to this tropical gem can well be called paradise, from the sandy beaches of Central Pacific and its mangroves to the deepest and least known jungles of Barbilla National Park area. We have chosen those particular destinations for their outstanding beauty, colourful and representative birds.

    Number of participants: Minimum 2, Maximum 6 (8 upon request)

    Dates/Months: Open all year

    IMPORTANT NOTE: FIRST DAY’S HOTEL IT WOULD BE BASED ON INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT SCHEDULES

    Daily Itinerary by destination:

    Arrival in Costa Rica. Pick up by CRBJ staff, transfer to San Jose’s overnight hotel. Briefing about the tour. Dinner not included.

     

    Bosque de Paz:

    • Check Route Map
    •  (1:45 hrs) 60KM

    • Sea level 1300 meters

    • Temperature 16-28

    • Humidity 80% +

    Bosque de Paz nestled in the intermountain valleys between Poas and Platanar Volcanoes is found in the forest of peace. A private preserve with an enormous biodiversity and one of the few accessible wet forests found in the Caribbean mid elevations. Serenity, exclusiveness for those seeking out a true connection with nature. 11 species of hummingbirds are found within its forests and surroundings. Also home to the always breathtaking Resplendent Quetzal; Bosque de Paz Lodge gives you the intimacy and comfort we all have at home. The high extinct volcanoes, waterfalls, mystical cloud forests make this place enchanting beyond words. Here we will learn the principles of birds of flight, all techniques need it to capture award winning images. Dozens of trails are also part of the attraction for those with a Huxley’s best need of exploring by your own. Flowering bushes, fruit trees, streams and gardens are a magnet for bird life.

     

    • Drive after breakfast to down valley into the heart of some of the least explored rainforests of Costa Rica.
    • Exploring gardens, forests, river edges. Wild bird photography. Carry your super telephoto lens and tripod. Today we will let mother nature show us the way. These recently opened trails show an incredible number of bird life found nowhere at Bosque de Paz, although the distance between them is only a few miles the drop on altitude changes nearly 75% the species. Many of them occur in small patches of jungle, some walking around the property could give us amazing results.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Visit to Bajos del Toro’s hummingbird gallery. As mentioned before only a few miles away and the number of species of hummers increases by more than half dozen.
    • Waterfall and landscape photography silky effect. After a few hours with capturing those fast fliers we will hike to the base of one of the magnificent waterfalls of the area to practice the famous motion blur of silk effect on water. Bring your ND filter -5 or 10 stops
    • Dinner at 18:30 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Editing tools Camera Raw, Capture One, DXOLab3, Topaz and questions (19:30 – 21:30) video beam presentation

     

    La Selva:

    • Check Route Map
    • (1:45 hrs) 88KM

    • Sea level 50 meters

    • Temperature 24-34

    • Humidity 80% +

    La Selva how to best describe the most well studied rainforest on earth?? Sarapiqui’s lowlands is the absolute meaning of Amazonian rainforest, everything you ever imagine or watched on Planet Earth documentaries. 150 feet tall trees with huge buttresses nearly as high as two stories home, smoky early mornings with incandescent beams of light breaking thru the canopy’s foliage, loud blaring calls from Great Green Macaws and deafening howler monkeys at the roof of the jungle. Hundreds literally hundreds of bird calls coming from all angles and melodious synchronized beats for Poisonous Dart Frogs. Its nightlife is as diverse and active as a new year’s eve in downtown New York, multi-coloured snakes, frogs, insects, mushrooms shining as the dark falls and squealing sounds of fruit eating bats flying in fast loops all over the understory.

    • Arrival and room set up, followed by trail or garden exploration
    • Exploring gardens until lunch. Possible scenarios: plenty of birdlife to capture, the use of tripods or monopods is a must. Carry your super telephoto lens.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Room check in
    • Meeting back at 14:30 to continue exploring trails, gardens and river edges
    • Dinner at 18:00 (buffet style, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Improving basics, camera settings and questions (19:00 – 20:30) video beam presentation

    Departure after breakfast to Braulio Carrillo National Park at La Selva Biological Station.

    • Exploring forested trails until lunch. Possible scenarios: plenty of birdlife/animal to capture, the use of tripods or monopods is a must. Carry your super telephoto lens.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Meeting back at 14:30 to continue exploring trails, gardens and river edges
    • Dinner at 18:00 (buffet style, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Improving basics, camera settings and questions (19:00 – 20:30) video beam presentation

     

    Tortuguero:

    • Check Route Map
    • (1:05 hrs)

    • Sea level 80 meters

    • Temperature 21/34

    • Humidity 80% + 

    Tortuguero National Park this incredible park is truly the little sister of the Amazon! Miles and miles of water canals bordered by giant trees, evergreen forests with tangled flowering vines, this region is the epitome of the rainforests of your imagination. Besides the common water species such as egrets and tiger herons, we can also find birds such as Agami Heron, Sungrebe, Green and Rufous Kingfisher, and recently Harpy and Crested Eagles have been spotted!

    Arrival to Guapiles-Pavona followed by a private boat ride (taxi) to La Baula Lodge. (1 hour). Upon arrival, room check in and garden exploration until lunch.

    One boat ride for 3:30 hour

    • Driving time (147 km 3:30 hrs)
    • Birding and photography at the hotel gardens
    • Dinner (18:00)
    • Photography workshop at 19:30 (1+ hour)
    • Early boat tour 5:30 am
    • Breakfast 9:00 am
    • Lunch 13:00
    • 14:00 boat tour
    • Dinner 18:30
    • Night walk around the gardens (macro photography)
    • 5:30 am boat trip
    • Leisure time or explore gardens
    • Departure to San Jose 11:30 am
    • Lunch at a Local Restaurant 

     

    Pejibaye:

    • Check Route Map
    •  (1:45 hrs) 60KM

    • Sea level 100 meters

    • Temperature 17-32

    • Humidity 80% +

    Pejibaye Mid-Elevation Rainforest this is without a doubt the most exciting birding destination in Central America! Lying beneath the Caribbean slope of the Talamanca Mountains near Tapanti National Park, its unique geographical position provides the area with an exuberant forest cover, inter-mountain valleys, river gorges and very little human presence, lending to incredible birding opportunities. The lower forest nearest the lodge is a magnet for Tanagers, Orioles, Shrike Vireos, Oropendulas, Toucans and Hummingbirds. Its understory of even vegetation is fantastic for Manakins, Spinetails, Finches, Wrens, Sparrows and even Tinamous. In a single mixed flock over 40 species can be found, including Songwrens, Anthrushes, and Antpittas. Meanwhile, look up into the canopy and you will find Grosbeaks, Woodcreepers, Woodpeckers, Flycatchers, Grosbeaks, and up to 17 species of Tanagers. Perhaps you will even see the rare Yellow-eared Toucanets gilding from branch to branch! Pejibaye’s Rainforest is the best place to find Snowcaps anywhere, and the unrivalled privacy of this lodge, along with excellent hotel staff, make this location a birdwatching delight.

    • Early bird photography before breakfast every day
    • Lunches at 12:00
    • Departures to the forest after breakfast
    • Dinners at 18:30
    • Photography workshop Subject: Deep forest, backlit, birds on flight photography (19:00 – 20:30) video beam presentation

     

    Talamanca:

    • Check Route Map
    •  (2:05 hrs) 91KM

    • Sea level 2560 meters

    • Temperature 10-24

    • Humidity – 80% 

    Talamanca’s Highland there’s not better destination in the country for endemic birds than the Cerro de la Muerte! Although the diversity of species here is less than in lowlands, the highlands far exceed any other area in endemic species. Hummingbirds, Flycatchers, Vireos, Trogons, and Wrens are some of the families that have been isolated here for millions of years, creating unique specialization of species. Imagine a crisp, misty morning among the giant oaks where you spot the beautiful Resplendent Quetzal! This is one of the few places you can find them all year long, and these treasured moments are what make this deep green location so special to us birders!

    Departure after breakfast to Cerro de la Muerte. 

    • Arrival and room set up (rooms might not be ready so all luggage stays with the van except your camera gear)
    • Exploring gardens until lunch. Possible scenarios: plenty of birdlife to capture, the use of tripods or monopods is a must. Carry your super telephoto lens.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Room check in
    • Meeting back at 14:30 to continue exploring trails, gardens and river edges
    • Dinner at 18:00 (buffet style, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Improving focus, hummingbirds on flight techniques, advance camera settings and questions (19:00 – 20:30) video beam presentation

    All day at Savegre Lodge forested grounds. In search for Quetzals

    • Exploring forested trails until lunch. Possible scenarios: plenty of birdlife/animal to capture, the use of tripods or monopods is a must. Carry your super telephoto lens, rain gear for you and cameras, warm clothing.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Meeting back at 14:30 to continue exploring trails, gardens and river edges
    • Dinner at 18:00 (buffet style, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Capturing the moment, flash or not and questions (19:00 – 20:30) video beam presentation

     

    Carara:

    • Check Route Map
    •  (3:00 hrs) 200KM

    • Sea level 50 meters

    • Temperature 24-42

    • Humidity 80% +

    Carara National Park the greatest birding destinations in the country, this incredible park boasts the second largest population of Scarlet Macaws in Costa Rica! With easy access to all trails, mangrove swamps, pasture fields and forest edges, this destination is friendly for all ages and fitness levels. There are very few places where more than a hundred species can be found on one trail, but the Meandrica trail is infamous for just that. It has become a treasured birding icon where you can seek tinamous, trogons, wrens, antpittas, manakins, cotingas, bellbirds, and antshrikes, among others. The nearby forested edges house many open field birds, such as jays, blackbirds, greenlets, rails, ground doves, motmots, hawks, parakeets, and owls. The mangroves of the Rio Grande de Tarcoles can reward the birder with up to five species of kingfishers, as well as many other shorebirds such as herons and egrets. The most remarkable of this area are the restricted range birds of the mangroves, such as vireos, warblers, cuckoos, flycatchers, and even the elusive Rufous Necked Woodrail and the only true Costa Rican endemic, the Mangrove Hummingbird.

    Departure after breakfast to Carara National Park Area.

    • Arrival and room set up (departure at 2:00 pm for mangrove birding boat cruise)
    • 3 hour boat tour in the heart of Tarcoles River
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Dinner at 18:30 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Framing, focus, highspeed, and questions (19:00 – 20:30) video beam presentation

    Visit Carara National Park.

    • Early morning photography. Playing with lowlight.
    • Exploring the Pacific Rainforest. Carry your super telephoto lens with a tripod.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00) back to the rainforest
    • Dinner at 18:30 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Lowlight images & how to capture bird habitats. (19:30 – 21:00) video beam presentation

    Exploring the Central Pacific.

    • Early start, today we will focus on driving to several regions of Jaco Beach area in which several target birds are located.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Rest time until 3:00 pm (temperatures could reach 36 + Celsius)
    • Meeting back at 15:00 to visit a famous lookout point for Toucans, raptors, macaws and much more.
    • Dinner at 18:00 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Birds on flight, deep forest and backlight (19:00 – 20:30) video beam presentation

    Last day of the journey: International flight dates, times, pick up & drop off based on your flight schedule

    Early rising: We would be out at first morning light seeking for that perfect beam hitting the rainforests.

    Photographing locations: All locations require some hiking and searching for fruiting trees, bushes, nesting holes.

    Mastering the captures on site: We will teach you how to get the best images possible.

    Times: Very crucial to make the most out of your holidays; we have selected all lodging, forests, or locations with a maximum distance/hours of driving per day. Generally speaking traveling time would be during the off hours or between 10 am – 1 pm.

    Difficulty Level: If you are able to manage 2-3 Km on a daily basis with intervals you should be fine. Although some extra hiking by be require to reach specific locations for particular images.

    How much photography skill do I need to have to enter the trip? Intermediate to Advance.

    Mastering bird photography on flight:
    We will concentrate it on capturing hummingbirds in the air. Many hotels had for a long time built very attractive gardens fill with hummers fighting for the best perches and nectars.
    Apart from hummingbirds at Tarcoles River boat tour the number of birds fishing, catching or simply gliding are fabulous.
    Using flash or not:
    We would be teaching the use of natural light rather than multiflash control as those use to capture hummingbirds with fake backgrounds. Nonetheless we will also take some time to explain the uses of flash on bird photography.
    What to bring list:
    • Tennis shoes with good traction or hiking shoes with ankle support (waterproof)

    • Comfortable sandals or flip flops

    • Swimming wear

    • Neutral color clothing for camouflage

    • Several cool long sleeve shirts and short sleeve shirts

    • Hat for sun protection (breathable)

    • 2-3 pairs of light weight long pants for rain forest hikes

    • Lightweight rain jacket (neutral color only)

    • Casual beach clothing (t-shirts, shorts, sun dresses)

    • Long pants and a fast drying sweater for the city/mountains (temp. are cooler can reach 3.5 degree celsius)

    • Lightweight gloves for cooler areas

    • Wellingtons/rubber boots can be bought in Costa Rica for $15 usd

    Gear:
    • Small hiking backpack for day trips

    • Small first aid kit

    • Binoculars

    • Camera (optional)

    • Sunglasses

    • Sunblock and Bug Spray

    • Several pencils

    • Daily journal

    • A passport purse (to carry money, credit cards, etc... wear it close to your body)

    • Any needed medications, anti-diarrhea, or any prescriptions

    • Torch/Flashlight

    Money, credit cards, identification:
    • Travelers checks (American Express or Visa) (can exchange some of them for Colones at the the local banks or hotel front desk)

    • About $50-200 in cash (not tears in bills, small bills are better)

    • Visa credit card widely accepted in Costa Rica, except rural towns (keep phone number of credit card company separate.)

    • Passport

    • Photocopies of passports and driver’s license (kept in a separate place)

    • Use a credit card to call US from your hotel room or local pone

    • You can also purchase a phone card here for international calls ($9 for 12 minutes to US)